Life is a marathon, a journey that will inevitably bring many ups and downs. And, if you’ve been on this journey for any amount of time, you know that there are times when you just need to hit the reset button so that you can keep moving forward with strength, focus, stamina, and even passion in your life.
For a long time, the thought of voluntarily hitting the reset button in my life was a little terrifying to embrace. Any time I had heard someone talk about needing a reset in their life, it was connected to something negative—a failure, burnout, a breakup or divorce, or related to a physical or mental health concern.
I had internalized the need to hit the reset button with failure. And, it didn’t help that most of the successful people I had seen on television or known in my personal life appeared as if their life was perfect. After a while, I started to realize that everyone, even those successful people I admired, had many moments when they needed to hit the reset button. Honestly, it’s normal and a healthy part of living.
One difference between people that are successful in life and those that are not is knowing when it’s time to hit the reset button. It’s not a matter of if we will need to, it’s a matter of when and how many times. If we can increase our self-awareness, we can learn how to hit the button before things spiral too far out of our control. Yes, there are factors that are out of our control in life, but there are also many within it. The key is to find and focus on those factors.
When I started realizing that the practice of resetting is natural, I began seeing it as a necessary part of life. Our skin is naturally regenerating and turning over new cells every day. As our hair grows, trimming creates the conditions for strong and healthy hair. These are just a few examples of how our bodies are trying to teach us the natural practice of resetting.
If you have a cellphone or computer, you are used to receiving notifications that it’s time to reset for an important update. These devices analyze tons of available data, notice areas for improvement, and develop updates to ensure the device works effectively. If we intend to live our best life, it’s just as important to apply this practice so we can make greater long-term gains.
When it comes to any basic technology, you know it’s time for a reset when programs start running slow or applications begin shutting down without warning. Similarly, there are personal signs that it might be time to hit the reset button. The goal is to use what’s within our locus of control to reset before we are forced to.
Here are 10 signs that it might be time to hit the reset button:
- You feel like you are in a physical or mental fog. Just like our electronic devices slow down or glitch when it’s time for an update, you might find yourself feeling burnt out, sluggish, or like your brain is foggy, distracted, or cluttered. In some cases, you aren’t feeling any of these yet, but you can see the road ahead and know that this is possible if you don’t take action soon.
- You are having more negative than positive thoughts about yourself and life. There is tremendous power in words and thoughts. Your thoughts become your words that then become your actions. Those actions become habits that build who you are, which then become your destiny. Want to change your destiny? Start by changing your thoughts and beliefs.
- You have not been prioritizing your health (physical, mental, spiritual). If you have put any of these areas in the back seat for an extended period of time, you will definitely see and/or feel it eventually. It is important to make time for exercise and movement, self-care, reflection, prayer/mediation (in whatever way you chose), and check-ins on your mental health. If it’s been a while, it might be time to start incorporating new routines that include these.
- You’ve found yourself living for people’s approval rather than living in your purpose. It’s very easy to focus on people-pleasing and the expectations of everyone around you without making sure that your actions align with your unique path and purpose. Your purpose is to stay on your path and to keep discovering what that means for you. If you’ve been spending too much time in someone else’s lane, then it’s time to set new intentions and embrace what’s designed for you.
- You feel like your mental health is unstable. Emotional and mental balance takes a lot of work to maintain and life is great at challenging it. Life can throw you into negative thinking patterns and behaviors that compromise your mental health. If you’re feeling unstable, it might be time to take a step back to process your emotions and thoughts. If necessary, don’t be afraid to schedule time with a therapist or coach to help you come back to alignment within yourself.
- You realize a pattern of making the same mistakes in your life. It’s OK to take an advanced version of the same test at different points in your life. It’s not productive to repeatedly fail the same level test. If this happens, it might be a sign that you still need to learn valuable life lessons. Listen to your life. Consider it a blessing that you are noticing the patterns and find the lesson so that you can move forward. This might be a sign there are still places in you that need healing (and that’s OK).
