In my supposedly brutally honest moments, I will admit that there is no such thing as starting over.
Each time I fail, starting over gets harder.
That time I quit writing every day, that time I decided to sleep in instead of waking up early to exercise, that time I started to get lazy about cooking homemade dinners, they all add up and starting over gets harder each time.
After all, isn’t the definition of perseverance keeping on keeping on when you have nothing left to keep on keeping on? Maybe not.
Sometimes, perseverance (and the ensuing success, no matter how hard won) can be as simple as letting go of the previous effort and making a complete break with it. And the best way to do that is to establish a new starting line.
So you lost the last race. Or stumbled. But you have the freedom to start another.
This became clearest to me when I started a 365 Days of No Yelling (at my children) Challenge with my friends. I realized that most of my temper tantrums occurred in the mornings – the most challenging of times with my children because there were chores to be done, then school and, let’s face it, sometimes working with children is like herding cats.
But there was another piece to this challenge and that was me. Because the way I saw my success or failure contributed to my struggle.
My internal dialogue told me early on in the morning that it was no use, they had already started to be difficult and it wasn’t even nine, and I should just give up and call off this challenge because, hey, if I didn’t scream and lose it, no one paid attention to me anyway. I needed a new starting line or lines, many, many little starting lines.
If one hour went badly, there was always another. Every day was another opportunity, every week a new beginning. A new starting line was available when I wanted it.