Inspiration

6 Expert Tips for When You’re Starting a New Chapter in Your Life

It's never too late for a fresh start.

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Sometimes it seems that change is the only constant in life. Whether you’re moving, changing jobs, or going through any other type of shift, there are things you can do to make starting over easier. We tapped three pros for their best advice on how to transition to a bright new chapter.

Release judgment.

Before we can start fresh, we first need to tap into our inner power by acknowledging our feelings, says expert on spirituality and aging Carol Orsborn, Ph.D., author of Older, Wiser, Fiercer: The Wisdom Collection (Buy on Amazon, $12.35).

“Too often we suppress tough emotions like fear and sadness, but they create fertile ground for our authentic voice to take root,” says Orsborn. The key to starting over is letting yourself feel our feelings without judgment. As you do this, perhaps through journaling or quiet reflection, you’ll get clear on what matters most to you. This emotional release lets you see there is freedom in change.

Embrace the moment.

Focusing on situations we can’t change keeps us stuck, says meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg, author of Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and the World (Buy on Amazon, $18.31).

To release yourself from regret, she suggests taking a few deep breaths while observing your thoughts. “This creates distance between the present and the past, allowing you to see what has come before as just one moment in your life, while this present moment is a chance to create something new.”

Turn the page.

One of the most common blocks to starting fresh is the negative stories we tell ourselves. “Give your harsh inner voice a name so that you can relate to it differently,” urges Salzberg, who calls hers Lucy, after the Charlie Brown character. “When she pipes up, I just say, ‘Chill out, Lucy,’ and keep going.” Once you’ve put your Lucy on mute, jot down five positive qualities about yourself — that’s the beginning of the new, more confident you. “This person has always been there waiting to be discovered.” With old narratives behind you, the full force of your gifts can emerge.

Flex your creativity.

The urge to begin anew comes from deep inside you, a dream wanting to be expressed, says coach and speaker Cynthia James, author of I Choose Me: The Art of Being a Phenomenally Successful Woman at Home and at Work (Buy on Amazon, $17.49).

To help get at the heart of what you’re seeking, simply draw, paint, even decorate — anything that lets you get in touch with your imagination helps your subconscious uncover hidden goals. “Tapping into your creativity allows you to express, explore, and ultimately, discover yourself,” she explains.

Leave your comfort zone.

Often what we’re seeking in reinvention is the desire to feel excitement for life again, which is why James recommends doing something that scares you (a little!). This good stress makes your heart beat a little faster and spurs you to grow. Just try something new that nudges you out of your comfort zone, be it spearheading an online fundraiser or introducing yourself to a new neighbor. “This proves you can do more than you imagined.”

Let action lead you forward.

When we allow ourselves to be who we are, we find renewed purpose, assures James. “Invest in yourself through action. Some people start with prayer, others take a class to learn new skills. Whichever step you choose, surround yourself with supportive people and give yourself the affirmations you need to keep going. When you do that, the universe syncs up and you become your best self.”

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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