How To Set A Truly Powerful New Year’s Resolution.

Before I outline the way to set powerful New Year’s Resolutions I need to tell you a story.

About a month ago I went to a concert by a new talented artist called Sampa the Great.

Sampa the Great is a female singer-songwriter from Zambia, currently living and studying in Sydney.

It was her 6th concert ever which is why I was delighted to see she had packed out the venue.

More than that, I was excited to hear her upbeat and inspirational lyrics.

As a music lover I’ve sampled my fair share of Hip Hop over the last 20 years and usually the audience is 90% male and the lyrics are full of expletives.

Sampa the Great’s music was uplifting.  Everyone was dancing and she attracted a gender balanced audience.

What was most impressive was the way her voice filled the venue.  Particularly when she appeared to be less than 5 foot tall.  Her presence filled the room.

She started talking. 

She said something like.  “Growing up, I never thought I’d have those two words beside my name “the Great”.

My heart stopped.

“But now, as Sampa the Great each day I remind myself to be great.  I am constantly reminded to produce great music, be great to others and encourage others to be great.”  (I’m paraphrasing but you get the idea)

I was ecstatic that this beautiful young artist was describing something that I teach my clients.

Your identity guides your behaviour.

Look at other artists who are clear about both their identify and their performance.

The Prodigy didn’t call themselves that to just produce music which sounds the same as everyone else.

Queen Latifa doesn’t get out of bed in the morning and start asking others for permission to produce her work.

DJ Yoda promises an experience similar to that which we all experienced the first time we saw Star Wars.

If Hip Hop doesn’t resonate with you think Superhero.

Superman doesn’t approach things in an ordinary way.

What’s this got to do with your New Year’s Resolution?

If you really want to achieve your goals in 2016 then you need to be firm on your identity but that’s just one part of the equation.

Depending on the study you read, only between 8% and 39% of people will achieve the New Year’s Resolutions they set for themselves in 2016.

Here is how to set your New Year’s Resolutions this year so you are among those who are successful at following through in 2016:

1.      Clarify your Purpose

Your purpose is your “why”.

As an individual, it’s what gets you out of bed in the morning.   At an organisational and team level it’s something that everyone can rally behind.  It guides your decisions, particularly when crisis occurs and you find yourself in reactive mode.

My purpose is to help organisations, teams and individuals achieve “optimal productivity and happiness at work”.  When I lose confidence or something stressful happens I remind myself to focus on my purpose.  This helps me make the right choices.

Many of my clients are in financial services and their purpose is often something to the effect of “we help our clients achieve secure financial futures”.

Be clear on your purpose and you’ll navigate 2016 with clarity.

If you are a leader communicate to your team members what the purpose of your business is and help them understand how it aligns with their personal purpose.

2.      Commit to Good Habits

You’ve heard me say it before and I’ll say it again.  45% of the decisions we make each day are due to habit.

Once you understand your purpose decide on things you need to do consistently to achieve it.  Your habits.

So, if your purpose is to get healthy, you commit to healthy eating and exercising habits.

Start small and develop your habits step by step.  (Don’t try and go from zero to hero overnight as the habit change won’t be sustainable)

In week one you might start exercising once per week and eating a good breakfast each day.  In week two, you might start exercising twice per week and eating a good lunch each day.  Pretty soon you’re running half marathons (or whatever your definition of success is).

What are the habits that will help you achieve success in 2016?

It’s amazing what can be achieved through just one small habit change.

3.      Define your Identity

Next comes identity.

Identity helps guide our behaviour.  

If one of your goals for 2016 is to be fit and healthy, to be successful you should develop an identity as a “healthy person”.  When you identify as being a “healthy person” you’ll make better decisions about what you put in your mouth and how you move your body.

Choose an identity for 2016 which will inspire you.

The identity that guides my behaviour is “awesome” (DJ Orrsum for short).

When I wake up in the morning I tell myself “I’m going to have an awesome day”, when I work with clients I want to help them achieve “awesome outcomes”, when I spend time with my family & friends I want them to have an“awesome time” and I try and treat other human beings “awesomely”.

A lot of my clients come up with the word strategic.  (DJ Strategy perhaps?)

Quite often we find ourselves getting caught in tactical work which should be delegated to others, or simply not done.  When you set your identity to strategic, you will constantly remind yourself to behave that way and minimise tactical work that doesn’t add value.

One of my favourite clients recently defined their identity as Sassy.  It reminds them of their inner strength and ability to make confident decisions without asking for permission.

What do you want your identity to be in 2016?

Remember- your identity should guide your behaviour.  

To summarise.  Your New Year’s Resolution should look like this:

My Purpose for 2016…. 

Habits I will start, keep and stop doing in 2016 are…. 

