You haven’t been ok for a while. Things are feeling stale. Your routine is killing you. You catch yourself fantasizing about faraway places, exotic activities, seeing someone new, being someone new.
Sometimes life tells you that everything has to go and that it’s time for a new beginning.
But what can you do? Maybe you’re stuck where you are. But then again, maybe you aren’t. Maybe you have more control than you think.
Here are five things you need to address if you truly want to make big changes:
1. New Beginnings Mean New People
If you want to start fresh, then you need to do a hard relationship evaluation.
The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives. – Esther Perel
This is true. We tend to stay with the people we’ve always stayed with, even if they make life difficult for us. It only takes one toxic relationship to ruin your chance at happiness.
Consider these criteria: Who celebrates your victories with you? Who can you truly laugh with? Who listens to your pain? Who resonates with who you are and want to be? Those are the people worth keeping around.
The important thing here is to audit your relationships, not cut everyone out indiscriminately. After some thought, you’ll know who still means something to you and who doesn’t.
You can make it dramatic and torch every bridge, or you can quietly move on, being less and less present until you finally become a memory. For your own sake, you should choose the latter.
2. New Beginnings Mean New Locations
This one is tricky, because if your issues are internal, then they will follow you. Moving won’t solve your problems. But, your does environment has a big impact on your well-being.
Take your hometown for example. If you still live there, then you’re immersed in the same culture you’ve been in your whole life.
That culture makes you feel the same way you’ve always felt, like you’ve never actually grown up. It’s harder to change when you haven’t flown any nests.
If you have the means, then you can go somewhere new, and write a new story about who you are.
The independence will make you feel alive. Self-responsibility will make you feel more in control. Changing your environment will highlight how clean your new slate is.
3. And New Perspectives
When’s the last time you read something that challenged you? Or heard someone explain something in a way that changed how you saw the world? Experiences like these make you wise, even if they hurt.
Starting over involves challenging your ignorance. Maybe what you were raised to believe is the reason you’re so unhappy. So try something different.
Maybe your perception of Russia, or of conservatives, or of liberals, or of different cultures, are all flawed. You’ll never know until you crack the book, or read the article, or listen to the show, or if you really want to get weird, try the psychedelic.
Look where you’ve never dared to look. Betray your “tribe” and try something new.
4. And New Habits
Decide what you want to be good at. Decide what type of person you would like to be. Establish routines that will get you there, and make them into habits. This is the most important aspect of a new beginning: Behavior change.
You can’t wake up one morning and suddenly do everything differently. But you can do things a little bit differently day by day, and week by week. Think in terms of making a system for enacting change, instead of striving for a goal.
Your goal could be to lose weight. Your system could be your diet and exercise routines. Instead of focusing on the far-off goal, focus on maintaining the system.
Life will get in the way of your system. But you can always improvise, adjust, and be flexible. Intention and commitment are what matter most. The results will take care of themselves.
5. New Beginnings Mean New Forgiveness
Maybe you’re in your own way. If you are holding a grudge against yourself for things you did years ago, or you feel ashamed of something, then you need to find a way to let those things go.
You need to forgive yourself or you’ll never allow yourself to have a new beginning.
Take responsibility for your past. Understand your mindset and influences at the time. Once you know the whole story and accept your role, you can forgive who you were, and move on. Easier said than done, but it’s true.
You could make your life a redemption story. You could take the life you have left and apply the lessons you’ve learned.
You’ve realized what you’ve done wrong, and now you can put all your fury and vitality into doing right. Change starts with forgiveness. So do new beginnings.
Change Is Rarely Radical
Your old life isn’t going to die in a spectacular explosion and shoot you into a new reality. It’s going to be gradual. You are going to have relapses and setbacks. And it’s going to look messy.
But that’s ok. What matters most is that you establish an upward trajectory toward the life you want.
You intend to make things different, and that will show through in your actions and habits, even on bad days. Instead of being a straight line, your progress will look like an overarching trend.
Not many people have the will to forge new beginnings. But if you make the jump, it could be the most liberating thing you ever experience.