Have you ever reached a dead end in your journey, or perhaps gotten an epiphany as you progressed in life? Have you ever wanted to stop your current path and start again? If so, read on!
Starting anew can be frightening and challenging, especially if you don’t know where to begin. Here’s how experts reveal four practical ways to make a fresh start in life.
1. Get In The Right Mindset
Did you know that you need more than one mindset to make a fresh start that involves new goals and directions? If you’re a “full-steam ahead” type of thinking, you might want to stop and reconsider your methods. You need much more guidance if you want positive results, especially if you’re seeking to achieve specific goals.
Research-based science writer and author Peg Streep, also an expert on brain science, goal disengagement, and other psychology topics, states that there are two mindsets needed to achieve goals.
Two types of mindsets:
- The gathering of information in multiple different ways
- The ability to request and be open to the perspectives and opinions of others
- The process of weighing, considering, and plotting different strategies and decisions
- The necessary thought for determining each option and its feasibility
- The process of networking and learning
- Realism, logic, and rationality
On the other hand, the second mindset is called the implemental mindset, and it is what you use to work towards achieving the fresh start and its goals. This involves:
- Optimism, positive thinking, and openness to different situations
- Charging ahead through different hurdles, struggles, and even against logic
- Focusing on action over fear or being held back
- Taking note of things that don’t work and keeping them in mind to learn from as you move forward
Why does it matter that these are two different mindsets? It means that you need to focus on the way you think when you make a fresh start. You must be conscious of your frame of mind and change your approach as you move from the planning to the action phase. You also have to know when to switch from the action phase back to the planning one – for example, if your current outlook is tanking, you may need to stop and reconsider things.
2. Decide On Goals
A fresh start without goals is aimless and pointless. You won’t find what you’re looking for if you don’t even know what it is or how you can get to it. Of course, the trick is that you have to set goals well and make sure they’re going to motivate you. Business and organizational consultant Dr. Susan Murphy lists the following tips for better goal-setting:
· Start Small
If you’ve struggled to achieve goals in the past, it’s time to lower your scope. Start small and make your goals challenging but manageable. You can always change them to be a little loftier later on. Remember, goals need to be achievable, not almost impossible, or you’ll never get there!
· Spread Goals Out
Don’t have many goals with a close deadline or multiple goals you have to work on all at once. This is especially true for those who often find themselves overwhelmed by goals. Your self-confidence will build with every objective you succeed in, and you’ll soon be ready for closer goals – but you need the patience to get there first!
· Write Goals Down
Hold yourself accountable and remember all your goals by putting them in writing. You want to view them, so you don’t skew them to fit different terms quickly. It’s also an excellent way to commit to goals – they’re in writing, so they stick in your brain!
· Put Your Goals Where You Can See Them
Put up the list of goals or the steps for your goals in visible areas, such as on your work desk, on your fridge, or your mirror. This way, you’ll always be reminded that you need to keep going! You can also check off any goals you achieve to motivate yourself further when you view the checked list every day.
But how do you set good goals? You’ll want to use the acronym SMART. It sounds cheesy, but SMART goals have been shown to have positive effects on those attempting them, and they’re guidelines you mustn’t ignore when setting goals. SMART stands for:
Vague goals are sure to harm your progress and muddle your brain. Make sure you know exactly what your goals are in detail, with no room for misinterpretation.
You need to be able to tell if you’re making progress on your goals. You want to be able to see and feel motivated by each measurable step you take, and you also want to make sure you can be 100% certain that you’ve achieved those goals.
As previously mentioned, your goals must be reasonable and should not be in the realm of near-impossibility.
When you make goals, please focus on the results you want, not on the journey itself or the struggle it will take. You want to think of desired outcomes, not of how tough it’ll be.
Make sure certain deadlines bind your goals. This will spur you into action and remind you to complete those goals in time, preventing you from sitting on them forever.
Rumination refers to the act of being stuck on one or more similar thoughts, usually of a harmful variety, for a prolonged period. It’s basically like crying over spilled milk but doing so again and again and again. When you’re trying to get a fresh start, this can have you stuck in the past, thinking of nothing but failure and the reasons for your desire for the aforementioned renewed start.
Renowned social psychologist Daniel Wegner covered a lot of information regarding rumination, including the kind that was extremely difficult for people to fight against. He refers to these thoughts as “white bears,” the kinds of strings that repeat and are too difficult to suppress, even with some positive thinking.
Wegner uncovered that the brain automatically searches for certain thoughts that we attempt to suppress. By trying not to think about them, we actually make them worse. Here are some tips for managing rumination and getting away from your personal white bears as you try to make a new start:
· Designate A Worry Time
Set aside a few minutes every day to ruminate as much as you like. The trick? That is the only time you are allowed to ruminate. Essentially, you want to ensure that whenever negative spirals come up during the day, you can say, “Hey, it’s not my worry time! I have to wait before I can give you attention!” and temporarily push the thought aside. That way, you’re not suppressing emotion permanently, just waiting till you can express it all in one go!
· Break The Cycle
When you feel yourself begin to ruminate, break the cycle by turning your attention to something else. Basically, distract yourself with something more positive! Do some chores, participate in a hobby you love, listen to music, play with a pet, chat with a friend… whatever you need to do to get your mind off your worrisome thought cycles.
· Take Note Of Triggers
What is triggering your rumination? Try and figure it out. If you need to, keep a little notebook or even a full journal where you write down your rumination details. Who were you with? What were you doing? What was able to distract you? When you know what your triggers are, you’ll be able to prepare for those bad thoughts when those triggers occur mentally.
· Turn Regret Into Productivity
Regret doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Instead of dwelling on it, try to use it productively. Studies indicate that regret can be positive if it is used to understand your past, learn how to make a better future, and prevent those mistakes from continuing or recurring – all crucial elements for a fresh start!
4. Change The Way You Think About Starting Fresh
Many people hold negative thoughts regarding the act of starting anew. It can seem like a waste of time or effort, and it may even be something you do that fills you with regret. Don’t let this be the case!
The way you think about fresh starts determines how successful they are. Starting off looking down on the very idea of what they are is a surefire way to make your journey harder. Licensed psychotherapist, licensed marriage and family therapist, keynote speaker, and author Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., lists the following thoughts about fresh starts you should change.
· Endings Aren’t Always Bad
Chapters of life end all the time in various ways, some more negative than others. But deciding to close a chapter doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve hit a “bad ending.” Instead, think of it like a phoenix dying and burning to ash, only to rise once more after. It’s a much more empowering and healthier way of allowing yourself to be satisfied with starting anew.
· It Is Not Failure Recovery
For many, the act of starting over has become synonymous with recouping after failing. This is not the case. When you start anew, you are coming in fresh with brand new knowledge, experience, and renewed vigor and passion. Thinking of starting fresh as a mere way to recover from failure undersells the amazing things you can do.
· Starting Again Should Be Celebrated
It’s frightening to try starting fresh, but it’s something to be proud of. Being held back by fear in a fresh start is counterproductive! It’s an exciting opportunity with so many branching paths full of potential!
· Progress Isn’t Linear
Steps back don’t mean that you’re starting from square one. When you advance in life, think of it like climbing stairs instead of walking a straight path. You’ll climb some steps, then take a couple back – and yet, you’re always higher than where you began when you were just on the ground. There is nothing wrong with starting fresh, even if it means losing a little bit of progress!
If you’re longing for a fresh start, the only thing holding you back is you! Be brave and step into that decision with these effective methods to begin again in a productive way. Sometimes, all you really need is a new beginning!