When it comes time to end a year and begin a new one, we often try so hard to figure things out. Why is that? Is it because it’s a transition? Is it because the holiday craze gets us wishing for something different? Is it because we finally are taking a break long enough to step off the treadmill of our day to day life? Whatever the reason and whether or not you have new year’s resolutions or intentions for a new month – today, we’re going to dive into what it means to start over.
I love a good do-over. I often use this with my kids to let them know that they and I can preserve our relationship and dignity by admitting this is going well and we want to try again. There’s a beauty in realizing that not only are things not going great, but that we are willing for them to be better. Without that ability to want to start over, we may be missing out on so many opportunities and dreams.
What exactly does it mean to start over?
Starting over can mean so many different things. Maybe you’re changing careers, relationships or a sense of identity about your physical health, who you are and what you stand for. Perhaps you’re just feeling into this new idea that there’s more to life than your work. Perhaps you’re beginning to wonder if your relationships could improve. Either way, with any wish or desire for something different, comes an end to what was in existence before. Whether it’s your excuses that you’re too old, young, big, small, slow, fast, or that there is nothing that is going to work – you’re going to give that up for the sake of a more amazing future.
If the promises of an amazing future are so great, why don’t we run towards it with open arms? Why is it so hard for us to start over? We know what we want and it’s frustrating that we just can’t seem to get after it and start moving in a new direction.
The number one reason you’re not starting over is because of this one idea. You’re afraid of losing something in the process. We humans hate letting go. We dislike losing anything or leaving anything – no matter how much it hasn’t or doesn’t serve us. It’s what behavioral psychology calls loss avoidance. Loss avoidance is a cognitive bias where we have the tendency to want to avoid losses more than we want to acquire the equivalent gains. In other words, we’ll feel much more pain than we do pleasure about a dollar we lost versus a dollar we gain so we’d rather not lose $100 than gain $100.
If I were to ask you why you’re not doing the thing you want to do, you usually will give me some reason about you missing out on something or not doing something you want to do. I won’t be able to have fun if I drink less. I won’t be able to eat everything if I eat healthy. I won’t be able to get it all done if I don’t work all night. Trust me folks, you are right. I believe you.
What you’re trying to do is more important though than something small you’ll lose. You’re trying to shift and challenge yourself into a new set of behaviors or identity that will create a more freeing, fulfilling and whole life. If you don’t buy into the idea that what you’re looking for is worth the giving up of something, you’ll never find it. What you’re forgetting now is this next thing.
You’re already giving up something now. By engaging and continuing in the same set of behaviors you’re currently indulging in, you’re also giving up something. By not drinking less, I’m not as clear-headed or present. By not eating healthy, I’m losing my vitality and energy. By working all the time, I’m giving up a life of my own outside of work. This is how you overcome loss aversion and what they call the status quo bias. You think about the net impact of the overall decision, including the idea that you’re overcoming a fear of failure.
There’s no black or white when it comes to your decisions about your life. You get to choose and decide what’s worth it to you when you compare what you’re giving up by continuing down this same path versus what you’re giving up when you start over. You might decide that you’d rather be fun then clear-headed or present. You might decide that you’d rather eat everything than have more vitality or energy. You might decide that it’s better to stay the same person you’ve always been in your relationships than to grow together.
Although I won’t tell you what’s wrong or right – what I am challenging you to do is to make your choices with your eyes wide open about the two kinds of loss that are available to you at any moment. Whether you make a decision or not, you’re still giving something up.
The question is, do you know what you’re actually missing out on? If so, you now know what’s keeping you from starting over in any area of your life.
If you want to join in on the fun of creating a new way of thinking, we’re going to be re-training our brains during my Mindful Heart Bootcamp on 1/23. Learn mindfulness techniques and strategies to train your brain for optimal success, resilience as well as to manifest your desires. I can’t wait to spend the afternoon with you! You can check it out at https://mayempson.com/mindfulheart.
I love you my friends and thanks for joining me this week. If you’re wondering how to start shaping your life to be more fully present, engaged and creatively – go to https://mayempson.com/yourbestyear to learn more about creating a virtual planning retreat using Your Best Year, the 2021 visioning retreat.