Personal Growth, Productivity

Is Your Life a Mess? How to Hit the Reset Button

how to hit the reset button
Photo by Joshua Earle

Last week, I discussed the importance of planning your time. But as we know, plans can fall apart. Such was the case this week. Some things came up, my daily goals got neglected, and I’d fall asleep before I scheduled the next day’s tasks (a big no-no for me). Yesterday, I finally looked at my monthly schedule. My ambitious itinerary seemed to be mocking me, considering how far behind I’d fallen. But this gave me the opportunity to write about an even more important topic: how to hit the reset button!

If you’re running a business, you know the importance of staying on track. The myriad of activities associated with entrepreneurship can quickly pile up if left unattended. This also applies to artistic pursuits. If you’re a writer, you’ve had it hammered in your head from Day 1 to “write every day!” Falling behind not only weakens your creative muscle, but it also leads to feelings of inadequacy.

Ready for the good news? It doesn’t matter HOW far behind you are. I don’t care if your manuscript or business has been gathering dust for ten years.

At ANY time, you can start fresh.

Here’s how to hit the reset button

Notice there are five steps. It’s important that you follow them in sequential order.

Although the initial steps seem more passive and less action-oriented, they set the stage for what follows. To get back on track, you have to approach the process with the right attitude.

1. Put things in perspective

On your deathbed, you probably won’t be saying, “Gee, I wish I’d finished more of my to-do lists.”

Yes, it’s important to make active progress toward your goals. And yes, it’s important to hold yourself accountable.

But let’s not go overboard.

Also, I get that numbers help you measure your progress. A lot of bloggers post their monthly financial statements, which I think is great for transparency and motivational purposes. But whether the numbers you’re tracking pertain to your bank account, website analytics, or daily steps, it can also lead to obsession as well as discouragement when your numbers aren’t up to par.

So much of life’s pleasure comes from the immeasurable details: the way the sunlight bounces off the clouds, a squirrel’s tail twitching, the taste of salted chocolate and plump raisins. It’s finding inspiration in unlikely sources. Recently, I’ve been bombarded by childhood memories that just pop up for no reason at all. I think it’s a sign I need to relax and enjoy life a little more!

2. Quit beating yourself up

What’s done is done. At this point, there’s no use in getting mad at yourself for falling off track. It’s already happened.

If you broke a glass, you wouldn’t sit there crying about it, would you? No. You’d pick up the pieces and move on.

In order to hit the reset button, though, you must also clear the space. You must pave the way for a fresh start.

3. Sweep away the old energy mucking up your brainwaves

This energy could arise from the stressful situations that caused you to fall off track in the first place. Or it could be from the frustration at yourself for not keeping up.

Either way, it’s a vicious cycle. Every had one of those days where you got off to a bad start — you slept through your alarm, you spilled coffee on your favorite shirt — and everything went downhill from there? Negativity breeds negativity.

That’s why it’s so important to release negative energy.

When we’re already behind, it’s tempting to just push our emotions aside.

If you do this, though, they will keep growing in intensity and will eventually resurface — and often at inappropriate times.

how to hit the reset button
Photo by Bethany King

It’s better to take the time to deal with them now. It’s like if you spill ketchup on the floor. Isn’t it easier to wipe up the mess now, when a paper towel will likely suffice, than to wait a day and then try to scrub it away?

So take time to sit with your emotions. As each feeling arises, ask yourself this series of questions: “Could I let this feeling go? Would I let it go? When?”

These questions address any subconscious blockages that are causing you to hang onto these feelings.

To make the releasing process easier, I’ll sometimes hold onto a pen and clutch it as tight as I can. As I go through the questions, I’ll gradually loosen my grip. After I ask myself, “When?”, I’ll answer, “Now” and let go of the pen. Not only is this a physical cue to release the feeling, but it also signals to your body to let go of all the tension you’re holding.

Ever notice how if you’re sad, stressed, or angry, it’s hard to think straight? Releasing negative emotions, then, is like cleaning your internal mirror so you can view your situation with clarity. This is a crucial step in the reset process.

Now let’s get back to business!

4. Reevaluate your goals

When looking at my July schedule again today, I realized I’d bitten off more than I could chew (no surprise there). Luckily, I’d left Week 4 mostly blank, giving me room to reschedule some of the activities I’d missed this week.

I also took time to assess what I could realistically accomplish in a month. I should estimate extra time for projects that either A) have lots of moving parts, B) involve uncharted territory, or C) involve technology of any kind.

