A lot of people talk about rebooting for the New Year.

So, question for you: what happens when you reboot?

Here’s a look inside what happens in your computer the moment you hit the power switch and boot it up. This is, for the geeks, the power-on self-test, or POST. (derived from Wikipedia)

  • verify the integrity of the BIOS code itself
  • find, size, and verify system main memory
  • discover, initialize, and catalog all system buses and devices
  • pass control to other specialized BIOSes (if and when required)
  • provide a user interface for system’s configuration
  • identify, organize, and select which devices are available for booting
  • construct whatever system environment that is required by the target OS

In well designed computers, the average end user never sees this. It happens in the blink of an eye, behind the scenes while a corporate logo of some kind displays. Only when something is seriously wrong do we ever see a non-typical outcome of a POST, usually followed by loud noises, swearing, and other gestures towards the computer.

This is a perfect analogy to how we treat ourselves every day, only as human beings with more sophisticated error handling, even when something’s wrong we keep soldiering on. Only very rarely and when something is seriously wrong do we stop to think about our own boot-up sequences, when we just can’t get going any more.

As you head into the New Year, think about making your own POST sequence for yourself, for your life, to run those daily diagnostics and catch trouble far earlier than we usually do. What would a human POST look like?

  • Verify your basic health. The moment you wake up, take a deep, cleansing breath and physically just be aware of your own body. Do things hurt? Are there discomforts or nagging aches that are new? Do you know their causes – and if not, do you have access to someone to help you diagnose them?
  • Load up your own main memory. A lot of folks enjoy purchasing incredibly elaborate organizational systems for the New Year, only to abandon them 23 minutes into the year when they realize the massive setup costs in terms of time. Start simple, even with sticky notes, but start a main memory load each day of basic stuff you want to get done that day.
  • Catalog and assess your resources and devices. Not just physical devices like phones and laptops (though certainly making sure those are in working order is a good idea), but also your own assets and capabilities. What capacities and capabilities do you have available to you each day?
  • Construct your system environment. Make a habit out of preparing the things that will help you the most for each day. It may be a great cup of coffee, a five minute meditation, a favorite pre-work CD of tunes for the car – construct whatever helps you establish the most positive environment you need for each day.
  • Boot! You can even make a silly chime noise if you want. I won’t tell.

Try to construct your own POST so that when you need to boot or reboot into the New Year, you have something drawn up and ready to go.


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