Updated: Jul 15, 2020
Have you ever noticed that any time something goes wrong with a piece of technology, we’re told to “turn it off and turn it back on again”? And it works. This is called a reset, and it’s effective for people, too.
The definition of reset is “to set again or differently.”
As a tool for getting where you want to be or achieving your goals, this is incredibly powerful! You can hit the reset button to get something different. Something that is more you. Something that is more in line with what you want. Something that is how you actually want to feel.
In my own life, I utilize resetting as a strategy for staying on track and navigating my days with more ease. It doesn’t have to be a major life decision or a massive change that makes you want to hit the reset button. It can be as simple as a pause in your day to emotionally reset. It could be taking a half-day off to avoid burnout and reset your energy levels. Or, it could be a major reset, like what I did when I gave up my stable, 13-year career to launch my own business while I had a 4-month-old at home! Either way, the principle behind hitting reset and the outcomes from doing so are the same.
If you’re not sure if you need to hit reset or not, here are some signs to look out for:
Pain or stiffness in your body - Our bodies give us strong indications that something needs to change. Tense muscles or stiff joints might be a sign that you’re resisting something strongly or holding onto something too tightly.
Friction and frustration - Where there is ongoing friction or frustration, there is an opportunity for doing something differently. Take stock of where you are experiencing either of these and see if there is something you would like to change.
Dread/dragging your feet - This is also known as “Ooh! Let’s clean out that closet instead!” syndrome. If you find yourself wishing you could be anywhere other than where you’re heading or doing something other than what you need to be doing, consider whether or not there’s a way you can explore a different approach.
Once you’re ready to explore, here are some quick tips for leveraging the strategic advantage of hitting reset.
Give yourself permission to reset
It is okay to reset! Even if you don’t know what’s coming next. Sometimes, particularly if you’ve been ignoring the urge to do so for a while, it will become vitally necessary to reset. Burnout, fatigue, all-around crankiness, and sometimes even physical illness are all strong signals you’re in need of a reset. Whatever your situation is, listen to that inner voice asking you to pause and do things differently.
Hit that reset button, baby!
Whether it’s a minor, momentary reset or a major overhaul type of reset, my process tends to be the same. I just may spend a little more time in some of the areas listed below in the event of a larger reset.
Start by taking a timeout to settle your physical being. Breathe slowly and let your heart rate slow down. I like to use a variety of breathing techniques because I tend to spin off into my to-do list if I’m “just” doing deep breathing. A little structure goes a long way!
Next, complete a quick inventory of how you’re feeling. No judgment, no concrete action items, just take a minute to tune in to see what’s going on emotionally. I do this to make sure I’m in an optimal space for a reset. If I tune in and find I’m feeling angry or super distracted, it may not be the best time for me to try and reset. On the other hand, if I’m feeling open or optimistic or dare I say, even positive, it could be conditions are good for a reset!
Now it’s time to grab a journal, your laptop, or an app for taking notes on your phone, and jot down some answers to the following questions.
Why do you want to reset?
What do you want to be different after it?
Answering those two questions will help you gain clarity around what comes next. As you really understand WHY you want to reset, it will illuminate needed areas of change. “I want to hit reset because I’m tired of being so tired all the time! I feel drained and want to have my energy back again.” Ok! Now we’re talking! You’re ready to move onto action steps.
Your next assignment is to strategize action steps. I like to start by doing a full brain dump of every possible action I could take that would get me closer to the different state I’m trying to achieve. Once it’s all out - and I mean ALL - even seemingly insignificant things like buying a new mouse pad or changing your toothpaste brand - move on to strategic organization. Take that list and assess each item based on the framework: “What is highest value AND most strategic?” As you identify the highest-value/most strategic items, put them into a chronological list of what you will tackle first. Then, get time to accomplish those items scheduled on your calendar and get to work!
Look for the strategic advantage of your reset
Once you’ve hit reset, identified a different way of moving forward, and have started doing the work to make your changes, the real fun begins! You get to start enjoying the advantages of your reset. Keep your eyes peeled for positive ways your reset is benefiting you. How do you feel? What are you noticing? What opportunities are presenting themselves? Where is help or ease presenting itself?
Hitting reset can feel like a radical action, even if you’re squeezing it into a 4-minute bathroom stall getaway between meetings. However, intentionally hitting reset lays the groundwork for your next best step and is one of the most powerful ways to propel you forward. Good luck in the journey, and remember to enjoy it along the way!
And PS - you can hit reset as many times as you want!
Nicole Lance is a women’s leadership development expert, facilitator, executive coach, speaker, strategic planner, and promoter of self-care. She is passionately committed to helping organizations and individuals succeed in reaching - and reaching beyond - their goals.