Right now, everyone’s riding high on the energy of the New Year.
It’s the time when are inspired to make our most concerted effort to change things for the better.
Goals have been set, resolutions are in place and being acted upon….yet deep down, we all know that it’s the habits and routines we develop, that will serve us for the rest of our life.
It’s those micro commitments you make to yourself, to show up every day and do the work, take the time and to take action.
Along with my intentions and focus for 2019 that I put into my Life Pilot spreadsheet, and my first quarter goals, I’ve also go a focus for this year that’s different.
Before the year ended, I pulled out a blank notebook and thought about all the things I didn’t want to carry into 2019.
Before I knew it I had 19 things I will and will NOT do in 2019.
I’m sharing these with you, as I’m sure some of them will resonate with you, and you may even want to join me, or make your own list.
If we don’t make space for the new habits by stopping some of the bad ones, we really won’t ever create real, lasting change that we all desire.
Some of these are going to be had to to stick to. I’ll admit that right off the bat.
However, I’m thankful that I’m an Upholder – according to Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies free quiz, as that’s going to make it easier.
This basically means, that if I commit to a goal or if I say I’m going to do something for myself or for you, you can damn well be assured that I’m going to do it.
Which is typically fantastic but sometimes can cause problems, because I don’t let up on my own self!
So here goes.
#1. I will not sign up to any more newsletters or optins in 2019
I am really excited about this. In the last two months of 2018 I ruthlessly unsubscribed from hundreds of e-mails that I was getting, these included:
- those I never read or I no longer wanted to read
- those who I never remembered signing up
- those spamming me with crap, who’d likely bought my email from someone
The result? I now get between 10 ten to 15 emails over the space of a couple of days in my personal inbox..
And in my business inbox, which is separate with it’s on gmail account, I still love using Sanebox which automatically filters newsletters into SaneNews, and other emails into SaneLater.
This means I only get the important emails in my inbox, from people I actually want to hear from and emails I want to action.
This makes a massive difference to my sanity.
#2. I will not check email everyday.
I am going to attempt to stick to only checking emails three days per week and I’ve decided on Monday Wednesday and Friday.
This one I think is going to be particularly challenging because we all have a tendency to use our inboxes to distract us and make us feel like we’re being really productive – when we’re not.
We use it as a form of procrastination, because when we process all emails and achieve inbox zero, which I do almost all the time, we feel like legends.
It makes you feel like you’ve achieved something, when really you’ve just given your time and attention away to other people’s problems or demands.
So three days a week is when I’m going to check email. I am most likely going to check it at 10am after my deep work sessions.
I have also put an autoresponder message on to let people know this and my response time, so they know what to expect and get trained to know when to get in touch with me.
Also my lovely virtual assistant Angeline, who is still with me after six years, goes into my business inbox each day to clear out anything that’s not important, or answer any customer emails.
Unlike people like Pat Flynn, I do not get thousands of emails in my inbox. I have really really streamlined it.
I think people know not to contact me unless it’s really necessary – thank you folks!
I’m really curious to see how much more efficient this new habit makes me and, whether in the hour or so that I’m allowing myself to go through my emails, whether I am actually more focused and doing a much better job of responding and actioning what matters?
Use the ‘Getting Things Done’ Method by David Allen.
This is a game changer. Thank you David Allen for writing this book. It’s a simple 3 step method.
If you can’t answer the email you’ve opened in five minutes or less, you:
- Delete it (if it’s really not important and most of the time, let’s be honest, their not)
- Delegate it (forward it to a team member to take care of, a colleague or the right person)
- Defer it – use Sanebox to ping it back into your inbox at a more appropriate date, for example say it’s a task that’s not needed until a week from now. Or use the new Gmail ‘Snooze’ settings to pick the exact time and date you want that email back.
#3. I will not sign up for any webinars
Back when I started attending and hosting webinars in 2011, people used to offer up tons of valuable content and webinars were really entertaining and educational.
After sharing all that value, they would naturally have a call to action to join sign up or buy from them, which was totally legit, after teaching for 45 to 50 minutes of solid content.
Then, over the years, as more and more people jumped on the webinar bandwagon, the Internet marketers basically spammed you for an entire hour, and then pitched you for 50% of that hour to sell you their thing.
Typically the first 50% was usually taken up by them telling their story and putting up photos of them sitting in fancy cars and making lots of money.
