Resetting into Retrograde

Zavia Pittman 

Staff Writer

We all need a good reset, right? Well… maybe that’s the problem.

These last couple of weeks have been brutal. If I had to describe how I felt, I would say that I feel like I’ve been jumped by seven MMA fighters whilst being on fire.

Hyperbole aside, as the end of the spring semester draws closer, the pressure to finish assignments and group projects has weighed heavily on my mind. I’m quite overwhelmed, to say the least. And when I feel overwhelmed, I often find myself on YouTube looking for something to distract myself from the heaping piles of stress behind me. It is there where I find a video with the word “reset” in the title and I instinctively click on it. 

These videos are popular not only on YouTube but on TikTok as well. They usually consist of someone cleaning their room or sitting down for a couple of hours to catch up on work. At the bare minimum, a normal reset video entails someone being more productive than they were for a given period of time. And like anything that gains traction on social media, the act of resetting has become a genre within itself and has expanded outside of videos and into full-blown challenges.

These challenges usually entail implementing a strict routine for yourself and often promise a better, more productive version of yourself at the end. Project 50 and 75 Hard are prime examples of extremely popular online challenges meant for people who want to reset their lives. And even if you have never heard of these specific challenges, you’ve at least seen people encouraging others on social media to change what they do for a given amount of time for a number of benefits. 

As mentioned before, whenever the semester starts to hit a little too differently, I go to videos that distract me, and most of the time, they’re reset videos (or it’s something about baking because I guess I want to be a baker someday too now). And I have to admit, I binge-watch these videos. Of course, they are a great distraction and almost always aesthetically pleasing, but a while ago I really thought about the underlying reasons why I was drawn to this content.

There is something inherently hopeful about seeing someone pull themselves out of a slump. Life is hard, and it can feel like a never-ending barrage of negative experiences, but the idea of stopping and resetting is uplifting. Like no matter what, there will be one day when things can just reset. Consequently, people are often inspired to do a little reset of their own. (Hi, I’m people!) And then they are off to the races cleaning their rooms and setting new routines.

So, there I was watching these videos and I felt a rush. A rush to change things up, in my mind at the time, I thought that would solve all of my problems. Although this time, just as I was in the throes of inspiration, a thought came into my mind.

“How many times do I have to do this?” 

You see, I have walked the “reset” path before. Several times actually. To the point where it seems like I am resetting several times a day. It is a pattern I fall into, where I feel some negative emotion and I immediately think I need to change my entire routine to fix it. But after some thought, I realized that I was resetting backward most of the time (in retrograde, for the horoscope folks),

I thought, “If I have to reset this often maybe it’s not me but the rest itself that’s the problem.” Rarely did I reflect on what good I was already doing. Instead, I was ready to throw my whole routine out the window and start from scratch, even if there were aspects of it that served me. 

Despite these videos initially being hopeful in my eyes, I think there came a point where they attached to my insecurities and feelings of inadequacy. There’s this idea that I can’t work with what I have, because what I have isn’t good enough anyway. But that isn’t true. 

It can be difficult to place stock in what we already have, but there is something valuable there. When things get tough, that’s not always a sign to start over. Instead, maybe we need to hold some things a little closer. Instead of changing your routine to wake up at 5 am to be more productive, why not sleep in a little bit longer? Or watch a couple of episodes of your favorite show. Nurture the things that build you up rather than shaming them.

And hey, I’m not saying a good reset is completely out of the question. Just pump the brakes before changing everything, or you might miss something you had all along.

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