3 Questions to help us start over

A new year is not only about continuing what we began in the old year. It is also about starting over. And, since starting over isn’t always easy or simple, I offer three questions to help us start over in 2013. 

Sometimes, when it is a matter of bad timing, for instance, we can start over, using the same plan and process. At other times, starting over may entail tweaking a few things or changing everything. So, it is not surprising that when we have to start over, we get scared, maybe even angry. Starting over can be difficult and time-consuming. It may force us to shift our focus and change our perspective. We may have to reshape our goals, reconstruct our priorities, re-allocate meager resources and unearth more courage and patience. Nevertheless starting over could be just what we need not only to achieve some goal but also to be better versions of ourselves.

The following 3 questions can help us re-set a good foundation for starting over.

What uneasy emotions am I lugging around? Whether we are too busy to deal with them or we are stubbornly holding on to them, we might have stepped into 2013 with some uneasy emotions. Consequently, we will find it difficult, if not impossible, to embrace, utilize and learn from what the New Year brings. Nevertheless, in order to identify and benefit from the challenges and opportunities that await us, we should deal with and release the uneasy emotions. Moreover, we should replace them with emotions that lift the foreboding fog in our minds, ignite our enthusiasm and spur us into positive action.  

Who or what stirs up bad memories and ignites fears? It is not always readily apparent who or what dampens our spirits,  magnifies our challenges, clouds solutions to our problems, sends our self-confidence into a tailspin and reminds us of the goals we have failed to achieve. The answer to this question will alert us to the people, situations, commitments and activities that continually remind us about past disappointments and failures. It will help us to uncover and understand why we are afraid of uncertainty, adventure, detours and even success, why we allow certain people to manipulate and complicate our lives, why seemingly simple, normal situations put us on the defensive and downgrade our self-confidence. Negative energies from these sources may raise our stress levels, stall our efforts or paralyze us. However, starting over will be easier if we change our perspectives, set boundaries, make compromises or distance ourselves from such people and situations. 

What attitudes do I need to change? Our attitudes may not always be on par with our enthusiasm for a task or a goal. We may not see this at first. In fact, we may not see it until we stall along the way, fail completely or someone points it out to us. Once we see it though, we should reassess and adjust our faulty attitudes accordingly. No doubt we will notice a marked difference in how we handle the challenges that usually come with starting over.  

Lingering negative emotions, complicated life circumstances, toxic relationships and our own self-sabotaging attitudes can keep us in an unhappy, unproductive and stagnant place. If we ask and answer the questions above, we may discover that we are entrenched in old ways of doing things, stuck in a time-warp of complicated and irrational thoughts, drowning in a sea of uneasy emotions and irrational attitudes.
Whatever it is – a household project, a career move, a faltering relationship, a business venture or a long-held personal dream – let us embrace the opportunity to start over. It may be difficult and frightening but it is possible. Let’s shake off the disappointments and failures of 2012 and start over.    
(Published in the Womanwise Magazine on Sunday January 6th 2013)

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