I was talking to a good friend of mine earlier this year when she made a fascinating remark to me.
They were in the process of selling their large home in order to pay off some debt. When I asked her how they came to that decision, she said to me, “We’ve decided to hit reset on our life.”
She continued, “For too long we’ve overextended ourselves financially, and it’s time to take whatever steps are necessary to start fresh. So we put our house on the market and began living within a tighter budget. I don’t know what we were thinking living like that for so long, but it’s time to hit reset on our lives.”
I found the phrase to be almost magical.
“We’ve decided to hit reset on our lives.”
I was reminded of a computer that had begun to run too slow, overheating with too many applications running in the background. CTLR-ALT-DEL… Reset.
Or as Anne Lamott once said, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
In speaking with my friend, I was reminded of my own life. In many ways, I hit reset on my own life when I discovered minimalism. I went back to the beginning, challenging my consumption, and the many unhealthy habits that had become present in my life.
Of course, not every life is in need of a full reset. And I’m smart enough to know that resetting a life is not the same as restarting a computer. You can’t just delete past memories, experiences, injuries, or every unenjoyable responsibility in your life. Resetting the direction of one’s life requires more than a few minutes of downtime.
But we are nearing January 1—the time of year when we naturally assess the trajectory of our lives and what direction we are heading.
And maybe, just like my friend, your life needs a reset.
There is a powerful truth in the reality that you are in control of your life and you alone are responsible for the experience of living it. If you do not like the direction you are heading, you alone can choose a new path. If you have become overloaded financially or overburdened in your schedule, you alone can hit reset on your life. Even if our relationships have turned unhealthy, there is a lot we can do individually to foster an environment for change.
If your life needs a reset, it is within your power to do so.
But how do we go about hitting reset in our lives?
I fear to say these are not easy steps. This is not your typical 10 Minutes to a Clutter-Free Morning blog post. These are weighty changes that require not just re-establishing a mindset, but also implementing the hard work of making it a reality. Sometimes these changes require conversations with loved ones that may or may not be thinking about the same things.
But life reset is possible.
My friend is a mother with a husband and two teenage daughters. If she can hit reset during that stage of life, so can you.
Here are some of the places we might look to reset:
1. Look hard at your spending.
Lifestyle creep occurs when an individual’s standard of living improves as their discretionary income rises and former luxuries become new necessities. If the idea of minimalism is brand-new to you, it is very likely lifestyle creep has crept into your life more than you realize. If rethinking your finances (getting out of debt or beginning to save) is part of the necessary reset, start by looking at your spending.
2. Consider your time commitments.
Many of us live hurried, stressed lives. We rush from one activity to another. For some people, this is within their nature and they thrive in that type of environment. But for others, the urgent is keeping you from the more important, longer-lasting pursuits available to all of us. Consider the time commitments you have slowly accumulated over the years and find a new filter to promote your highest values.
3. Question your work.
The average person spends more than 90,000 hours of their lifetime at work. For many, work has become their routine and they’ve given up any thought of changing. Our job is our job and we give little thought to the reality of something different. I think that’s why two-thirds of Americans report being disengaged at work. I know that changing jobs is not always easy and not always possible. But if we’re talking seriously about hitting the reset button on our lives, looking at what we do a third of our waking hours is an essential consideration.
4. Check your motivations.
There is great progress to be made in life when we look deeper than our actions and begin checking the motivations behind them. When we don’t actively keep our motivations in check, unhealthy ones begin to emerge. We become motivated by the pursuit of riches, accolades, or building our own selfish kingdom. On an almost daily basis, it is wise to check our motivations, but we rarely do. If we can see the need for an entire life reset, it would be foolish to not check the internal motivations that may have moved us to our current situation.
5. Evaluate your relationships.
People are not things and choosing which relationships to keep and which to remove is not as simple as decluttering clothes in your closet. There are some relationships where both parties benefit and there are some relationships where we benefit. But there also ought to be some relationships in our lives where we are serving and giving and being the one who loves more. Balance is important in this area. Evaluate the current relationships in your life. Are your closest friends moving you toward the person you want to be or are they holding you back?
