You Can Get a Fresh Start at Your Life
How are things going for you? No, really, how are things going?
If you hesitated in answering, it might be time to take a closer look at this article. After all, we all need fresh starts from time to time, especially when we find we’re dissatisfied and unhappy in our lives. Don’t believe it? Then check out these statements and see if any of them sound like you.
Are things not going well in your life? Has it been a while since you've experienced anything which even looks remotely like success? If so, cheer up. This isn't about failure; it's about you chasing the wrong goals. You're perfectly capable of success when you're in the right place at the right time.
If progress is feeling slow, and every day you're either thinking, standing still or at best, moving forward in inches, not miles, it might be because you're ready for a change. What is no longer challenging you in your life? How are you holding yourself back?
We all get those odd desires that doing a certain thing makes all the sense in the world. We're energetic, enthusiastic, and we cannot wait to jump in and get started. If this feeling seems alien to you right now, your excitement meter has run out. It's time for a change.
Anxiety is a lot of worries turned inward. What is it you’re afraid of? How is your life giving you too much stress and too little reward? What needs to be resolved so you can feel more relaxed and confident about the future?
Your feet are dragging because you're hauling a lot of baggage from the past right along with you. If your self-talk is full of chatter about mistakes you've made in the past, if you're forever apologizing for things you never did but which you feel responsible for all the same, you need a fresh start, if only to let go of the past.
If you found more things resonating on this list than you expected, it might be time to consider making a fresh start in your life. Don't be dismayed, though. This is an exciting place to be, where you get to plan the next steps and decide for yourself just what you want your life to look like. The key here is to take this knowledge, do something about it, and not just sit on it and hope things will get better. You need to act if you expect to succeed.
“Fresh Starts” is one of those buzzword phrases which keeps popping up lately. We all know we’re supposed to be embracing them, accepting a new beginning as the means to accomplish positive and lasting change in your life. But have you considered just how to make them work in such a way, so failure is not an option?
It seems too good to be true.
In all honesty, fresh starts are fairly straightforward. But they're also very intentional, and to do them right, you need to be aware of these three things:
There's no way on earth you're going to succeed with your fresh start if you have no idea what you're measuring it against or even understand what success means. It'd be a little like running a marathon in a strange city where no one bothered to set out the course. You'd have no idea where you were going and have no means of knowing when you'd crossed the finish line (or even if you ever crossed it at all).
Tracking progress, though, doesn't have to be complicated. You can do this in three simple steps.
· Set a check-in time, keeping it simple. No more than once a week is needed.
· Have simple goals. Ask yourself what success looks like for this week. It’s a simple yes/no whether you reached them.
· Get an outside opinion. Mentors are invaluable when it comes to tracking success. They can tell you exactly where you are. Even if you don't have a mentor, though, having a good friend who can be brutally honest will act as a barometer as to whether or not you're reaching your goals.
If you reach one goal, immediately set another. The last thing you want to do is to let this energy drop and leave you stranded. Are you hitting the goals too often? You’re not setting them high enough. A goal ought to be challenging enough to be a little bit intimidating but still within reach. Remember, you can break down big goals into smaller ones so you can use them to track progress.
Your Fresh Start isn’t always going to succeed. Occasionally you’re going to make a wrong turn or have something blow up in your face. When this happens, how you deal with it makes all the difference. If you can home in on the lesson to be learned and not get caught up in the blame, you’ll be able to get back on track a lot easier.
Things aren't going well. You're sick of your boss, or your relationship is crumbling around you. Maybe you are bored as you wait to get out of school and jump into the real world. This feeling is normal, and change is inevitable. As we grow, we can't help but have moments where the only way forward is to let go of something else.
With this in mind, you’d think the act of letting go wouldn’t be complicated, especially if you’re excited about the new future you’re pursuing. It's more complicated than we think, though. More often than not, there're unresolved thoughts and feelings from the past.
How can we make this transition easier? Try these three tips:
No success ever happens overnight. Neither does a transition from one stage of your life to the next. There's going to be a process you'll have to go through, which involves grieving the old life, letting go, and then moving on to hone your vision of the future. Shortchanging yourself in any of this is only going to leave unresolved issues which will crop up later. Isn't it better to give yourself the time now and be over it?
