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How to Use a Notebook to Make 2008 the Best Year Ever

How to Use a Notebook to Make 2008 the Best Year Ever
How to Use a Notebook to Make 2008 the Best Year Ever

    The notebook has been around forever. Do you remember your first one? It probably had very wide lines and perhaps a spiral binding. You used a fat pencil and traced letters until they became second nature. Before long you learned script. Then you migrated to pens. Some of you, dear readers, are now Moleskine aficionados and are selective and perhaps downright snooty about your pen choice. The lefties here might have learned that it is easier to start at the back of a notebook so that you don’t rub your hand across that lump of the binding as you write. (The righties here don’t get that sentence – nevermind, read on righties.)

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    By now you are probably just as comfortable with a keyboard as writing. And, to make 2008 the best year ever this Black Belt activity requires you to stop using that keyboard. Don’t panic, I’m talking about just 15 minutes per day when your notebook reigns.

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    Here’s the activity (the why comes later):

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    1. Get a timer and set it for 15 minutes – use the one on your cell phone, a freestanding one ($10 at a general merchandise store in the kitchen section), or the one on your watch.
    2. Go to a place with few distractions – consider a conference room, a coffee shop, the sofa in your home in a low activity room (only put on music with no words such as classical or zen music), and do not stay at your desk.
    3. Open your notebook.
    4. Start your timer.
    5. Stare into space or close your eyes and see what pops into your mind.
    6. Once a topic comes to mind, write it on your notebook and stop thinking about it. You’ve put it on your list so that you won’t forget the topic. You’ve put it on your list to clear you mind of that issue, thought, concern, action item ‘to do’, discussion, etc. Do not replay full discussions. If one comes up, write the topic and hit “pause” on your mental replay.
    7. Hang in there for 15 minutes. Keep letting go of topics and wait for the next. Breathe easy. Stay still. For some of us that will be 15 minutes that feels like an hour. Others will fall asleep this time. Try not to do that next time. Some will have three things in the notebook for the session. Others will have 23 notes. The goal is to make room in your day and mind to let things come to mind that are squeezed out during the crazy busy distraction-filled time with family and co-workers.
    8. When the alarm goes off, return to your routine. Take your notebook with you and integrate the most important idea with your plan for ‘what’s next’.
    9. Repeat daily.

    It’s most effective if you put that 15-minute block of time right on your calendar and respect the appointment with yourself as if it were a meeting with Warren Buffet, Oprah, or Tiger Woods.

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    Why you shouldn’t use a keyboard: distractions. There are too many temptations to do other things when you’re at your keyboard and computer. Few of us can be at our desk and computer with the lack of distractions that is required to have your notebook be the key to making 2008 your best year ever.

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    Last Updated on September 18, 2020

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

    Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

    1. Exercise Daily

    It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

    If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

    Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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    If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

    2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

    Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

    One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

    This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

    3. Acknowledge Your Limits

    Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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    Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

    Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

    4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

    Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

    The basic nutritional advice includes:

    • Eat unprocessed foods
    • Eat more veggies
    • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
    • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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    Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

      5. Watch Out for Travel

      Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

      This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

      If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

      6. Start Slow

      Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

      If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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      7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

      Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

      My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

      If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

      I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

      Final Thoughts

      Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

      Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

      More Tips on Getting in Shape

      Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

      Reference

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