Start Over: mini-mission

Start Over: mini-missionWhat I like most about Spring and Easter is the idea of rebirth and new beginnings. When I see little flowers bursting through snowy ground, I’m inspired by their resilience and ability to start over every year.

Clearly flowers don’t have that little voice in their head whispering things like, “you already tried that and it didn’t work” or “you aren’t any good at that” or “you are a failure”.

This mini-mission invites to you to shut that little voice up and start over. Think about what worked and didn’t work the first time, and use that knowledge to improve the process.

  • If you started to write a book that you didn’t finish, start over or start again.
  • If you started a business that didn’t work out, start a new one.
  • If you started a relationship but got distracted, give it another try.
  • If you started to pay down your debt, but something came up, start over.
  • If you started any new great habit that didn’t stick, start over.

Starting over rarely means that you are back to square one. Sometimes you can pick up where you left off, or start fresh with a better direction or awareness of your strengths and weaknesses. We all know that doing the same thing over and over again is crazy making, so don’t do the same thing. Do the same thing better.

If starting over means admitting defeat, do that. If starting over means apologizing, do that. If starting over means, asking for help, do that too.

I started P90X today, again. I completed the 90 day exercise challenge last year and then started again early this year. After 2 days, I moved on and never went back. I could keep listening to that voice in my head that says…

  • You don’t have time
  • You can start tomorrow
  • You won’t finish so why bother
  • You have too much to do
  • You aren’t strong enough

Instead, I remind myself about how much better I felt after only a week of working out everyday. I remember how my eating habits naturally improved and how my arms felt and looked after 30 days of push-ups and other weight-bearing exercise. I will think about how my yoga improved and how much better I slept instead of the fact that I quit the last time.

Accountability helps you stick with a new commitment.

What do you want to start over? Leave a comment below. Make a commitment and be accountable.

For more experiments to simplify your life, read Mini-missions for Simplicity. It’s available on the Amazon Kindle store, but you don’t need a Kindle to read it. Kindle books can also be read using the Free Kindle Reader App for your Web Browser, PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android.


  1. says

    running…i had decided this morning to start again, and then i found your article!! lol! i guess that’s a sign? i started in january, and i have tapered it off, always giving the excuse that i have too much work (which, in my defense, is true…i’m a work at home mom who runs her own business) but i realized how my eating habits have declined since reducing my running, and how i feel achey again, after sitting for too long…running, here i come!! thanks for the kick in the pants!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Yippee Cherie! You will probably find that breaking away for 30-60 minutes to run will help you be more productive when you get back to work.

  2. says

    My yoga practice! I keep telling myself I will start a practice and I will do it 2 days a week, but then I don’t.

    I did find a class on Tuesdays about a month ago so in my mind I can’t get out of it (I try to make excuses though). So I am at 1 day a week and I want to move it to 2 days a week. I have a room that I call my yoga room, I should start using it!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Kourtney, I know this sounds crazy, but just commit to sitting in your yoga room for 5 minutes every day for the first week. It will help you to establish the habit of going there. The next week, maybe it’s 5 minutes of simple sun salutations or your favorite balance poses. Keep me posted!

  3. Nicola says

    I’m going to commit to getting my bmi from the obese class 1 category to the overweight category. Its only 4 pounds but I think its an achievable goal to start with.

  4. Becky F says

    Thought you’d like to know that your article came on a day I really needed to here this because I’m faced with rebooting my career. Again. Every word resonated with me and pulled me from the downward spiral I was in. Thank you.

  5. Laura says

    I got off track. I was walking every day. I am going to start back up and do that again. I am trying to get my breath back so I can do yoga again.

  6. says

    I will start my simplification coaching practice again. I’ve had my website for a couple of years however have not pursued anything after that. This is the year that I get clear and focus on what comes naturally to me. Cheers! :)

  7. Michelle says

    Great post. I’ve done P90X and it feels like I gain muscle but don’t lose any fat (I’m at my ideal weight to begin with but would like to be in better shape). Do you find you have that same experience at the beginning of the program?

    • Courtney Carver says

      Hi Michelle, The only big change I notice in the first 3 weeks is sore muscles and deeper sleep. 😉 Next comes defined muscles which must be a combination of building muscle and losing fat.

      • Michelle says

        Hmmm, maybe I’m doing something wrong. I had committed to getting back into the P90X routine last month but became frustrated when I started feeling like my clothes were fitting tighter. I think I’ll commit to working out and eating healthy,but not necessarily P90X. Then, I’ll be more likely to stick with it!

  8. says

    Writing – I’m committing to what I love most, what I often leave for last and then don’t end up doing. I’m committing. Thanks Courtney — let’s bring it!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Let’s bring it! I often think of you when I’m hanging out with Tony. Katie – your writing is so beautiful and moving. I can’t wait to see what you are working on.

  9. says

    Hi! This is a good and timely post for me. My reboot thing is to set goals that are specific or measurable. Instead of “work out more” my goal is to create an easy 20 minute routine to do 3x a week that I can acheive and remember, lol. (Though it seems I need to get myself an xbox!) Another example: I always set a goal of spending more time doing constructive/creative things with my boys. Again, very vague. So this month’s goal is to do a little baseball/soccer with them 3x a week, and to visit a museum this month.

