Starting Over is Easy!

I love to bring in the new year. It’s a time to reflect on the past and chart the future. As we adjust to writing 2022 instead of 2021 on our time-stamped documents, I want to point out a key value that we can take from the tradition of bringing in the new year which can actually be employed much more frequently.

I’m talking about starting again.

It’s a fantastic feeling to realize that you can always start again. I’m not talking about throwing away previous work, by the way. What I mean by starting again is to imagine that the next moment or task, regardless of whatever came before it, is the very first moment of a brand new chapter in life.

Imagine you’ve decided to wake up every morning just a little bit early so that you can prepare yourself a truly enjoyable breakfast. Maybe at first it was happening pretty smoothly, but as weeks turned into months, maybe you wake up one day and realize that the behavior has gotten away from you and you think, “I’m really dropping the ball on breakfast lately.”

Starting again means taking a moment to yourself and saying, “This moment at least is brand new, and offers the opportunity to jump back into breakfast with a fresh start.”

I’m always amazed by how effective this little trick can be to get back into action.

But does that mean we’re stuck in a cycle of starting over and over again forever? Not exactly. There’s an interesting observation that has been made regarding behavior change. With each successive attempt at changing a given behavior, we are ever more likely to succeed in making the change stick.

That’s right! Each time you try, you’re actually more likely to get it to stick!

This is extremely encouraging to me, because it offers hope for those of us who sometimes fall away from our best intentions. It proves that our failures are only failures if we stop trying. And when I think about all of that, it makes me feel optimistic for humanity, despite the obstacles we face.

Working in education is hard. All of us in this arena strive and fall each day. It goes with the territory. But we must remember that, if we keep getting up, we will succeed.

So let’s give ourselves permission whenever we fall from our best intentions to take a moment, take a breath, and start again.

P.S. When you are ready, there are three great ways that we can support your school culture efforts this semester…

#1 – Host a campus relationships workshop for staff.

#2 – Book school assemblies for your students.

#3 – Offer an SEL focused leadership summit to your campus. 

JC Pohl, LMFT
President & CEO, TEEN TRUTH

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