Just because you're starting over doesn't mean you have to let go of every aspect of your old life. Have great friends who've supported you in the past? Well, you're going to want them as you move forward in this new beginning. If there are positive aspects of your character or life that served you well, by all means, pull those tools into the new.
Fresh starts can feel like very private things, mostly because we're engaged on a very personal journey. At the same time, this is not a good time to shut yourself off from the rest of the world. You're going to need support to help you stay on task, encourage, and be there if things get tough. But even this isn't the only reason we need other people around us.
We need differing opinions, fresh voices, and new thoughts to challenge us and guide us into exciting new thoughts and discoveries which we can later incorporate into our journey. Isolated people only have their thoughts to guide them, making for a small body of knowledge to draw from.
Of course, there's going to be a lot more to your transition into your new beginning than these three tips cover, but so long as you keep acting with planning and a lot of intentionality, you're going to be just fine, and the path to a new you will be secure.
Do you ever wish you could hit the reset button? If you're tired of the way things are and find yourself daydreaming all the time about a different you doing different things in a different place, it's time for a change.
If you're aiming for a fresh start, you're going to need a little help.
Why not try these five super steps to a fresh start as you embark on your new journey?
What do you want? On the surface, this question seems pretty easy. For example, you might think your goal is to have more money. But when someone asks why, you respond if you had money, you wouldn't have to work so hard, and you'd have more time with your kids. Now you've discovered what you actually want: time with your family.
Now that you have some idea of what you’re looking for, how are you going to get it? Knowing your core values will help to dictate those actions. So if honesty is a core value, robbing a bank to get money so you can spend time with your kids is out.
Congratulations! You have a solid direction in mind and even something of a plan. Now, having combined goals with values, it's time to prepare for action. This means cleaning out things from your life that no longer serve you well. It also means working through emotions and old baggage so you can move forward without these things holding you back.
What are you telling yourself? No matter how well prepared you seem, if you’re still putting yourself down, calling yourself a failure, or bringing to mind a constant stream of negativity, you’re doomed to fail. It’s time to switch out the dialogue. Look for the positive spin on everything you say. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and treat yourself the way you’d want to treat your best friend. In other words, if you wouldn’t say it to them, why are you telling it to yourself?
Last, cut yourself some slack. Be thankful for the lessons learned, forgive yourself for the past, and move on to a fresh start. Then to be doubly sure the past doesn't slink into your fresh start with you, extend some of this same grace to others. Be thankful for what people have given you along the way. Extend forgiveness to those in your life who have wronged you and move on without baggage to hold you back.
With these five starts, you'll be prepped and ready for your fresh start in no time at all.
You’re ‘in love,’ but right now, you're not ‘in like’ with the other person. If you had to explain your relationship right now, you might be at something of a loss for words. Things aren't quite 'right' though you can't put your finger on why.
If this sounds familiar, it might be time to give your relationship a Fresh Start.
Now, before you panic, realize new beginnings happen all the time. This doesn't mean you don't love your significant other. It's a lot more possible things have fallen into such a routine they've stagnated a little bit and need waking up.
So, how do you do this?
If you've fallen into the habit of a quick peck and 'love you' on the way out the door, it's time to reconnect. (This goes double for those of you who aren't kissing at all lately). The next time you're within reach of your lover, launch your fresh start with a real kiss. You know the kind. Kiss them as you mean it – and mean it!
Enlist your partner in letting go of the past. If you've been having struggles lately, sit down together to talk about what's been going on. At the end of the discussion, sit down and make a list of the things you've discussed. Make a ritual of burning this or otherwise destroying this list. When it's gone, so are the grudges. Stand by this.
In conjunction with the last tip, create a new rule in the relationship: Neither of you will let things slide anymore. If something comes up which bothers you, talk about it right away before it escalates. The same holds for them.
For that matter, why not add a relationship 'check-up' at least once a week. Talk to each other about how you feel the relationship is going. But don't make this just a list of complaints. Add some fun to these meetings by using this time to talk about shared interests.
