Most of us are used to the idea of starting over. For example, back during my diet-obsessed years, I would “cheat,” use that as an excuse to eat everything in sight that wasn’t on my diet, and promise myself I would begin again on Monday.
Another traditional time to begin again is the month of January. We recycle any old resolutions that we didn’t keep last year, or the year before, or…put them back on the list this year and vow to do it right this time. We believe in do-overs, but somehow, we keep thinking the only time we are allowed to start over is next Monday or on New Year’s Day, but never right now.
We’ve bought the lie.
We’ve been sold the lie of perfection. Perfection lies out there, somewhere, with someone else. Gorgeous, fit movie stars are perfect. The laughing, attractive people in commercials are perfect. The influencers on Instagram are perfect. The author of the latest best-selling self-help book is perfect. But I’m certainly not. Each “mistake” I make is more proof.
Perfection is a lie. No one and no thing is perfect.
Here’s the truth.
The Buddha said that human lives are made up of a thousand sorrows and a thousand joys. Jesus said that in this world we will have troubles. These wisdom teachers tell us straight out that no life sails along on a constant river of perfection.
It’s never been about being perfect. It’s always been about being and becoming. And one of the greatest tools we have on our journey of being and becoming is our personal reset button.
How to begin.
It all starts with your personal intentions. Who or what do you desire to be? All of us have internalized images of the person we long to be, the goals we’d like to accomplish, the way we want to live day by day. These images are our touchstones; our intentions propel us forward.
But what happens when we miss the mark, when we mess up, when we fail, as all of us do?
We can quit. We can beat ourselves up, sit down on the sidelines of life, and wait for Monday or January or some far-off future time when, finally, we’ll get it right. Or we can just begin again. Right now. This very moment.
Here’s what a reset looks like.
What if your intention is to honor your body, to be guided by its hunger and fullness cues, and yet you find yourself a little too far past comfortable and berating yourself? Time to hit your reset button. No need to wait for Monday. This moment is the moment of power. Right now you can decide not to eat again until your body signals hunger. It’s no big deal, and you’re right back on track.
Let’s say your intention is to be a kind person. However, after a stressful afternoon at work, you snap at your spouse as soon as you walk in the door. You could beat yourself up, but why? Just begin again. This very moment, recommit to your intention to be kind and apologize to your spouse. Sit down and rest for a few moments. Give yourself some grace.
It’s really that simple.
Whatever it is, whenever you don’t meet your own expectations, merely remind yourself that you can just begin again. It really is that simple. No one drops out of college after one wrong answer on one assignment in one class. No athlete quits their sport because of one fumble or one strike. We don’t abandon our goals and intentions because of one moment of simply being human.
In fact, every time we start over, we become stronger. Our new programming is reinforced; our old programming weakens. We can actually see ourselves fulfilling our intentions, day by day, one do-over at a time. Using our personal reset button does not make us a failure. Instead, we discover that we are victors living in a continual state of becoming.
You know the best thing about your personal reset button? It never breaks and it never wears out. It’s yours for life. The only catch is that you have to remember to use it!
So, this January, make your resolutions and set your intentions, but also polish up your do-over button and keep it nearby. Like me, you’re most likely going to need it.