Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Time For a Do-Over by Kitty Bucholtz


j0178553One of my favorite things about January is getting a whole new year's worth of do-overs. I loved do-overs as a kid, and I love them even more now. This past year has easily been my worst - three family members died, and over a dozen of my friends' family members died. And that was just one part of how my year went badly.
Lena, the heroine of "Rescue at Loon Lake", my story in the anthology Moonlit Encounters, found it difficult to get past her husband's death while living in the same city. She decides to move to a new town for her do-over. Sometimes that works, but for most people it doesn't.
A few years ago, I came up with a method that works for me: hitting the restart button. Any of us can hit the restart button at any time of the day, any day of the year. We just need to remember that the button exists.
Restart Your Attitude
The most important tool in your toolbox is your attitude because your attitude affects everything else. It is also one of your most vulnerable tools. When you catch your attitude taking a dive, stop for a mental moment and hit the restart button.
When you're careful to keep your attitude positive, the parts of your life that are going well will go even smoother. And when life gets rough, a healthy attitude will keep you from getting totally beat up. It's not always easy, but you can hit that restart button as many times as you need to. A few weeks after my mom's death, I was hitting it a couple times an hour. It's part of what kept me from getting caught in a riptide of grief.
Restart Your Actions
Everything you spend your time doing builds who you are. Your actions build your intellect, your career, your character. What you don't do also shapes who you become. Getting caught up in the thousands of possibilities of 21st century life can derail even our best intentions. Derailment happens to me regularly - unless I remember to hit the restart button.
Goal!
Goal!
Over time, I've accumulated and shared all the time management and goal-setting information I've tried. Every January, I teach an online class to help other writers find the methods of "getting things done" that work for them. When you try something new and it doesn't work, hit restart. When you keep doing what you know doesn't work, hit restart. The button never wears out, no matter how often you find yourself using it.
Restart Your Commitment
Your attitude and your actions are important, but you also need to keep yourself committed to your goals and plans. It's fine to change your mind, but if you change it over and over again, you won't make any real progress in a given direction.
Feel like giving up? Hit the restart button. What is one tiny thing you can do today that keeps you committed to your purpose? What are the top three things? Don't let yourself be intimidated by your multi-page To Do list (I know I'm not the only one), just take a deep breath and remind yourself why you decided this is the path you want to be on (whatever that path is).
It's going to be January for three more weeks. Lots of time to work on a few do-overs in your life. But remember this for the rest of the year - every morning is also a new start. It's never too late to work on becoming the person you were always meant to be.

Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her first novel, Little Miss Lovesick, is now available in print and ebook format. Her next novels, Love at the Fluff and Fold and Unexpected Superhero, will be released in 2013. Her short stories can be found in the anthologies Romancing the Pages and Moonlit Encounters, available in both print and ebook format.