A Fresh Start ought to have a set destination in mind. What do you want to see happening in the next month? In the next year? In the next five years? Talk about the future together often—set goals as a couple. Strive to reach these goals as a team. After all, this is your new beginning. You have an entire future ahead of you as a couple. This is your opportunity to make the most of it!
That's it. You've had it. Life is just not going as well as you'd like. It's time for a change, a Fresh Start if you will. But how do you know where to even begin? Especially if you're still neck-deep in a life you want to escape.
It’s simple. You start by asking yourself these five questions:
Too often, what we're thinking is a change in our life is nothing more than a dressed-up version of the old. To avoid falling into this trap, start looking for real and actual change. Start by asking the hard questions: What do you want out of life? How are you not getting this? What would you need to do to attain this? What's one positive change which would place you closer to this dream?
Fresh starts will demand a certain commitment from you, which manifests in how much of yourself you’re willing to put into the project. If you’re not willing to risk a new way of life, or much in the way of change, you’re not going to have much success.
If you're looking for a new beginning, there has to be something 'new,' or you're not starting over at all. You are merely continuing what you've been doing all along. What is the thing you haven't done before?
A new beginning means something else is ending. What are you leaving behind? Keep in mind this question doesn't necessarily imply you need to abandon every aspect of your past. Sometimes we're leaving behind only a small part of our life.
This last question can be hard because you might not know the answer until you've begun. Every fresh start is doomed to failure if you're weighed down with a lot of baggage from the past. At the very least, though, it helps to have a positive attitude about letting go and are willing to do the work to make this happen.
In the end, these questions will give you some idea of what to expect as you embark on this journey of letting go. After all, being prepared truly is half the battle.
Are you really and truly happy?
Sometimes the dissatisfaction in our lives is just that: dissatisfaction. It's not that we're depressed or looking to get healthy in some super-specific way. We're just out of sorts and need a change. We want a life with a little more meaning and a lot more fun.
So, what do you do if you’re hungry for a Fresh Start in your personal life itself?
Everyone needs to be an expert in something entirely useless, which has no real practical use whatsoever. This pursuit can be anything from twirling a Yo-Yo to making macramé plant hangers. The key here is to learn something for no other reason than this: it interested you and sounded like fun. Here is your chance to take up a new hobby, find out what Frisbees and golf have to do with each other, or see if you have any musical talent whatsoever.
We all need to push ourselves at least a little bit when we’re making a Fresh Start. What can you do which will take you to new heights in something you might previously have avoided? For example, if you’re not comfortable with public speaking, why not join a Toastmasters group?
What is the last book you’ve read? If you can’t answer this easily, you’re not alone. 27% of adults haven’t picked up a book in the last year. With books on every subject under the sun, there’s bound to be something which interests you. Why not browse a bookstore and see if there’s something to expand your literary horizons as part of your fresh start? If you are a reader already, challenge yourself to a new genre, you don't normally read.
No, you’re not going offline forever. But to keep things interesting and give yourself a fresh appreciation for life, turn off the internet for the weekend. Instead, re-discover life outside of a phone or computer screen. Get outside. Take a hike. Explore a historical site. Read the book you just picked up. Who knows, this might become your new favorite weekend activity!
When's the last time you called up a friend to talk? Your fresh start should include time for relationships. Get together for lunch, take a walk together, have a Zoom call if you're far apart. This call is your chance to reconnect.
Having a more interesting life is all about doing more interesting things. The key here is intentionality and rediscovery to enjoy a fresh start when it comes to your personal life. This is a new beginning well worth pursuing!
How do you feel about your job?
To most people, this might be a somewhat loaded question. Jobs are complicated things. We like having them, or we like having the money we get from our employer on payday. But we might not always like the job itself very much. Or we might like the job, but not the people we're working with.
Now imagine if you could have a fresh start.
A new beginning when it comes to your job can be a lifesaver. Imagine if you were excited about going to work every day! Let’s look at what you’ll need to make this a reality:
Does your unhappiness stem from the job or a specific situation? If you still love the job itself but are having problems with a co-worker, your approach will be different from when you feel burned out on the work and want to change careers entirely.
