Did you know that 2014 is the year of self-esteem, so in preparation for the new year ahead we're pushing body hang-ups to the side. Forget losing the pounds and chasing perfection, this year's resolution is to feel good about ourselves.
With all the post-Christmas weight loss ads and half-price gym memberships, the pressure to look good is really on. But the key to feeling confident on the outside starts from the inside.
A recent survey by New Look revealed that, on average, women rate themselves as low as 5/10 in body confidence. With that in mind we've put our heads together to come up with some feel-good tips on how to feel confident.
Whether working out to Zumba on the Wii does wonders for your ego or a lunch date with the girls is your perfect pick-me-up, we've got everything from beauty must-haves to breaking a sweat... When it comes to a confidence boost there's all kinds of ways to lift yourself up.
Add an accessory
Celebrity Writer Alison Potter says: "I always feel confident when I'm wearing an eye-catching accessory. Usually I prefer a hat, which can make some feel more self-conscious, but it makes me feel more secure. A fedora or a bowler hat positioned at a jaunty angle completes an outfit for me and also it comes with a few big advantages - you don't really have to do your hair and it's perfect during the colder months as it keeps you warm!"
Turn up the volume
Alison adds, "Listening to music as I get ready is a good way of increasing my confidence levels. Blasting out some of my favourite tunes and singing along makes getting ready to go out that bit more fun. And we're not just talking a bit of Beyonce, throw a little Aretha Franklin into the mix, some Mariah Carey too. All the women who are divas with a capital D. It's also a good opportunity to perfect your diva moves before you hit the dance floor."
Stay true to yourself
What about working from the inside out? Being confident doesn't necessarily come from buying a new outfit or putting on your fave red lippy, it's all in the power of thought.
Our Intern, Vivian Kelly says: "Sometimes it's nice treating yourself to a new blowout or buying into the latest beauty must-have, but I think for long lasting confidence you have to stay true to yourself and not conform to today's conventions (in every aspect of life).
"Even if people don't think 'it's cool’, it's the confidence you have to do what you want that will make you shine. Flaunt it and know that you look fabulous - no matter what a handful of cynics have to say. Who cares what people think - hold that head high girl!"
Think yourself confident!
Get your hair done
We all know how good it feels to get your hair done, whether it's a chop, a change or a bouncy blow-dry nothing beats a bit of TLC for our tresses.
Sofeminine's Managing Editor Ursula Dewey says: "Getting your hair blow-dried always leads to a huge confidence boost. Having glossy, Hollywood hair does wonders for your self-esteem - part of it is in the glam make-over, but the other part comes from allowing yourself to be treated to a pamper session. 'You're worth it' as they say."
Break a sweat
Ursula adds, "Another instant confidence booster is going to an exercise class. I love circuit classes like Speedflex as they really get you motivated and always make you feel like working harder and pushing yourself. It does hurt but afterwards you feel fit and strong - and that's a great feeling."
Tailor your needs
Staff Writer Teddi Ginsberg gives us a lesson in dressing for confidence and loving our eyelashes: "I always feel good in a well-tailored, great-fitting outfit. Long lashes always make me feel pretty too. Too Faced Better Than False Lashes is a great glue-free option."
Kick your way confident
Stephanie Ashley, Intern, says: "For me, I love my Mixed Martial Arts or Kickboxing class. It makes me feel strong, fit, and independent."
It's also a sure-fire way to let out some frustration!
Girls' night out
A good girly gathering with a few Cosmopolitans is one way to get you smiling. Maria Bell, Staff Writer, says: "Going out and letting my hair down with my girls always gives me a bit of a confidence boost. Just forgetting about everything that's been getting you down that week, getting a cocktail in hand and letting loose on the dance floor."
With a combination of all the above, plus a little sit down with your ego every now and again, and hey presto! That's how to big up your confidence.
And if you are suffering with low confidence, Elizabeth Kesses' The Ugly Little Girl book trilogy (launching this week) is the perfect stocking filler or gift to self. It might be for teenagers, but which of us has ever let our inner teen go? Exactly.
Elizabeth says: "The Ugly Little Girl is intended to accompany kids and teens during the dark hours of adolescence. It is hopefully an antidote to the virus of image obsession that flows through the veins of social networks.
"It is for everyone, as all of us, no matter what age, suffer from crises of confidence about our looks, our body and our image. We are all more beautiful than we think we are. We are living in an age of narcissism, of the selfie, of cyberbullying and obsession with perfection. 2014 is the year of self-esteem and this story is to help the young (and old) believe in themselves."