6 x 16 ways to turn your life around in 2016
Big resolutions lead to big disappointments, so follow these expert tips to making small, achievable changes that add up to a New You
Published 03/01/2016 | 02:30
Lose weight. Make more money. Give up smoking...If you've already made your New Year's resolution for 2016, the chances are that it's big, bold and broad. It's probably also unachievable.
The trouble with resolutions of this variety is that they are not brain-friendly. Emerging research shows that the brain likes small, realistic and specific goals instead.
It is proven that we have a better chance of achieving these goals. Better still, the neurotransmitter dopamine is released and a motivation circuit is born when we do.
In other words, when we break a resolution down into smaller steps, the goal becomes less daunting and success becomes more likely.
"Big resolutions follow swiftly by even bigger disappointments," explains psychologist Allison Keating, who is one of the 16 experts in our 'New You' special.
They've taken some of the areas that we most commonly want to overhaul in the New Year and offered six smaller steps that make success more attainable.
These people are the experts in their respective fields and their advice is specifically designed to help you make lifestyle changes that last.
Remember, a series of small changes yields big results.
Look the part
BAIRBRE POWER, Fashion Editor, Irish Independent
1 CRISP & CLEAN It's a little like the 'location, location, location' property advice, but the white cotton shirt really is key to a clever capsule wardrobe. The white shirt is the ultimate 24/7 fashion asset (along with a sharply-cut black tux jacket, an LBD, throw-on cashmere and uber-comfy boots). COS is a good place to start your white shirt search, followed by Zara and Carolyn Donnelly The Edit at Dunnes Stores.
2 SILKEN GILDER Upgrade your look instantly with a luxurious-feel silk shirt with flap pockets. It's a star performer and can make the most basic, inexpensive jeans, skirt or shorts look expensive.
3 MODERN CLASSIC The biker jacket is fast becoming the go-to jacket, partnering equally well with casual looks and voluminous, long skirts for formal occasions. Isabel Marant does a stylish biker, as does Helen McAlinden and All Saints.
4 WASH & GO A 'hero' piece totally loses its lustre if it ends up living in the dry cleaners. Check the washing instructions label and not just the price label. Needy clothes, like needy people, are not what we want in our lives in 2016, so avoid heavy embellishment because that means it will be a 'no no' for easy wear.
5 EDIT BY SEASON The best boutique is often your very own clothes rail but do you know what you own? Can you see it? Buy extra clothes rails at IKEA and edit your clothes season by season. Store trans-seasonal capsule wardrobe favourites likes cashmere sweaters/wraps in drawers and if you are worried about moths, pop them in a plastic bag in the freezer. I kid you not!
6 SPORTS LUXE The Breton stripy is iconic and fits seamlessly with the 'athleisure' trend of workout layers, hoodies and go-faster trainers. These days, you can dress like you are going to spinning or to yoga even if you are not.
Get a better night's sleep
Breege Leddy, Sleep Disorders Physiologist, The Insomnia Clinic, Dublin
1 ROUTINE, ROUTINE, ROUTINE The human body has a very strict internal rhythm - the circadian rhythm - which is just over 24 hours long. It is important to keep a very strict routine in order to keep this synchronised. All work activities should shut down two hours prior to bedtime. This allows cortisol levels to decrease. Cortisol is what is known as the 'stress' hormone.
2 DON'T TRY TO CATCH UP WITH SLEEP Our get-up time anchors our circadian rhythm, so it's important to get up at the same time every day. With a weekend lie-in, we are pushing that circadian rhythm out of sync. This will result in the same effect as jet lag. For every hour of time zone we cross, it takes the body roughly a day to recover.
3 FORGET ABOUT NUMBERS Most of us believe that the more sleep we get, the better we will feel. While there are recommendations for the amount of sleep we need, it really depends on the individual and our age. Good quality restful sleep is the key.
