The Optimum You

By Duncan Christie-Miller | Club Member

There are 5,000 Members of this extraordinary Club. The Club provides us with weekly and daily activities which enrich our lives. Now that some aspects are perforce restricted or unavailable, I thought it might be opportune to offer a weekly alternative – thus The Optimum You articles. These are designed to provide a short article on personal behaviour, the vagaries and triumphs of life and insights into being The Optimum You. I hope that in a small way they assist in dealing with this new and challenging phase in all our lives. 

Good Intentions but Poor Results

2020 is now well into its stride. But how are you doing with your Resolutions and Good Intentions?

More than likely that brilliant initial enthusiasm and commitment has faded away or you are maintaining your commitment but are not yet achieving the results you want and need.

Either way – here is how to steady the ship and get back on track.


Making Good Intentions Effective

There are two aspects to good intentions – WHAT you want to achieve and HOW to achieve them. Most people are very good at identifying the BIG WHAT but are not so good at the HOWs.

The first aspect of changing your thinking is to recognise that the BIG WHAT needs to be broken down to a number of LITTLE WHATs.  Once you do this you can see all the LITTLE HOWs that need to be addressed.

Here is an example :

The BIG WHAT is improving your relationship with someone who is close to you. Identify this as :

To have a totally cheerful, trusting and loving relationship with him/her

Now, identify the LITTLE WHATs and you will immediately be able to identify the associated LITTLE HOWs :


Be cheerful myself  –  Smile a lot

Forgive small things   –  Stop being a perfectionist

Listen more and better   –   Listen to silences as well as words

Apologise when wrong   –   Say ‘Sorry’ and mean it

You will see that it is much easier to make progress when there are a number of smaller component parts to your GOOD INTENTIONS. The BIG WHATs and the BIG HOWs just look and are too demanding. Remind yourself of the saying, ‘How to Eat an Elephant – a little bit at a time’.

You will achieve even better results if you work on your GOOD INTENTIONS together …

Good luck!

The Perils and Pleasure of Procrastination


To be honest with you – I rather enjoy procrastination.  It gives me a small frisson of pleasure to know that tomorrow there is something out there waiting to be done.  What could be worse than an empty TO DO LIST?

On the other hand, it also makes me feel a wee bit guilty – all the advice books and many famous people have stressed the need for ACTION NOW.

Pablo Picasso once said ‘ Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone’.

Well, that is all very good and probably correct in some situations – after all, he did have a problem with drying paint so he needed to crack on before it defied all attempts to rectify or improve his current canvas.

Most of us are not in fact faced with life or death decisions about getting things done.  Here are a few thoughts on achieving  results and getting them done well.

I know some people who live by their TO DO LIST.  Some of them use a contrasting colour to rule through the items that have been done.  Some even do things which are not on their list and once accomplished put them on the list – so they can cross them off!  Sounds familiar?

So, a TO DO LIST is brilliant :  best to draft it last thing at night so you have a fresh challenge in the morning.

Making that tough telephone call :  do it first thing and do it standing up.  You will have more authority and a stronger voice.  Do not be seduced by an answer machine – you MUST speak to the person directly.  Otherwise your message will not be taken at face value.  

Once that tough call is made – well, the rest of the TO DO LIST is a breeze.

Some people, colour code their List showing which items are important.  If that works for you, then so be it but do not be tempted to do the easy ones first.

How many times do you think ‘This needs to be done but I can’t be bothered’.

As soon as you hear yourself saying that – well, just do it – NOW.  

Procrastination does have its advantages – it is called Delayed Gratification.  You delay so that the Gratification is enhanced.  Of course, you can take advantage of that to convince yourself that the Delay is justified but then you will feel guilty that you have tricked yourself.  It is like cheating at golf – you are in fact only cheating yourself.

Energy – you need both physical and mental energy to avoid delays.  So, a positive approach to health and associated energy is needed.  No energy – no action.

Do it right first time – take a simple example. How many times have you had to retie your shoe laces? Do it right, do it correctly and do it first time.  

Work in 20 minute bursts. Your brain gets tired after 20 minutes – so, refresh it by changing your focal length.  Move away from the screen and look at the distance, middle ground and foreground – three times each way.  Then, stretch and get back to the task.  And of course, drink lots of water.

Finally, find a friend – tell him or her that you are going to accomplish this or that task(s). Get the friend to call you or email you to ascertain you have started or even better, done it. Or, you make the call and announce your success! It is called teamwork …

So, this article is finished. I can cross that off my TO DO LIST. Success!