You know what they say, your glass is either half empty or half full.
In a similar way, starting a new life completely is either having nothing, or it’s a fresh start and a new chance.
It’s all about perspective.
So how do you rebuild your life from scratch? And how do you succeed in life from nothing?
In this article, I’ll give you 17 no-nonsense tips on how to start life from zero.
How do I rebuild my life from scratch?
1) Mourn what has gone, and then try to let go of the past
You can’t change the past. But you can learn from the mistakes that have happened.
If you’re not happy with the past, you should be honest with yourself. You can still mourn what you feel you have lost. Allow yourself to grieve any heartache you feel right now.
There’s no point locking it inside. You have to let it out. Doing so helps you to process and move on.
You might feel regret, loss, sadness, anger, frustration, excitement, nervousness — and a whole range of emotions.
Whether you chose to be in the position you find yourself in now, or it was thrust upon you, eventually, you need to accept what “is”.
I know this is far easier said than done. But everything that has passed has already happened.
There’s no point in trying to internally fight what already is. This is where you are right now. Wishing things were different will only hold you back.
2) Take care of some basics
Facing big changes can shake us to our core. It hits a very primal and instinctive part of us that seeks protection above all else.
So if you are feeling unsure and unsettled, that’s totally natural. Start by asking yourself:
What will make me feel safe right now?
What needs to happen to help me feel more secure and as though everything is less up in the air?
That could be taking some time off to process your emotions, or even going on a trip to have some space to think.
If money is an issue, it could be finding some work, even if it’s only temporary. Even the simple act of applying for jobs can help you to feel like you are taking charge of the situation.
It could be to clean your home, have a clear-out, and get things in order. Lots of people find that ordering their space helps them to feel more grounded during disruption.
Different things will help depending on what is most comforting right now in your situation.I would recommend not making any drastic or sudden decisions.
This is about taking small immediate action to help you feel better or addressing any urgently pressing matters in life.
3) Identify what holds you back
When you are starting again, there’s no better time to ditch the things that have been holding you back in life.
It might be negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself. Bad habits that it’s time to kick once and for all.
It could be the wrong situations that you often find yourself drawn into or the wrong people you let into your life.
We all have things we’ve outgrown, and that aren’t doing us any favors.
Now is the time to honestly assess what changes you need to make, both internally and externally.
What are the biggest challenges you face right now? Identify them.
Where do you hide in life? Maybe it’s in drinking too much or in unhealthy relationships. It’s time to let go.
Don’t carry with you into the new life things you really should be left behind.
4) Get out of any ruts you’re in
A lot of us want a better life, but we simply don’t know-how.
We feel stuck in our ways, trapped in the same repeating patterns. Not sure which direction to travel in.
We desire the life we dream of. Maybe we even feel a strong determination to make it happen.
But time and time again, it doesn’t seem to be enough. And so we end up staying exactly where we are, feeling frozen.
These ruts in life drag us down and continue to pull us backward.
So how can you overcome this feeling of being “stuck in a rut”?
Well, you need more than just willpower, that’s for sure.
I learned about this from Life Journal, created by the highly-successful life coach and teacher Jeanette Brown.
You see, willpower only takes us so far…the key to transforming your life into something you’re passionate and enthusiastic about takes perseverance, a shift in mindset, and effective goal setting.
And while this might sound like a mighty task to undertake, thanks to Jeanette’s guidance, it’s been easier to do than I could have ever imagined.
Now, you may wonder what makes Jeanette’s course different from all the other personal development programs out there. It all comes down to one thing:
Jeanette isn’t interested in being your life coach.
Instead, she wants YOU to take the reins in creating the life you’ve always dreamt of having.
So if you’re ready to stop dreaming and start living your best life, a life created on your terms, one which fulfills and satisfies you, don’t hesitate to check out Life Journal.
5) Forget about age
If age really is just a number, I wonder why so many of us end up getting hung up on it when we find ourselves starting again.
I think it’s because a fearful voice in our head tells us that “we’re too old to start again”. We create a worrying story that makes us ask ourselves, “but how do I start over at 40?”
Perhaps when we’re young, we’re more used to encountering change more regularly. It can feel more daunting when you are starting from scratch at a later age in life.
But don’t forget two important truths:
- Your age genuinely makes no difference. You may feel like you have more to lose, but you also have more life experience to see you through. Fear over your age when starting again is ultimately an illusion. That’s not to dismiss any apprehension it may bring you. It’s just to remind you that people start again all the time at every age.