6. Be honest about your habits.
Sometimes, the habits we develop increase our chance of success. But other times, our habits keep us from it. How do you spend your day? How do you care for your health and body? What habits are creating a better you and which habits are keeping you stuck where you are? Resetting your life is going to require more than a one-time decision or evaluation. Often times, it is going to require you to rewire your habits from the ground up.
I don’t offer this list above as exhaustive. Certainly there are other considerations to factor in your life reset.
More than anything, I simply want to encourage you. Your life doesn’t have to remain on the same trajectory that it is today.
You can hit reset if you need to.
Terri Mrazek says
Hello…I am originally from the Midwest rural region of America and moved to the West Coast at age 60 (2011). I have been following your sight’s post for a couple weeks now, and find your advice and experiences, very interesting. I sincerely hope many others …also do! I am the first born of four children to our Mother in 1950. Due to our birth Father’s addiction to alcohol, our Mother chose to bag up some of our clothing and leave the abusive relationship when I was age 5+. We drove for over 2 hours in the middle of the night to our Mother’s Parent’s small farm. There we 5 took refuge, for several years until I was in the 5th grade. While there, we lived in a small farm house, with our Mother and her Parents and our Great Grandmother. We didn’t have “much” but we really didn’t know it. What we did know, was that we were loved and SAFE*. Watching and learning from the Seniors in our Family taught me how to live and enjoy , what little we did have. Out of we four children, only two of us have managed to always live a life of being non materialistic. If we truly needed something, we would save up for it. And we always reflected on whether we really “needed” it or just plain “wanted” it. But as I have grown with the passing years, I have noticed a pattern among others. They are encouraged to follow the lifestyle of abusing “privilege” of getting everything on “credit”, or trying to beat the “system” and get something…for nothing. I sure Hope and Pray daily for the sake of all Americans, that they realize it’s a “Catch 22”. Thank you for sharing your Wisdom…and encouraging others to become “minimalists*. Have yourself a Wonderful kind of Day…each and everyday*.
Reset is great. Have “reset” several times within my life It’s been great. It’s like taking a short rebreathing / a pause. Works every time
TJ Penn says
I’m 62, my husband 71 and we are resetting our lives. Moving all the way from TX to NC, seriously downsizing our belongings and developing new anti-spending mindsets. We were so unhappy and had accepted it as “normal life”. I looked for a pleasant climate, natural beauty readily accessible (mountains and valleys), activities nearby that we enjoy but don’t have now (little town festivals!) and a community where people earnestly care for and get involved with each other. Huge reset on life!
Jason Martinez says
Love this story. I am thinking of the same. How are taxes and are y’all still happy in NC?
Katrina Austin says
Welcome to NC. I am 62 and bought land near Shelby a year ago. Contemplating how the reset will go now.
Literally the most privileged thing I have read in a long time. Damn.
Julie White says
Are you talking about how not everyone can just pick up and make a new job choice or social life? I’m just curious, please elaborate.
angela wilcox says
Indoctrinated robot , leave him alone.
6 years ago my family and I moved from America to a developing country. I am surprised and disheartened by how many things we’ve accumulated in that time, especially since I’ve followed Joshua’s work and others like it for many years I should have known better! I love this article and the use of the word “reset”. As my husband and I discuss the inevitable move in 2-3 years back to the states, and I finish reading David Platt’s book, Radical, and articles like this one above, I realize my life is currently in need of a reset! #6 Be Honest About Your Habits is the main one I need to spend some time on with dear hubby.
I work in social care, caring for everyone else and at times this causing me a lot of worry and stress. I starting getting into minimalism a few years back and started off really well and got into a happy place. Now I’m feeling burnt out and on edge a lot of the time. I need to strip back everything that I deem important in my life and make the relevant changes before my mental health is effected again. This post is exactly what I needed to hear at this moment of time.
