Today I revisited an article I love for inspiration and guidance about starting over, by Phillip Moffitt. Here is the link:
And here are the sections that really touch me:
Firstly, he discusses the fact that instead of trying to figure out why we are engaged in a behavior we wish to change (for me that is binging), we need to just let it go and start over.
He says, "You have the notion that you must know why you have a problem and that you must get rid of it before you can act in a more self-empowering manner. Starting-over practice takes a different approach. It switches your focus away from dwelling on those characteristics that limit you and redirects it toward recognizing the strengths from which you can realize your potential."
I love this because I often get so caught up in figuring out why I'm binging and then why I'm not stopping and then why I did it again. To Moffitt, this is a waste of energy.
He says, "free yourself from your judging mind that thinks it can control results and creates the grandiose expectation that you can do more than you can do in the present moment. You become a more effective person by simply learning to use your time and energy to do what you can do right now."
And to me this is key. Doing what I can do right now, instead of dwelling on what I've done!
Moffitt says, "Starting-over practice is like this—you attend as best you can to the immediate situation that is challenging you."
I also like the way Moffitt explains how to follow this practice of starting over (which sounds like a simple thing to do, but actually requires attention and effort).
He says, "shift your attention away from controlling the outcome, and you abandon your usual reactions to getting off track (criticizing, judging, complaining, and lamenting)...You then follow the acknowledgment with what I call "and" practice, in which you say to yourself, "Yes, I just got lost, and now I'll just start over."
I love this phrase. "I just got lost and now I'll start over." It's calming and nonjudgmental and easy to institute in any unskillful moment.
Another great takeaway is that our focus must be on the journey, not the goal. And when we aren't caught up in judging ourselves or reliving our mistakes, we have the energy and strength to move on and start again.
Lastly, Moffitt explains that this practice requires patience and repetition (like any new habit we try to form), but that in the end it is a much more effective way of achieving a goal than to just focus on that goal all the time.
He says, "When you embrace starting over as a practice, you focus instead on what you are doing right now and what you need to do or are failing to do. Thus, if you discover you are overeating in this moment, you simply stop eating...No drama; you just get right back on your path and start over....Patience allows you to tolerate the times you fail and the times you then forget to just start over. Determination brings into play the essential energy for directing your attention back to what needs to be done right now. Both are supported by loving kindness toward yourself, combined with a recognition of how hard it is to stay the course when making change."
So I know that I got lost and now I'm starting over...