Sometimes, you just wish you could clean the slate and learn how to start over. A second chance to do it all over again—the right way.
Well, you can. Okay, so you won’t be able to completely erase your past, but that’s something you shouldn’t be focusing on. Instead think about your future, the new you. This probably is sounding a tad like an infomercial for some spray-on hair brand, but I’m not here to sell you anything. But what I am here to tell you is how to start over. Not from the beginning, but from where you are now.
How to start over again
I moved from my hometown to another continent. It’s not that I was trying to change who I was, but I wanted to start my life over and do it how I wanted to. I wanted to live a certain way. The only way I saw myself doing that was to leave and start somewhere completely fresh.
Now, that’s just an example of what I did. You don’t have to do the same thing, but you should know that though it may seem hard *and it will be hard*, it’s worth it.
This isn’t going to go as smooth as it does in the movies, but take the chance.
#1 Reflect on your life. Before starting over, you need to understand yourself and your past. It’s easy to say, “Oh, I’m starting fresh today.” But if you don’t look at what you did in your past, then you’re not actually wanting to change your life.
It’s time to grow up. Sit down and really think about yourself. You may cry, become angry, laugh in embarrassment. It doesn’t matter, point is, you acknowledge yourself and the things you love and want to change about you. [Read: 10 self-reflective questions to help stay true to yourself]
#2 Accept and forgive the past. We all did things in the past that we wish we never did. This is just part of growing up and learning. Can we rewind and change it? No.
But what you can do is forgive yourself for the things that you did that were wrong and accept that you’re a human being who makes mistakes. From now on, work on changing behaviors that allowed you to make those mistakes in your past.
#3 You won’t be able to quit life, only change it. You can’t quit life. I know, if we could, I’d be the first one to try it out. But seriously, you can’t just quit life. You make your life different. That’s what you should be thinking about. If you want to start over, you can, but only from this point on.
#4 Think about who you want to be. Who do you want to be? What do you want your life to look like? These are some heavy questions that you need to ask yourself if you want to actually change your life.
The only way to make changes is to know what you want the outcome to be. Do you want to be a professor? Okay, if that’s the case, what steps have you made to be one? What do you still need to do? [Read: How to make yourself happy: 20 habits of incredibly happy people]
#5 Make small goals for yourself. If you want to know how to start over right, learn to make goals. I know, making goals probably sounds very elementary, but it’s not. Make small, medium, and large goals for yourself. Once you accomplish one, make another one. Keep challenging yourself to be better.
#6 Actually make the changes. There’s one thing to talk about changing your life and the other thing is to actually do it. You need to follow through and make changes in your life. They can be small ones, but the point is, you make them.
Eventually, with time, you start making bigger decisions, ones that could really change the shape your life. Maybe you’re in a violent relationship. Ending it is a huge step, and it’s definitely not an easy one to be made.
#7 Follow a motto. This is especially important when you’re trying to figure out how to start over, and stay motivated day after day. Pick a motto, I don’t care which one it is. Pick one that speaks to you and stick to it. Have it taped to your bathroom mirror. This motto will be your support for when you feel vulnerable and think about giving up. [Read: Mantras to live by: 14 easy mantras that will transform your life]
#8 Accept that you know nothing. Your ego is going to want to control you and make you think that you know everything. You don’t. In fact, you know nothing, so get over it.
You think you know yourself, other people, and the world around you, but just wait until you freak out about this life change. You’re going to encounter people, emotions, and situations completely new to you.
#9 Be ready for the moments where you want to give up. You’re going to want to give up. No matter what the change is, you’re going to want to say, f*ck it, and go home. I mean, I was so close to buying a plane ticket home, but I stopped, took a deep breath and just chilled out.
Your old life was comfortable, I know, but your new life will be even better. You just have to get over this moment of vulnerability.
#10 Reward yourself. Reward yourself for your accomplishments. If not, you won’t see the joy in starting over. If you stop drinking soda and lose five pounds, reward yourself with a massage or a good book. Show yourself that the change you make is for the positive. Thus, you need to treat yourself every now and then.
#11 Trust your gut. Your gut instinct never lies. If you feel that going out tonight may prompt you to make some bad decisions, then don’t go. If you feel you’re strong enough to not drink or do drugs, test yourself. If you feel, deep inside, that you won’t be able to say no, avoid the situation. Your gut knows you better than you do, it’s your raw inner self. Listen to it. [Read: 15 things everyone should know about how to live a happy life]
#12 Keep moving forward. Even though you’re making progress which is great, by the way, you need to keep pushing yourself forward. You’re never going to be the person you want to be. Why? Because you’re going to keep making goals for yourself, so you’ll always be pushing yourself more and more. Whatever happens in your life, keep moving forward.