Deciding that you’re going to start over in life is a bold step, especially after divorce.
It means you’re done pretending that you’re happy with the cards you’ve been dealt and you’re ready to take your life into your own hands.
But, new beginnings are challenging, especially if you don’t know where to start.
When you’ve been living your life on auto-pilot or following someone else’s dreams instead of your own, the prospect of a new life is daunting.
But, as is the case with tackling any other task, the key is to divide your fresh start into smaller steps and focus on one at a time.
From overcoming limiting beliefs to letting go of old grudges, creating a new life demands that you take an honest look at the past before committing to the future.
Here are five steps for starting over in life!
1. Identify where you are and where you want to go
We’ve all been there, daydreaming about waking up in a new city with an exciting new career, our old lives left behind in the dust.
And while fantasizing about a new beginning is normal, it’s essential to understand where you are at this point in time before you start planning your future.
Think of it as a GPS system, before your car can determine the route to your destination, it needs your current location.
I recommend sitting down with a pen and paper and making a list of all the things that are currently part of your life that you’re happy with and all the things you wish to change.
A lot of people focus only on the negatives but it’s important to practice gratitude, even when you’re feeling out of control.
Then, think of the things you can do to take those first steps toward your new life. Get inspired with podcasts and positive affirmations.
If you’re unhappy with your career, for example, you can revamp your LinkedIn profile and start an online course to learn a new skill.
If you’re disappointed with the dating experiences you’ve had since the divorce, then it’s a good idea to re-evaluate your approach to relationships and potential partners. I particularly recommend reading books about attachment theory!
The internet is an unlimited resource if you need help or advice on your new journey. The key is to break out of the cycle of daydreaming and wishful thinking with actionable steps.
2. Overcome your limiting beliefs
Limiting beliefs are the thoughts and ideas you hold about yourself and the world that hold you back.
Every person has their own limiting beliefs and overcoming them is the key to starting over in life, moving forward, and making lasting change.
Oftentimes, we are unaware of our limiting beliefs, and we simply believe that this is the way things are:
“I am not smart enough to run my own business.”
“I am not good enough at what I do to promote it on social media.”
“Taking risks is dangerous and always leads to bad outcomes.”
“The world is an inherently dangerous place and I must always expect the worst.”
Most limiting beliefs are formed during childhood and are shaped by our upbringing.
In order to rebuild your life and become your authentic self, identifying and overcoming your limiting beliefs is essential.
One of the ways that this can be done is through practicing mindfulness.
When you feel hesitant or anxious about trying a new activity, for instance, ask yourself why do you feel that way. What do you fear will happen? What is the root cause of this belief?
Most of the time, you will come to realize that these feelings are not facts.
They are simply stories that make you feel safe but come at a great cost, namely that you spend your entire life wishing things would change but never acting upon your truest desires.
If you skip this step, any changes you try to implement will be short-term and superficial, and they will not lead to the results you want.
3. Let go of grudges
I am a big believer in the importance of letting go of the past if you want to start over in life, especially after a marriage ends.
When my own parents got divorced, I saw first-hand how the resentment they had towards one another tainted not only their co-parenting relationship but also the way they interacted with others.
Holding onto grudges never leads to new goals and only keeps you trapped in a bubble of negative energy that eats away at your potential.
Breaking out of a negative mindset isn’t easy, especially if it’s been the default way you approach life. However, releasing old grievances is the first step to living life more positively.
What’s more, refusing to let go of the past makes it easy for you to play the blame game, where you constantly find excuses for your unhappiness while avoiding taking accountability for your own life.
Regardless of your present situation, you can always reboot and create a fresh start.
The only way this won’t happen is if you keep blaming the people in your past for X, Y, or Z.
Unfortunately, you don’t always control what happens to you. What you do control is your reaction and whether you’ll allow this event to help you grow into a better person.
4. Leave your comfort zone
Tony Robbins once said, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” And I know this to be true from my own experience.
When I decided to start my own blog, it was by no means an easy decision.
I was in the middle of potty training my older child and helping my younger one with teething pains. I was tired, a little overwhelmed, and there was a voice in my head telling me I was being silly with this whole blogging thing.
But then I remembered that the biggest life changes that I had experienced were born out of discomfort, so I listened to my intuition and pushed on, and it turned out to be an amazing decision that transformed my life.
It’s impossible to change your entire life in a single day, however, leaving your comfort zone is bound to yield results.
The decisions you’ve made so far have brought you to this point in life. If you want life-changing results, repeating old patterns of behavior is not the route to take.
5. Get excited about life
Embodying the best version of yourself when you feel less than stellar is a tall order.
How are you supposed to feel excited about life when there are so many things you’re unhappy about?
I’d like to go back to one of my previous points, gratitude. It’s the secret ingredient to shifting your mindset and approaching every new day with a sense of excitement.
Despite all the challenges you’ve faced in the past and your current hardships, there are always things you can be grateful for.
Even in the darkest of times, I could always be thankful for having a roof over my head, having access to the internet, clean water, seeing my baby smile, and I made sure not to take any of these things for granted.
Once you realize how lucky you have been so far, it will be easy to get excited about the things to come. You’ll be more positive and open to new opportunities that will transform your life!