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Begin again

How do you create a truly fresh start for yourself without doubt, cynicism and old habits kicking in? Anita Chaudhuri investigates

The onset of autumn always carries that backto- school vibe and the glorious promise of a fresh start. There’s something about the month of September that finds me lingering in stationery shops, sizing up planners and lusting after ruinously priced Caran d’Ache felt-tipped pens.

It’s great to be given a second chance, but how can we ensure that we will definitely commit to creating real change this time, instead of procrastinating and frittering away precious hours binge-watching Nordic noir box sets – or maybe that’s just me?

My problem is that I am usually overwhelmed by too many ‘this year I must’ goals – the completion of that final book draft, a new fitness regime and a photography project to name but three. Add to the mix a chronic allergy to life admin and you have a recipe for chaos.

I was about to write, with a straight face, that I don’t have enough time for fresh starts, but that would be a lie. What I have, in fact, is a surfeit of time. Working from home means that my nine-to-five is unstructured; my workday a shiny block of marble waiting to be chiselled into meaningful form.


Every morning, I struggle to get started and, before I know it, two hours have vanished. Then I panic and flap into action. By the time lunchtime rolls around, I tell myself that I don’t have time to make a proper lunch or go to the gym because I need to catch up.

Clearly some strategic advice is needed, so I seek coaching from Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning (Hodder & Stoughton, £9.99). If anyone can help me, surely it’s him. Elrod has had an impressive number of new beginnings in his life, including complete recovery from a car crash that left him for dead, the collapse of his business after the 2008 financial crash and, more recently, his recovery from acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, which only has a 30 per cent survival rate.

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