- Starting again involves the same steps and the same process no matter how old you are — 25 or 55.
If it helps, read up on stories of people who went on to create incredible life changes later in life. Let their stories inspire and motivate you.
6) Share the load
Through uncertain times we all need to look for support.
Turn to friends, family, community, online groups, or even professionals.
Talk about it. Ask for help. Share your concerns, fears, and troubles. Let people know what is going on for you.
Starting a new life alone can be a daunting task.
Even if you’re dealing with the breakdown of a relationship or marriage, don’t forget, that you’re not alone.
There are plenty of others out there who understand what you’re going through and will be able to offer you some much-needed support.
Surround yourself as much as possible with people who care and are a positive influence.
If you don’t have those people in your life right now, now is the time to find them. Join groups to meet like-minded friends.
It’s time to put yourself out there and discover a community of people you admire and respect.
7) Refuse to be a victim
This tip is about taking full responsibility for yourself and your life.
One of the things that often holds us back is the simple and all too easy act of blame.
We look to circumstances, events, traumas we have suffered, or certain people in our lives and we say “that is the reason”.
That is the reason I am here now. That is the reason things haven’t worked out for me. That is the reason I am feeling bad, sad, angry, etc. That is the reason I cannot do X, Y, Z.
In short, we shift the focus of responsibility elsewhere.
I don’t know your story or what has happened to you. It’s true that some people seem to be dealt a worse hand in life. It’s totally fair to acknowledge that some people have had to deal with the unimaginable.
But it’s also true that no matter what has happened up until now, starting over again from scratch is going to need you to take the reins in your own life.
You will be called to be proactive, guide, mold, and shape your life the way you want it to be.
That isn’t going to happen until you can take full responsibility for yourself. Make a decision not to wallow in self-pity. Choose to be your own hero.
8) Start with your values
I’ve been there when you’re starting over and you are at a total loss over what to do next.
But even when you feel like you know nothing, you know more than you think.
You know yourself, you know what makes you tick and you know what is important to you. Even if you feel like you have lost touch with it. Look to your core values.
These are a set of principles that create a firm foundation that you stand upon. And they can help guide your behaviors and decisions.
What matters most to you?
What kind of relationships do you want to have?
How do you want to treat other people?
When you start from a place of knowing what is important to you, you’ll be able to make better choices. And when you choose wisely, you’ll be making good decisions that lead to better results.
9) Discover what you want
Ok, let’s get really practical. Maybe you already know what it is you want next, but perhaps you don’t have a clue.
It’s time for some introspection to help tease some answers out of you. There are a few exercises that can help you do this.
Ask “if I were to die a year from now”.
There is nothing like the sense of urgency to shake all the nonsense out of us and help us get to the heart of things.
Posing the hypothetical question to yourself “if I had one year to live what would I get started on?” can help you laser in on what’s most important to you.
What would you do? How would you spend your time? What would you quit procrastinating on and finally get started with?
Dig further into what to do with your life by answering these questions (ideally write your answers down).
- What do I really want?
- What am I no longer willing to accept?
- What makes me happy?
- Are my current habits enabling me to live the life I want?
- How can I add value to this world?
10) Create some practical and achievable goals
Soul searching is great, but it’s important to have a plan too. Without taking practical steps you’re never going to rebuild your life.
Create a list of goals and things you would like to do. Make sure they follow the SMART rule — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Aim to do the most important things first.
You might decide to study something, take a course, or learn something new. You might want to look for a new job, or that you want to move somewhere else.
You might want to start going to new places and meet new people. Take up a new hobby or interest.
Whatever you decide to focus on, make sure it’s something that will bring you closer to achieving your goals.
11) Learn how to better cope with anxiety and fear
Particularly when you find yourself in a period of change, life can feel overwhelming.
Us humans are programmed to fear change. We crave the comforting safety of the familiar. So when you feel like you are starting again from scratch, it can be understandably daunting.
Fear and uncertainty may create stress and anxiety that plays on your mind and takes hold in your body too.
But this stress puts your body into a constant draining state of fight and flight.
It’s one of the worst states to be in when you need a clear head more than ever. Fear is always going to be a constant companion throughout life. We cannot magic it away.
