You might have been told all your life that once you choose a path, you're set.
If you went to school to become a lawyer, then that’s what you must do for the rest of your life. Or if you are a housewife, then your only job should be taking care of your family, forever.
But maybe you’ve been thinking about making a change and starting over.
However, you might think you’re too old or that you’re already too committed to the path you’ve chosen, even if it doesn’t bring you joy anymore. This is simply not true.
If you’re thinking of starting over, you should know that you’re not alone.
According to a recent poll, 48% of Americans are considering making an important change in their careers.
One of the main goals everyone is pursuing is work-life balance, which has become more important than ever in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But starting over is not only about changing jobs or entering an entirely new industry.
You might be looking to move cities or even countries, but can’t seem to take the plunge yet. This is even more difficult if your decision to start over comes after an important loss or traumatic experience.
Regardless of your age, there are some important things to consider when it comes to starting over. Here are eight tips that will help you start your new life and pursue what you truly want.
1. Examine Your Present
What were the steps that took you to where you are?
You might have had different plans for your life or maybe you never allowed yourself to examine what it was that you truly wanted.
Examining your present—and your past—and accepting that some things didn’t work out as you expected them to is key.
After this, you can start letting go.
For a fresh start, you will want to be free of any prior guilt or regrets. You did the best you could during all this time and you’re now embracing a new life because you want what’s best for you.
This can be hard to do. Self-reflection is often a journey in and of itself and many painful things might come to the surface.
This is the perfect time to deal with the pain and forgive yourself, allowing you to move forward and thrive in this new life you’re creating.
2. Establish Your Goals
We have already established what you don’t want: the past you lived and the present you're currently living in. But what are the goals that will allow you to create a path that brings you joy?
Only you know that, but sometimes it can be difficult to connect with yourself and identify your goals. Some helpful tools can help you do this:
Writing things down can help you figure out the many ideas you have in your head.
Plus, research has found that journaling can have a positive impact on mental health. As you write down your feelings and thoughts, you might see that you get further clarity regarding what you want.
This knowledge is what will allow you to start taking the next steps towards your new life.
Also, journaling can become a habit that you implement for the rest of your life. Creating this new habit can serve as practice for future healthy habits you want to implement in your life.
Journaling doesn’t come easy for everyone. You can look at some ideas and prompts that will help you get started in this process.
Identify Your Values
A great way to establish your goals is to first identify your values.
What are the things that are important to you?
What do you care about?
After this starting point, you can take a look at the things you can do that align with that value.
For example, maybe an important value for you is to help others. Then you can start looking at careers, occupations, or activities that will allow you to do this.
Starting over isn’t always about work, though. Maybe when you look at your values or the things that are important to you, you realize connecting with nature is something you hold in high regard.
Then, you can start taking a look at which changes will allow you to do this more often (e.g. moving cities).
3. Do Some Research
Once you’ve established one or more goals, you need to do the proper research to know how to go about making it a reality.
Did you know that only 8% of Americans who make a New Year’s resolution manage to achieve them?
Starting over in life is a lot more impactful than making a New Year’s resolution.
However, this can serve as an indication of how often established goals might fail. This is because a great number of people think only of the goal but don’t do the research necessary to create a solid plan.
When thinking of your goal, make sure you know what you are going to have to do to get there.
For example, you might need to sell your car to pay for the expenses of moving somewhere else.
Or if you’re thinking of starting a new business, you will have to research the market, regulations, and many other important aspects. The list grows if you’ve never had a business before.
This can seem a bit overwhelming and it might deter you from starting over. Don’t let it!
You can create an organized list detailing the things you’ll need to know and do. This level of planning and organization is key to succeeding in your new life.
4. Take Action
Having a good plan is key. And don’t feel bad if you’ve never had a written plan before, this is true for around 66% of Americans!
But now that you have it, you can hold yourself accountable and take action to execute the plan.
This requires a lot of courage.
Starting over can be scary as it means getting into unknown territories and expanding your comfort zone.
However, you need to make the most of that excitement you get when you think about your new plan and the adventures it brings with it.
So gather your courage and take action!
Keep in mind that you can go as drastic or as slow as you want when it comes to making these changes. If you’re thinking of entering a new industry, you can start taking classes while you continue in your current occupation.
If you’re thinking of moving, you can start by visiting the areas you’re interested in. Or if you are ready, then you can set your affairs in order in your current town and head straight to your new life! It’s all up to you.
The most important thing is that, regardless of the magnitude of what you do, you do something! If not, your plan might just be a dream that is never fulfilled.
5. Overcome Your Fear of Failure
Failing is part of life and you need to accept that you are going to make mistakes in your new life. After all, you’re only human!
The most important thing is that you learn from what didn’t work and continue growing as you go.
Also, don’t be discouraged. Making a mistake or feeling like you failed after you took the brave decision of starting over can be devastating for some people. This might even lead them to give up and simply go back to how things were.
Resist this impulse!
Learning to overcome failure is a skill you’ll need for the rest of your life. This is what will allow you to keep moving forward even when things aren’t working out as you expected.
6. Ask for Help
Maybe you’re reading this article and thinking “yeah, that sounds good but I just can’t do it”.
You might have some limiting beliefs that are keeping you from achieving what you want.
It might be time to see a therapist if you feel like you just can’t get out of your current mindset but you know you need a change.
Also, if your need to start over stems from a traumatic experience, having an expert help you during the process could be instrumental.
Sometimes, you don’t need to see a therapist but you do need some guidance on what your next step should be.
Career coaches can be a great asset in this situation. They can also help you if you know what you want to do but don’t know how to go about it.
There is nothing shameful about asking for help and going to a professional who can aid you in developing the tools you need.
7. Find Your Community
You might already have a great community that supports you or you might find that you have no one to turn to. Regardless of the case, starting over is a great opportunity to find or develop a new community.
You can do this online by becoming part of forums or groups where people discuss the life-changing decisions they made or the steps they took to start over.
It can also be a group where people share tips for starting in a new industry or moving to a new city.
Use sites like Meetup or Facebook Groups to find like-minded people, discuss your interests, and get support when you need it.
8. Celebrate Every Win
Life is full of challenges and there will always be new obstacles to overcome. This is why it’s so important that you celebrate every little win.
Identifying your goals and values is a win. Setting up a plan is a win. Taking action is a win. Make sure you allow yourself to enjoy it.
This ties directly with living in the present. It’s so important that you enjoy what you achieve and don’t let yourself get tangled in regrets of the past or anxiety about the future.
Starting over is about more than changing cities, a new job, or whatever you decide to do next. It is also about changing how you see yourself and how you face life for the better!