It’s finally starting to feel like spring around here and with it comes a feeling of rebirth and awakening. It feels like a new chapter in life is has arrived with the changing of the seasons.
This next chapter in life feels natural and welcomed, however that’s not always the case. Sometimes we start a new chapter in life by our choosing, but other times it is thrust upon us by changing life circumstances.
Thus, with new chapters comes a multitude of emotions including fear and sadness, but also excitement and hope. Whatever the impetus for your next chapter in life, it’s important to learn how to navigate new beginnings so you can move forward in a positive way.
What marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one?
For many of us, we tend to think of “starting a new chapter in life” in relation to major life events. These could be positive milestones like graduating from school, getting married, having a baby, moving to a new home, starting a new career or retiring, or they could be difficult life changes like the end of an important relationship, death of a loved one, or loss of your job.
It is often the case that one chapter ends and another begins surrounding milestone events like these, but the truth is you have the ability to start a new chapter in life whenever you choose to.
We all have the possibility of an infinite amount of new chapters in our lives. It is really up to you to decide when you’re ready and willing to move on from one chapter and step into the next.
When is it time for the next chapter in life?
Good or bad, sometimes life throws things at you and you don’t have a choice in moving on to the next chapter, but oftentimes you do.
Starting a new chapter in life is something you should welcome when the time feels right. It may be obvious to you that something in your life feels off and you know you’re ready to embark on that next chapter, but most of the time we may all need a little push to recognize when it’s time for a change.
Here are a few signs that it may be time to start a new chapter in life:
- You look at your life and realize certain things you used to find meaningful no longer hold importance. For example, I knew I was ready to leave NYC and move to the suburbs when the things I had once valued as the perks of city life no longer felt meaningful to me like they once had.
- You feel stuck in your current situation. Perhaps you are stuck in a stagnant job or relationship. You’re not progressing in life and feel like you need to make a change.
- You’re uninspired or bored. Even if you’re not the creative type, if you feel uninspired and bored in life, then it is time to move on to something new. Set some new goals and move onto something that challenges you to be the person you want to be.
How to begin a new chapter in life with confidence and clarity:
1. Take steps to face your fears
When faced with a new situation, feeling fear is totally normal. I am someone who has always naturally feared change, so I used to feel a lot of trepidation whenever faced with new chapters in life.
I still do feel scared when faced with big changes, but I also have shifted my mindset to view fear as an opportunity for learning and growth.
Your fears often tell you something about yourself. I learned that I feared change because I didn’t like dealing with uncertainty and knowing this about myself helps me to feel better equipped to deal with change. Rather than allowing my mind to immediately go to what could go wrong in an unknown situation, I find it much more helpful to try to focus on all of the positive possibilities first and the good outcomes that may come from a life change.
Also, I now recognize that fear never presents the full picture. Rather, it is a mechanism our brain uses to try to protect us from perceived danger. But the key word here is “perceived”.
In his book, “Think Like a Monk”, Jay Shetty quotes the Roman Stoic philosopher, Seneca, who said that “Our fears are more numerous than our dangers, and we suffer more in our imagination than reality.”
So realize that your fears often present a more ominous picture than is reality. Rather than avoiding the things that feel scary, if you can learn to work with fear and see it as a tool to assess what truly matters to you and what new opportunities may come about, then you will be able to face new chapters in life with more confidence.
2. Let go of the past
It’s almost impossible to move forward into a new chapter if you continue to dwell on what happened in the past or how you used to do things in the past. This may mean letting go of old habits and routines that are not aligned with who you want to be in this next chapter.
Of course, this can be especially difficult when an unexpected life event, such as the loss of a loved one, forces you to face a new chapter in life. In this case, it’s important to deal with the emotions from the past trauma first before you can move on to the next steps. Allow yourself time to heal, prioritize your self-care, lean on your family and friends, and seek professional guidance if necessary.
Figure out what it is you need to be able to let go of the past so you can let the next chapter of your life begin.
3. Visualize the next chapter
In order to move into a new chapter of life, you must define your vision for the future. Engage in self-reflection to help visualize what this new phase will look like for you. This might be through creating a vision board or journaling.
A vision board is a collage of images and words that represent your goals. Traditionally, it is made in physical form using cut-out pictures from magazines and words that help inspire you. If you don’t like clutter or you’re tight on space, you can also make a digital vision board using a tool like Canva or Photoshop.
For me, journaling is my go-to self-reflection tool. It’s a powerful way to tap into your intuition and it’s the best way I know to process my thoughts and feelings. I have a new FREE journaling guide you can access below.
Either way, I definitely recommend sitting down and setting some goals, plans, and intentions for yourself as your next chapter in life begins.
4. Assess where you are currently
After visualizing your goals for this new chapter, you have to honestly look at where you are currently in life and assess what you need to start doing to get you where you want to go.
Are you behaving like the person you want to be in this next chapter? What habits, routines, and mindset must you adopt?
Evaluating where you are currently will help you focus on the areas you need to work on. Meet yourself where you are TODAY, then work from there by making the necessary changes to get where you want to go!
5. Find support systems
Embracing a new chapter in life can be easier said than done. It’s really common to feel scared, stressed, or anxious during times of transition. That is why it’s important to have a good support structure in your life.
This could consist of a lot of different ways of finding support, including the following:
- Leaning on your family and friends a bit more
- Establishing consistent self-care practices
- Using positive affirmations to give you confidence and maintain focus
- Following your curiosity to find new sources of joy and inspiration
- Taking care of your body with adequate sleep, healthy nutrition and regular exercise
- Setting necessary boundaries for yourself and with others
- Staying organized with a good planner
- Starting therapy or finding a life coach to guide you
6. Be patient and gentle with yourself
Realize that meaningful change doesn’t happen overnight. It will take some time to adjust to this new chapter in life. It’s important to show yourself kindness and patience and acknowledge that you will make mistakes along the way.
Also, be flexible. Sometimes things will not go as you planned and that shouldn’t discourage you from moving forward. You just may have to alter your course a bit or take a detour to get to your ultimate destination.
Every new chapter in life is an opportunity
Change can be daunting and yes, it can be difficult to start something new, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing so.
“The pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow.”– Unknown
Sometimes the exact course is unclear, but the magical part about not knowing what’s coming next is that anything can happen. You may wind up somewhere even better than where you intended at the start.
Every new chapter in life is an opportunity for infinite possibilities!
Carly is a wife, mom, and former fashion industry executive turned blogger, who is on a journey to live life as the best version of herself. Through her website, littlevoicebigmatter.com, she shares practical advice and heartfelt insights to inspire and support women in motherhood, relationships, wellness, and life.