4 LIMIT CAFFEINE Caffeine is the mostly widely used substance to counteract the effects of feeling sleepy. Adenosine accumulates in the brain during wakefulness and the higher the levels, the sleepier we feel. Caffeine blocks the action of adenosine receptors and stops us from feeling sleepy. We should limit our amount of caffeine to two products per day and no later than 3pm.
5 LIGHT & DARK Melatonin is a sleep-promoting hormone that is produced only in the dark. Melatonin levels need to increase in order for us to feel sleepy. Smart phones and devices emit blue light which has been proven to reduce melatonin levels. All smart devices should be shut down at least two hours prior to bedtime.
6 MAKE YOUR BEDROOM SLEEP-FRIENDLY Bedrooms should be well ventilated, cool and dark. Ideal room temperature for sleep is 18 degrees. Black out blinds/curtains are very useful in keeping the room as dark as possible.
■ The Insomnia Clinic, Bon Secours, Dublin; 087 116 7868 / bonsecours.ie/insomnia-clinic
Liam Plant, Psychotherapist and Art Therapist
1 BRING FULL ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY Feel your bum on the chair and your feet on the floor and breathe. When we bring full attention to our points of contact, we can't actually be anxious at the same time, in the same way that you can't drive in two gears at the same time.
2 DON'T FIGHT YOUR FEELINGS Approach how you feel emotionally with compassion. We can get into a battle with ourselves thinking, "I shouldn't feel anxious", "I shouldn't feel stressed". This aggravates rather than alleviates. Acknowledge how you're feeling but don't get caught up in it or identify with it.
3 NOTICE THE SELF-CRITIC Notice the recurring thoughts that act as self-critic and also thoughts like "that's typical of me" and "I'm no good at that". We also tend to take situations in which we have performed poorly and use them to generalise about ourselves in a negative way. Be mindful of this the next time it happens.
4 JUST STOP When you feel overwhelmed, take a moment to just stop, ground and breathe. When you do that, you start to see things more clearly.
5 GROUND CONTROL If you have a garden, take your shoes and socks off and walk on the grass for a few minutes. It's very grounding.
6 UNPLUG The more we unplug and connect with the real world around us, the better.
■ Oscailt, 8 Pembroke Road, Dublin 4; liamplant.com
Look 10 years younger
Dr Rosemary Coleman, Consultant Dermatologist
1 WEAR SUNBLOCK Do you check the weather before deciding whether or not to wash your teeth? No? Well, why do so before applying your sunblock? There are damaging UVA rays coming through the clouds once there's daylight. Get into the habit of daily application of a moisturiser containing SPF 50 with UVA protection, 365 days a year. This is the single most important thing that you can do to slow down ageing and protect your skin from skin cancer.
2 PROTECT YOUR NECK/CHEST Do you stop to decide whether you'll wash your bottom teeth or not? No? Then why leave out your neck and chest when applying SPF? Most people start to mind their necks/chests about 10-15 years after their faces. They should all look the same age. Also, never apply perfume to your neck to prevent unsightly pigmentation.
3 TAKE VITAMIN D3 every day of the year. We don't have enough UVB in Ireland to provide adequate levels. Just as with sleep, our body doesn't store it for a rainy day. It accumulates in fat and is only released when we burn the fat, ie, lose weight. It is essential for every cell in the body, particularly our brains. Doses vary but are a lot higher than most people take (1,000-10,000 iu/day) so have your blood levels checked at least annually.
4 CHECK INGREDIENTS Always choose 'working' skincare that contains 'active' ingredients to enhance radiance and prevent dehydration, development of pigmentation and fine lines. Look out for glycolic acid, peptides, resveratrol, vitamin C and retinols. Always use a face cloth/muslin cloth and water to remove your cleanser and only exfoliate gently once a week to avoid 'stripping' and sensitising your skin. Wipes are only for emergencies!
5 SENSIBLE INTERVENTION Use sunblock and good skin care products in your 20s. In your 30s, consider adding in a little intervention if necessary, eg. for a severe frown (Botulinum toxin), deep chin lines (hyaluronic acid filler injections) and IPL for complexion. In the 40s we may benefit more from Ulthera tissue tightening, Fraxel for fine lines and fillers to restore lost cheek bone fat pads. From then on we need all the help we can get!
