How To Embrace A New Start

“I don’t know how to start over…”

It’s a statement someone made to me a few months ago when I asked them about their fitness journey.

For whatever reason, she felt that any progress or success made in the past was now lost to her, so she needed to start again. You got the impression that in making that statement, she was embarrassed and ashamed of being in that position.

With quotes like “if you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up”, or “starting over sucks so keep going” floating around the internet, its not hard to understand why she felt that way.

While in the right context such statements may be warranted, generally it’s not entirely accurate nor even necessary.

Nothing in life is static, certainly not our age, weight, looks, and neither are our journeys to health, fitness, career, success and a whole host of other things.

Yet our fears of having to [start again or anew] are rooted in how we think we will be perceived and by comparing who we are with who we were.

Whether we think we’ll be judged by the people we know or feel like failures for being a different person, we stay paralyzed and stuck.

As such we take no action; but sit on the sidelines watching time go by.

Do you want to know a secret?

Whatever the experience you’ve been through that has brought you to a new start, understand that it was season or period you may have needed to go through.

Starting or closing a business, getting a promotion with more responsibilities, moving to a new country, re-starting your fitness journey, going back to finish school are just a few ways in which you may have (had) to start over.

The process will change you.

You can try to get your former self back, and struggle to do so or take courage and lean into your present situation.

Think of it less as ‘starting over’ and more like operating from a ‘new baseline’. From here there is only way to go, and that is up.

Whatever the experience you’ve been through that has brought you to a new start, understand that it was season or period you may have needed to go through.

So how DO you do this?

By literally starting where you are right now. To help you out, I offer the following suggestions:

Forget what you know.

Remove any preconceived ideas you may have about what your new beginning is supposed to look and feel like. Hard for us type A’s but doable. Instead go forward as if what you are embarking on is completely new to you. That means being open and willing to learn, see and hear things with fresh eyes and ears.

Be very clear about your why.

While some folks can muddle their way through new experiences and come out fine, most need a little more guidance. That means asking yourself WHY you want what you want, and for each answer you come up with ask another why. Keep doing that until you’ve narrowed it down to something very specific.

Why? Because that will be the single most important thing you’ll have driving you even on the days you aren’t feeling your best. It is what will keep you disciplined. It’s also what will make very clear what your first and subsequent steps will need to be.

Keep your focus on the step in front of you rather than who’s beside you.

Put your blinders on and focus on the task, habit or goal in front of you. Forget who’s doing what or when, unless they are helping you and you’re doing the same for them. Your journey will differ from the next person, so to lesson the headache avoid (as much as humanly possible) comparing your chapter 5 with someone else’s chapter 50.

The only perfect time to start/restart is now.

As cliched as it is, it is spot on. Even if you start and fail or stop. It still beats NOT even making an effort. So if you’re trying to get back to working out, start now. Don’t second guess it, pick something you like or think you’ll like and go try it. You’ll be glad in 3 months.

Keep It Super Simple

Forget the detailed plans and complex programs out the gate. It will overwhelm you faster than it will help you go anywhere. Instead take that simple task/goal (referred to above) and make it as easy and require as little effort as possible.

If you’re re-starting your fitness journey with the goal of working out 3 times per week, break it down even further by committing to 10 mins, 3x per day. If you’re going back to school, studying a chapter a week could be broken down into reading 15 mins a day. Making better food choices could become adding fresh veggies to lunch or dinner every day.

By keeping things simple, you’re able develop the habits that become building blocks for your BIGger goals.

Make no mistake, starting over isn’t necessarily a do-over.

If you’re blessed to get one, run with it! The suggestions still apply.

To start over is to use where you are [in the present] to move you forward [taking action] with what you have [lessons learnt along the way] to become who you were meant to be, even if that means doing it a few times.

Throughout this life, you will have many new starts. How will you use them to your advantage?

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