It’s time to think the way management does when they do your annual review: they tend to start with a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for:
This kind of review lets you know what you have to offer and where you need some work. If you can figure out your passion and abilities, then combine those into your daily work, you have a winner professionally and a direction for your fresh start.
If you’re looking to make a proper Fresh Start, you’re going to want to go in with the skill set needed for where you want to be. Were there areas where you need some further education or training? What can you do to obtain this?
Next, talk to your mentor for advice on where you should go next. If you don't have mentors, consider talking to others in the position you desire to get their take on the skills you're going to need to get where they are now. With any luck, they’ll also give you some solid advice on how to get there.
Don’t get so locked into one idea that you fail to see other options.
Take a step back to consider all the angles. Are there other jobs that are similar or involve similar skills? What other areas interest you? What are the opportunities you might be missing?
No matter what, as you start on this journey, keep positive. Attitude is everything, especially when you're working on getting ahead.
Here you are, trying to start over. You've set goals and determined just how the new you is going to look. You were willing to put in the work and make things happen. Why then are you dragging your feet? Shouldn't you be halfway there already?
Fresh starts aren't always easy. More often than not, when we're not making progress, it all boils down to one thing: we're afraid of something. Let's take a look at a handful of ways fear can hold you back despite your best efforts.
The more common fear people have when trying to change stems from this question. People have an innate fear of the unknown regardless of the situation. After all, there is safety in what’s known and predictable. It’s no wonder we don’t like new things.
When we commit to change, we now have a certain responsibility we didn't have before. Now we're looking at hard work, generally repeated over time. Worse, we might not even know how long this change is supposed to last, making this even more daunting.
The idea that other people will be seeing your efforts and might be judging you on them can be terrifying. No one likes to look like a fool. Nor do we want to lose what status we have with our peers. Unfortunately, the only way past this fear is to stop caring what other people think of you, which is easier said than done.
No one likes making mistakes. It's the fear of looking foolish, coupled with disappointment over getting something wrong while feeling like there's no way you can get it right. Failures do feel like dead ends.
The fear of success has many components to it. Primarily we hate the added expectation which generally comes with it. What if you can't duplicate the feat, or worse, you prove your success was some fluke?
No one is ever going to place an as high demand on your performance as you will. This is because perfectionism tends to be equated with success. If you get it right, you’ve arrived. Sadly, this doesn’t allow for other, finer nuance to success.
What to do? Perhaps the answer lies in the words of Nelson Mandala:
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."
So press on, even when fear would rather hold you back. This is how you find your best self.
Family tension can affect every member of the household. Sadly, it’s pretty common to find relationships floundering from time to time. It’s not easy to live with other people, especially if you’ve had a little too much togetherness lately and not enough positive interactions to balance out the negative.
So, how can you give your family a fresh start when all seems lost?
You’re going to want to pull the whole crew together for a family meeting. But doing so in the wrong tone of voice can kill the whole thing before it even begins. Try to keep your tone positive, or at least neutral as you propose a get-together to talk.
Start with telling everyone you're hoping you can all start over, beginning with a clean slate. To do this, you'd like to start with an apology for times when you've let the others down. This should not be a detailed apology so much as a heartfelt one. Of course, others might not accept this. This is a good point for discussion. Listen to what others say with a humble spirit. Remember, you're leading by example. Then give the others room to offer their apologies. At the end of this session, offer and accept forgiveness.
Now it's time to set out the ground rules from now on. Make sure everyone, even the youngest members of the family, have a say. What would they like family interactions to be like in the future? Note: This is NOT the time to make long and complicated lists. Keep the goals simple, without too many of them to start.
Once you have your goals, set up regular family meeting times to discuss and evaluate. These times will often be enough for you to all touch base, air grievances, and evaluate goals (and add new ones), but not so often as to make family meetings tiresome.
Fresh starts as a family can be complicated because not everyone will be on board initially. The key here is to make sure everyone feels like they're being heard. Pay attention to the needs of others, which might sometimes involve a little reading between the lines. Last, of all, don't forget to make the meetings fun. Make family meetings into pizza night, for example, and end it off with a fun activity like board games or a game of frisbee in the yard.