I just finished reading Elizabeth Vargas’s memoir, Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction. It was truly heart wrenching. She had to start again many times. Reading about it was excruciating. I am sure that living it was far worse. Her starting again and again seemed so brave to me… and I was reflecting how little grace I give myself when in a position of starting again.
You might be in a place of having to start again: a job, a relationship, a project, interactions with your children, food, booze, shopping, your in-laws, exercise. If you think about it, each day is an opportunity to start again. To do better, to give our best effort, to show up, to mess up and start again.
“Fall down seven times, get up eight.” – Japanese Proverb
So, how do you do it? How do you not give up, give in, throw in the towel, and quit? Perhaps one of these seven ways will help:
1. Just Start
Seems simple enough, right? It is. So what that you ate the pint of ice cream last night (in the middle of your 30-day cleanse). Start again. Make the meal that is going to give you the feeling that you wanted to have when you started the cleanse.
2. Look Forward, Not Back
No need to look back, as you aren’t going that way anyway. Being present is important but face forward while doing it. Take the next step forward, regardless of how small it is.
3. Discover How You Want to Feel
It’s important. Setting goals without feelings is a sure sign you are just making a list, another thing to do. When you know how you want to feel when chasing the goal then it is easier to make decisions and be clear as to what is moving toward the end result and what is moving you away.
4. Make Decisions Based on How You Want to Feel
I want to feel free and at ease. Does spending the $400 on clothes make me feel that way? Do I feel free and at ease spending that money or does it not? Let’s say I spend the money and feel awful the next day. Return the clothes. Start again.
5. Own It
There are challenges when we are trying to achieve things, reach goals, be better, feel better. You will find that it is easier to start again if you own the truth. Yep, I drank too much. Yep, I shouldn’t have said that. Yep, I missed that deadline.
6. Surround Yourself with a Tribe That Supports Your Goals
If you want to read a book a month because that feels good to you, join a book club. If you want to lose 10 pounds because you want to stop taking that particular medicine, find an accountability partner or group. If you want to cook more healthily for your family because that feels like being of service, put together a Sunday food prep group or include your family in the process. Find. Your. Tribe.
7. Kick the Shame to the Curb
It serves ZERO purpose. And there is no shame in starting again. See thoughts one through six for ideas.
“Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.” – Unknown
You can start again at any time. It doesn’t have to be a Monday or January. It can be 2:14 p.m. on a Thursday. Remember, there may be many opportunities to start agains. For me, I would rather start again than quit.
If you have a chance, read Elizabeth Vargas’s book. You don’t have to be an addict or recovering alcoholic to get something from it. Don’t give up before the miracle happens. Change course, try again, dust yourself off, keep moving forward.
You got this.