Just trying to change the world, one blogpost at a time.

12 June 2016

Starting Over.

This is probably my 5th or 6th time restarting and redesigning this blog. 
5th or 6th! 
There have been many reasons:
Balance writing with studying or working 
Writers Block
Confusion about where I wanted it to go
And basically here we are, 7th time lucky?
Starting over, is often portrayed as a negative thing.
Most people, me included, hate the idea of putting time and effort into something, only to have it not work out. 
You worked out everyday for a whole week, stepped on the scale and you've gained 2 lbs.
You dated someone for 5 years and they broke up with you because you're incompatible.
You put your all into a blogpost, published it and then no-one read it.
And then you're expected to go through it all again?
Yeah bloody right.
Starting again can be the most frustrating process ever. but when you think about it, what's the alternative?
Staying in a position that you're not happy with or isn't best for you? 
Continuing to move in a direction that you don't want to?
As difficult as it is, sometimes starting over is the best thing to do and I've got a few tips as to how.

1) Reflect on your last attempt.
Whilst regret is probably the biggest waste of time, reflection is more than necessary. What did you do last time? How far did you get towards your goal? What worked, what didn't?
Taking the time to do this before diving in again can help to save time allow you to jump towards your goal a lot faster - or at least get closer to it before you fail again. On my long and tiresome battle with weight, I have found that eating late leads to weight gain, regardless of what exercise I've done. So now, if I have a week or so of being a cake eating monster and want to get my life back on track, one thing I know to do immediately is stop eating late. If only all it took was reflecting to make something happen!

2) Break it Down
There are a lot of things I want to achieve in this lifetime, like a lot, and to be honest sometimes the ideas scare me because of their size. Sometimes the vastness of a task can make it seem impossible to complete and then we find ourselves too afraid to even try. Breaking down tasks into small, no minute chunks can make them a lot easier to complete. At the moment I'm trying to cut out sugar in my tea, and perhaps one day coffee. Thinking about going cold turkey forever seems like a task to difficult to complete, but skipping the sugar in one tea - that's doable.

Oh how I love a good Instagram browse of quotes and pictures and people all from which I gain inspiration. Tasks become so much easier when we see other people doing them. Unfortunately, though we might have the support of people around us, they might not always be on the journey with us. There is however, a huge range of places from which we can gain inspiration and thus motivation to restart on our desired journeys. In addition to Instagram posts, I found encouragement on other social media forums like LinkedIn, in articles related to whatever I've been struggling with, meetups, colleagues, Youtube videos etc. Whatever you are trying to achieve, has probably been achieved before in some shape or form. You gotta think, if they can do it - why can't I?
For example my thing is, if this woman can have 3 kids and look sexy as f*$#, then what on Earth is stopping me?! If inspiration doesn't work in this way for you, you could try it in reverse. Look at images and read-up on examples you don't want to be like - its brutal, but effective!

4) Track your progress
I'm old school. I like a paper diary and a pen - but these days there are many alternative ways to track progress. Digital journeys, apps, voice recordings... Whatever works for you, find a way to track your progress. Not only will this allow you to see how far you're coming along, it'll also force you to be accountable. Perhaps it's only me, but if I know I'm going to have to write down my day, I try to make it as good a day as possible. Another way to go about this would be to create a goal, perhaps something you need to achieve daily and ticking it off. Eg, sticking a calendar on the wall and ticking off all the days you exercised for example. Having visual representation of your achievements (or lack thereof) works as a stimulant to keep going, or to get started.

5) Forgive yourself quickly

Many times I have started the day with a goal and ended it with disappointment. The reality is, we might not hit our targets everyday. Cheat meals turn into cheat weeks, rest days turn into rest months, study breaks become nap time... it happens to the best of us, and more frequently to the worst of us. Wallowing in disappointment neither changes the past situation or improves the future one so there is absolutely no point. Too often I have skipped a workout, beaten myself up about it and then wallowed in a tub of ice-cream - talk about counterproductive. Stuff happens, we fall off track, we get distracted, we lose focus, what's most important is that we start again, sooner rather than later. Moving on quickly from disappointments,(after reflection), saves us from wasting time and allows us to get our lives together a lot soon. I also found myself to be a lot happier when I quickly forgave myself for sleeping in instead of hitting the gym. You can't do anything about yesterday, or the last hour, or the last 10 minutes, but what comes next, well that's completely in your control.

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