The Joys of Starting Over

They say change is inevitable, and truly, it is. Each day is brand-new, filled with things and experiences that may seem similar but never quite exactly the same, which makes life feel both familiar but interesting. But life doesn’t always go as planned and brings big and occasionally unexpected changes, such as having to move to a new neighborhood or even to another country, needing to start a new job at a new company, or learning to live with someone else or entirely on your own. The prospect may be exciting, sometimes even daunting or overwhelming. It means having to deal with unfamiliar faces, things, and spaces; in some cases, you may not even be open to the idea and are struggling with having to adapt and start over. How do you deal? Well, there’s nowhere to go but forward, so you just have to make the most out of this situation.

One of the great things about starting over is the chance to reinvent parts of your life and even yourself. Here are some ways to jump into this fresh start:

1. Create new routines. You can begin settling in by establishing new patterns of activity. A routine can make you feel comfortable and help you cope with all the new and different things that you encounter. Studies show that it takes about three weeks to set a routine, and so you can use this time to adjust to your new situation and get used to things. Make a schedule, plan ahead, and select tasks that are practical and necessary (such as picking up the mail or cleaning the house) and enjoyable (such as Friday-night movie marathons after a long week).

2. Break bad habits. Once you’ve gotten a new routine that is useful and effective, perhaps it would be a good opportunity to let go of habits or practices that are unhelpful or even unhealthy. Repetition and time are needed to establish routines; the same goes for breaking habits. Identify what you need to stop doing, consider the rewards of breaking this habit, set a specific goal on how you can change your ways, and even start replacing bad habits with better ones.

3. Take time to enjoy. Getting used to a new environment or different circumstances can be stressful, so it’s always good to take a break when you can. Indulge yourself in activities that relax or entertain you. Find a new hobby or revisit one that you haven’t done in a while. Discover new places and activities in your neighborhood. Remember that having fun promotes good physical and mental health, so you should do it as often as you can!

4. Set goals and make plans. A new start also gives you a clean slate and a chance to consider possibilities and new opportunities. Perhaps this is a good time to start on that bedroom makeover you’ve been thinking about, or maybe finish that book you had to put down a few months ago. Learn a new language, take up a sport, make art, realize a long-forgotten dream. Big or small, give yourself something to look forward to and keep you going.

Change can be difficult, confusing, and even scary, but it can also be a great opportunity to grow, enjoy, and enrich yourself. Embrace change and create a space for you to thrive, despite the challenges that come with it.

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