Last Updated on September 16, 2022 by Angela Vaz

Do you want to start over?

Perhaps you’ve gone through a life-changing experience.

It was eye-opening, to say the least.

And it’s changed your whole view of the world and what it has to offer.

You want to start a new chapter in your life.

You’re excited.

You’re motivated.

Or you’re terrified.

The good news is you can start a new chapter in your life at any age.

It doesn’t matter if you’re 16 or 74.

What matters is how you view yourself and want to live the rest of your life.

In this post, I will talk about how you can close the doors to the past rediscover happiness and pure joy to embark on a new journey in life!

Let’s begin.

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What does it mean to begin a new chapter in life?

What does it mean starting a new chapter in life?

Life is like a really good storybook.

It’s extremely unpredictable. It is a book that comprises several different chapters, and the best part is – you’re the author.

You get to write your own story.

Nobody’s life is perfect.

We all make mistakes. We all face hardships.

But the good news is that we can rewrite the next chapter using all the lessons we learned from the previous chapters.

That’s what is so wonderful about life.

It gives us second chances.

And no matter what your previous chapters were, you can always start afresh.

Perhaps there was a major change in your life:

  • You just got emancipated.
  • Or you lost your job.
  • Or you’re going through a painful divorce.
  • Maybe you found out you have a terminal illness.
  • Or you just found out you’re pregnant.
  • Perhaps you lost your home.

No matter what you’ve gone through, understand that you have the capacity to see your situation in a new light and make the best use of what resources you’re given.

Maybe you’ve not had a life-changing trigger.

Maybe you’re done with leading a normal and monotonous life, and you feel you need a change!

Whatever the case may be, take the courage that you’re willing to start over a new leaf!

Starting a new chapter in life is never easy, mainly because you don’t have a blueprint.

You’re going into a new space with no idea what lies ahead.

All you know is that you have to put the past behind you to move ahead.

You have what it takes to do that.

And you have complete power to start anew.

17 steps to start a new chapter in life

1. Let go of the past

The first step to wanting to bring about a change in your life and start a new chapter is to bury the hatchet.

You cannot move forward unless you learn to let go of the past.

No matter what your past is and how bad you think you have it, you need to understand that your past need not dictate your future.

Let it go.

Find a way to deal with all the unresolved feelings and emotions connected to your past.

Take your time with this – there is no fixed time to heal.

And eventually, when you feel like you’ve given enough mind space to your past, let it go.

Most people cling to the past because they’re so comfortable with a familiar pain. They struggle to let go of the past because it’s what they’ve known for most of their years.

Embracing new is not easy.

But life is fleeting.

Time does not wait for anyone.

And to live in this world, you need to adapt.

You need to transition just as fast as the world around you is.

Remember, take it one step at a time.

You don’t need to do it all in one day.

But just note that you cannot move forward and start a new chapter if you’re holding on to the past. It’s going to prevent you from enjoying new experiences.

Here are a few ways to let go of the past:

  • Journal to identify what is holding you back
  • Meditate daily (even for 5-10 minutes using Headspace) to learn how to observe your feelings without letting it affect you
  • Talk to someone unbiased (like a therapist or counsellor)
  • Read books written by people who have overcome major hurdles and challenges

You may also find these posts helpful:

2. Identify what is important to you

When embarking on a new chapter, identify what is important to you.

Just because you’re starting a new chapter in life doesn’t mean you need to abandon all your views and morals.

Spend some time to self-introspect and discover what is important to you.

  • Perhaps you will always identify as a mother to your daughter.
  • Maybe your partner and soulmate is what will always keep you going.
  • Or it could be your passion to create music because it brings you endless joy.

For me, it is my dogs and my indefinite passion to write and draw. I know this is something that will transcend all time.

Write down all the things that you value and love.

Things that give your life meaning and joy.

It could be as simple as:

  • A cup of coffee in the morning
  • Scrapbooking
  • Taking a walk in your favorite park
  • Reading passages from a book you treasure

Write it down.