2 1/2 years ago, I had a drug & gambling addiction, Couldn’t pay rent / car payment, owed taxes, credit cards, etc. I made the decision to move in with family at 39 years old. Since then I have paid off all debt, and have the most money in my checking account then I have ever had. In 1 more year, I will be able to have my Felony sealed and record cleared.
I still feel pathetic when I compare myself to others. Especially for still just being a food server at 40 years old. When I compare myself to the person that I used to be, I believe that I am doing quite well.
This ‘reset’ is taking longer for me than it would for others but like they say, ‘We didn’t become addicted in one day, So Easy Does It!’
Troy – Your comment really moved me and it made me think about what Joshua and this blog have been trying to get across to the readers – we need to redefine our idea of success. It sounds to me like you have found incredible success these past years and your reset is certainly something to be proud of!
I am planning to reset my life though it is not easy for Indian economically backward people. I have one thing only my courage.
Hoping for best in future. Ameen!
Karen Vanderkaay says
You are doing awesome Troy, thank you for sharing. What you do is important, the world needs food servers.
Michelle M says
I love this comment so much!!! Congrats! It isn’t easy but worth it. You’re an inspiration. Do not be surprised by how many of us your story resonates with. Thank you.
You are successful. You are clean and sober, have paid your debts, and have a job and money in your account. You don’t realize how far you have come and the good path you have put yourself on. You might be the light that another person needs to see their way to a better way of living. Don’t compare yourself to other people. Compare yourself to where you were and to where are have arrived. Keep up the good work and decide what is your next goal and proceed forward. Remember others may be struggling in ways and with thinga you don’t know about.
TJ Penn says
Thank you Troy for your honestly and the service you provide your community. I’m sorry so many people are so rude and unappreciative of those that serve us our food. You are a wonderful person and have my respect for all the resets you have done in life! I’m praying for you and hope that you talk with Jesus every day, he is my best friend and always lifts my spirit when I’m down 😊
K Blessed says
Troy! Way to go!!!!! You are doing amazingly well!!! Hang in there! Your new life is just within your reach!
Good bless you!
Rashmi Vaidya says
Resetting is easy when it involves just you. When you have to alter your lifestyle being in a close knit family, it is a huge task. You can’t impose your lifestyle and ideas on your husband or kids. It needs a collective agreement and mutual consent. Could there be a possible solution for this?
Dear Rashmi, I fully resonate with this. However, maybe if you are the only one that feels a reset is needed, then something else in the family might not be working.
Rashmi, I can hear you very well. We don’t have to reset up to 100%. Having said that, you can apply RESET to the aspects that you have control. You can RESET YOURSELF, YOUR INCOME, YOUR LIFESTYLE. Most likely, rest will RESET automatically by the time you gain benefits of your RESET.
Being a teenager I have been gone through lot these unusual days. My routines aren’t going well. But I thought for a while and understood that however one’s future and past may be what important is one’s present.So making one’s present perfect, enjoyable, productive, aesthetic and remarkable is necessary. Then I found your blog post and was happy to read and learn something. I myself felt the need for me to reset my life and bring my thoughts in action. Gonna try this. Wish me luck :)
As someone nearly 50 I just want to give you encouragement in your journey! I wish in my teens and 20’s I’d thought more consciously about the choices I was making instead of being on auto-pilot to just follow the “American dream”. My oldest child is in his first year of college and my other child is in 10th grade – I hope like you they will take time to focus on the present and not worry about the past or the future.
The message of this post resonated with me so much and the timing is miraculous! I came across this post while decluttering my overflowing unread e-mails. I am trying to declutter my e-mail because it gave me the same chaotic feeling similar to what I am currently feeling about my current circumstances. I am (technically) unemployed at the moment. Technically, because I still do have some workload to finish, which is long overdue, from my most recently ended job contract that is 4 months ago. Without active income for almost 7 months now, I lived off of my savings and emergency funds and I accumulated debts. I am broke as hell. With all the anxiety and stress from my career meltdown, I became more unproductive and mentally dysfunctional that my mental health issues took a toll on my schooling. My relationship with my siblings has been in chaos, my relationship with my parents is in chaos and my relationship with my boyfriend is in chaos! I can’t run to my friends because I know for a fact that they have problems to deal with, too. Everything around me right now is going down and in chaos. But I’ve been trying so hard to pick up the shattered pieces of my whole being, then I read this post. I sure do need that “RESET” button. Re-evaluate everything from the points mentioned, then try even harder to pick myself up from the rock bottom I’m buried right now. I still believe that better days are not out of my reach, but it sure will take a hell of a ride to reach one day! After all, it is really hard to deal with all of this alone.
