My wife and family always accuse me of having a short memory, you know, in one ear and out the other. Then the bugging begins because I keep forgetting to do what they asked, and they keep reminding me. My short memory and my goldfish attention span are conspiring against me. 😊
The struggle is real.
Anyhow that’s not the short memory I’m referring to here. It’s more the mentality of a professional baseball player, for example. If a player has a .300 career lifetime batting average, this will most likely put them in the Hall of Fame. This means they have whiffed or gotten out of 7 of 10 at-bats and are still successful.
The pitchers they face are among the best in the world, and some bring the heat, and the batter only has a fraction of a second to judge and react. It can be the difference between a hit and an out if they are slightly off.
If they were to keep thinking of their last at-bats, their mistakes, or if the pitcher made them look foolish when going up again, that’s not the right mindset. The player needs to have a short memory and focus on this at bat and not the previous one.
Only then do they have a chance of success and a good at-bat.
Having A Short Memory & Your Health
You and I beat ourselves up for past mistakes, whether serious or eating a bag of chips while watching TV. Then it replays like an endless loop (well, it does for me), thinking you can go back and change what happened. Even though, rationally, we know we can’t change the past, it happens anyway.
This scenario can be disastrous for perfectionists who meticulously plan their health and fitness. They think wow, I screwed up, and I may as well keep this ball rolling and knock off a couple of bowls as ice cream too. Or for the beginner who has just started their fitness journey and thinks one mistake is the be-all and end-all.
Then it snowballs from there into quitting.
One mistake played on a loop in your head can bring everything to a halt, and from there, it is so easy to fall into old habits. How do I know? It’s happened to me more times than I care to remember. Plus, in my vast 13 years of coaching experience, I’ve seen it happen a time or two. I understand it’s easy to say to have a short memory and move on but harder to do.
It’s easy to plan for success but harder to prepare for roadblocks. And when you have one, no matter one way, shape, or form it takes, it can be hard to get over. This is the reason it pays to have a short memory.
Developing A Short Memory
How do you develop a short memory like a baseball player and stop playing your mistakes in your head? Although it’s challenging to make this stop, there is one tactic my therapist taught me to use when stuck in the mistake loop. Like many of you, you probably lie awake thinking at 4 am how you wish you played a particular situation differently.
Or is it just me?
I was lying there thinking that things would’ve been different if I could not have said that or did that. Geez, I do this a lot. I’ve always felt that 4 am is the perfect time to think about these things and think you can go back and change the past.
But unless you have access to a time machine, it is not happening.
So, that being said, how do you start developing a short memory so your mistakes don’t haunt you at 4 am? Show yourself some self-compassion and forgive yourself. Realizing you are not a robot and mistakes happen and learning from them is the key.
You may still beat yourself up (like I do), but this will happen less and less when you push the needle closer toward self-compassion. Developing a short memory and the ability to get back on the horse and forgive yourself does wonders for your health and fitness. Because if you haven’t heard, consistency is how you win the health and fitness game.
Not perfection, consistency. Developing a short memory, putting it behind you, and learning from your mistakes will stop you from doing your head-in at 4 am.
Mistakes and roadblocks will happen in your health and fitness journey. Replaying them in an endless loop or quitting is not the answer. But realizing you are not perfect, showing some self-compassion, and developing a short memory will work wonders for your mind and health.