6 INSIDE OUT You wouldn't put cheap petrol in a good car so eat the best food you can afford. Nutritional supplementation becomes more important as we age. Drink lots of water, less alcohol, never smoke and exercise. Above all, be good to yourself and your body and think lots of positive thoughts.
■ Dr Rosemary Coleman, Blackrock Clinic, Dublin; (01) 288 5333/2; drrosemarycoleman.com
Look 10 years younger
Allison Keating, Psychologist, bWell Clinic, Dublin
1 BIG RESOLUTIONS DON'T WORK We have every intention that this will be the year that we become healthier, happier and fitter. Yet by making a big resolution, you make achieving your goal much more difficult.
2 REMEMBER habits ARE A NEUROLOGICAL LOOP According to Professor of Psychology Ben Fletcher, the creator of FIT Science, we all get stuck in a web of routines. Humans habituate to make life easier. .
3 MAKE SMALL CHANGES 'Nudge' is the psychological term to move you towards your goal by making small incremental changes. Forget willpower - we have very little.
4 DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT (DSD) If you want to make change, you have to DSD. For 15 days, DSD every day by making small changes from sleeping on the opposite side of the bed to listening to different music. It throws your brain out of the unconscious automatic and forces us to make conscious decisions.
5 BECOME SELF-AWARE When we step into being aware of the choices we make in line with the bigger goals - such as cutting down on coffee - we free ourselves from the repetitive behavioural actions of always getting that coffee. This is why addictive habits get so intertwined in our neural habit patterns, and why it is so hard to change.
6 DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP Stop giving out to yourself if you have failed before. It requires grit, tenacity and the ability to try again tomorrow if you don't get it the first time. Be compassionate to the fact that you are nudging your way towards making the changes.
■ bWell Clinic, Malahide, Dublin; (01) 845 6070; bwell.ie
Get your finances in order
Charlie Weston, Personal Finance Editor, Irish Independent
1 LOYALTY IS RARELY REWARDED Just because you have been with your bank or your insurance company forever does not mean you will be rewarded for your loyalty. More often than not companies keep the best deals and discounts for new customers. So switch providers.
2 CLAIM TAX REFUNDS Make sure you apply for all your tax entitlements such as refuse charges, medical expenses, etc. Thousands of people are overpaying tax and do not even know it. Get a Med 1 form (or online through PAYE Anytime) and you can claim 20pc of your spending on GPs, prescriptions and consultants, as long as these have not been reimbursed by your health insurer.
3 SWITCH PHONE PROVIDER Savings of €500 a year can be made by opting for a better value plan. Check out callcosts.ie, or download an app from Killbiller.com. It burrows into your phone and assesses your phone usage, telling you what you would spend on all other available plans.
4 SWITCH ENERGY SUPPLIER If you have never switched energy supplier then the likelihood is that you are overpaying. And you could easily save over €120 a year if you switch your main gas supplier. Suppliers of both gas and electricity offer "dual fuel" discounts if you use them as your sole supplier.
5 SAVE ON GROCERIES Always check the unit price of what you are buying to work out the best value. Buying another size (sometimes even the smaller size) may represent better value overall. Items are usually cheaper when bought in bulk.
6 CONSIDER A 0pc CREDIT CARD If you have a credit card balance that is hard to clear, you could transfer the balance to a credit card with a 0pc interest introductory offer. Some offers mean you pay no interest for 10 months.
Manage your time better
Kevin Quigley, Research & Innovation Psychologist, SEVEN, Psychology at Work
1 VALUE YOUR TIME If you value your time, other people will do the same. First, take stock of your personal values and career goals. What constitutes time well spent for you? Where have you most scope to make a real impact? These are your 'high impact' areas and should constitute where you spend most time in any given day, week or month.
2 ALLOCATE IT WISELY Once you value your time and take ownership of it, you can then prioritise and organise what you spend your time on. How much of your time are you actually spending on your 'high impact' areas? Audit your time for one week. What are your time-stealers; what areas are undeserved?
