On Thursday 9th Janurary I completed Speech #8 of my Toastmasters Competent Communicators handbook. Speech 8 is all about using visual aids. A lot of the concepts and ideas I got for this speech is from James Clear and his insightful essays into personal development, fitness and goal setting.

Directly from the Toastmasters website:

Visual aids help an audience understand and remember what they hear; they are a valuable tool for speakers. The most popular visual aids are computer-based visuals, overhead transparencies, flip charts, whiteboards and props.

The type of visual aid you choose depends on several factors, including the information you wish to display and the size of the audience. Visuals must be appropriate for your message and the audience, and be displayed correctly with ease and confidence.


Select visual aids that are appropriate for your message and the audience.
Use visual aids correctly with ease and confidence.
Time: 5 to 7 minutes

Toastmasters Speech #8 – Identity Based Habits

Its around New Years Eve that alot of people resolve to lose weight; quit smoking; get more exercise; and reduce their alcohol consumption, and connect with family and friend more. Yet as we know a few weeks into New Years most people’s resolutions have gone down the gurgled. So why are some goals so hard to achieve? Why are some habits so hard to break?

The problem with many of our new years resolutions is that as a society we’re addicted to over night success and instant transformations, and for good reason who wouldn’t want to be successful in less time. What we don’t get to see or hear is about the process that came before it or the habit that led to the eventual result. Furthermore t’s not a case of starting awesome new habits because in our way a hundreds of well ingrained one – some of them not very useful. Habits like eating junk food, watching tv instead of working out, waking up late and never calling our mothers.

Samuel Johnson famously said “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”

When we get inspired to change our lives it very easy to obsess over the results – I need to lose 15 kgs, I want to run a marathon, I want to become a master meditor. These are great goals and it’s natural to think we need the over night results. But that’s not what we need. What we need are better habits.

But first a story.

When I was younger I would spend my time doodling and drawing cartoons at . My mother thought I was strange, and so did my friends. When I went to highschool I didn’t know anyone and it was a very big school and in one of my first classes when my name was being called I was so deep in a doodle (wait that doesn’t sound right) I was immersed in drawing I didn’t hear my name being called. Well after a couple of times – someone nudged me and took my drawing, and said Wow that’s really good, that looks real! My teacher who could have been annoyed asked to see it and afer seeing it said’ You’re really good you should be an artist!’

I remember that moment was a really affirming moment for me and from that moment on I saw myself as the type of person who’s really good at Art.
So I spent more time working on my Art skills which lead to more approval which lead to more hours upon hours of working on my skills – it was an vicious circle of awesomeness.

So what you can learn from that story is that in order to believe in a new identity we need to proove it to ourselves.

So the key to building long lasting habit is to focus on creating a new identity first and to make a firm unwavering decision to commit to. Because all of our current behaviours are simply a reflection of our current identity and our current values. What we value we work on, we are organised in, we make happen. What is low on our values we procrastinate, we mess up we push away.

Firstly let’s talk about the three layers of behaviourial change



So the not to secret Recipe for Sustained Success is really just three words:




So often we fixate on what we want – I want the fancy car, I want a great body I want that promotion and when we only fixate on that goal we get credit card debt, we buy gizmos on Danos Direct we never use and we become terrible to work with.

A more sustainable approach changing your life style and starts with two simple actions

1. Decide the type of person you want to be
2. Prove it to yourself with small wins

For example you want to be a better writer

Your identity would be “I want to become the type of person who writes 1000 words every day”
Your small win or habit would be to start writing just a paragraph each day

Another example is being a better friend

Your identity is “I am someone who always stays in touch”

Small win would be to call a friend every Sat. If you repeat the same people every 3 month you would have 12 close friends by the end of the year.

We all want to be better people – more creative, more skilled, healthier, better friends and family members. And I actually believe its possible to have those things. However hopefully you can see its not just a case of getting inspired or motivated. Its not even a case of writing down SMART goals – though that helps. Rather it comes down to making a decision about who you want to be, and then incorporating daily habits that will prove to yourself that you are that type of person. And I think looking at your goals and creating identity based habits will help you become that person one – small step – at a time..