Rica – your post has made me realize that this could happen to any of us but we don’t have to go through it alone. You are in my heart and I am with you about how life can be unfair. Keep writing and find support around you. Best to you, ovovov
Rebecca J. Casdidy says
S. Davis says
It’s very rare to find inspiration that moves you to do something. I’ve enjoyed your posts and inspirational outlook. It has provided so much clarity and has given me the strength to do more with what I have for others. I’ve been able to find ways to place positivity all around me from the things I do and wear. I found a great inspirational and self-love site called yeameapparel.com. Please share this with your readers, it has helped me and hopefully, it will help you and your readers. Keep going and I will keep reading! Thank you!
Laura sullivan says
I’m 81 in a week. I’m going to be single after 27 years. I know I can live with less and I believe this site will support me. Thank you.
I have been working toward minimizing my and my family’s life. It is just me and two of my sons are still at home. I am hitting reset by quitting my job. I’m a nurse and have been for 20 yrs and I’m just done. Hit a brick wall and tired of being miserable, always exhausted, and with WAY TOO MUCH responsibility on my shoulders on the job. I have no idea what I’m going to do, but it won’t be nursing! The beauty of minimalism, I don’t NEED much of anything so less money won’t really matter. I am ready for some peace.
I am pretty much the same without being a nurse. I like what you said;I have no idea what I’m going to do, but it won’t be nursing! I do not know my new direction yet but Feb 15 I am hitting reset and starting our new and next adventure in life.
Great and timely post, I think I am slowly starting to incorporate changes into my life, especially when it comes to cutting down on commitments and spending time doing things I really enjoy.
Leslie H. says
I completely agree. Other than continuously giving up my own needs to assist others (certainly a selfless, and equally self gratification endeavor), I want to conpletely free myself from excessive time consuming tasks, and just live and love the universe. I know the HUGE differences between needs and wants…
I an processing the grand gesture of recovering from bliss and then 12 years of instability and needs vs wants.
We are all a work in progress with self awareness.
This is excellent, thank you! I recently went to the podiatrist and over the past 5 years four members of our family have needed appointments with her. I left my appointment with the distinct impression that she’s doing exactly what she’s been called to do. I think part of a reset is when you know that you are doing exactly what you were made to do and you’ve left every hinderance behind!
Ephesians 2:10 & Hebrews 12:1-2
Thanks again, Joshua, for the excellent read!
Rachel Plummer says
Great post. I am leaving my job in less then a week because…well, it is no longer serving me. We started living minimally about a year ago and saving or donating 100% of my income, so we’re used to living smaller and that is allowing me to leave a job I hate. Love this lifestyle and all it ‘affords’!
Beautiful phrase. For me this year has been to reset my habit of social media. I have cut down on posting stories if any. I’m trying to stay away from my addiction. Because I’ve accepted it’s an addiction. This morning I decided each day take it a little step to get better at it. The problem is part of my job. I have to market myself for my business growth. For next year and decade I will work hard to limit it and have a social media calendar. For my private life no more. I feel if somebody wants to know about me they will call me or text me. Social media can be good for business, but don’t let it be an excused to keep in contact with family or friends. Call them, meet for coffee the human connection is essential.
I’m having trouble avoiding the lifestyle creep. I’m 35 and hit a plateau… my husband and I have always been doing big things and now it’s weird not to have these huge materialistic & outward goals. We were always busy reaching for the next thing; working through high school and college, getting married, building a house, growing our family, & quitting my job to stay home. Now we have buckled down to eliminate more debt and travel more but it’s hard not to envy those going to the next level in their career or moving to the bigger house. Help!