3 ELIMINATE PROCRASTINATION Procrastination is a normal human reaction. If you find yourself procrastinating, the first thing to do is recognise it and ask yourself why. Do you dislike the task, are you worried you will fail, or do you have difficulty with focusing? Then ask yourself why the task is important for your personal and career goals. Once you remind yourself why it is really important to you, you will often find the motivation to get started.
4 MAKE IT MANAGEABLE We can feel overwhelmed when given a large task. It's natural to think that there's too much to do and there's no point in even starting. However, we are creatures of habit and we can learn how to negate this feeling. Breaking large tasks down into smaller tasks is a skill and the more we practise, the better we become.
5 FOCUS YOUR ATTENTION Multi-tasking is a buzzword in the modern era of busyness, technology and information overload. There are countless mediums that are constantly competing for our attention such as television, email and social media. A key skill for any successful person is the ability to focus their complete attention on one task at a time, because that's when we are most efficient. Practising mindfulness is one of the best ways to develop this ability.
6 BUILD IN REST AND RECOVERY PERIODS Rest is incredibly important; it allows us to perform to our highest potential. In other words, it permits us to be more efficient at spending our time. Any high-performing athlete will advocate the importance of rest and recovery periods and it's just as important for the mind as it is for the body.
■ SEVEN, Psychology at Work is a leading practice of business psychologists; seven.ie
Improve memory and increase IQ
Dr Michael Keane, Neuroscientist and Director of Actualise Clinical
1 WELL OILED Take fish oils every day - a well-oiled brain works well, and it will thank you for it.
2 BRAIN FOOD For its size, your brain uses much more energy than any other organ in the body. This is why eating well and taking plenty of exercise can have a really positive influence on your mood, your memory and your mental health.
3 EVERY DAY'S A SCHOOLDAY Your brain never stops making new connections. So yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Never stop learning!
4 SLEEP ON IT Sleep deprivation can have a hugely negative impact on concentration, attention and decision-making. Lack of sleep and late-night work has been implicated in some of the most famous cases of human error in history, including the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island nuclear disasters.
5 TRAIN YOUR BRAIN New technologies can help brains to learn new ways to work. For example, Neurofeedback Training, which uses video displays of brainwave activity, has been shown to be as effective in reducing ADHD symptoms as commonly used medications.
6 SWITCH HANDS If you are right-handed, try to do things with your left hand. Or use chop sticks - they engage more brain areas, and force us to eat more slowly.
■ Actualise Clinical Ltd provides Neurofeedback Training. Healthy Living Centre, Dublin City University; (01) 700 7907; actualise.ie
Nourish your relationships
Tony Moore, Relationships Counsellor and Psychotherapist, Relationships Ireland
1 DITCH THE PHONE (Just for an hour). There is nothing as irritating as the phone ringing when we are trying to talk about something important. It is a massive, and often unwelcome, intruder into our private lives. Too many people are interested in looking at their phones rather than their partner.
2 LEARN TO LISTEN Most of us only half-listen. Listening intently deepens relationships and increases connection. People ask me: "How do I know I'm listening?" My answer is: "When you forget about yourself." Think about that. And think about how someone makes you feel special - they listen!
3 TAKE NOTHING FOR GRANTED This is especially true of our health. We take too much for granted, for example being able to walk, talk, see, hear, move and being able to hug and kiss someone else. We do not have a God given right to our health and our loved ones. So be grateful every day and don't - just don't - take anything for granted.
4 LEARN TO LAUGH AT YOURSELF If we can learn to laugh at ourselves it doesn't hurt at all when others may make a joke at our expense. In other words, don't take yourself too seriously. Self-deprecating humour is also a step in maintaining our positive mental health.
5 STOP RUNNING YOURSELF DOWN Our partners, and people in general, will treat us in the way we expect to be treated. Train yourself to be aware of the negative thoughts about yourself that are constantly running through your brain. Many of us run ourselves down about almost every aspect of ourselves.