But we can use tools to try to soothe and calm our stress and anxiety and find greater peace, and clarity at the same time.
Meditation is one of these powerful calming techniques that has been scientifically proven to have a positive impact.
Another is Breathwork.
When I felt the most lost in life, I was introduced to an unusual free breathwork video created by the shaman, Rudá Iandê, which focuses on dissolving stress and boosting inner peace.
My relationship was failing, I felt tense all the time. My self-esteem and confidence hit rock bottom. I’m sure you can relate – heartbreak does little to nourish the heart and soul.
I had nothing to lose, so I tried this free breathwork video, and the results were incredible. And, if it worked for me, it could help you too.
Rudá hasn’t just created a bog-standard breathing exercise – he’s cleverly combined his many years of breathwork practice and shamanism to create this incredible flow – and it’s free to take part in.
If you feel a disconnect with yourself due to starting from zero again, I’d recommend checking out Rudá’s free breathwork video.
12) Push your comfort zone
There comes a point where you realize that you’ve got no choice but to push your comfort zone.
That moment when you finally step outside your comfort zone and embrace the unknown. It’s scary but it’s also liberating.
You’re forced to grow and evolve, whether you like it or not.
And it’s only when you push past that threshold that you’ll really begin to understand who you truly are.
So what happens when you get there? What do you experience? How do you react?
The answers to those questions will help you define your next steps.
13) Give your mindset a makeover
Your mindset is everything.
It determines how you perceive the world around you. It dictates how you respond to challenges and obstacles thrown your way.
It influences how you view yourself and others. It shapes your emotions, behaviors, and attitudes. It’s the foundation upon which every other aspect of your life rests.
Yet, despite its importance, your mindset is often overlooked.
We tend to focus on external factors such as money, relationships, career, etc., instead of focusing on internal ones such as our beliefs and outlook.
But we’re neglecting the fact that mindset shapes all those external things we end up creating.
We spend far too much time trying to control the uncontrollable. We spend far too much energy worrying about the future rather than living in the present. We waste precious time obsessing over problems that aren’t even real.
All because we fail to pay attention to the most important thing of all. Our mindset.
If you want to change your life, you need to first change your mindset.
14) Make friends with failure
Starting anything new or from scratch is a learning curve. And learning is bound to involve failing too.
But don’t let that stop you from pursuing your goals. You can learn from your mistakes. In fact, by embracing them, you’ll be able to avoid making them again.
Failure doesn’t have to be something to fear. It can actually be an opportunity to learn and improve.
When you fail at something, ask yourself: “What did I learn from this? How can I use this knowledge to succeed in the future?
It’s never going to feel good when we fall flat on our faces. But the most successful people in the world have learned to make friends with failure.
15) Support yourself through challenging times with these important habits…
You need to be at your strongest right now, both body and mind. That means you can’t afford to neglect basic self-care.
Make sure you exercise, be mindful of your diet, and get a proper night’s sleep.
It might not feel like that matters so much or should be a priority, but it’s far from insignificant.
These are the basics that are going to regulate your hormones and moods. It’s going to help you think more clearly.
It’s also helpful to lean on routine. That might be getting up and going to bed at the same time every day, or getting out for a walk daily.
It’s more important when we are feeling lost to create structure in our lives.
16) Be curious and experimental
Yes, starting again from scratch can be challenging, but it can also be a wonderful experience.
Now is the time to embrace the playful side of life and see this as your opportunity for discovery.
Be open to experimenting with different ways of doing things.
Try new hobbies, classes, and books. Reinvent yourself. Explore the world around you. And if you find something that works, keep doing it.
Don’t just stick to one way of doing things. Instead, try multiple approaches until you find one that suits you best.
The key here is being curious. Let go of perfectionism and be willing to explore.
17) Don’t wait for permission
This is your life, how do you want it to look?
Sometimes we’re afraid to act because we worry that someone will disapprove. Or maybe we’re waiting for approval before taking any risks.
And sometimes we’re scared to do things because we think they’ll be hard. We’re worried that we won’t be able to handle whatever comes next.
But there’s no reason why we should ever wait for permission to live our dreams.
There’s nothing wrong with asking for advice or seeking help. But ultimately, we must decide for ourselves what goals to pursue and which to leave behind.
If you find yourself stuck, take some action. Sometimes any action will do. Start with baby steps.
Even if it’s small. Even if it feels scary. It’s time to jump in.