I remember talking to a good friend of mine a couple of months before we moved to St Leonards-on-Sea last year when I made (what she thought) was a fascinating remark.
As I was in the process of downsizing and moving home from the countryside of Hertfordshire to the seafront of Hastings in order to be better off financially, she asked me how I had come to that decision, I said to her, “I’ve decided to hit reset on our life.”
I continued telling her, “For too long I’ve overextended myself financially, and it’s time to take whatever steps are necessary to start fresh. I don’t know what I was thinking of living like that for so long, but it’s time to hit reset on our lives. So I donated / gave away / sold / threw way more than half of our belongings (which is an on-going process). I began decreasing our essential living costs like water, electricity, phones, broadband etc. and started living within a tighter budget – just to challenge myself.”
My friend found the phrase to be almost magical. “I’ve decided to hit reset on our lives.”
For as long as I can remember, I was brought up with the mentality that the more stuff I had, the wealthier I’d be – even if I went into debt to be able to afford those things – this, of course, did not end well as you can imagine.
So last year, I simplified my overall life to a whole new level, decreased my essential living costs by 50%, paid off my credit card debt, set budgets for every category; groceries, bills, house, travel etc., paid the essential bills a year in advance and then set-up weekly standing orders so I wouldn’t have to worry about them anymore AND I (finally) started living WITHIN MY MEANS!
In speaking with my friend, I was reminded of 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.
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. 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, Khushi and I were far from on the same wavelength, but with time, she did realise how overwhelmed she’d get when her stuff took over her room and it was all a big mess.
But I can promise you one thing; life reset is possible – I literally do it every year – as I am a lifelong learner, I constantly learn grow and evolve, so the things I thought were important to me at the beginning of the year when I set my intentions, a few months down the line, they didn’t feel nearly as important anymore.
As you know, I am a single mother soon to hit my mid-forties with a teenage daughter. If I can hit reset during this stage of life, so can you.
Here are some of the places I look to reset:
1. Look hard at your spending
If the idea of minimalism is brand-new to you, it is very likely lifestyle creep (when an individual’s standard of living improves as their discretionary income rises and former luxuries become new necessities) has crept into your life more than you realise. 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 – I’ve been guilty of this in the past. 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.
3. Question your 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 – WHY we do what we do. When we don’t actively keep our motivations in check, unhealthy ones begin to emerge.
5. Evaluate your relationships
People are not things and choosing which relationships to keep and which to remove is not as simple as de-cluttering your home. 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? In the past year, I’d had to reset my own relationships, some were very draining and didn’t add value to my life, some I reconnected with.
6. Be honest about your habits
Sometimes, the habits we develop to 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.
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 and when you need to.