A Fresh Start (or how to begin again)

Jan 02, 2023

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Fresh starts are a necessity in life. A reset, a restart. The new year offers such a wonderful opportunity but what if we didn’t have to wait for a big event (like the changing of the calendar) to start fresh?

In this episode, I explore the idea of a fresh start, at any time, on any day, even hour to hour or moment to moment. I share my techniques of practicing this in my own life. And I examine the magic of newness, of showing up differently than we used to, of how to begin again.

“Every day we have, every hour, every moment is an invitation to start fresh, to start over. We always have the next moment ahead of us as yet unwritten, unlived, and full of possibility.”  – Dr. Sara Dill

What You’ll Learn

  • Magical openness
  • Stuck in reactivity
  • Break the cycle, begin again
  • Meditation practice
  • Fresh mind, fresh heart

Contact Info and Recommended Resources

Podcast Episodes that pair well with this one:

Connect with Sara Dill, MD, The Doctor’s Coach


I'm Dr. Sarah Dill, and this is the Stress Less Physician Podcast, episode number 47.

Welcome to the Stress Less Physician Podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Sara Dill, MD. Using my unique combination of coaching and mindfulness tools, I will teach you practical ways to reduce your stress level, feel happier at work, and create a better balance between your medical career and personal life. If you are a busy practicing physician who wants to design a life and medical career that feel good to you, you are in the right place.

Everyone, welcome back to the podcast. Happy 2023. If you are listening to this, the day it comes out, it will be the very beginning of 2023. January 2nd, in fact. I wanted to talk today about this idea of a fresh start and for whatever reason, it makes me think about going back to school, which I know is a completely different time, at least in the United States than the new year.

It was always exciting to go back to school shopping, especially for notebooks and paper and pens. And I loved just the idea of all of that blank paper, all of everything ahead of me. Everything to be filled in and written and learned. And that's what I was thinking about, thinking now about the beginning of 2023.

I know I just did a podcast on goal setting for a more amazing life, and I guess this sort of ties into it. But this is actually a fresh start, both in the sense of a fresh start of our year if you're listening to this when the podcast comes out and a fresh start in general. I love the idea of a fresh start of starting over. It's the idea of a blank slate or a blank piece of paper, and there's something about the blankness that is full of possibility. It's like a do over, a start over. Starting fresh.

I love to think that 2023 can be whatever you want it to be. I remind myself that 2023 can be whatever I want it to be. What do I want it to be? What do you want it to be? Thinking about this I tend to feel really excited and exhilarated. I almost get a little giddy sensation, and for me it feels like freedom when I think of the possibilities that are available in this fresh start. In this future possibility, it feels fresh and open and full of all sorts of unknown possibilities. It sort of feels magical to me, this idea of a new year and even the idea of a new day, a fresh start, a new moment.

And of course the same is true of every day we have, and really every hour, isn't it? Every day we have, every hour, every moment is an invitation to start fresh, to start over. We always have the next moment ahead of us, as yet unwritten, unlived, and full of possibility. Every morning we open our eyes and we start fresh.

But for so many of us, we don't really appreciate that possibility. And so it doesn't really feel like a fresh start, like a do-over like a blank piece of paper, like a world of possibility. How often do we think about it that way? How often do we intentionally decide how we want to think and feel and show up in our fresh new day? And now also in the fresh new year ahead of us, in 2023.

It's sort of amazing just to think about, again, notice when you think about it that way, or even ask yourself the question, how do you feel? Do you feel excited, exhilarated? Do you have a sense of freedom, of possibility, of magical openness,? This is a tool. It's basically an awareness tool that I like to cultivate and practice as much as possible, as much as I can remember to.

We often get stuck in these habits of moods, stuck in how we show up in our own reactivity, in recreating the same life or the same life experience, at least for ourselves day after day. It's sort of like that movie Groundhog Day. I don't know if you've watched that, but how many of us feel like we're living Groundhog Day and not in a good way? And patterns of habitual reactivity. Maybe a vague sense of unhappiness or stress, or a feeling of not having a lot of autonomy or ability to change.

And again, it doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with the routine of our lives and the rituals we have and that maybe we cultivate. I love to have my ritual, a routine of coffee in the morning of walking my dog. There's nothing wrong with the patterns we find ourselves in, especially if they're ones that we enjoy, that serve us, that create pleasure and enjoyment and connection.

Having coffee in the morning is a way that I actually really enjoy that moment. I remain very aware of it and alert to it and grateful for it. So I think routine and rituals can be helpful and necessary and enjoyable, but it can also be useful to notice the freshness of each day and each moment, in this sense, freshness and newness and possibility.

Can we check in and make sure that we're living a life that we want to be living? Are we showing up how we wanna show up moment to moment, day by day, month by month, year by year? Can we check in and make sure that we're not bringing into the fresh new moment, the fresh new year patterns and habits and beliefs that aren't serving us any longer, or that we don't want to be bringing forward into the next moment?

So in the practice of mindfulness, and in my meditation practice that I do, there's a technique - it's very common - in which you try to focus on something. Typically it's focusing on your breath, but it could be focusing on sound or a different physical sensation in your body. So you're focusing on your breath, maybe you're counting your breath, and inevitably, usually pretty quickly, your mind will get distracted and it will wander, and suddenly you'll be lost in trains of thought on other things.

And then eventually when you become aware that your attention is wandered from your breath, or whatever you are focused on, the guide is to just note it and return to the breath. You just begin again, and the key here is to begin again without self-judgment or recrimination or a whole lot of drama. You just start over, fresh start, begin again. And so this is an idea that I really like, and this is how I like to live my life. I tell myself, I remind myself, I believe that I am always allowed and able and encouraged by myself to begin again.

So if I get upset about a patient encounter, maybe it's someone who was late or someone who was arguing with me, or someone who you know was yelling at me or whatever, can I just notice it and then let it go? Can I begin again? Can I move on to the next patient with a fresh mind, fresh start, a fresh attitude, a fresh heart, open, and not bringing in that last patient encounter?

Maybe for you, you might notice that there's something you've been wanting to change or do, but you haven't followed through. For a lot of us, it's about weight loss or health or changing jobs or whatever it is. Maybe you're feeling disappointed in yourself or judging yourself or anything. Can you notice that you haven't started or you haven't made the change, and rather than beat yourself up or shame yourself or judge yourself, can you just allow yourself to begin again?

Start over. Blank slate. Fresh start. No big deal, right? I use this as a mini mantra for myself all the time. I just say, begin again. Maybe you could just say fresh start, do over, whatever resonates for you. That would be easy. I just like begin again, works for me.

But I would invite you just to try it out. See how this works for you. See what happens. It's a way of getting yourself out of the habit of being ourselves, of bringing or indulging in whatever moods or thoughts that we are in that we might not wanna stay in. And starting over of seeing the freshness and newness of the next moment, of the next day, of the next year, of the rest of our life.

Notice all the possibilities out there. Do you feel like 2023 is full of possibilities for you? If not, why? Can you get curious? What are you believing instead? There's just gonna be a bunch of thoughts. Do you believe that you can always just begin again? That every day, every moment is an opportunity for a fresh start for you again? If not, why? What are you believing instead? And maybe whatever you believe, you can just begin again right now, fresh start. I hope you have a beautiful day and a wonderful week, and I will talk to you soon. Bye.

If you are a busy practicing physician, ready to start feeling less stressed, enjoy work more and learn how to create a more balanced and sustainable medical practice and life, sign up for a consult call with me at Saradill.com. It would be my privilege and pleasure to work with you.

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