Starting Over

Posted on February 19, 2008. Filed under: Stop the Drama | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Today is about Stopping the Drama

Photo by tanakawho lotus.jpg
Every new day is a chance to start over. No matter what went wrong, what wasn’t accomplished, or wasn’t said or done, you can approach each day as a chance to start over. I have had to face starting over for small things like recommitting myself to a diet or other healthy lifestyle change, to big things like starting over after my divorce. Friends of mine have had to start over after declaring bankruptcy, losing their job, or moving to a new city. We all have to start over at some point. Having had my own experiences with starting over, and sharing the experience with my friends who have done the same, I’ve learned that there are several ways to make starting over a better experience.

Reflect to understand how you got to this point. Whether it is losing a job, going through a divorce, or filing for bankruptcy, when you have to start over after a bad experience it’s worth taking the time to reflect and think through how you got to this point. Basically, to figure out what are the lessons you can glean from the experience. What would you do differently if you could? What would you do the same? What was not in your control, and what was? Rather than taking a stance of bad things are happening to you, take responsibility for your role. What could you do to make the situation different, or to know earlier that it was not going well for you? All of those lessons are important, and will give you guidance as you go forward and start over.

Make a plan. Sometimes starting over can feel overwhelming. However, if you make a plan that consists of manageable steps, that gives you direction for what needs to be done. Filing for bankruptcy can be overwhelming. After filing, my friends had to rebuild their credit, start saving, learn how to live within their budgets, and set long term financial goals. Once they had a specific plan for how to regroup after bankruptcy, it then became their road map for what to do next.

Give yourself time. Starting over takes time, and will be done in small steps. Rebuilding credit, starting a new life, or learning a new job all require small steps towards rebuilding. It does not happen quickly. However, take the steps you need, and then give yourself time to periodically reassess. For example, if you are rebuilding your life after a divorce, check your progress every six months–have you started a new job, reduced your debt, rediscovered old interests, or done other things you couldn’t do while married? Stopping to periodically evaluate your progress will give you time to check your progress towards rebuilding.

Look for the positive. Starting over often results from a negative event, but there may be a positive side to the experience. Did you lose a job? Perhaps you didn’t really like it. File for bankruptcy? Now you have lost a major source of stress in your life and don’t have creditors calling you. After I divorced, I took great pleasure in being able to watch what I wanted on TV, without having to negotiate, and without having to give up the remote control. I know it seems like a small thing, but it really made me happy to be able to simply watch TV without conflict.

Embrace the opportunity to do something new. Starting over opens you up to lots of great new experiences. If you lost your job, this may be the time to start a new career. After I divorced, I was free to look for a new job, move to a new city, and travel to different places than I did while married. Friends who went through bankruptcy told me that it forced them to learn to live within their budgets, embrace simplicity and focus on non-material things that were important to them.

I am thinking about this topic now because I have to start over with my training program. I mentioned before that I am training for a half marathon as a way to stay motivated to run through the winter. Most of my running has been indoors on a treadmill, and my longest run was 12 miles a couple of weeks ago. Then last weekend it was warm enough for me to run outdoors, but I could only complete 8 miles because my legs hurt from the pounding of running on the road. I was really discouraged after this morning’s run because it was only 4 miles, but hard since I haven’t been running outside. So now I have to start over with my training schedule to get ready for this race–in 7 weeks. Although this type of starting over is fairly easy–I am not dealing with rebuilding my life after a major event–the principles I outlined above also apply in this situation.

The bottom line is each day presents itself as an opportunity to start over. It’s never too late.



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  • About

    Musings on how a disorganized woman with a full time job, three kids and a real need to relax is trying to make life simple.

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