I know what we are doing is right for us but the temptation is so real and in your face.
CW – I am in a similar position. I took a step-down in my responsibilities/role to decrease stress and have more flexibility, but I find myself envious of co-workers or counterparts that continue to move up the ladder. Its difficult to ‘put the blinders on’ and stay focused on my priorities, and remember why I made the choice. I wish I had great advice to help, but wanted you to know you are not alone.
Thank you. I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way.
I’m able to avoid the glitter for awhile and then something catches my eye.
Sharon Payne says
Thank you for this article. My husband just retired from Pastoring a church for 25 yrs. We will be moving out of the really nice parsonage by late Spring. Your input is so good, but I’m just stuck trying to figure out how to reset everything right now. Physical move into something smaller and to be honest not near as nice, emotions of where we live now in the country vs being in a place where homes are up against each other, letting go of physical things we won’t be able to fit into where we may live next and resetting my own life to something different. Learning to reset everything is difficult and I just do not know where to start.
I think a lot of people pour theirselves into their jobs because they secretly crave purpose and meaning, which for we were designed. They feel like it gives them some purpose (even if they don’t realize) and therefore overindulge because their actual life feels unfulfilling. Not to mention the motivation behind working, money. I like to feel like my job has a purpose and I am giving back and do not over drive myself for the money aspect of it. I feel much better about my job that way.
I have been purging and decluttering for about three years now. I have been looking at the other areas of my life you mentioned, but have taken little action. It’s time to get the last of the big purge finished and turn my focus to these areas of life. I rest easier knowing my family will have so much less physical “stuff” to deal with when I am no longer able to. Getting these other areas in line with my new values will allow me a peace I have never experienced. What a wonderful way to live out the rest of my life. What a wonderful example to set for my children, who have so much of their life ahead of them. Thank you for this! Bless you and your wisdom.
Paul Falvo says
Concise and valuable – this post puts into words thoughts that I’ve been swirling around. I have been re-listening to “The Minimalist Home” on audio book and scheming.
Thank you, Joshua, for being you and for directing us to a higher purpose. I appreciate that you remind us to enjoy enough, to consume less, and use our abilities and resources to help others.
Christina gomez says
I love to give things away,I love to live without clutter. My main problem is gift buying when it’s not even a holiday. My heart loves to give. But I’m going to have to pray about restarting myself to be wise about my purchases,and what would be a better alternative,be it time with a person and an experience,say a movie,lunch,or a pedicure,because we are also called to be wise with our money. I found your Christmas list on your blog very helpful,thankyou.
Printing this out to talk to God about in my quiet time. I may never be a minimalist, but I definitely can revise some of these things in my life.
Sue Stefford-Grey says
Your suggestion that we reconsider our motivations was helpful to me. When I do that, I become aware of how much my fear of being hungry leads me to eat to prevent hunger, rather than to nourish my body and spirit. I also become aware that my craving for a beautiful home and a peaceful life cannot be satisfied by acquiring more stuff. All of this reminds me of what Eric Bern once said, “You can’t get enough of what you don’t really want.” I’m in the process of resetting, and it feels wonderful. Thank you. Sue
Laura Ann says
Sue: we reset back in Oct, unloaded a house and moved to a retirement community and now rent, no yard work, upkeep overall. More free time and downsized much and donated. Most people have stuff they don’t use or need. I still need to declutter some by Spring. Why leave a burden to others someday that would have to unload a bunch of stuff?
Sal Crosland says
This post really resonated with me Joshua. I think, like you, when I decided to become a Minimalist, I ‘reset’ lots of things in my life.
Nowadays, I have much more free time, I work for myself and have a lot less stress, but looking at your list made me realise there are a few things that I’m not happy with, especially finances and health! Those old habits die hard ;)
Thank you for the nudge and the motivation, it’s opened my eyes to having another reset!