As a result, I think people are much more weary of webinars, yet the work to actually put on a really high quality one is, well a lot!
So for those people who to still do great webinars, like Amy Porterfield who’s a great educator, then you know you’re going to get a high quality webinar.
Those folks deserve to be heard and you deserve to show up to them, if you’ve registered for it and give them your time and attention.
For myself, I don’t want to sign up for any webinar ever again. I’ve already reduced that a ton over the years.
Ultimately, what you’re seeing here is this trend towards being very very ruthless about where I do spend my time and who gets my attention.
#4. I will not buy any more online courses.
As a course creator, I do have a caveat here. Or perhaps a clearer definition of this new rule.
I will not buy any more online courses UNLESS, they are extremely relevant to what I want to learn or experience.
In other words, I’m not buying any courses for the sake of trying them out, or testing out that person’s sales funnel or software setup, or because I want to support them.
#5. I will not fall victim to the comparison game.
I will not. This one’s gonna be tough, as 2018 I fell into a hole of comparison and it was not pretty.
We all do this. The comparison game is just a really tough thing to move past, but all I’ve realized is how futile this is to do to yourself.
All it does is make you feel less worthy less awesome less skilled less experienced.
Most of the time you’re doing it because you’re looking at social media feeds that are completely unreal and don’t show the true picture of that person’s journey.
As Oscar Wilde wisely said,
Comparison is the thief of joy
And in 2019 I want lots of joy.
No thieves so no thievery and therefore I want to disrupt this pattern.
How I’m going to do this, is by actually reducing the amount of time that I am on social media which leads me to…..
#6. I will not spend more than 1 hour a day on social media.
A little like email, I am gonna be massively reducing the time that I’m on social media.
To be fair I don’t think I’m on it that much, but the new iPhone ‘screentime’ feature, which lets me know how much time I spend on my phone each day, and on which app, will keep help keep me honest.
When I’m on social media, I want to be really strategic and engaging in the right way.
Given I’m bringing back my podcast and vlog and blogging more in 2019, that hour should technically include my time to post, share and promote my content.
However this is quite a tall ask, so that time on social media will fall under marketing as my focus is entirely different.
Overall, this new habit/ rule will also greatly help with the comparison-itis – mainly caused my Instagram!
#7. I will not buy any coffees.
This might sound extreme, but I live in New Zealand. The land of coffee.
We make the best coffee in the world. There is no denying it.
For those of you crying out ‘nooooo, that’s not true’, come to New Zealand and try out one of our coffees for yourself, then tell me whether I am lying.
Coffee is an art form in this country and a National pastime. Baristas are immensely proud of their creations, as can be seen in the beautiful images created in the milk froth topping.
I have never seen so many coffee shops in a country with a population of four and a half million, as we have in New Zealand.
What’s more they are often right beside each other and the best ones, in our cities, almost always have lines out the door each morning.
The milk here is amazing. The coffee is made with love and it is all too easy to get coffee wherever you go.
Along with this comes what I consider to be a hefty price tag of $4.50-5:50 for a coffee.
I worked out that, over the space of the year, if I had coffee five days a week that’s $1200 a year towards coffee that I could be putting towards other things.
It’s also really not so much about the money, it’s about the fact that I don’t need to go out to buy coffee when I can make perfectly great plunge and filter coffee here at home.
I also don’t contribute to the plastic cup consumption and I will inevitably drink less coffee, which, as Dr Libby and others have proven, is something we don’t actually need, and should take a break from, of at least 2-4 weeks, more often.
I want to experiment with having more herbal teas and turmeric lattes too.
My final reasoning, for everyone who thinks I’m insane, is because so many people are obsessed and drink coffee all the time and ‘can’t do anything until they’ve had their morning coffee’.
I kind of want to rebel against the coffee movement even though I enjoy it so, I’m only going to buy a coffee when I absolutely feel like one and I’m going to enjoy it immensely.
8. I will not hide behind any preconceived identity.
I will not hide behind any preconceived identity that I have for myself or that I think you have for me.
You’ve probably heard me speak, blog, write or vlog about the massive change over the last two years of moving away from being known as the Suitcase Entrepreneur, to just being known as me.
For a long time there there was a lot of stuff wrapped up around the identity that I was sharing, and I’ve finally released that so I can just be me.
This year is all about being me. Raw, unfiltered, completely nutty me, having fun doing cool stuff.
