Life is full of new beginnings, whether you want it or not. And with a bit of preparation, these new starts don't have to be so scary. The grief of an ending can distract us from focusing on the exciting birth of a new beginning. But how can we move forward when we are ruminating on our past?
Starting can be daunting; I understand this all too well. But it is also an incredible opportunity to realign with your inner self. Yes, starting over is stressful. But if you focus on what you have to gain instead of losing, you can alleviate the stress that comes with having to start over.
This article will outline what it means to start over and when you might want to consider starting over. It will also suggest 5 tips for how to start over.
What does it mean to start over?
Starting over is precisely as it sounds. It means starting again from scratch. Some of the more common areas we start over in include:
- Relationships (romantic and platonic).
- Where we live.
- Hobbies and interests.
Maybe it is the new road we navigate after recovering from a severe illness. Or perhaps it is starting over when adapting to a new disability. Starting over is also integral in learning to move forward following a bereavement.
Sometimes our new beginnings are inextricably linked. For instance, if we move to a new area where we don't know anyone, we often need to start over with where we live, our friendships, and our careers.
Consider the convicted criminal who turns their life around in prison and does the work necessary to start their life over when released into the community.
The ripple effect of starting over in one area of your life can extend far and wide into other areas of your life. Think of a time you had a new beginning; how did this impact the rest of your life?
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When should you start over?
Everyone deserves to be happy. And I don't just mean fleeting happiness. You deserve happiness in your relationships, in your work life, and throughout your personal life. You are entitled to feeling valued and appreciated.
Of course, it is unrealistic to expect to feel perpetually happy. But if you feel miserable more than happy, it's time to reevaluate your life and consider what is bringing you down.
Be careful here. Are you projecting internal unhappiness from unresolved childhood trauma into a relationship or workplace? This source of unhappiness can be tricky to discern and is a standalone reason you should consider working on yourself before making any life-changing decision.
When you are satisfied that your inner turmoil results from something expendable, it's time to be bold and initiate changes.
If a relationship is the source of your unhappiness, try counseling before discarding it altogether. If your workplace leaves you feeling unappreciated, it may be worth speaking to your line manager first.
Not all situations will lend themselves to being salvaged. If you are anything like me, once your mind is made up, sometimes you need to take affirmative action immediately.
Ultimately - if life is dull and dreary and you feel a sense of dread, it's time to change.
5 ways to start over
I love reinventing myself. I like to shed my skin every so often when it's restricting me. Life changes us; we grow little by little daily. Who we are today differs from who we were a year ago. Starting over is a healthy way of staying true to our present selves.
To live a truly content and full life, we must be fluid and dynamic and respond to life's ups and downs.
Here are 5 ways to help you start over.
1. Reconnect with yourself
How well do you know yourself?
Are you drifting through life doing what you always do, trying to keep others happy? Or are you the captain of your own ship?
It wasn't until I left a 5-year relationship that I realized my sense of self had melted away. I was the one who compromised in my relationship, and I had betrayed my soul.
As part of reconnecting with myself, I revisited my values and made several changes to ensure I lived authentically.
At this period in my life, my start-over was instigated by the termination of a relationship. I didn't expect such a domino effect to take place.
It's amazing what happens when you start over in one area of your life. For me, it opened up a whole new world:
- I moved house.
- Started a small business.
- Adopted a vegan lifestyle.
- Volunteered with an animal charity.
It wasn't long before I felt alive again. I felt like my soul had returned to my body.
So reconnect with who you are. Are you living the life of your yearning?
2. Learn new skills
You are always young enough to learn a new skill. And this goes for changing careers also. Life isn't designed for 1 job until retirement anymore.
I understand you have bills to pay and mouths to feed. There are many ways to learn new skills in and around your current work.
- Online courses.
- Open distance university.
- Evening courses.
- Part-time apprenticeships
- Self-taught through reading and researching
Sometimes, learning a new skill helps reinvigorate your career. My friend is an accountant, but she took up photography and now has a small side hustle in wedding photography. Suddenly her accountancy job isn't the bane of her life anymore. She has a new lease of life simply by starting something new.
If you want more tips on how to try something new, this article may help you out!
3. Be open to new people and experiences
Do you stay in your comfort zone and avoid new places, tastes, and people? Yes, it may be safe inside this restricted world, but there are limits to your joy.
When you open yourself up to new people and new experiences, you allow yourself to learn more about yourself. You gain a greater understanding of your likes and dislikes. How do you know you hate roller coasters unless you have ridden on one?
The full spectrum of life's colors is there for you to explore. It is only through being curious and open to trying out new things that you may happen upon something - or someone - that becomes integral to your life.
Did you know that new and diverse experiences make us happier?
New starts can only happen when we have something or someone to start with.
We need to take risks and put ourselves out there. Say "yes" to opportunities and trust the universe to carry us on the wind of fate.
Here's one of our articles that can help you with the fear of starting something new.
4. Shake away bad habits
Let's look at harmful addictions. I'm not here to judge or appoint blame. In the words of addiction expert Gabor Mate, "The first question is not why the addiction; it's why the pain."
Most of us have an addiction, whether it's intoxicating substances, mobile phones, shopping, exercise, sex, gambling, or something else. When a behavior becomes harmful, it becomes an addiction.
We can start over by seeking help for our addictions and bad habits. It's time to invite healthier habits into our lives.
Make a promise to yourself today to tackle your unhealthy habits. If you need external help, there are support groups for every addiction imaginable. A quick internet search will bring you an abundance of options.
Love yourself, invest in yourself, and choose yourself over the ill effects of your bad habits.
5. Embrace the fear
When you learn to accept that fear is a part of life, you are more willing to start over. Too often, inertia paralyzes us out of fear. Fear of the unknown, the dramatized "what if."
Make friends with feelings of discomfort. Recognize that fear is simply a way of knowing you are alive. It's a sign that you're venturing outside your comfort zone, and as the saying goes: that's where growth happens.
It is natural to feel fear. But learn to discern between rational fear - being chased by an angry bull - versus fear of something irrational, like changing jobs.
Our brain tries to keep us safe. It doesn't like risk, and a simple tactic to keep us safe is to feed exaggerated and fatalistic information about possible consequences.
It's time to quieten that brain through mindfulness and face your fear head-on.
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It is always possible to start over. You may have had several new starts already in life. Starting over is scary, but by following our 5 tips on how to start over, you can alleviate the fear and help find personal affirmations to help this process.
Have you experienced starting over recently? How did you manage this? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!