On Starting Again

asweatlife_On Starting Again

Things end. It’s inevitable. Relationships, your favorite TV series, Sundays, and sometimes even your workout routine hits deadlock.

I’m no physicist, but I often think of parts of my life in the terms of Newton’s first law of motion. For those of you who need a quick refresher, it states,

“Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.”

I like routines. I function well under them, and I operate at peak levels when I am entirely “too” busy. An object in motion stays in motion... That’s probably why my mom would say I have a problem with saying “yes” to too many things. Want to go to this event? Yes. Want to work on this project? Yes. Want to run a marathon? Eee, that sounds awful, …sure why not. Yes, yes, yes.

“Yes” can be great. “Yes” can push our limits, present us remarkable experiences and make us overall better, well-rounded people. I encourage you to “yes,” but there will be a point where it has to be “no.” Sometimes it’s an internal “no;” I like to believe that I can discern when I reach this point and can thoughtfully choose to say “no,” but that (admittedly) does not happen enough. More often than not, “no” for me comes from an external factor, or “force,” if you will: time, money, injuries, other people and variables I just can’t control.

Inertia can be defined as the resistance of any physical object to any change in its state of motion. A classic example of inertia is the movement your body makes when someone slams on the breaks in a car (always wear a seatbelt, friends).

I often describe stopping points in my life – a breakup, a sudden change of pace, graduation, the end of a job, the realization that the donut I was eating is now gone – as a period of inertia. It’s human to resist change, even when that change is for the better. Sometimes you have to just deal with your moment of inertia, pick yourself back up, and move on in a new direction. This, of course, is easier said than done.

So, your workout routine has stopped/your healthy lifestyle is on a hiatus/you aren’t running anymore?

Maybe you got the brakes slammed on you when you weren’t expecting it.

Maybe work has taken over your life.

Maybe you have too much on your plate.

Maybe you just lost sight of your New Year’s resolutions.

If you’ve stopped something good in your life (whatever it is) and you can’t seem to begin again, it’s time to evaluate the damage and start picking up the pieces. Yes, you can.

Here’s how you can in three steps: think, plan and do.

1. Think:

Before jumping back into motion, take a moment and to think it over – and really think it over. What was it that made you stop? Is it important to you to start again – and if so, why? Be honest, is it good or bad for you? Sometimes we need to get back up on the horse; sometimes there is a reason for “no” and a time to embrace an ending.

Think about how starting again will affect you. Do you have time for this? If not, can you make time? This might be an exercise in re-evaluating your priorities. Sometimes to begin new we have to eliminate some old.

Remember: you don’t have to do it all. Be deliberate in your choices of what you want to do.

2. Plan

So you’ve made the mental decision to begin again. Now what? Baby steps, of course. Change doesn’t happen overnight; it’s important to keep our eyes on our goals and know they still CAN happen over time. Your goals won’t instantly present themselves to you wrapped up neatly in a bow. (Yes, even if you ask them politely. Goals can be so stubborn).

The bridge from “here and now” to “there and better” is a game plan.

Are you trying to get back into a workout routine? Plan out what you are going to do this month and be as detailed as possible. Sign up for classes, write it down in your calendar and talk to others about it to keep yourself accountable. Set specific goals and give yourself a timeline. Make yourself a new workout/running playlist. The more prep you can do now to make it easier to get up and go do it later, the better.

Remember: give yourself some breathing room in your planning and be patient with yourself. Your plan should be approachable, even if it scares you a little.

3. Do

You’ve given yourself time, you’ve thought it over, and you’ve planned it out. Now it’s show time.

It might suck. You might not want to go. You might have a hard time prying yourself out of bed.

During my biggest struggles with starting over,

in the days where I look into the mirror and barely recognize myself and want to curl up into a ball and quit,

during the times when I feel stuck and can’t start, make, prepare or move,

I tell myself,

Today, you are a machine. A robot of yourself. You are going to get up, you are going to pour yourself a cup of coffee, and then you are going to continue on doing what you need to do until it no longer feels this way. At some point this will feel natural again. Maybe not right this moment, but someday. Until then, robot mode will have to do, because robot me is moving in the right direction – forward and on with my life.

Just do it. Just show up. Stick to the plan. Get your momentum back. Take a deep breath, stand up, and here we go…

Remember: it won’t be perfect, effortless or painless. Don’t give up now, you’ve made it to the starting line; you’ve got to make an appearance in order to make a change.

You’ve stopped, you’ve reset, and you can try again. Have faith in yourself. Yes, you can. You can, and in time, you will.

Keep moving forward.


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About Cass Gunderson

Cass hails from the southwest suburbs as a proud White Sox fan and a graduate of University of Illinois. By day, Cass is a full-time student at the University of Chicago's Booth Graduate Business School. Before deciding to throw away all her money to go back to school, Cass worked for a private equity firm that buys technology companies. Raised as the youngest in a family of older brothers, Cass grew up a tomboy and remains active in sports. To her mother’s satisfaction, Cass learned how to embrace her feminine side in college and has developed an interest for fitness activities that require spandex as opposed to knee-length basketball shorts. In her spare time, she runs a lot because it is cheaper than paying for real therapy. Cass has completed four marathons and one ultramarathon (she claims she'll never do this to herself again, but that's TBD). She can still be found on the basketball courts in Lincoln Park wearing knee-length basketball shorts.

2 thoughts on “On Starting Again

  1. “An object in motion stays in motion” is one of my favorite things to say to myself- love it!

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