Doing stuff because I enjoy it, because it challenges me, because it stimulates me and because it helps me and will ultimately help you.
This year is all about unfiltered Natalie and nothing about trying to be somebody that I don’t want to be. And I think we could all do with a touch more than in our lives.
Which leads me to number nine….
#9. I will not launch any more courses.
I have been creating building and launching curriculums and courses since 2010.
There is so much goodness in launching courses. There is also so much work involved!
I want to take a full year off creating any new courses, however, I will improving my fave courses that people love, that’s for sure.
I will also be launching a very simple Untapped community membership.
Not yet, but it will come and it will be a community for the sake of a community with accountability and inspiration.
It will be simple. It will be affordable and will be solely there to serve you to become your best self, personally and professionally.
So no more courses, which of course means that I will be sharing and promoting courses of experts and friends that I love, who do have fantastic courses that you do deserve to know about.
You might have noticed there’s a proliferation of courses. The e-learning industry according to Learn Dash, which is an online course content platform, is gonna be worth $325 billion by 2025!
This industry is going to continue to grow, so there’ll be plenty of time to get back into it.
However I am a huge advocate for creating online courses and experiences.
If that’s what you want to do in 2019, to help your community to grow and be more awesome, then go for it.
You should totally take part in this Free 4 Part Masterclass series from my friends at Teachable – my No #1 choice of platform for hosting online courses – so easy, so simple, so effective. It starts Jan 14th. Register free here.
Now let’s focus on the things that I am going to do in 2019.
#1. I will focus on deep work sessions
I want to do three mornings a week of deep work per week – uninterrupted, focused and meaningful work.
I have been reading an excellent book by Cal New Port, called ..no surprises here: Deep Work – Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
I actually saw speak about seven years ago and he was incredible, as is this book.
Deep Work is essentially the art of doing work that is incredibly focused and not distracted, which is getting increasingly hard to do in this very connected and distracted world.
In order for me to be able to write another book this year, I want to understand and research a lot more about and tapping into your human potential.
Therefore I need to be writing reading researching on a much more regular basis – and intensely .
What Cal suggests in the book is two to three hours at least, but preferably even days at a time, of deep work, where you take yourself off to a place where you can just be completely undistracted and focused.
So I have a couple of places I’m setting up in the house, with a desk that looks at a blank wall. and I’m going to fine-tune this rhythm to be the same days as I check my email, from 7am to around 10am.
#2. I will meditate daily.
No matter how short I will do this. My intention is for 30 consecutive days, and my bigger goal is for an entire year and beyond.
I first came across meditation on a retreat with friends in Costa Rica in 2009. William, a larger than life, energetic character, was sitting still, by the pond edge just meditating.
I joined him and couldn’t stop fidgeting or swatting away mosquitos. So I sat watching how calm he was, marvelling at his ability to just breathe and be aware.
He told me he’d been doing it for years and it took time to develop this conscious awareness, but that it was so worthit.
I did nothing further.
Then when I was living in Amsterdam back in 2012, I happened across a lecture happening in a gorgeous theatre, attended by thousands, on the benefits of meditation.
To date, despite all my knowledge and research on meditation not being a fad but being a life changer, I just haven’t managed to make it a consistent practice.
I’m a dabbler.
Enough is enough. As an upholder, I said to myself before New Year’s “Natalie, if you can’t even meditate for five freakin minutes a day you are not worthy of all the amazing benefits of meditation”.
I’m happy to say I’ve done 7 days of consecutive meditating (at the time of writing this on January 9th), and sometimes two in one day.
I am using the Insights Timer app on my phone – best free app I’ve ever had, although I’m going for the pro version to access them offline and also all the useful courses.
I’ve been much more clever about it this time and I’ve booked mark my favourite five to fifteen minute meditations, so that I can easily get to them.
I will continue to extend the time I meditate, and look to try different ones through the app – some of my faves are the well known loving kindness meditation, and of course the simple awareness and breath meditation.
#3. I will write down three things I’m grateful for each day.
In my journal by my bed, I write down three gratitudes each morning, at the very least I say them out loud.
Doing it first thing in the morning always brightens my day and sets me up with an attitude of gratitude.
Then I tend to then go into a bigger list, and throughout the day I simply stop to appreciate the amazing garden we have, the stunning beauty of flowers and nature in general.
It also makes you appreciate all that you have and leaves you feeling abundant, rather than in a place of lack.