  10. jen says

    I read your article just after an e-mail from my boss about my poor phone communication skills. I avoid the phone like the plague. I don’t answer it when customers call. I don’t return messages or voicemails. I am afraid of confrontation, so rather than answer the phone, I create more of a mess by being non-responsive to my customers.

    If anything, I think that this article might be a sign to me to start over. I need to kick this habit because it causes me a lot of stress and puts me on bad terms at work. I need a reboot of my attitude towards confrontation (real or imagined).

    My goal is to answer the phone once a day and see how that goes. Wish me luck!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Good luck Jen! Practice will really help with this skill. Try making some outgoing calls as well. You could call local museums and ask them about their upcoming events. Have a list of questions to ask. When you are working, just aim to help someone every time you answer the phone. If you can turn the focus to your customers, and away from you, it will help you engage without feeling nervous.

  11. says

    Hi there! I really like your advice on starting over it’s rung very true to me. Although it’s not Spring down here in South Africa the message is still valid. I’ve been starting over many things this year and have been really enjoying it. I’ve tried blogging before but could never settle on the myriad things to write on so I started over just after the ‘Spring/Autumn’ equinox on March 21st. My commitment is to write and write and write and create a space for the lifestyle I live: simple, slow, green, healthy, atheist and happy.

    Keep up on the exercise! It’s been my favorite change this year to try and learn Muay Thai which is a type of Thai kickboxing, in doing that and going a group/dojo there’s been a kind of comraderie and peer expectation thats helped me exercise when I least want to. I’ve never heard of the P90X but I have slowly been working up from 3X/week up to now about 6X/week and now that my neural networks are changing exercising everyday is becoming my default setting!

    • Courtney Carver says

      John, Congrats on restarting your blog. I love how nice and clean it is and the content looks great.

  12. says

    Love this, especially on this gorgeous sunny Saturday morning when I feel like I can take on anything.
    I am re-committing to my post-baby crunches. I’ve lost all the baby weight, but everything has kind of… shifted around a bit. My belly is aight, but needs toning. I have time for 200 crunches a day easily. I will do it. And I will look good in my bikini in a few months.

  13. Paula says

    Studying… after failing two times to a required test at work, i just felt like giving up and not bother to study nor take the exam again. You have inspired me to study even harder brushing up those chapters that i needed to and focus on the big picture instead of making myself feel like a failure and questioning my intelligence.
    Thank you, Courtney!

  14. Bill M says

    AH! Start over. Where? I like your article and now I need to decide where or what to start over. Financial. I think that is the most important at the moment. My music would be another and doing a complete house cleaning and organizing another. Money. We all want more and I need to start that all over; Get out of debt and chop up all the CCs in my CC/CD/Paper chopper.

    Thanks for the post.

  15. says

    I love your blog and read every issue I get. As a result I am becoming an ovo/lacto Vegetarian. I am new so I fall off about once a week. I have cut out cola drinks, nurtasweet, processed foods, and generally paying attention to my health. Starting over every day to undo old habits.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Hi Phyllis, Congrats on making amazing changes for better health. Go slow and enjoy the transition! Let me know if I can help.

  16. says

    For me, it’s running and exercising. I had surgery in January and I’m finally back to exercising again. But I’m bigger now. So, I’m starting that over and eating healthy. I will get back in to yoga and just be a better.

    On a side note, yes to the book. I have 4 unfinished books. I just can’t seem to finish them. So, I need to restart.

  17. says

    Your post is incredibly motivatinal. Absolutely amazing post. I will keep your beautiful and smart words in mind when dealing with challenges and changes in my life. So inspirational. Thank you soooo much :-)

  18. Belinda says

    Hello from Australia! It’s Autumn here now but Easter has still had me thinking about rebirth.

    Your post was perfect for me this morning! Since January I’ve slowly formed the habit of going to a weekly pilates class which I just love. I’ve been worrying for a few days because I’ll be having gall bladder surgery soon and I’m afraid that I’ll get out of the habit after all the recovery time.

    I’ve really tried to ditch the all or nothing mentality this year – I just hope I can pick up where I left off once I’m recovered.

  19. eva says

    I just filed for 1-year extension for my master’s degree. I have struggled to write my thesis with no success and it has me feeling very worthless about myself as an academic and a person. I am done with my coursework…this is what’s left.

    This summer I am going to start over. I am going to look for new literature, I am going to take new notes, I am going to look at my topic from a different angle. Or maybe I will try a different topic! I know I can do a good project if I believe in myself.

  20. ettaz says

    I needed this. Have just this morning decided to quit drinking my usual 8 mugs of instant coffee with lots of sugar, and to start walking again.


  1. […] “Every time I get upside down on a yoga mat, I am hit with creative inspiration. As soon as I step on the mat, I can feel things changing and then once I start my practice and do my first forward fold or downward dog, I am struck with an idea for a new project or post. My most creative moments usually come when I am walking or exercising and always on the yoga mat. That reminds me, I need to get to a yoga class!” Courtney Carver of  Be More With Less […]