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.