“We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are.” Max Dupree

If you have been anywhere near popular media, you have heard the phrase “glow up.” It’s come to the point where I’ve even had students talk about it and have had to translate and define it in a comprehensible manner for ESL classes: The infamous “glow up.” When one seems to positively transform in all aspects of their life, physical, emotional, and mental.

Everyone loves a good glow-up. Vloggers talk about it and reporters put up celebrity before and afters; but how does one achieve a “glow up”? Sometimes it seems like a person disappears off the face of the earth and reemerges as an immaculate being. However, getting your “glow up” doesn’t have to be that elusive, mysterious, or complicated.

Achieving your glow-up is possible with a commitment to certain elements. “Glowing” involves a variety of aspects that, when combined, help you produce a desired outcome for the better. Let’s look at ten elements you need for your glow-up.

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New Beginnings

Before starting your glow-up, you must accept the joy of new beginnings. Yes, you’ll still be you, but your glow-up will set you on a new path for the better. The joy of new beginnings is that anything is possible. You can start a new adventure, a new chapter, a new journey.


An important part of glowing up is your wellness. You want to incorporate a solid wellness practice into your lifestyle to strengthen your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. When the body is strong, the mind can be and when the mind is strong, the body can be. One does not exist without the other.

Establish healthy routines. Be sure to eat well and drink plenty of water. Indulge in body treatments such as scrubs and wraps. Get regular professional treatments like facials and massages. Don’t forget to rest. Sleep is your friend. Health, in itself, has its own unique glow.

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Be intentional about the things you want, the things that matter to you, and living life to the fullest. Focus on being present. You can only live in the here and now; the things you have control over are here and now. Sometimes, it is easy to get caught up living in the past or future, the tangible and the known; but by doing that, you can miss out on all the wonderful things happening around you.

True, not every moment is sunshine. However, it is important to stay present and grounded. Moments are not eternal. Allow thoughts and feelings to pass with acknowledgment and without overwhelm or obsession. Slow down. Pay attention. Cherish all moments. Appreciate where you are now and be excited for where you will go. Worry less and live more.


It is through reflection that you can gain a new perspective. It is said that many things are understood in retrospect. You understand why you had to go through something, to achieve something else. You realize the benefits only after something has happened. You see the upside after the downside has passed. It only makes sense later.

Reflection can change how you see your situation and encourage intentional thought for purposeful action. It gives you the dedicated time to check in with yourself and see how you’re doing.

I know we like to understand things right then and there. To have it all figured out. But life isn’t like that. No one has mastered the perfect life process. It’s all work in progress that gets adjusted as we go. It’s only after the experience, reflection, and meditation can we adjust our position to keep working towards our future.

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Transformation and growth do not happen without learning. Whether that is through life, experience, or books, learning is the only way to propel forward, to change position. Do not get comfortable with the things you know or are familiar with now. There’s always something you can learn, improve upon, or broaden your understanding of.

As you continue to grow your mind and expand your understanding, wisdom is solidified in knowing that you cannot and will not know everything. More than likely, every day you will continue to learn something new, or a better way will be found to do something. Learning is continuous and the quest for knowledge is never completed only contented. Still, you are better for it.


It is vital to get your body moving. There are numerous chronic health conditions and illnesses that can come as a result of inactivity. Not only that, but inactivity can also negatively impact your mental health. Endorphins that trigger positive feelings are produced when getting active. The more you support your health and well-being, the brighter you’ll glow.

Not only do you need physical activity, but you also need creative activity. Creative activities nourish the mind and spirit. They promote wonder, inspiration, and curiosity which add to the beauty of life. For my creative professionals, I would encourage you to find a creative activity outside of your work, perhaps something you are a novice in to try.

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Your glow-up will involve moving from comfortable to uncomfortable. You will experience some growing pains because transformation requires some reworking and leaving some of what you know behind. On a life journey of learning, evolving, and glowing, discomfort is comfort. Discomfort is the sign of being pushed outside of your comfort zone and propelled forward.

On the flip side, discomfort can also be a sign of regression and it’s important to recognize the signs of direction. Am I uncomfortable because I’m moving forward into something great or am I uncomfortable because I’m turning my heels in and staying in a position I have outgrown or no longer serves me for the better?

It is uncomfortable going through the fire, going under the chisel, being stretched out over boards. Stay vigilant. Once the work is done, no one can ignore the final beautiful piece.


Find moments of delight. In the media, we are witnessing pushes for big moments, big lifestyles, and big events; but those are not what make life magical. It’s the little moments of calm, joy, happiness, and contentment in between that help us delight in life.

That is not to say don’t enjoy the big moments, those grand adventures, and fantastical events. Indulge but don’t engorge yourself on those. Life is lived in the in-between. When we can find delight in our lives, appreciate the beauty around us, and be content in solitude we can live for the better. Any life additions are sprinkles on top.

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Whenever growth is going to happen, it requires some form of isolation. Seclusion is a critical element because while you may get assistance from the outside (resources, mentors, coaches, etc., …), all the work must be done by you. You are doing the inner work, the growth, and the transformation.

Seclusion is a major part of discomfort because “glowing up” is solo work and many are not comfortable alone. Contentment, joy, and peace must come from you. For your transformation to endure, your happiness cannot depend on outside sources. It must come from inside. If you cannot be happy alone, you cannot be happy with anything external thing.


Let it go. (Did you sing it in your head?) Your glow-up cannot happen if you’re holding on to things that no longer serve you. Release whatever is: negative thoughts, grievances, regrets, bad habits, old ties, toxic workplaces. The list can go on.

As you release these things, you may find something else is needed here in order to completely release old burdens, and that is acceptance and forgiveness. Accept the things in the past as they are. Accept conditions as they are. Accept the things you cannot change— and move on from them.

To fully move on and release, forgive where is needed for your inner peace. It is so easy to find blame wherever one’s eyes fall, but it is even easier to be hard on oneself. You might find that you really need to forgive yourself. It’s time to set those things down to make space for the hopeful new things.

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Your work will be cut out for you if you are intent on glowing up. Your glow-up will not just happen on its own. It will require serious effort and commitment to the new person you are becoming. In the middle of the hard work, reward yourself along the way.

You deserve to treat yourself as you reach milestones along your journey to encourage you to keep going. Once the final work is done, you will be more than thrilled with the result.

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