Less than a year ago, I opened a brand new chapter in my life. I got married. It was a bitter – sweet experience; one that marked the beginning of the end of who I had been for over 20 years. It meant a lot of things; a new pattern of life, new responsibilities, new relationships amongst other things. I had always known that I would one day arrive here, but the timing had very well been uncertain. Here I am. The choices I made brought me here. I could have chosen something different; to cling to the life I’ve always known and repel the change. However, I decided to start on a clean slate and make it the most wonderful experience for me. So much has been learnt through this transition and I’m pleased that I took the bold step having prepared myself for the highs and lows that come with the change.
Starting fresh can be a very wonderful but delicate time in our lives. It is also a time when feelings of anxiety may envelope us and may well prevent us from achieving our goals. Whether it is in our careers, businesses, marriage, lifestyle or spirituality, this can be a very great determinant of what lies ahead. Are you on the brink of embarking on a new journey in life? Here are some tips to make it the most rewarding experience.
- DEEP SOUL-SEARCHING
There are a lot of excuses that plays around in your head telling you why you shouldn’t take that bold step. Perhaps you’re quite scared. “What if it works for others and doesn’t work for me?” “My present life is not that bad; why choose to venture into uncertainty?” It is not uncommon for us to be skeptical when we get to the point of starting fresh in life. At this stage, what you need is to genuinely search your soul. Ask yourself deep questions. “Who am I?” “What do I want out of life?” “What are my long and short term goals?” “How can I turn my dreams into reality?” “Am I ready to take this step?” “Is this what I really want?” “Would it make me a happier person?” Candid answers to questions like these will give you a direction as to why you should embark on this journey. If you find that this decision is what defines you or that it’s a major step towards living your dream, you need not be scared. Make du’a and trust that Allah will take care of your fears. Create a vision for exactly what you want with this new journey. Be clear on what you want and how you want it. Create a written vision of your goals or a visionary journal. Just make it happen.
2. PREPARE YOUR MIND
The road to success is never free of bumps; you just have to lean into this truth. The unknown creates anxiety and it is perfectly normal to be afraid of what lies ahead. Sometimes life throws us an unexpected blow. But you have to be strong. Be prepared to deal with whatever obstacles you face on your new journey. Be kind to yourself and do not allow your fear become the first obstacle you encounter on this journey. Most times, your fears do not reflect the truth about the bold step you are about to take. So just embrace it and try to see this as a vital part of your personal growth by preparing yourself mentally for everything that’s to come.
3. RELIVE THE PAST
On the journey to starting fresh in life, you may have to leave behind some parts of you. Letting go of the status quo can arouse feelings of sadness. Saying goodbye to the old you, your present job, your friends, family, home, city and even personal belongings can be very hard for you. This is perfectly normal. Do not water down these feelings. Relive the past and the present and let yourself be happy about all the beautiful moments you’ve had. Allow yourself to feel the grief. Talk about it with friends and family. Starting fresh requires you to express these feelings. This will enable you to be focused and positive in your new life, giving you the energy to forge ahead.
4. EVALUATE RELATIONSHIPS
You will be influenced by the people around you as much as the people around you will be impacted by the choices you make. So communicate your new plans to family and friends and pay attention to how they each digest it. Some of them will be happy for you and support you on your journey while others may be disappointed, intimidated or even angry about your decision. While not compromising the feelings of the latter, you may need to cultivate a closer relationship and build a support system with those in the former category to boost your positivity. Do not let the opinions or feelings of those who may not be happy with your decision get in your way. Very soon, they will come around and accept the changes as part of your personal development.
5. EXPLORE DETOURS
Sometimes as you carefully plan out your life’s new journey, detours come along the way. It is very common for us to close our eyes to them and focus on what we have at hand. Do not let this happen. If you’re fortunate enough to be presented with alternative opportunities, you should explore them. You never can tell whether or not the other option will be better than what you’re currently working on. So, have an open mind. As far as you won’t compromise your goals, it doesn’t pain to explore a detour.
6. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
That period in our lives when we are transitioning from who we are to whom we want to be can be so exhausting. And in the process, we get so caught up in the stress that we do not even think of taking a break to enjoy the moment. In times like this, all I can say is ‘be kind to yourself’. Create special ‘me’ times. Have fun. Go on outings with friends and family. Treat yourself to a special meal once in a while. Get a massage. Read books. Take long evening walks. Go for Halaqahs at the masjid. Make new friends. Register yourself in yoga classes. Just take care of yourself and have fun.
7. CELEBRATE EVERY MILESTONE
It takes guts to start fresh in life and implement great new changes. So be proud of yourself. Most of us have our eyes on the prize and all we do is continue to strive to get there. In this process, we fail to recognize the little milestones we encounter along the way. Take a moment and relax. Recall all the important events that have taken place on your journey and celebrate them. You really need to boost your positivity by telling yourself you’re doing great. Live the present. Work towards your goals. But always remember to celebrate every milestone.
Starting fresh in life can be a very fulfilling experience. There will come a time when you will remember what it was like to dream a world that you’re in at the moment. Imagine how great you’ll feel knowing that you’re now living in that world.