How to Get Something You’ve Never Had

Here’s a tip for anyone out there that might know me: If you tell me something and would prefer that I didn’t forget, be sure to remind me to write it down.

I could, quite honestly, be the worst person in the world when it comes to remembering small details that come up on a day to day basis. All of it is in one ear, and out the other. Admittedly, though, this is a relatively easy problem to solve: I just need to take notes.

Realizing this solution, in 2012 I decided to get myself a pocket sized, hardback moleskine. Its pages, soft and delightful to write on, were perfectly sized to fit in my front right pocket, and the hard cover would keep it protected from wear and tear! It felt like the perfect solution to my memory problems. I was excited to finally stop forgetting things, start being more productive, and feel like I could actually contribute to conversations now that I didn’t forget half the details.

I used the notebook for two weeks before completely forgetting about it on my desk for a few days. Knowing that this would be a habit I had to build, I restarted my efforts, promising not to make the same mistake again…

Second time around – a whole month. I used the notebook for a whole month before letting it sit for another six, right in the glovebox of my car. And although I continued to try and make it work, attempts three, four and five were no different.

Four years it took me to fill the book. Four, long, forgetful years. Given that the journal was only 160 pages, I had estimated that it would take me, at most, six months to fill. Talk about failure, eh?

Well, when the day did come that the journal was filled, I vowed to actually make a change. I knew that I needed to take notes every day, but this method was just not working. The hardcover of the journal, which did its job to keep my notebook intact, dug into my leg when I sat. And even if I did carry it around with me, I never had access to a pen, which obviously rendered the pages useless.  Because of this I often forgot that the notebook existed

The change I made was switching to a 30 page, soft cover notepad that fit unnoticed in my back pocket. I also picked up a telescopic pen that compressed into a very small size and could easily fit onto the corner of my pocket. And this worked terrifically!

While changing to a different notebook and carrying around a small pen may not really seem like a drastic change, this new system works incredibly well for what I need. Now, some nine months after starting, it is rare that you’ll find me without my notepad and pen, and have gotten through many pads along the way.

Right now, the reason as to why I’m telling you this story might not be initially obvious, given that this article is on YYCFitness. But, there is method to the madness.

Have you ever decided that you wanted to lose weight and completely upheave your eating habits? Ever make complete changes to how and what you eat with full passion and dedication to get the job done only to find yourself having to restart this process time and time again after months of not quite sticking it out?

Or maybe you’re someone who signed up for the gym, excited to finally get started, only to realize six months down the line that you’ve only used it five times? Sure those first couple of weeks in January went well, but time and time again you just stop going?

Well, maybe it’s because you’re like me and my notes – you’re expecting different outcomes from the same actions. I was banging my head against the wall, blaming myself for not being able to stick to the system I created. Every time I wondered why I kept failing and blamed myself for not being dedicated enough. Really though I would have been better off taking a good hard look as to why what I was trying wasn’t working.

Now, this isn’t me saying that it is always the systems fault – sometimes getting uncomfortable is the way forward and we just need to knuckle down and really try to achieve our goals. But there are definitely times when we might just be trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

If you’ve found yourself trying to solve a problem for a while now, be that losing weight, starting a fitness plan, or just being more active and have always found yourself having to start over, it might be time to take a deeper look as to why that might be.

Question why your efforts aren’t working too well and go into each subsequent attempt trying something new. Even if it’s something small like changing a notebook, cooking at a different time or finding a gym that’s closer. Because the only real way to get something you’ve never had, is to do something you’ve never done!

“Insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result” – Albert Einstein

Shane Carberry

Shane Carberry is a senior strength and conditioning coach at the Athlete Factory, specializing in speed and acceleration training. Originally hailing from Ireland, Shane also worked as mechanical engineering before transitioning to a strength and conditioning coach. Read his articles, check out his website and give him a follow on Twitter @somethingawsome.

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