You’ve changed yourself so much trying to be your ex’s perfect partner that you don’t know who you are anymore.
Maybe you’re done with pain and have decided to end a toxic situation you’re in. You’re packing up, leaving everything you know behind and moving to a new place to rebuild your life.
You have no friends, no family, no job and no clue where to start – only a blurry, water colour picture in your mind of who you want to be.
You’ve woken up.
Your’re ready to change directions and live a life that’s all yours… on your own terms.
It’s okay to start over!
If anyone tells you that you’re meant to go from the crib to the running track, breeze through college, get your dream job, score the perfect partner and live happily ever after all in one fell swoop, they’re lying… and seriously delusional.
The reality is that life is anything but a straight line, and is made up of seasons. Some good, some mundane, and some so bad that you’ll need plenty of time to recover from the trauma of living through it.
And it won’t care how young or old you are!
You may lose a parent.
You might discover that your partner’s been cheating on you.
You’ll lose friends.
You might suffer a terrible injury or illness.
You may have to watch your career come to a standstill or even fall apart.
These things can (and do) happen to anyone, and they might happen to your too.
Life’s not one big Hallmark movie where everything’s pretty, shiny and happy all the time; Shitty things happen to good people, relationships break up all the time, anxiety and depression can tighten their grip, and addictions have the power to break the strongest among us.
But once you’ve made it through the worst and the dust settles, it’s time to start over.
It’s okay to start over – it’s a natural part of evolving into a smarter, better and stronger version of yourself, and no one should ever make you feel bad for wanting (and needing) to.
At your lowest point, you may think that your life is ruined and there’s no way out.
But: it WILL pass. There’s always a way forward. You just have to look for it. You can let the circumstance you’re in ruin you, or you can allow it to improve you.
How to start over and rebuild your life from scratch.
The process of rebuilding your life from the ground up won’t be easy, but having a plan will greatly increase your chances of carving out the life you want, successfully.
Here are some tried and tested steps to start with:
To build something good, you’ll need good daily habits.
But to turn a new, unfamiliar (and therefore uncomfortable and ‘quit-able’) action into a daily habit, you’ll need to do everything you can to reduce the odds that you’ll give up, particularly when you hit a speed bump.
One of the best ways to do this is to set up your environment for your success.
This means clearing the space where you spend the most time in of clutter, trash and chaos.
The result: A calmer, clearer and focused mind that’ll help you move forward with your plan and sticking to it.
2. Make peace with reality and work with, not against it.
We often get stuck in life because we’re either unable or unwilling to accept our reality as it is. Instead, we stubbornly continue to indulge in fantasy, specifically, how we wish things were.
This is where you’ll need to get real with yourself, no matter how unpleasant it is.
Ask yourself: What’s your situation now, and how can you work with what is, not what you wish it was?
3. Reflect on what and where you went wrong.
No one starts out planning to fail or creating a disaster.
But somehow, we end up taking one or several wrong steps along the way, and find ourselves on a painful path we never expected to be in.
Whether these missteps were driven by ego, lack of awareness, miscalculation, denial or simply carelessness, you owe it to yourself to be honest with the captain of your ship: You!
It’s only once you’ve taken the time to reflect and figure out what went wrong and where things started to fall apart that you can start putting together a new plan with success-driving strategy baked in.
This is the plan that’ll help you make the progress you’ve wanted all along.
4. Revisit your goals and values.
Before you take one step forward on your new path, you’ll need to take sure your foundation is solid.
You may have an idea of where you’d like to go: Run it through a stress test:
How do you want to live?
Does your idea align with your values?
What are your values anyway?
What will you do if someone close to you disagrees or tries to tear it down?
What will happen if you find yourself feeling tempted to stray away from it?
Put your ideas, values and stress test answers down on paper so you can see them all in one place and let them sink in.
5. Decide what you want to do next.
Now that you have some ideas for possible paths you could take that fall in line with your values, it’s time to decide: Which one will you choose?
‘Decision’ comes from the Latin word decisio, which literally meant “to cut off”.
But while picking one path means cutting yourself off from all others, it doesn’t mean that you can’t course correct later on by choosing a different one if things don’t work out or feel right.
Work up the courage to do it.
It would be weird if you didn’t.
But know that this is the point where you start putting one foot in front of the other regardless of how you feel, or chicken out and retreat into your cave.
It’s time to get moving despite the paralysing fear and soul crushing doubt that are making your feet and heart feel like lead.
7. Identify the obstacles standing in your way.
Being consistent with your new habits will give you the results you’re after and keep you inspired to keep going.
That is, until you hit a wall. Here, you’ll get stuck. Again.
It happens, and it will happen. Your body will adapt to your new workout program. Your new daily routine will eventually feel mundane and boring, causing your motivation to take a dip. Or maybe you’ll experience a huge setback, leaving you feeling down and confused.
This is when you’ll need to diagnose the problem, regroup and bring your ‘Life Makeover First-Aid kit’ to fix it.
Your priority? Figure out how to work your way around this thing that’s standing in your way so you can keep moving forward on your new path.
8. Design a plan to climinate these obstacles.
Now that you know what’s blocking your progress, your next step will be to make another crucial decision: What can you do to get this obstactle out of your way?
It could mean adding or subtracting something (or someone) from your life.
It could mean making the tiniest tweak to your diet.
It could mean switching jobs, yet again.
Hey, I didn’t say it’d be easy, but I can tell you this: You’ll be glad you did it!
9. Overcome your fear of being wrong.
So you’ve taken a couple of wrong turns and ended up getting burned.
Now, you’re afraid to make mistakes, and have developed the habit of doubting yourself, over-analyzing every over you’re thinking of making, and hesitating mid-step.
Here’s something you need to know: The mistakes are never going to stop coming. If anything, they’re only going to creep up on you more frequently, get more challenging and take just as much time (or more challenging and take just as much time (or more) to recover from.
With or without the fear, and whether or not you give in to it, you will make more mistakes.
So wouldn’t you rather go for what you want despite the possibility of being wrong?
10. Get a mentor.
When you’re trying to rebuild a new foundation for your life – and preferably a rock-solid one – you’ll need some help in the form of guidance from a mentor who’s done it before.
This person could be someone who’s achieved a goal you’ve set your sights on, has reinvented themselves successfully, or just has the qualities that you’re working towards building within yourself.
And just in case you’re wondering: No, they don’t have to be someone you know.
What matters is that watching them do what they do in the world inspires you to do more, and to do better every single day, even when setbacks rear their ugly head.
Now that you know what steps to take to rebuild your life, what will you do next?