How Can You Tell When It’s Time to Pause and Reset? 3 Good Indications and Powerful Questions to Ask.

If you want to make good decisions and have the stamina to excel in light of those good decisions, you will have to embrace the benefits of pause.

In a society that seems to value haste and busyness, the reflective and replenishing pause may not be viewed favorably—even from some who may verbally encourage you to do it. It’s not that they don’t have your best interest in mind and heart, but they may not truly understand the benefits, experientially. If it’s not a regular practice in their own life, it will be difficult to promote its benefits to someone else. That’s precisely why you need to know for yourself when it’s time to pause and hit reset.

I’m learning in my own life the value of stepping away, powering down, removing distractions, and pressing pause for a designated period of time. There are many key indicators that this is necessary, and it’s different for everyone. Not only is it different for everyone, but it may change for everyone according to the season of life they are experiencing.

Living your purpose means giving yourself permission to pause. It may not be valued in society, but it is vital to pursuing excellence in purpose. In the pause, we hear most effectively. Our thoughts are slowed and our mind becomes clear. We aren’t wasting mental energy trying to hold on to too much information. As exhausting as that is, we do it subconsciously every single day—all day. Because we may not be physically exhausted, we sometimes think we don’t need to rest and reset. I believe a mental reset is just as important as a physical reset. And we are not pausing to reset if we take time off and continue to move at the same pace mentally. There must be a shift in our thinking if pausing is to be truly beneficial, giving us the resurgence we will need to continue in purpose.

Listed below are some considerations to take away and some questions to ask yourself. All of them have been true indicators in my life at one time or another that I need to pause and reset. Today, I don’t hesitate for one moment to shut things down and take a decisive pause when I recognize those listed and many more. Pausing is part of your purpose!

It may be that time:

  • When stress has you trapped in a perpetual brain fog. My friends and I joke about this one a lot, but it is nonetheless true. When there is a perpetual cloud looming and blocking clear thought patterns, this is a significant indicator that it’s time to pause and reset. There is a direct correlation between stress and brain fog. We need a healthy amount of stress in our life. For most people, it helps them to get things done efficiently. But when stress (not having the capacity for the task) is overwhelming, it becomes increasingly difficult to get even the smallest tasks done at peak performance. This type of stress shuts down the prefrontal cortex—the cognitive area of the brain where decisions are made. It’s no wonder when we step away from it all, we begin to think more clearly, and some things become much more apparent to us. Ideas and strategies begin to flow almost effortlessly. If you are trapped here, think about taking an extended break to reset.
    • Ask these questions:
      • When I was able to think clearly consistently, what was my stress level?
      • What would it be like to return to that level of stress again?
      • How would it benefit me and those around me?
      • In what area of my life should I begin taking action?
      • What could be my first step?
  • When you’re losing momentum in purpose. You were moving steadfastly in your purpose until recently, but lately, things seem kind of blah. And that’s probably dressing it up a bit. It feels like you’re in a crowded intersection with people moving swiftly around you, yet you’re moving in slow motion. It’s not that your purpose has changed, but you’re at an impasse. Take a break! This observation may mean it’s time to pause and reset your intention. If we take our eyes off the plan (for some people, even momentarily), we may become distracted and eventually disheartened. I believe even the most successful people will agree. And by successful people, I mean those who have embraced God’s plan for their lives and have dedicated everything to fulfill it. I believe they will admit that fulfilling God’s plan has not always been upwardly linear, and there have been times when the pace has slowed significantly. Though completely normal, we may not see it as normal. If we stay in that space too long, we could abort the plan. Stepping away to regain perspective is crucial to continue.
    • Ask these questions:
      • What would moving faster get me that I don’t already have right now?
      • What could be some of the detriments for moving too swiftly before I’m ready?
      • What are the benefits of embracing God’s pace for the plan’s unfolding?
      • What can I take away to encourage me and my efforts as I continue trusting His unfolding?
  • When you’re considering your past more favorable than your future. I love that the apostle Paul reminds us to forget those things that are behind us and to reach for those things that are ahead (Phil. 3:13). He calls this the one thing! It is the one thing we have to constantly remember—good, bad, ugly, or indifferent—yesterday is gone forever. People who remember the past as more favorable than their future may be thinking about their past successes. Not that we can’t remember those past accomplishments and smile, but to view those as more favorable than what God has planned for us in the future is limiting at best. I ran a half-marathon in 2013, and on occasion, I reminisce about the whole event. But now it’s 2021 and I’m eight years older. I’m not saying that I cannot do it again, but if I am going to do it, I have to believe that there is favor for this ability in the future. . . and get my head out of the past. Don’t limit what you can do in the future because of some past victory. There are victories in your future. There are many more successes to be had, even if they look different from the past ones. Schedule a pause, get out on the balcony of your life, and hit the reset button. The future is bright!
    • Ask these questions:
      • What were you experiencing in your life during that successful event(s)?
      • What would it take to experience it again presently and in the future?
      • What would it look like if you had all the pertinent pieces in place now?
      • What motivation is available to you when you focus on creating the future you desire?
      • Where might you begin to create it?
      • What support might you need?

Where are you in this post?

Take a few moments to assess.

I know there is more to do. But there will always be more to do. You want to have the bandwidth and capacity to do them with excellence. This necessitates periodic pauses for reflection, replenishment, and reset.

Where do you need this in your life? How are you going to get it?

Let’s talk. Leave a comment.

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