If there is a skill you want to pick up, write that down too!

When I went through my breakup, I knew I wanted to start brand a new chapter.

I decided to incorporate meditating and journaling into my daily routine. They’ve both become very integral parts of my life.

3. Create personal goals

I have a list of detailed personal examples you can create for yourself.

Goals are what keep us going.

You can have any type and any number of goals.

You can create physical goals like:

  • Wanting to get fit
  • A desire to become completely vegan
  • Practice good skin care

You can draft spiritual goals like:

  • Reading more spiritual books
  • Journaling
  • Talking to people about your new learnings

Or career and financial goals:

  • Finding a job in illustrating
  • Making at least $100K a year

And more importantly, personal goals:

  • To write and illustrate a children’s book one day
  • To visit Paris

The possibilities are endless.

And personal goals are a wonderful way to become a better person and give your life a new meaning.

Take some time to draft your personal goals for your brand new chapter.

4. What do you want your future to look like?

Most people walk through life without really knowing what they want.

I’ve had conversations with so many people, and when I ask them what they want to do, they draw a blank because they’ve never really thought about where they want to be.

So, take out some time to identify what you really want.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where do I see myself 5-10 years in the future?
  • What am I doing?
  • What does my daily routine look like?
  • How am I living my life?
  • Are there experiences I want to have?
  • Is there somewhere I want to go?

These questions will help you understand what you really want in the future.

And by starting a new chapter in life, your picture of your future will become more clear.

Don’t cast aside any answer you write just because it seems unfeasible to you.

Maybe you want to become an agriculturist, but you’ve never cared for a plant your whole life.

It’s definitely hard, but it’s not impossible.

No matter what you want to do or where you want to be, know that it is possible if you put your mind to it and are ready to do the work to get there.

5. The devil is in the details

Once you’re crystal clear about your visions and goals for your new chapter in life, it’s time to get down and dirty with the details!

Break down those goals into tasks you can do every single day.

If your goal is to become a writer, don’t just make a to-do list that says, “Write every day.”

It’s extremely vague and unmotivating.

You need to be super specific with your goals and tasks.

For instance, if I want to become a professional Pianist, I might have goals like these:

  • Practice piano for 30 minutes a day
  • Watch online courses for 1 hour.
  • Attend piano class 5 times a week.

The tasks will evolve as time passes.

After a couple of months, you may practice for 3-5 hours daily.

But the goal is to build that momentum when you start a new chapter – to strive to make 1% progress every day!

6. Learn from others

Be willing to learn from others.

I went through a horrible breakup and lost my mother to a devastating battle of cancer in a span of one month.

I was wounded.

It was hard for me to process my emotions and hold it together for my dad and my dogs.

I knew I couldn’t do it alone.

So, I read.

I picked up Viktor Frankl’s book – Man’s Search for Meaning, and my entire outlook toward life changed in an instant.

I wanted to read about other people’s experiences:

  • How they lost but they got back up again
  • How their views, their lives, and everything they held dear was taken away from them, but they fought to survive

I didn’t feel alone or lost anymore.

I knew that so many others have been through similar situations or worse, and they’ve lived to tell the tale.

They’ve found a new meaning in life, and they try to change the world a little bit every day.

A couple of books I read that really helped me heal are:

I highly recommend all these books because they’ve been written by people who’ve faced immense challenges and found a way to turn it around and create something beautiful with it.

7. Love yourself

The key to building confidence or mustering the courage to do something new and bold is to love yourself.

You cannot be happy alone if you don’t love yourself.

You cannot expect to find happiness or life’s meaning if you don’t love yourself.

By learning to love myself, I’ve found that life has actually become so much sweeter.

I learned to see the good in other people, and I’ve found making friends and building relationships so much easier because I learned to care for myself first.

Loving yourself means caring for yourself and putting your needs first. Unless you learn to love yourself, you cannot love others.