My Identity is….

Most People Have Never Been Taught How to Work.

We complete our studies through primary, secondary and some of us are lucky enough to go to university.  Often we receive coaching on sales and service skills, technical skills and even on our leadership capabilities.  But we tend to learn how to work through trial and error… and it’s very painful.

Quite often the strategies and tactics we come up with are counterproductive. 

To improve our performance, revenue and profits we often think we need to do more.  Work longer hours, make more phone calls, and attend more meetings.  We turn ourselves into busy bees but this is unsustainable and carries a high price.  We spend less time with family and friends, or we aren’t present when we are with them.  We neglect our health and put our passions on the back burner.  We feel out of control and stressed out.

Very few people turn up to work to do a bad job, we just don’t work efficiently and effectively.  We may have disorganised work environments, unread emails, missed deadlines and a constant feeling of being overwhelmed.

If this is you, you are not alone.

When I work with people to help with their productivity I have to let them know they aren’t alone in feeling anxious about their workloads.

A lot of people tell me that are distracted and having trouble focussing, that they are or their team aren’t performing.  Many people work long hours at night and on the weekend, and don’t feel present when they are with family and clients.  They spend important parts of their day on reactive low-value activities which distract them from proactive work that moves their performance forward

So many people speak with anxiety about everything they have on their plate.  Taking time out for Productivity Coaching is stressful at first because they’re worried about everything happening back at the desk.

This blog has been written to challenge your thinking about performance and give you simple, practical tools to be more effective and focus on the right things. 

I’m writing it to help you to learn how to overcome productivity challenges which lead to anxiety and to create habits which help you to gain control of your work week and achieve optimal performance.

The first step is to understand what isn’t working. 

What are your greatest productivity challenges? 

Let’s start with them.

How to unplug

Last Friday night I turned off my phone at 7:30 pm and I didn’t turn it on again until Monday morning at 7:30 am.

It felt great.

I didn’t read one word I didn’t want to all weekend.  (No bad news, no negative comments on social media…nothing)

The only time I spent in front of a screen was shared time with my husband watching something entertaining together.

(My family knew to contact me through my husband in case anything urgent came up.)

I read from a physical book with pages I had to turn.

I finally tried out this mindful colouring book thing.  I got a lot accomplished.

We ate out for dinner and I didn’t look at my phone once.

We were separated in a shopping centre and I just read my book until my husband found me at our agreed meeting spot (just like in the 1980’s)

It’s fair to say I was in a good, and uninterrupted, mood all weekend. 

Going into the week I felt re-energized and ready to interact in the world again.

You should try it too.  Here’s how:

1.Have a weekend tech-detox

Choose a reasonable weekend when you’re not “on call” and give yourself a tech-stay-cation.

Tell the people you love that you’re going offline and how they can contact you in an emergency (only).  Don’t do any work.

Go outside and enjoy the sunshine or stay inside and potter.

Do whatever you want that doesn’t involve solo time with a screen.  (Yep, just like in the 80’s)

2.Try 60-90 minutes of no screen time before bed

Imagine the positive impact of no-screen-time before bed.

I can’t stress enough the value of a good night’s sleep on your productivity, creativity, decision-making and relationship building skills.

Use an old school alarm and put your phone on charge in another room.  Give yourself the space to go to sleep naturally.

3.Go on retreat

Everyone should go on retreat once in their lives

There are so many options for retreats these days.  Pick one that suits your budget, interests and time availability.

I am lucky enough to have had the opportunity to go on a 10 day meditation retreat every 18 months for the last 16 years.  My family will tell you that I’m a much nicer person when I return home.

You don’t have to go on a meditation retreat the way I do.  Go hiking somewhere that doesn’t have reception.   If you’ve got the funds try out one of those fancy spas.  Do it your way.

4.Unplug during proactive/high value time

The highest performers in any field manage to spend around 60% of their working day on high value/proactive tasks.

You’ll find that even spending one hour of non-interrupted time on important (and yet not urgent) work each day will help you achieve results.

Look in your diary right now, find an hour today or tomorrow that is free and during this time turn off your phone, email, social media etc.

Only have the documents or files that you need open in front of you and focus on your high value task to the exclusivity of everything else.

If you can’t find an hour, start with 30 minutes.  After you’ve realised how much you got done repeat the exercise the next day.  And the next day.

Do it your way.  Everyone needs their own “unplugging strategy”.  Decide upon yours.

Your family, brain, productivity, happiness and bank account will all thank you.

What’s your unplugging strategy?

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For a free consultation on how we can help you improve your productivity email me

Day 32: Pedrouza to Santiago de Compostela 18 km

It’s 9:30 am and Michael has a whole bar drinking.

It all happened so fast.

