How to start over
If you are wondering how to start over, you are most likely stressed, bored, confused, hurt or angry. Sometimes life gets to you and you wish you could start over. I am here to say that you can do exactly that. History is full of people who hit Rock bottom before they found a way to start over and take control of their life. You might not be at Rock bottom, but you too can start over and create a better life. Here is how to start over step by step.
Declutter your mind
A great life is never the result of a cluttered mind. That is because when the mind is cluttered even the simplest things turn into a big mess. In contrast, when the mind is clear and focused even the toughest challenges can be overcome with relative ease. It makes everyone wonder “how does he do that?”. Here are 5 steps to declutter your mind.
Wake up early
You probably hate this process already. It can be a challenge to wake up early, especially if you go to sleep late. But there is a simple trick that can change it all. That is to simply go to bed early.
If you already wake up early or you have trouble sleeping in the morning, congratulations, you have already cleared one hurdle towards a better life. If that’s not you, that is okay too because you can start to wake up early.
However, make sure you don’t fall into the death trap of trying to get everything right at once. If you have the habit of pressing the snooze button a few times before you get up, the chances are it will take some time before you can actually get up early. So it is important not to give up after a few days because you just cannot get it right.
You don’t have to get it perfect. Remember, it is very natural to not get it right the first few times. The important thing is to never stop trying.
Read 12 reasons why perfectionism is the dumbest standard on earth
Early morning is the best time to relax and get your mind clear and focused. One way of doing that is the simple relaxation technique that I talked about in my article about relaxation techniques. Another way to go is meditation. If you can practice mindfulness meditation it will be very handy in the steps to come. Yoga is another good way to relax.
Exercise has been proven to help with depression, anxiety, stress, and many more mind related issues. That is because the mind and body are connected and changes in the body will create changes in the mind as well. Don’t wait till you get into a serious mental issue to exercise. Take 10 minutes to exercise early in the morning every day. This helps you to stay energized and maintain a good mood throughout the day. If you don’t want to exercise you can do something like dancing to an upbeat song that makes you feel better.
Doing all this in the morning will help you elevate your mood, but don’t expect it to never falter. It is highly likely that you feel a little stress sometime during the day. When that happens, take slow, deep breaths and exhale even more slowly. For example, if you take four counts to breathe in, take 6 or 8 counts to breathe out. After that, you can also take three or four minutes to practice the simple relaxation exercise if necessary.
If your life is cluttered chances are that you say phrases like “this is so difficult”, “I can’t do this”, “this is killing me”, “why does this always happen to me?” etc. Having this kind of language and beliefs makes this process harder. So instead of saying “this is so difficult. I can’t do this” say “this is good for me and soon this will become natural for me”. Then think of the time you learned to drive, how difficult was it at the beginning and how it has become so easy with practice.
When you catch yourself thinking or saying something negative immediately change the words into something positive. However, it might not be a good idea to say “I am happy” when you are actually sad. But you can easily say that “I am working on improving myself and I will soon be happy.”
Get clear on your goals and values to Start Over
After you have gotten into the habit of waking up early in the morning and doing meditation and exercising it is time to get clear on your goals and values. There are so many people out there who say that kids are their priority, but they rarely spend time with them and actually get to know them. The same thing happens with other things like friendship, having your own business or even your relationship with your significant other.
So sit down and make a list of things that are important to you. See if you give those things enough attention. Don’t get so obsessed with productivity or doing things perfectly that you lose track of what is really important to you. Keep this list with you for future reference.
Create a plan | Allocate time for things that are important to you
Now that you are waking up in the morning and you know what is important to you it is time to start planning things in advance. I recommend that you plan your week in advance. This is how to do it.
Step 01: Make a to-do list for the week
It is a good idea to plan your week in advance so you don’t miss out on things that are important to you. Start by making a to-do list.
Step 02: Crosscheck with your goals and values
It is so easy to get caught up with life and lose track of what is important to you. That is why this step is necessary. Make sure that you have included those things that are on your list of goals and values in your to-do list as well. So, if you listed family as important, then you should have something like a “family games night”, on your to-do list.
Step 03: Categorize
The next step is to categorize this to-do list into four segments as listed below.
- Urgent and important things
This category includes those things that are important and should be done as soon as possible. For example, if you or a member of your family is sick and in need of medical attention that is urgent and important.
- Important things
- Everything that you list as a goal a value comes under this list. Spending time with your family, building your own business, staying connected with your friends and even taking care of yourself is included in this category.
- Some people might feel uncomfortable taking time for themselves to relax. However, you need to remember that you are important and you can’t help your kids, family or anyone else if you are too stressed out or sick. It is better to have a happy parent who makes a little less money than a stressed-out angry parent who makes more money.
- Urgent things
This category includes the things that catch your attention as things that need to be done immediately but is actually not very important. Checking your phone every time you get a message or answering every email as soon as it arrives falls under this category.
- Neither urgent nor important
This includes things like mindlessly watching TV, browsing through the internet or social media. Not doing these things has no consequences at all and there is no hurry to do it.
You can simply highlight the urgent and important things in red and important things in green and urgent things in yellow. This way you do not need to write the list again.
Step 04: Allocate time for the things on your list
In this step, you will be planning your week by allocating time for the items in your to-do list.
First, allocate time for those things that are urgent and important and then for those that are important. Thirdly allocate time for those that are urgent and finally for those that are neither urgent nor important.
Now all you have to do is stick to this schedule.
It is not possible to plan everything in advance. So each morning you may need to take 10 or 15 minutes to go through your schedule and add new items or revise the plan as necessary. However, you need to stick to the order of priority. You should never prioritize urgent things over important things.
Let’s say, your coworker invites you to join a party, tomorrow at 6 pm. However, you have already scheduled an important activity at this time. Let’s say it is brainstorming ideas for your new business. The party may be urgent since you have no power to change the time of the party, but having your own business is your dream. Therefore, it is important.
So in a situation like this, you can check your schedule to see if you can rearrange it to fit this new situation. But if that is not possible you need to skip the party. Therefore, it is always wise to tell people that you need to check your schedule before accepting any invitations.
However, if you met your childhood best friend who you are still very attached to and she invited you for dinner tomorrow at 6:00 pm then the situation will be different, especially if she is leaving that night. Then this invitation is not only important but also urgent. Therefore, it is okay to prioritize this over something that is only important.
Set up healthy boundaries
When you try to stick to your schedule, there are going to be a lot of interruptions. This is why you need to set up healthy boundaries. For example, she may be your best friend at work, but every time she is behind work, you cannot do it for her. Friendship is important, but doing everything your friend asks you to do is not. She has to learn to get things done on time. So inform her beforehand that you will not be able to do it anymore and stick to that word.
So what do you do if your friend gets mad at you for not helping her?
First, give her a few days to cool down. Then go and talk to her and tell her how you feel. Tell her that she is your best friend and you would love to spend time with her. But when she refuses to speak to you just because you refuse to help her, it makes you feel like the only reason she is your friend is because of the help you are providing for her.
If she is a real friend she will eventually understand. If that is not the case you have to remember that part of setting good boundaries is letting toxic people go. A real friend would never hold you back.
If you follow this plan, after a few months you will feel much better. You will also catch yourself doing things that you never planned to do. For example, making your bed might not have been a part of your plan, but with the changes you are making in your life, you will soon realize that you have started to do it unconsciously. That is how you know that you are actually making progress.