Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How to Restart: Your Day, Your Year, Your Life

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There was a period where it was happening a lot. The Monday morning waking to a Paypal hack. The day with the water seeping into the bathroom floor. And a host of other days when things didn't go as planned, relationships were getting messy and life just felt suffocating. More than once, I have wanted to quit. Give up. Throw in the towel. And if you're honest, I know you have too.

Life doesn't go as planned more often than it does. Oftentimes that can make us feel ravaged, disheartened and discouraged. Like failures even. I know. I have been there too.

What I've learned these last eleven months of pursuing my dreams and those several weeks of things not going my way, is that you can always restart. Your day can be redeemed. Your year can begin again and your life's script is not complete.

Below are some simple ways I've been implementing "restarts" into my days and my life. Use them as a jumping-off point to create practical signals in your own life:

 How to Restart Your Day:
  • Pick a "begin again routine." For me this is either showering or a new pot of coffee. Stepping out of a shower make me feel fresh and new. And a new batch of coffee signals to me a new start at the work before me.
  • Change your environment. Leave the source of stress. Either go for a short walk, drive to pickup your favorite beverage, or grab your laptop and work somewhere else entirely for the remainder of the day. 
  • Use Pomodoros to manage your time. The great thing about this time management technique is that if you feel like everything during one Pomodoro went wrong. You've only lost 25 minutes. You can take a break and begin again. (Learn more here.)

How to Restart Your Year:
  • Get a new calendar. Did you know that half way through the year brand new calendars and planners are released? Buy a brand new one (they run from July to June) and suddenly you have a clean slate and a whole new year ahead of you. This is the brand I use and they're sold at Target. Or print your own here.
  • Go on a retreat. This does not have to be overnight but that is great if you can afford it. Ask yourself some intentional questions about the past year. Based on your answers, make some plans for the year ahead. (I often use the retreat models in this book.)
  • Choose a theme for the rest of year. You can do this however you like but One Word is simple and effective. My theme for 2014 has been Hope and it has really made a difference.

How to Restart Your Life:
  • Get experience, education, or training. What is the thing you dream of? Don't wait to live the life you imagine. Whatever the first step is to pursuing your dream, start now. Do you need to take night classes? Sign up today. Do you need experience? You can volunteer in your free time. Just take your first step.
  • Pursue your dream a little bit every day. Want to be a writer? A doctor? A professional juggler? Devote at least 30 minutes to your craft every day. I had to do this for years. It will not only make you better at what you do but it will also fuel your passion for pursuing your dream.
  • Make an exit strategy. Does your dream require a radical career change, a move, or some other big decision? Plan your exit now and start working toward it. 

More Great Resources:
  • If your trapped between your day job and your dream job: read Quitter by Jon Acuff
  • For practical encouragement for blending passion and professions: visit Live in the Grey
  • To implement practical rhythms for retreats and rest: see this post by my friend, Tom Nebel
  • If what you want is to be awesome instead of average: read Start also by Jon Acuff
  • For more inspiration from someone else whose pursuing her dreams: see this post by the inspiring Renia Carsillo

I'd love to hear your tips for restarting in the comments below.


  1. Cheli Armstrong SiglerAugust 19, 2014 at 6:42 AM

    Starting my day and glad to have read this post.

  2. Thank you, Cheli. I'm so encouraged that it was helpful to you.

  3. Great resources Joy and thank you for the shout out. Those days when everything seems to be challenging our patience can be rough ones. I love the idea to start a new course. CTG helped me reset things in July and now I'm starting Tribe Writers to finish the year strong. I've found that education can be one of the strongest ways to get back on track. But I never thought of the simple tool of switching calendars. I'm putting that one in the "Bad Month First Aid" folder!

  4. You're very welcome. "Bad Month First Aid" sounds like a folder we all need to have. I'm hoping to do CTG in the future. I'll have to check out Tribe Writers. As always Thanks for the tips and encouragement.