We walked into a cafe.

I went to the bathroom to freshen up…

…and when I came out the cafe had turned into a bar.

Everyone was drinking shots of Orujo coffee liqueur and “fire water”. (A local drink with about 50% alcoholic content.)

All 10 people in the cafe had two shots each along with their morning coffees, eggs and orange juices.

“Breakfast of Champions!” I announced.

What’s even funnier is that the bar woman didn’t appear to speak English when we walked in but as soon as Michael ordered shots she was telling us stories about her life as a groupie to the band “Status Quo.”

Michael always says we would have fun at a funeral!

We had a lovely day chatting and laughing with other pilgrims.

It rained all day….

I just knew it would rain on the last day.

Every time I pictured us walking into the square in Santiago I saw Michael and I looking like drowned rats.

It was a hard walk for Michael as he hurt his foot a couple of days ago and was in pain.

He said it was a blessing as he’d been feeling sad about the Camino being over and the pain made him grateful it was our last day.

I nearly cried about 7 times during the walk. At the same time I couldn’t take the smile off my face.

Finally walking into the square with Michael I was in tears again. We were absolutely drenched but in high spirits.

We celebrated by eating at a wonderful Palestine restaurant with amazing vegetarian food. We loved it so much we came back for dinner that night.

It didn’t feel real until we went to mass. The service was all in Spanish but we got the gist of it.

It was beautiful when we all said “peace be with you” in various languages to each other whilst shaking hands.

I took part in holy communion then got on my knees and gave thanks that we had the opportunity to complete the Camino de Santiago Compostela.

Tears were shed.

The journey finally complete.

Today: London!

Day 31: Casteñda to Pedrouza 26km

We are only an 18 km walk away from Santiago de Compostela.

Seriously, by now I could do that distance in high heels.

Tomorrow we plan on throwing away our boots (Michael has hated his since day 1), the shirt that I stained on day 2 which I’ve been wearing anyway, and a couple of useless sleeping bags.

We’re making room for a few key European purchases….

(I’m going to treat myself to a new pair of pretty shoes.)

The walk today was beautiful. There was a light rain which kept us cool (we didn’t even bother with rain coats.

We prefer the rain to the harsh sun.

Parts of the walk feel like you’re in the Daintree in North Queensland.

Michael thinks it looks like his Aunty & Uncle’s old farm near Bundy.

We walked past gum trees!

I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy the last 100 km.

The first two days of walking after the 100 km mark with an unfamiliar and much larger crowd were confronting.

Now the people all seemed to have disbursed and it doesn’t seem so crowded anymore. Like when everyone finds their place on the dance floor.

We’ve met some lovely people along the way.

We were talking today about the fact that there are some people you click with on the path.

We call those people our tribe.

People from different age groups, cultures, beliefs etc but when you start talking you find common ground.

We hope to have a final drink with a few people we’ve befriended before we leave Spain on Tuesday.

Quite a few are well behind us or would have already finished but I have a feeling we’ll see quite a few friendly faces in Santiago.

We can’t wait!

Tomorrow: Santiago 18 km.

Day 30: Palas de Rei to Casteñda 22km

Two days left!!! Two days until Santiago!!!

We watched “The Way” last night for about the 100th time.

It was amazing to see all the places we’ve been through.

The landscape, food, wine and people keep changing.

Palas de Rei is a small town which looks like it was impacted by the GFC. There are quite a few abandoned and/or derelict buildings.

We had a couple of lovely ladies at the pensíon we stayed in. One of them asked where we were staying tonight and let us know it was 3.1km away from where we thought it was.

Thank god she asked or we would have missed it!

We’ve found the food in this region is much more flavorsome.

We hadn’t had garlic for weeks until a few days ago.

We always have to ask for salt and pepper and have started carrying our own around.

The wine seems sweeter too and the cheese is amazing.

The animals on this side of the country seem fatter and happier too.

Speaking of happy- did I mention we only have two more days left?

Tomorrow: Pedrouza 26km

Day 29: Portomarin to Palas de Rei 24.5 km

Michael and I spend a lot of time laughing.

Other people may not think we’re funny and we’ve also found our sense of humour doesn’t translate well.

For instance when people say “buenos días” (good morning/day) it sometimes sounds like “gonorrhoea” to me.

Today was a lovely day with nice weather and we are hoping it stays that way for our for our final three days.

We’ve managed to find vegetarian meals for the last few days, which is great. We even had tofu burgers tonight!

A gypsy grabbed my hand today and wouldn’t let go…I hope he wasn’t putting a curse on me!

Freaked me out a bit. Lucky we found that four-leaf clover the other day…(made a donation at the church just in case).

Tomorrow: Ribadiso 25.6 km