6 TELL THEM WHAT THEY MEAN TO YOU Don't be shy or backward in telling people the positive impact they have on you. So often I meet people who tell me they missed the opportunity to tell a loved one, or a friend, just how much that person meant to them. So many people touch our lives and make an impact without us or them realising that impact. You see, people do really matter, not just 'the great and the good' but you and me.
■ Relationships Ireland, 38 Upper Fitzwilliam Street,
Dublin 2; (01) 678 5256; relationshipsireland.com
Speak your mind
Terry Prone, Communications Expert, The Communications Clinic
1 ASSUME THE BEST If you're complaining, don't assume incompetence or malice on the other person's part. Treat them as a reasonable person who'll understand the problems their product or service has caused and who'll want to fix it. Better end results.
2 KEEP YOUR VOICE DOWN Whether you're making a complaint or a point at a meeting, keep your voice at the same level. Don't talk louder or faster: it increases the collective tension.
3 DON'T SULK AT FEEDBACK If your boss gives you negative feedback, don't get enmeshed in resentment. Ask for examples of the deficit. If they say you're not a good team member, ask for a specific. It will keep the humour pleasant and give you stuff to work on.
4 NO NEGATIVE LANGUAGE No "Well, I can't do X if there's no Y available". Negative language closes minds and turns you into a dismissible, moany pain in the arse. "I could do X immediately if you could arrange for a Y", is a better way to put it.
5 PUT YOUR FEELINGS TO ONE SIDE Negotiations, whether within a family or business, get clogged up by feelings. Put yours aside. Deal in data. And make notes. If you're promised a bonus, make a note right there in front of the person. Much more likely to happen as a result.
6 GET HELP If you are failing to make your point in the workplace and living in terror every day, get professional help. Get coaching from a reputable source that will help you stand up for yourself.
■ The Communications Clinic, 37 Adelaide Road, Dublin; (01) 644 9700; communicationsclinic.ie
Lose six pounds effortlessly
Karl Henry, Personal Trainer and Irish Independent columnist, Karl Henry Personal Training
1 ADD THE JALAPENOS Slice up a few jalapenos and add to your meals. This will help your body to burn more fat by helping to rev up your metabolism. They are widely available and add a great kick to your meals. Add fresh chillies if you're feeling brave!
2 ONE LESS CHOCOLATE BAR EACH WEEK Every chocolate bar you eat has around 200 calories. By having one less bar each week, you will cut out over two pounds of fat during the year. Couldn't be simpler.
3 GET OUT OF BREATH when you exercise: by getting out of breath you push the body to get the best results, burning more calories and more fat along the way. Simply push yourself harder and you will see much better results.
4 STEP TO IT Hit a daily target of over 10,000 steps a day. By using your phone or a Fitbit you will be making a big difference to your fitness levels and your calorie output and you will be burning up to two pounds of extra fat over the course of the year.
5 KICKSTART Drink boiling water with lemon each morning before breakfast: your digestive system does a huge amount of work during the night and lemons are a fantastic detoxifier for your body so drinking one of these each morning will make a big difference to your gut.
6 SQUAT TO IT Squatting is a fantastic exercise that works the lower body. By exercising these muscles you will not only tone up your legs but really help to get your body to lose weight too. Start with feet shoulder-width apart, back straight and hands extended out in front. Bend the knees and push through the heels as you lower the body down. Bend as far as you feel comfortable and return to standing.
■ Karl Henry Personal Training, 14a Lower Pembroke St, Dublin 2; (01) 661 6195; karlhenry.ie
Improve your sex life
Emily power smith, Clinical Sexologist, Empowers Me
1 BOOST SELF-ESTEEM Poor body image leads to poor sexual confidence. It's much easier to have varied and connected sex when you are happy to be seen naked. If you're a sex-with-the-lights-off kind of person, start this 30-day challenge: stand in front of the mirror naked every day, find something about your body that you like and compliment yourself on it. Add something new to the list each day.
