Happy new you? How do you really feel?

woman thinking, finger on chin

More confidence, a better relationship, money in the bank, a great job? Make this the year your dreams really come true.

Take a look at the statements below and mentally tick any that are true. Your answers will highlight areas that are ripe for change…

I’m not as confident as I used to be, but that’s because I’m getting older

When you’ve been married as long as I have, you can’t expect romance

● My job is dull, but it pays the bills, and I didn’t do well enough at school to get anything better

● I’d love a new relationship, but I doubt anyone would want me now

● I  know I’ve gained weight but it’s middle-aged spread and there’s nothing I can do about it

● I’d love to lose weight and get fit, but I’ve tried before and I haven’t got the willpower

● I’ve had the same look for years and I’m bored with it, but I’m too old to change my style

● My children don’t appreciate me and they never will

● I don’t understand new technology, so there’s no point even trying

How many did you agree with? Whether you agreed with one or all ten, each of those beliefs will seriously limit your life – because they’re all wrong! Here’s what the experts say…

● I’m not as confident as I used to be, but that’s because I’m getting older...
‘Age actually has very little to do with real confidence,’ says Lynda Field, counsellor and author of '60 Tips For Self Esteem' (Vermilion, £6.99). ‘If you have a good sense of self-worth, you’ll carry it with you as you age, and it’s far more likely to get stronger the older you get, because age brings wisdom. Besides, when most of us look back on our youth, we realise that although our skin may have looked a bit better and we may have been slimmer, we were actually far more unsure of ourselves than we are today.’
How confident are you? Take our quiz (and advice)...

● When you’ve been married as long as I have, you can’t expect romance...
‘This is misunderstanding the definition of romance,’ says relationship psychologist and author of 'Stop Arguing Start Talking' (Vermillion, £7.99) Susan Quilliam. ‘You may not get the same thrill or sense of novelty any more, but what you do get is a much deeper sense of romance that comes from really knowing your partner, appreciating them and being appreciated yourself.’
Five ways to boost your relationship...
10 ways to kickstart your love life...

Put the lust back into long-term love...

● I’ve never had enough money and I never will...
Be very careful. ‘Your thoughts create your reality,’ says Marie-Clare Carlyle, business consultant and author of 'How To Become a Money Magnet' (Hay House, £8.99). ‘This means if you continually tell yourself you’ll never have money, you’ll probably turn out to be right! However, if you can change those thoughts and create a more positive, proactive approach to money, you’ll find vast improvements in your finances.’

● My job is dull, but it pays the bills, and I didn’t do well enough at school to get anything better...
‘You’re not limited by the exams you passed at 16,’ says Lynda. ‘You can do so much if you decide not to be held back by the feelings you had all those years ago.’ If you need to get another qualification or skill, then make up your mind to do it. For free advice about changing your career, visit Next Step at nextstep.direct.gov.uk, or call 0800 100900.

● I’d love a new relationship, but I doubt anyone would want me now...
‘Wrong,’ says dating guru Paula Rosdol, 51, who specialises in helping women over 40 find love. ‘You’re never too old to love or be loved. You can have just as much fun and success romantically in your forties, fifties and sixties as you did in your twenties and thirties. And I should know – I dated more than 100 men before finding my husband, Paul!’
Dating second time around - by women who know

● I  know I’ve gained weight but it’s middle-aged spread and there’s nothing I can do about it...
‘Gaining weight in middle age is extremely common and usually happens because we’re less physically active but still eating the same amount of food – or sometimes even more,’ says Dr David Haslam from the National Obesity Forum. ‘But if you keep active and watch what you eat, middle-age spread is definitely not inevitable. Gaining weight in middle age can also be quite harmful (it’s associated with conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes), so don’t be complacent about it.’ Instead, make realistic changes that you can stick to, such as cutting out sugar in tea and walking up stairs instead of taking the lift.
Reclaim your waistline: middle-aged spread is not inevitable
The real risks of being overweight

● I’d love to lose weight and get fit, but I’ve tried before and I haven’t got the willpower...
‘This is not about willpower, it’s about fear,’ says therapist Emma James, author of 'Rebel Diet' (Mirage Publishing, £7.99). ‘It could be you’re so afraid of failure that you don‘t even want to try, or you’re afraid of what will happen if you do manage to succeed. For example, losing weight might make you more sexually attractive, and you’re afraid of intimacy. Be prepared to face your fears before starting another diet.’
Want to lose weight? We have 50+ diets to try...
Lose weight and keep it off forever

● I’ve had the same look for years and I’m bored with it, but I’m too old to change my style...
‘It’s good to know what suits you, and by the time we reach a certain age, most of us do,’ says Lynda. ‘But you can still make changes round the edges. For example, I’ve had very short hair for 20 years and recently decided – at the age of 58 – to grow it longer. As a result, I feel completely different. It‘s really rejuvenating.’

● My children don’t appreciate me and they never will...
Ask yourself what you’re doing that makes you feel so undervalued. ‘Being a doormat is what makes them not appreciate you,’ says Lynda. ‘And if you keep doing everything for them, they will keep expecting it.’ So the best solution is to stop doing so much. And, remember, your children may not seem to appreciate your parenting skills now, but they will once they’re parents themselves.’

● I don’t understand new technology, so there’s no point even trying...
Perhaps you’re just not interested enough? ‘If you don’t want to use the internet or know the difference between an iPod and an iPad, that’s fine,’ says Lynda. ‘But if you want to learn, don’t be ashamed to ask for help. There are so many courses to choose from and many are free. Ask at your local library or visit nextstep.direct.gov.uk. Or let your children teach you – role reversal is no bad thing.’

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