Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.
When you can no longer think of a reason to continue, you must think of a reason to start over. There’s a big difference between giving up and starting over in the right direction. And there are three little words that can release you from your past and guide you forward to a positive new beginning. These words are: “From now on…”
So, from now on…
1. Let the things you can’t control GO.
Most things are only a part of your life because you keep thinking about them. Realize this. Positive things will happen in your life when you emotionally distance yourself from the negative things. So stop holding on to what hurts, and make room for what feels right. Do not let what is out of your control interfere with all the things you can control. (Read Learned Optimism.)
2. Accept and embrace reality.
Life is simple on the average day. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. For everything you lose, you gain something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something else. You don’t have to like it, but it’s just easier if you do. So pay attention to your outlook on life. You can either regret or rejoice; it’s your choice.
3. Change your mind.
Change is like breath — it isn’t part of the process, it is the process. In reality the only thing we can count on is change. And the first step toward positive change is to change your outlook. Prepare for the positive. Prepare for progress and the “new.” Allow the unknown to take you to fresh and unforeseen areas in yourself. Growth is impossible without change. If you cannot change your mind, you cannot change anything in your life. Sometimes all you need to do is look at things from a different perspective.
4. Hold tight to the good things.
When life’s daily struggles knock you into a pit so deep you can’t see anything but darkness, don’t waste valuable energy trying to dig your way out. Because if you hastily dig in the dark, you’re likely to head in the wrong direction and only dig the pit deeper. Instead, use what energy you have to reach out and pull something good in with you. For goodness is bright; its radiance will show you which way is up, and illuminate the correct path that will take you there. (Note: Marc and I discuss strategies for living true to these words in the Adversity & Self-Love chapters of “1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently”.)
5. Rest and regroup.
Strength isn’t about bearing a cross of grief or shame. Strength is about choosing your path, living with the consequences, and learning the way on the way. Sometimes you do your best and end up with a mess. When this happens don’t be discouraged. You tried your best. That’s really all you can ever do. You have not failed — you just learned what not to do. So rest, regroup, and begin again with what you now know.
6. Take necessary chances.
Making a big life change or trying something new can be scary. But do you know what’s even scarier? Regret. So realize that most of your fears are much bigger in your mind than they are in reality. You’ll see this for yourself as soon as you face them, so don’t let them stop you. Live your life so that you rarely ever have to regret the chances you never took, the love you never let in, and the gifts you never gave out.
7. Keep climbing.
Every person who is at the top of the mountain did not fall there from the sky. Good things come to those who work for them. You gain confidence and grow stronger by every experience in which you truly push yourself to do something you didn’t think you could do. If you are standing in that place of in-between, unable or unwilling to go backwards, but too afraid to move forward, remember that you can’t enjoy the view in the long run without being willing to climb at least a few small steps every day.
8. Give yourself credit for the lessons learned.
Just because you have struggled does not mean you are incapable. Every success requires some kind of worthy struggle to get there. Give yourself credit for the lessons learned and how far you have come. You’re not the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, or even a week ago. You’re always learning and growing from your experiences. So use your disappointments and frustrations to motivate you rather than annoy you. Remember, you are in control of the way you respond to life today.
9. Appreciate how every step is necessary.
Almost nothing is 100% wrong in life. We learn from nearly every step we take. Whatever you did earlier today was a necessary step to get to tomorrow. So be proud of yourself and notice your progress. Maybe you are not as good as you want to be, or as great as you one day will be; but thanks to all the lessons you’ve learned along the way, you are so much better than you used to be. (Note: Our newest publication via Penguin Random House, “The Good Morning Journal: Powerful Prompts and Reflections to Start Every Day”, is a great tool for this kind of daily self-reflection.)
Afterthoughts… on Tragic Endings
Let’s take a moment to address an obvious elephant in the room — the fact that the aforementioned points are infinitely easier said than done when tragedy strikes. For example, when someone you love passes away too soon, that’s undoubtedly one of the most difficult and heartbreaking endings to cope with. Although it takes a lot more time and work, the general principles for coping with this kind of tragic ending are applicable. Let’s visualize this together…
Imagine a person who gave meaning to your life is suddenly no longer in your life (at least not in the flesh), and you’re not the same person without them. You have to change who you are — you’re now a best friend who sits alone, a widow instead of a wife, a dad without a daughter, or a next-door neighbor to someone new. You want life to be the way it was, before death, but it never will be.
Marc and I have dealt with the loss of siblings and best friends to illness, so we know from experience that when you lose someone you can’t imagine living without, your heart breaks wide open. And the bad news is you never completely get over the loss — you will never forget them. However, in a backwards way, this is also the good news.
You see, death is an ending, which is a necessary part of living. And endings are necessary for beauty too — otherwise it’s impossible to appreciate someone or something, because they are unlimited. Limits illuminate beauty, and death is the definitive limit — a reminder that you need to be aware of this beautiful person or situation, and appreciate this beautiful thing called life. Death is also a beginning, because while you’ve lost someone special, this ending, like every loss, is a moment of reinvention. Although deeply sad, their passing forces you to reinvent your life, and in this reinvention is an opportunity to experience beauty in new, unseen ways and places. And finally, of course, death is an opportunity to celebrate a person’s life, to be grateful for the priceless beauty they showed you, and to begin again in their honor.
Before you go, please leave Marc and me a comment below and let us know what you think of this essay. Your feedback is important to us. 🙂
Which one of the points above resonated the most today?
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