2 LEARN HOW TO BREATHE Breathe deeply before, during and after being sexual. Send your breath into your genitals and be mindful that people often shorten their breath during sex without realising it. If you do that, it may be a sign that you are worried or anxious. Slow down and focus on your breath until you feel grounded, then continue. Don't give up. Just slow down.
3 KNOW THYSELF The male and female arousal cycles are very different - and so are their genitals. Each person's genitals are unique and varied, as are their tastes. The most efficient way to have great sex is to know your own sexual anatomy and arousal cycle so you can teach your partner.
4 CHECK YOUR EXPECTATIONS Where are you getting your sexual expectations? Do you get them from past lovers, friends, romantic comedies, pornography...? How up-to-date are they and how realistic are they?
5 SEE EYE-TO-EYE Eye contact sounds very simple but it can actually be very difficult, particularly if you have any level of shame. It's hard to be seen enjoying yourself sexually if you are carrying shame, so start slowly. Begin with kissing with your eyes open, then move to touching with your eyes open and then move to gazing into each other's eyes while lovemaking. The ultimate is open-eyed orgasms as people tend to go into themselves when they become sexually aroused, hence they have a separate experience to their partner.
6 DISCUSS YOUR CHANGING SEXUAL NEEDS I get a lot of women coming to me saying "the attraction has gone because he can no longer maintain his erection". They don't realise that there is reduced blood flow to the penis from the 40s onwards. As they get older, men need more physical touch to get erections and maintain erections.
■ Empowers Me; empowersme.com/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Jolanta Burke, Psychologist specialising in Positive Psychology and PhD researcher, Trinity College Dublin
1 IDENTIFY YOUR CHARACTER STRENGTHS by completing a questionnaire on viacharacter.org. Make a commitment to use at least one of your strengths each week. For example, if your strength is "the love of beauty", plan a walk in a park, visit a gallery, or simply rearrange a room in your home. Strengths not only boost your self-esteem but also enhance your psychological well-being.
2 PLAN TO EXERCISE at least three times a week. Your objective for exercise can be either to improve your fitness or health. Structured physical activity is associated with higher self-esteem, improved body image and motivation.
3 POSITIVE REMINISCENCE Break your past into life stages or sections (eg. school, family life, friends, career) and reflect upon some of your most memorable positive experience for each one of them that comes to mind. Positive reminiscence is associated with higher self-worth, belief that you belong and a sense of achievement that contributes to self-esteem.
4 IT IS NEVER ALL YOUR FAULT When faced with a negative situation, a fast track to low self-esteem is to blame yourself for everything. To boost your self-esteem, wear a band on your wrist that will help you catch your self-blaming thoughts. Each time you hear them, switch the band to the other hand. Once you start noticing your thoughts, consider the circumstances that also played a role in the bad situation. It is never all your fault.
5 FORGIVE SOMEONE Expressing forgiveness boosts self-esteem and lowers anxiety. Write a letter of forgiveness to someone who hurt you. Do not send it to them, as forgiveness is about you feeling better, not reconciliation.
6 EXPERIENCE FLOW Flow happens when you are doing something so interesting that you forget where you are, who you are with and all you think about is the activity. Flow is associated with higher self-esteem and only 10-15pc of adults experience it daily. Write a list of activities that can help you experience flow and just do them.
■ Jolanta is an Irish representative of the European Network for Positive Psychology. Jolanta's book on Post Depression Growth, with over 50 practical tools to help you live a better life, is coming out soon; jolantaburke.com
Declutter your life
Breda Stack, The Declutter Therapist
1 START SMALL It's imperative to wake up to a wardrobe where each item fits and flatters us and makes us feel good. I usually recommend decluttering the wardrobe first. Getting this intimate part of the home in order has a massive impact on our self-image, and this has a positive knock-on effect on all areas of our lives.
2 FORM & FUNCTION Every room in the home should be comfortable and represent our individual tastes. Aim to clear as much floor space as possible for easy, unhindered movement. Create a multi-sensory environment where each space has the sights, sounds, scents and textures that make you feel happy and inspired.
