There are 5 tenets to what people mean when they say they want to start fresh. They want to:
- lose yesterday and build a new tomorrow;
- forget the pain of the past and seek future pleasure;
- throw away the track record of yesterday and start over again with a clean piece of paper;
- build new relationships to replace the old;
- forget what was learned in the past in favour of acquiring new knowledge for their next chapter.
A fresh start seems to imply that the past offers little value as one considers building a new future
And of course this thinking is a nonstarter; throwing the baby out with the bath water makes no sense at all, and it will never allow you to refresh yourself the way you want.
Regardless of the overwhelming desire to strike out on a new journey and rid yourself of what you don’t like about your present circumstances, there are pieces of your life up to now that have been amazing for you and should form an integral part of your future.
I think a fresh start should really be looked at as another start, building on what you’ve achieved so far to reach greater and more importantly different heights. It also implies that you want to make another try which is the right thing to do when you’re dissatisfied with your current state.
How do you start again to satisfy your craving for change and at the same time preserve your ‘specialness’ that made you who you are today?
Define your ‘west’ vision
What the hell do you mean by “I need a fresh start?”
Fresh starts don’t happen ‘in the moment’, they need at least a modicum of thinking about what you want to do — note that I’ve avoided the word ‘planning’ which I think would have scared many of you off
Your fresh start vision doesn’t have to be crystal clear but it does have to be directional with enough clarity to inform the actions needed to make the fresh start happen.
So at this point, paint a picture of what your new future looks like in general terms.
Try not to be too granular in your new ‘I want’ a new start definition:
I want to travel the world;
I want to move to Europe;
I want a new career in marketing;
I want a new relationship;
I want to learn a new language;
I want to homeschool my kids.
Declarations like these define your ‘start again’ context and where you will devote your time and energy. If you don’t do this work, your attention will be scattered with the likelihood you will miss your refresh mark.
Inventory your likes and dislikes
A start again plan typically includes casting off things about you and your life that you don’t like to make room for the new exciting things you decide to do.
Taking a self inventory of what you like and dislike about yourself is where you begin this work.
So, you need to create two lists that are a ‘character bifurcation’ of how you see yourself, defining the unique special features you want to retain and build upon to be different and those you want to let go of.
Select 3 likes
Your new start up plans I’ll fail if you try and take on too much; if you try to build your new future on too many of the features you really like about yourself.
It gets too complicated to create a fresh beginning from 10 traits you don’t want to lose than it is to build from a handful, so think about focusing on the 3 traits you really like about yourself — your confidence, creativity and love of people for example — and that you believe will contribute the experience you will require as you begin to ‘head west’.
These 3 strengths will be the nucleus of the energy you will draw on to unfold your new tomorrow.
Define what you need
Even with your best likes, however, ‘head west’ beginnings will be deficient in the ingredients needed to achieve the new destination; there will always be a deficit that needs to be filled — it wouldn’t be a new start if you didn’t have to acquire something new.
Try to define one or two new things — nirvana would be only one — you need in addition to what you already have in your kitbag to start fresh.
Look for help
It’s quite normal to find a mentor to help us with our career, so why not find someone to help us morph our lives into something new and more exciting — a new start mentor.
A life change is normally a risky affair so find someone who has experience in navigating through the turbulence of leaving behind equity that has been hard fought for over one’s life and adopting a new course.
New start mentors don’t offer solutions, they provide a ‘boots on the ground’ view of what life change entails so you can make informed decisions.
By now you’re probably exhausted by the regimen I’ve prescribed to launch your new beginning; the process feels complicated, time consuming and tough work.
But it is a disciplined process; new starts rarely happen through serendipity, by falling in a bucket of sh*t and come out smelling like a rose.
If that’s what you’re hoping for, kiss your fresh start goodbye.
If you want a life makeover, be prepared to do the work.
Related: How To Make Yourself Undeniable