Divorce. Bankruptcy. Job loss. A loved one’s death. Starting your life over. 

What do these words make you think of?

Many will think of despair, hopelessness, and sadness. Hard experiences impact us so deeply that life can never be the same again. 

If you’re here, you understand tough situations like these. You know what it’s like to wonder how to start your life over. 

Although nothing feels good when you’re at rock bottom, there is hope. The only way is up and things will get better. 

This article is here to help you find your path upwards. Here, you’ll only find simple tips you can act on today- no matter who you are or what your circumstance is. 

1. Reflect

It’s important to recognize that your past circumstances will change you. You can’t deny them or pretend they didn’t happen. 

But it’s up to you to determine whether they turn you into a bitter individual or a stronger one. 

Many others have overcome failure. Those who rise to the top always say their hard times turned them into better people. 

Even though it feels like you’ll never get out of this mess, the key to starting your life over is asking deep questions that will help you move forward.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you reflect: 

What are my biggest strengths? 

Your strengths can shine whether you’re successful or facing hard times. What are you good at? 

You may be great at managing people. Or you’re naturally calm under pressure. You could have a talent for writing or for expressing your thoughts verbally. 

Be honest with yourself. Write down 3-5 things you know you’re good at. When you’re unsure of your path to greatness, you can always come back and remind yourself of your strengths. 

What are my biggest weaknesses? 

Finding your strengths will help you succeed. But acknowledging your weaknesses will make you a much stronger person. 

We often know within ourselves what we’re not good at, but we don’t like to admit it. 

Maybe you deal with insecurities on a daily basis, or you’re quick to make rash decisions. Maybe you really don’t like talking to people. 

Take the time to assess your biggest weaknesses. As you are growing, focus on not letting these weaknesses get in the way of your success. 

Surround yourself with people who have the skills you’re lacking and learn from them. Read books on how to overcome the weaknesses you have and set your mind toward improvement. 

What are some positives about my circumstance? 

A negative outlook on life will always drag you down. 

It can be hard to find positives when it feels like your life is over. However, optimism will help you reach your goals. 

Here are some examples of positives you may not have thought about:

  • How you’ve grown as a person
  • Relationships you’ve been able to build
  • New skills you’ve gained
  • Bigger freedoms you’ve found
  • Hidden successes that would be impossible without your circumstance

The more you think about the positives, the more there will be. Great entrepreneurs and business leaders are, above all, optimistic. They can always turn a bad situation into something good. 

This is a skill you can start building today. 

How can I turn this into a success story? 

If you believe the hard times in your life will drag you down, there’s a good chance they will. A key component of succeeding past your circumstances is believing you can do it. 

It’s important to consider how you can turn your circumstances into something good. 

This is the fun part. You don’t have to commit to an idea or think through it if it’s really possible. 

Just write down as many ideas as possible. Let your creative juices flow and imagine the possibilities. 

Several minutes of this will make your circumstances look clearer. Creativity will allow you to see past the today and build the mindsets you need to start over. 

2. Prepare

You didn’t get this far in the article if you’re not committed to starting your life over. 

Now that you’ve gotten some clarity through reflection, it’s time to set goals to keep you focused.

Short-term goals

First, come the goals for the short term: the next couple of months. You should reassess your short-term goals every month to make sure you’re staying on track. 

A good short-term goal is measurable and actionable.

“I want to get fit” is a vague goal that cannot be measured easily. A better goal would be “I will go to the gym 4 days every week.”

Great ideas of short-term goals to make for yourself include:

  • Fitness
  • Finance
  • Personal growth 
  • Education
  • Social life

Long-term goals

Your long-term goals should be things you can build through your short-term goals. If you set a long-term goal in fitness, for example, you should also think through steps you can take in the short term that will help you reach your ultimate goal. 

Where do you want to be in one year? Three years? Five years? 

Long-term goals can be broader than your short-term goals, but it’s still important to keep them actionable. 

What’s something you want to have accomplished by the end of year? What kind of a person do you see yourself becoming? What kind of relationships do you want to have? 

Thinking through these goals is the first (and biggest) step toward success. 

Daily actions

Both short-term and long-term goals mean nothing if they are not realistic. 

The best way to make sure you reach your goals is to find one small thing you can do every single day to work toward them. 

If you want to save money, figure out how much you’ll have to put aside every day. Want to lose weight? Aim for 10 squats per day. If you want to learn a musical instrument, plan to play for 15 minutes every day. 

These action items are so simple they’re almost impossible not to do. That’s what you should focus on with daily actions. 

Daily actions will be quick reminders to always keep reaching for your goals. Even on a rough day, your daily actions will remind you why you’re working hard to start your life over. 

3. Act

Of course, all the planning and reflection in the world won’t help you start your life over if you don’t take action. 

If you’ve built the right mindsets and set measurable goals, this part should come naturally. As you create a new life for yourself, here are some keys to remember: 

You’ll always be growing.

Even when you aren’t at rock bottom, there are always ways to grow into a stronger, better person.

Don’t let yourself plateau or slack on your goals. Think about how much you’ve already done, and what you’re going to accomplish in the future. 

As you advance, you’ll learn to turn every day into a growing opportunity. Then you will have learned the secret to ultimate success. 

Starting your life over is never easy.

There are going to be hard days. Embrace them, because you know they’ll make you stronger. 

On the tough days, remind yourself where you’ve come from. Pull out the notes you’ve written during your reflection time. 

Remember that there have been others who have started their lives over. If they could do it, you can do it too. Then get back up and keep pushing forward.

When you face the worst, it’s often not as bad as you think it is. 

If you have a rough day, take a deep breath, and then ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that could happen?”

Then ask, “What would I do if the worst happens?”

Thinking through solutions will help you maintain steadiness and overcome the hard moments. 

Even the worst things that could happen are not always unmanageable. And, most times, the worst doesn’t happen. 

As you grow, you can continue to use this three-step process. If next year you are in a happy relationship with all your goals reached, you can still reflect, plan, and act as you did in the hard times. 

The most important thing is never to stop growing. Hard times make you stronger; don’t let the good times make you weak. 

Choose to grow through experiences. Build the mindsets you need to succeed. Learn from the mistakes of others. Reflect. Plan. Act. 

It’s time to start your life over. And remember – it only gets better from here.