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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 January 2, 2019

    7 Steps For Making a New Year’s Resolution and Keeping It

    7 Steps For Making a New Year’s Resolution and Keeping It

    Are you keen to reinvent yourself this year? Or at least use the new year as a long overdue excuse to get rid of bad habits or pick up new ones?

    Yes, it’s that time of year again. The time of year when we feel as if we have to turn over a new leaf. The time when we misguidedly imagine that the arrival of a new year will magically provide the catalyst, motivation and persistence we need to reinvent ourselves.

    Traditionally, New Year’s Day is styled as the ideal time to kick start a new phase in your life and the time when you must make your all important new year’s resolution. Unfortunately, the beginning of the year is also one of the worst times to make a major change in your habits because it’s often a relatively stressful time, right in the middle of the party and vacation season.

    Don’t set yourself up for failure this year by vowing to make huge changes that will be hard to keep. Instead follow these seven steps for successfully making a new year’s resolution you can stick to for good.

    1. Just pick one thing

    If you want to change your life or your lifestyle don’t try to change the whole thing at once. It won’t work. Instead pick one area of your life to change to begin with.

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    Make it something concrete so you know exactly what change you’re planning to make. If you’re successful with the first change you can go ahead and make another change after a month or so. By making small changes one after the other, you still have the chance to be a whole new you at the end of the year and it’s a much more realistic way of doing it.

    Don’t pick a New Year’s resolution that’s bound to fail either, like running a marathon if you’re 40lbs overweight and get out of breath walking upstairs. If that’s the case resolve to walk every day. When you’ve got that habit down pat you can graduate to running in short bursts, constant running by March or April and a marathon at the end of the year. What’s the one habit you most want to change?

    2. Plan ahead

    To ensure success you need to research the change you’re making and plan ahead so you have the resources available when you need them. Here are a few things you should do to prepare and get all the systems in place ready to make your change.

    Read up on it – Go to the library and get books on the subject. Whether it’s quitting smoking, taking up running or yoga or becoming vegan there are books to help you prepare for it. Or use the Internet. If you do enough research you should even be looking forward to making the change.

    Plan for success – Get everything ready so things will run smoothly. If you’re taking up running make sure you have the trainers, clothes, hat, glasses, ipod loaded with energetic sounds at the ready. Then there can be no excuses.

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    3. Anticipate problems

    There will be problems so make a list of what they’ll be. If you think about it, you’ll be able to anticipate problems at certain times of the day, with specific people or in special situations. Once you’ve identified the times that will probably be hard work out ways to cope with them when they inevitably crop up.

    4. Pick a start date

    You don’t have to make these changes on New Year’s Day. That’s the conventional wisdom, but if you truly want to make changes then pick a day when you know you’ll be well-rested, enthusiastic and surrounded by positive people. I’ll be waiting until my kids go back to school in February.

    Sometimes picking a date doesn’t work. It’s better to wait until your whole mind and body are fully ready to take on the challenge. You’ll know when it is when the time comes.

    5. Go for it

    On the big day go for it 100%. Make a commitment and write it down on a card. You just need one short phrase you can carry in your wallet. Or keep it in your car, by your bed and on your bathroom mirror too for an extra dose of positive reinforcement.

    Your commitment card will say something like:

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    • I enjoy a clean, smoke-free life.
    • I stay calm and in control even under times of stress.
    • I’m committed to learning how to run my own business.
    • I meditate daily.

    6. Accept failure

    If you do fail and sneak a cigarette, miss a walk or shout at the kids one morning don’t hate yourself for it. Make a note of the triggers that caused this set back and vow to learn a lesson from them.

    If you know that alcohol makes you crave cigarettes and oversleep the next day cut back on it. If you know the morning rush before school makes you shout then get up earlier or prepare things the night before to make it easier on you.

    Perseverance is the key to success. Try again, keep trying and you will succeed.

    7. Plan rewards

    Small rewards are great encouragement to keep you going during the hardest first days. After that you can probably reward yourself once a week with a magazine, a long-distance call to a supportive friend, a siesta, a trip to the movies or whatever makes you tick.

    Later you can change the rewards to monthly and then at the end of the year you can pick an anniversary reward. Something that you’ll look forward to. You deserve it and you’ll have earned it.

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    Whatever your plans and goals are for this year, I’d do wish you luck with them but remember, it’s your life and you make your own luck.

    Decide what you want to do this year, plan how to get it and go for it. I’ll definitely be cheering you on.

    Are you planning to make a New Year’s resolution? What is it and is it something you’ve tried to do before or something new?

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