This week, our Claire has been thinking about making a fresh start…

In my experience, when things no longer fit my purpose, it’s sometimes better to wipe the slate clean and start again than soldier on with something that just isn’t working. This helps me refocus on my ambitions for the future rather than ruminate on my failings of the past. This way of thinking even has a name – The Fresh Start Effect – with a whole area of psychology around it.

As I say, I have some experience of this. A decade ago, I made a momentous change in my life that required a virtual reset of my life. I’d been wanting to do it for years but fear of the unknown had prevented me. I also imagined that I would face a backlash from my husband and my family if I did it. However, not doing it was making me miserable. So I sought advice from a close friend and received some advice that’s proven so useful that I’ve typed it out as bullet points and kept it on the desktop of my computer ever since. It reads as follows:

  • The best question to ask yourself is “Where lies my future happiness?”
  • It needn’t be a black and white choice – there are many shades of grey.
  • Don’t worry about how you’ve felt in the past or what you’ve said. There’s often a fear block and it takes time for true feelings to win through.
  • It’s not a one-way street. Feel free to step backwards at any time and rest.

You’ll notice that the above is nothing like the adverts you’ll see at this time of year that promise you great rewards if you take advantage of the offer right this very second. Rather, it’s an invitation to take stock of your current situation and work gently towards your goals. Also unlike the adverts, it acknowledges there’ll be bumps along the road to where you want to get to. In other words, the advice I was given is realistic.

Now, don’t get me wrong, imagination can be a wonderful tool in setting new goals. After all, where would we get the ambition to set new goals if we couldn’t imagine a better life for ourselves? However, imagination can also sabotage us if we believe we can achieve the impossible. If we do that, sooner or later, reality will confront us and derail our ambitions. Conversely, if we don’t believe we can achieve what is possible, we may give up at the first hurdle or, worse, never even start.

So, looking back at that time in my life where I essentially hit reset, I can see that, yes, I did face challenges but I worked through them and sometimes around them. My world didn’t collapse like I feared and I got to where I wanted to be. Best of all, although there was some initial reluctance, my husband and family stuck with me and supported me. So now I regard that momentous decision to change, as daunting as it was, as one of the best I’ve made in my entire life.

If you want to make changes to your life, why not have a look at the What’s On page of this website? You’ll find many new activities to take part in from the comfort of your own home and you’ll also be supported by WHISC’s wonderful staff and volunteers. Also, don’t forget that, whether you’re going through good times or bad ones, WHISC are waiting to hear about it. So do give their Listening Ear service a call on 0151 707 1826 or, alternatively, leave a message on their Facebook page with your phone number and they will ring you back.