This works on a micro level, too. If you have your first daily activity scheduled for 9 am but don’t get started until 11, take a moment to revise your schedule and ditch less important tasks. It’s also a great chance to determine what your true priorities are!

5. Get the ball rolling

Finally, it’s time to get back to work! You’ll find that once you reestablish your routine, you’ll quickly regain your momentum.

I know when I’ve gone a week(s) without running, I’ll be dreading the return, imagining every muscle screaming in agony, that I won’t get five feet without gasping for air. But once I start, it’s never as bad as I thought it would be (or worse than usual, since running is never entirely pleasant). Pretty soon, everything’s back to normal.

As soon as you get started on your projects again, you will feel so good, I promise, like birds are chirping in your soul. Your universe will feel aligned. Once again, you’ll be hitting your marks.

These tips don’t just apply to projects, though. They can also apply to relationships. If you’ve been experiencing tension with someone and everything you say leads to a fight, then it’s time to wipe the slate clean. Clear your head of any negative emotions you’re harboring toward this person and send love instead. You may not be able to change them, but you can always work on YOU.

Want to learn more about how to hit the reset button no matter what troubling, even disastrous situation you encounter? Go here to discover a powerful technique to instantly?start fresh.

Tell me below: What techniques do you use to realign yourself when things fall off track?

19 thoughts on “Is Your Life a Mess? How to Hit the Reset Button”

  1. This was such a helpful post to read this time of year! I’m re-evaluating and thinking about time well spent and time I wasted, and the questions you ask here really helped me process that… and forgive myself for not accomplishing as much as I’d set out to. Here’s to 2019 and using my time a little more wisely! xx
    Isabella David Vintage

    1. Thanks, Izzy! Yes, these transitions are always kind of a loaded time, and either when the new year is beginning or the new school year, I always find myself steeped in regret for not accomplishing as much as I set out to do. I just have to remind myself that A) regret accomplishes nothing B) every day is a new chance to start fresh!

  2. This sentence hit me hard: On your deathbed, you probably won?t be saying, ?Gee, I wish I?d finished more of my to-do lists.?
    I can get so hard on myself about not finishing my daily lists, and then it’s self-defeating I feel so stressed I can sometimes end up avoiding the list. Such an inspirational post about starting fresh and regaining your momentum, while remembering to keep the big picture in mind.
    Isabella David Vintage

    1. Hi Izzy, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. Glad this had an impact! Yes, I still beat myself up about not finishing my to-do lists, but now at least I can catch myself in the act and ask myself if it’s really necessary to A) beat myself up, and B) be so obsessed with to-do lists in the first place. And of course the answer to both of those is always no!

  3. Hi Kate- I like the simple steps you outlined. For me, “don’t beat yourself up” is something I check myself doing. I say I “check myself” because now I know when I am doing that and know when to stop! But it’s something that we all experience to some extent and I agree with you about breaking the glass analogy that we should move on instead of dwelling on the past. I enjoyed reading this post!


    1. Thanks, Amira! Indeed, checking yourself is very important. Whenever I am being unreasonably hard on myself, I can catch myself in the act after a few minutes and put a stop to it, whereas before I would just keep going and going (like the Energizer Bunny)!

  4. You often get so caught up in the moment that you tend to get lost, and it make you feel a bit frustrated.
    Thank you for sharing all this lovely tips!!

  5. We had a health hiccough a couple of weeks ago and one of the results was that our daughter in the US flew back to come to make sure her Mum was OK. She brought the grandkids with her. Another daughter came, (from 400 miles away) with another grandson, to be here when she came. We have a three bedroom house – there were people sleeping everywhere! They all went home last weekend – but it has taken us all week to get the house back to rights. So no work got done for nearly three weeks. I have managed to start again and hope to keep going next week – you’re right, sometimes to just give in and reschede is the only sane way.

    1. Oh wow, that sounds like very much like my parents’ situation! Both my cousins were visiting and weren’t able to book hotel rooms (my parents live in a beach town so summers are busy), so both cousins and their husbands/multiple children were staying with my parents, so it was definitely a full house and I’m sure nobody got much done that week (and my mom typically has multiple projects going on)! But sometimes it’s nice to take a break and go with the flow. In my case, breaks can be especially be particularly beneficial since I’m sure it’s not healthy sitting at a computer 12 hours a day.

  6. It’s funny, these past few weeks, I’ve been off track and just coming to terms with that has been hard. Sometimes it’s not your fault, and beating yourself up for getting off schedule at those times is very counterproductive. Best to relax and regroup–as you point out.

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