- Your work and life balance are out of control. If you want to be on a fast track to crashing and burning, then ride the lack of work/life balance train. I’ve spent much of my career as an educator and senior manager, so I know firsthand what it feels like to work insane hours to tackle a never-ending to-do list. As a former sprinter, I know that it’s impossible to run miles at a 100-meter sprinter’s pace. It’s especially impossible to do that in every run. Life is a marathon; therefore, sprinting through life is not sustainable.
- You are constantly comparing yourself to other people. There are times when you might find yourself spending too much time comparing yourself to other people. This can leave you feeling frustrated, stuck, and depressed. There is no doubt that constant comparison leads to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, depression, and/or frustration. So, if this is you, it might be time to hit the reset button and start focusing on learning more about who YOU are. Staying in this place for too long just delays you from finding your authentic path.
- You’ve lost interest in many of the positive things that you used to enjoy. The keyword here is “positive.” There are times when your interests and habits might change as a result of your growth and self-development. However, if you find yourself no longer wanting to be around people, places, and things that you love and know positively impact your growth, then it might be a sign that you need a mental health reset.
- You have stepped into a new space, role, job, or season that requires you to develop new skills, ideas, and/or capacity. This one is for those times when new doors, relationships, and experiences take place in your life. These moments create an opportunity to reflect and move forward with intention. Hitting the reset button helps you leave unnecessary baggage at the door. This is the perfect time to optimize your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health.
After reading through these signs, you might have discovered a few areas that need a reset. But, where do you start? How do you reset?
Here are some steps I use to help me hit the reset button:
- Take inventory. Start by reflecting on your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health, and any other life goals. Where do you notice areas for improvement? Write these down without judgement and move on to the next steps.
- Check your WHY. After you have identified areas for improvement, consider why you want to improve these areas. The goal is to improve your focus, stamina, and productivity. If your reason is rooted in seeking acceptance, you are almost guaranteed disappointment and chasing many dead ends. So, before you move forward, make sure your why is rooted in principles, values, and a purpose that are enduring and inspire you for the long journey ahead.
- Gratitude. All opportunities to reset are a blessing. Life is either teaching you want to do or what not to do; both are great sources of data you can use to improve your life. Before you move forward, write down a few things that you are thankful for and a few lessons you have learned.
- Journal. Manifestation and visioning are important parts of hitting the reset button. You need to envision what it will look, feel, and sound like after you’ve reset. What will be better and/or different? How will you know? Take some time to let your mind imagine an improved version of yourself. Then, you can focus on activating the faith to get there.
- Make a plan. If you are going to change your thoughts and habits, you will need to make a plan to establish new routines and thinking habits. Remember, you should only focus on the things within your locus of control. For the things that are outside of your control, you can focus your energy on healing and dealing with your response and its impact on you.
- Positive Self Talk and Affirmations. When things are going well, celebrate your efforts. Tell yourself you are proud of your growth. When you are struggling, still celebrate even the smallest progress. Tell yourself you are capable and worthy of more growth. Just be careful of spiraling into negative self-talk. Remember, words have power. Learn to be your own cheerleader when you are having a hard time and when times are great. If you speak positively about yourself long enough, you’ll start to believe it. If you start to believe it, you will become it.
- Check-in on your progress. The most successful people I know practice the concept of failing fast. They don’t wait for things to be perfect before they start taking action; they take actions to learn fast and better assess when and where to adjust. Failure is just feedback and learning you can use to improve. Don’t wait for things to fail before you implement changes or upgrades. Proactively analyze the data (your life) and schedule a “reset” as needed. It’s not only important to know when it’s time to hit the reset button; it’s also imporant to schedule time to assess whether you are due for another upgrade.
Life will unexpectedly throw challenges your way and that’s OK. You didn’t fail, you are just living. We have two options: be forced to hit the reset button or proactively pay attention to the signs that it’s time for one.
As we keep on living, let’s remember that every day presents an opportunity to hit the reset button, if we need it. You don’t have to wait for a new year or a special day. Keep looking for the opportunities to hit that reset button and improve your life.