3 KEEP YOUR INBOX CLEAN A cluttered inbox reduces our focus and efficiency and can make us feel stressed. Create a logical, well-named hierarchy of email folders for the different areas of your life and work. Delete and unsubscribe from all emails that are not adding value to your life.
4 CLEAR DESK, CLEAR MIND Our desks need to be clutter-free and organised so we can be fully motivated and productive. Define the function of each desk area and place the most-used items within easy reach. Use desk trays and organisers and create a simple pile system for paperwork.
5 TIME TO LET GO Know the difference between clutter and disorganisation. They are actually two very different skills. While organisation is putting systems in place for the items you like and want to keep, decluttering is the ability to 'let go' of anything that doesn't serve you or make you feel good.
6 CLUTTER IS AN EMOTIONAL ISSUE those who are most willing to uncover any blocks before they start decluttering have the best success. Unless we deal with any negative emotions around the process like overwhelm, impatience, guilt or sadness, we tend to make little progress and end up feeling frustrated and disappointed.
■ The Declutter Therapist; 086 239 5056; decluttertherapy.com
Get a promotion
Paul Mullan, Career & Outplacement Consultant, Measurability
1 SELF-PROMOTE Self-promotion is important in your quest to secure an internal promotion. Remind your boss and don't assume they know the good stuff you've done. Articulate successes and achievements during performance reviews or weekly team meetings.
2 GO FURTHER Demonstrate your commitment to the cause by going beyond the call of duty. Ask for additional responsibilities or projects.
3 MAKE CONNECTIONS Network outside your department. Don't just keep your head down at your desk. Networking, and the exposure it brings, may open up other internal opportunities.
4 DRESS TO IMPRESS, as your dress sense can impact your personal brand.
5 ASK FOR FEEDBACK When overlooked for promotion, ask the question "what do I need to do to get promoted?" This can provide a clear roadmap to promotion.
6 EXPLORE ALL OPTIONS Be careful what you wish for. Consider carefully if promotion is what you want. And remember, management may not always have the option to offer a promotion. So, a pay rise can be a compromise. Preparation is key. Research to identify your current market value and prepare a compelling case, emphasising how you've overachieved targets or added value to the company.
■ Measurability, 087 122 3308; measurability.ie
Discover your life purpose
Mari Kennedy, Life and Business Coach and Yoga Teacher
1 THE CROSSROADS Know that if you find yourself in a place of questioning around your life's purpose you have arrived at a threshold. It's an in-between place. Life, your soul or evolution is inviting you to change and transform, to live a bigger version of yourself. It's a process. It's complex. It's terrifying and it's exciting.
2 GO DEEP Get in touch with the deep part of yourself. This is where you will discover what really matters to you, your essence which will guide you with laser sharp direction towards your purpose. Here's where you will find your true values, not your mother's values or society's values but YOUR values, as unique as your thumb print. Ultimately, your life purpose is an expression of your deepest essence.
3 START A PRACTICE IN PRESENCE This is where you can meet yourself, where you study yourself, where you will find a steadiness inside you that will resource yourself through all the not knowing. Think meditation, mindfulness, yoga, 5 Rhythms, Qigong...
4 BEFRIEND THE UNKNOWN This process takes time. As you excavate and begin to shed old values, beliefs and behaviours that are not congruent with your deeper self, for a time you probably won't know who the hell you are. It will feel scary and unsafe. Get into a relationship with fear, it holds wisdom and it will uncover old limiting beliefs that keep you small.
5 ASK BIG QUESTIONS… questions that take you out of your rational mind, way out of the box and plunge you into your deepest longing. What would I do if I couldn't fail? What makes me feel alive?
6 FIND YOUR TRIBE Surround yourself with people who can walk alongside you, who can sit with you in the mess without needing to fix or heal you or sort you out. If you don't have these people around you, get a coach or a psychotherapist where you can safely navigate the unknown and inquire.
■ Mari Kennedy, 087 915 0264, marikennedy.com