I know it’s going to come in particularly helpful when I’m in a noisy, busy airport with a cancelled flight, as I’ll draw on all the things, in that moment, that I’m grateful for…that’s the aim.
To better handle my emotions and behaviour, so that I can act from a place of compassion and love, not impatience or selfishness.
#4. I will read everyday.
I don’t mind if that is reading a brilliant blog post, a chapter of a physical book, listening to an audio book – so long as I’m learning.
Preferably the goal is a chapter or more of a book.
Right now I tend to do more than that as I listen to audiobooks while out training for my triathlon, or while traveling.
It’s also a great habit/ rule as I have so much great content to consume which ties in with the deep work.
#5. I will paint once a week.
We have a little art studio on our property that I created for the sole purpose of creating.
It has a window that looks out onto the field and hills. An easel I bought second hand online. A collection of acrylic paints and brushes.
The easel has a canvas on it, with this beautiful background that has been there for about nine months, which I haven’t finished!
There is no excuse not to pull out my creative side, walk down to the studio in the barn and paint!
I also know how important making time for creativity is. It will impact every area of my life…plus our living room wall deserves a large piece of art on it.
#6. I will write every week on my personal blog no matter how brief.
I am excited and ready to get back into the habit of putting out regular, valuable content.
So I want to get into the habit of writing and I want to turn a lot of my content into a book by the end of the year. That is my big goal for this year.
I initially had write every weekday on my blog, which is a stretch goal, but for now it is just to get back into the habit of writing which I really miss.
#7. I will join at least one mastermind in 2019
I have run many masterminds in the past. I have been part of masterminds and last year I was part of none, which made me really appreciated how important they are.
If you haven’t heard of this term mastermind before, essentially it’s a meeting of minds, that together, can help you personally go further than you could on your own.
With more minds looks at your challenges or opportunities and sharing their advice and wisdom on what you can do, you naturally go further, achieve more and are held to higher standards.
It’s best with four to six awesome people. You don’t have to be in the same space, industry or even location, so long as you but you have similar goals and outlooks on what you’re wanting to do.
It helps if you get into a mastermind with people who are ahead of you and where you want to be, that will stretch you further!
You meet regularly every week, every two weeks, or every month at least and you basically champion and challenge each other.
You share information, knowledge, tactics and resources. You are there to be each other’s advisory board.
It is a beautiful thing when it works really well. Everybody has to commit you have to turn up and it can be absolutely amazing for you personally and professionally.
I’m pleased to say this one is underway already with a local women’s mastermind I’m pulling together.
However I’m keen for masterminds across different areas of my life.
#8. I will podcast weekly.
I wrote about What 7 Years of Podcasting Has Taught Me here in May 2018, when I finished up.
Well that has been long enough, thank you very much. I miss it. I love this medium.
And this time I know exactly what I want to focus on, learn, talk about and share.
It’s gonna be a weekly, if not twice weekly, podcast with mainly me, and often awesome interviews.
It’s called UNTAPPED – and it’s all about how to tap into your true potential. Listen in to the first episode to learn more.
It’s going to be on the same feed as my last podcast, which to my amazement, still continues to get 5,000+ downloads a week, having not touched it since May.
That’s the power of putting out quality content on a consistent scheudle people – it outlasts you and continues to do the work for you!
#9. I will get a professional qualification or certification in 2019
I’m a life-long learner, yet it’s been some time since I’ve formally gained a higher level education in an area I’m most curious about.
So this year is all about taking human potential and personal development further.
This is just for me personally. If I want to talk about important stuff, I want a much deeper knowledge and I want to be certified from the experts.
I miss studying and I want to take this seriously because this is seriously fun.
I’m also a firm believer in experiencing and experimenting to be able to learn and then teach. This is what Untapped and my weekly and monthly challenges are all about.
#10. I will LIVE write a book in 2019.
I mean why not? With my podcast, guest interviews, deep work, blogs and vlogs, I’m going to be learning a lot this year and creating a lot of content.
Nothing will hold me to this more than to use a lot of this content to live write a book about reaching and going beyond your potential.
So if you’re reading a blog post of mine and think it’s really epic… it’s likely because it’s been well thought through, researched and lovingly crafted to be included in my book.
I envisage it will be shorter than my previous two, but full of juicy goodness and not about freedom or business.
Those are the 19 things that I will or will not do in 2019.
Now, I’d love to know at least ONE of yours for this year in the comments.