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How to Create a Fresh Start This New Year That Lasts

Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor

People often have all kinds of limiting beliefs when it comes to creating a fresh start, but the New Year can be a motivating time to put those aside.

Thoughts like “I am too old to start fresh” or “It is impossible to start over” might run through your brain, but you can overcome these!

Change is an integral part of starting fresh, and that is often scary for people too. However, just because it might be uncomfortable doesn’t mean you should pass up the opportunity to recreate your reality. These tips will help you understand how you can create a fresh start that lasts well into the year.

The first step is identifying what is holding you back and facing it with honesty. Next, you have to follow that up with some kind of action. Finally, remain flexible and understand that a fresh start isn’t a destination…it’s a journey.

Identifying what is holding you back is the first step of a fresh start

Figuring out what is keeping you from starting over is the first step of creating a meaningful and lasting fresh start. Understanding the challenges you will face before you begin enables you to be ready for them.

Is it fear? Fear of change, fear of failure, and fear of success are all things you might encounter on your journey to a new you.

Change makes us feel uncomfortable simply because it is new. It doesn’t make the doubts or concerns true though.

Failure, although many of us fear it, is not something we should shy away from. Failing at something means you tried, which is a triumph in its own right.

Not succeeding at something the first few times gives you a chance to learn new skills, new thought processes, and new habits. It teaches us to be better.

Fear of success is much more common than I think people realize. Maybe you aren’t worried about failing, but that you might actually succeed, and that would bring about more change. It might change how much money you have or how people see you.

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Will you like who you become if you achieve success? Will your friends still be your friends? All of these thoughts are once again centered around the uncomfortableness associated with change.

“You do not have to be fearless just don’t let fear stop you.” — Charlie Day, Motivational Speeches

How this knowledge can help you set up the groundwork for your fresh start

Let’s say you are worried about losing weight because you are concerned your relationship won’t be the same. Honesty with yourself is essential, not only when starting over but for living the most authentic life possible.

Are your fears that your partner will not find you attractive? Or are they based on the idea that you are unhappy in your relationship and think if you have more options you would choose differently?

These are two very different things, but it isn’t the answer that will determine if you are successful. The determining factor will be what you do with your honest answer. If you are unhappy in your relationship then address those issues with your partner.

You don’t need to lose weight to be loved and happy in your relationship. If you think that you would do something differently if you looked different, then this relationship isn’t working for you.

Your options shouldn’t matter, but your self-worth should. Talk about the things that you wish were different and see if communication helps resolve them.

You might end up losing weight and improving the relationship at the same time. Or you might discover that it is time to move on, and then work on changing your image because you want to.

If you decide to lose weight and improve your health and your partner no longer finds you attractive, that’s ok.

People will be attracted to whatever they want to be attracted to, but you shouldn’t make yourself unhealthy or stay a certain way so someone else doesn’t leave you. Facing this fear could mean you end up alone for a little while.

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However, it might also mean that you inspire someone else to be healthier along with you. If that happens, then you each not only get a fresh start for your health but also experience new things that help you grow closer together.

Being real with yourself and true to who you are make up the building blocks for creating a fresh start that will last!

“The truth may hurt, but fooling yourself will enslave you.” ― Charles F. Glassman, Brain Drain The Breakthrough That Will Change Your Life

Changing your career path uses the same principles

When I was first entering college, I wanted to be a journalist and someday write fiction novels. I knew I wanted to write. I even dabbled with a blog back in the 90s as a teenager and got paid to write on the internet.

Then life happened and I didn’t start college when I planned. When I did go back, I had a baby and decided I could only make college work if I went online. I had been working in management positions for a few years and thought a degree in business administration would help me make more money.

So, that’s what I did. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree and kept working in management roles. I got a master’s degree in Management and Leadership. My 20-year management career, included restaurants, retail stores, and even nonprofit organizations.

There were things I liked about it, but overall I was miserable. I was living a life that never felt like the one I was meant to live.

The catalyst for the change in careers came about because I started being honest with myself. I didn’t want to dress professionally every day. Nor did I want to solve customer issues for the majority of my time.

I wanted to write. The desire to help people develop and grow was still there, but I couldn’t keep doing it in the same way I had been.

I found the answers to the tough questions because I started a daily routine that involved walking around the lake near my house every day. This led to a level of introspection I hadn’t engaged in for years.

Joining a writing group came next, followed by a series of opportunities to self-publish my work and do work for clients.

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It all started as a hobby. A way to appease the part of me that wanted to write that I had buried. Before I knew it, I was making almost as much money as my full-time job in far fewer hours.

I just knew if I could devote more time to writing, the fear of not having enough money wouldn’t hold me back from leaving a career that depressed me.

Honesty has to lead to action, and you will know when that moment happens.

A fresh start requires you to do something

Understanding what is holding you back and being honest with yourself are both psychological steps to building a lasting fresh start. They are crucial pieces, but nothing changes if nothing changes.

You can know that something is off in your personal relationships or your career. However, until the moment you do something, it will stay that way. Now that “something” is entirely up to you. Maybe you will start a new diet and exercise plan. Maybe, you will fly to Mexico and have weight loss surgery.

You might decide to join a group based on a passion of yours. If you have no idea what to do, maybe you will find a therapist or a life coach and go from there. You might re-enroll in school. The action is different for everyone, but the point is that something needs to happen.

We have to take those first steps. They may not be the permanent or perfect solution. I don’t walk around the lake every single day anymore, and I don’t go to the monthly writing group (it disbanded). I do, however, spend my days in a career I love. I went back to school for a Ph.D. in Psychology.

The road to a fresh start is curvy at best, bumpy and treacherous at its worse. On those journeys though we usually find the best scenery and make the most memories.

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I…I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” — Robert Frost

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