8. Cut out toxic people and habits

The most important way to love yourself is to cut out all the negativity from your life.

It is important because this particular step will impact your life the most!

Toxic people and habits are like weeds. They do nothing except steal from your joy and hamper your growth.

You will never be able to live a full and beautiful life if you keep going back to these habits and people.

It’s easier said than done. I know.

That’s why starting a new chapter in life is hard. Because you need to let go of the familiar pain and embrace the new.

Spend some time by yourself and figure out what is holding you back.

  • Maybe you have a couple of toxic friends that constantly put you down and you always end up feeling emotionally drained after hanging out with them.
  • Or you have a parent that does nothing but berate you when you call them.
  • Maybe you find yourself reaching for that bottle of whiskey every time you have a hard day.

The key to cutting out toxic people and behaviors is first to identify what they are.

And it’s scary to go cold turkey. You may suddenly find yourself alone if you’ve always been around negative influences.

But it’s okay if you have to be alone for a while.

It’s not a bad thing.

Remember, when you initially make changes in your life and starting a new chapter, it can feel intimidating and overwhelming.

This is totally normal.

But what will follow after this is nothing but amazing experiences.

Here are a few posts to help you with cutting out toxic habits and people from your new chapter:

9. Step out of your comfort zone

Step out from your comfort zone

I’ve always stayed indoors.

I’m an extrovert, but it takes me a lot of prodding and pushing to get me to step outdoors.

I’ve spent my whole life making my home super comfortable so that I never feel the need to step out.

But I am so glad that I decided to step out in 2021 and embark on a new chapter in my life.

I started going out and socializing (while taking COVID measures) because I realized life was short.

I went out and met my friends for coffee.

Frequently, I made trips to the bookstore and would read my newly acquired book over a hot chocolate.

Stepping out of my comfort zone led me to find love and make many new friends. I also discovered a new passion – traveling.

Take chances.

Stop putting off your dreams or brushing aside your desires and needs.

If you’ve been wanting to make more friends, go out and make some. Join some meet-up groups and bond over common passions!

If you’ve been meaning to learn a new language, get yourself the Duolingo app and get started! You can also watch movies and read some books in the language to help you learn faster!

I have always wanted to care for dogs and do more for them.

So, apart from donating to dog shelters, I feed stray dogs and care for wounded dogs on the street until they’re ready to find a forever home.

Knowing that I have the power to improve an animal’s life has changed my life for the better.

So, don’t hold back.

The possibilities are endless if you permit yourself to try new things in your new chapter.

Keep an open mind, and don’t be afraid to try new things.

Live in the moment and make each day count!

10. Create a routine you love

Your mornings are what will make or break your day.

This is also the best part of the day to do what your heart desires.

I know a lot of moms who attribute a lot of their happiness to their morning routine because it gives them the freedom not only to plan the rest of the day but do the little things they love

Your morning routine is yours, and you can customize it however you want!

One of the best ways to claim your mornings is to wake up early.

Think of it as being awake before the rest of the world around you.

You have the freedom to do whatever you want!

  • Maybe you can start a new side hustle like knitting or starting a new blog.
  • Perhaps you can dedicate those early morning hours to something you love like woodwork or reading.
  • Or you can squeeze an hour of workout and running.

Figure out what you want to do in the morning and then build a morning routine around it.

You cannot start a new chapter if you don’t spice up your morning routine.

11. Incorporate more positive habits

Positive habits will help you start a new chapter in your life.

Using the goals you’ve already identified in the earlier section, make more room for positive habits.

Let’s say you’re constantly tired and groggy. And you’ve realized that your bad eating habits are to blame. Maybe your goal is to be fit, happy, and energetic.

So, you could incorporate the following habits:

  • Drink 2.5 litres of water everyday
  • Eat more fibrous and nutritous food
  • Work out for at least 30 minutes a day

Remember, you have the capacity to change your life and start a new chapter.

All these tiny habits add up.

By consistently practicing them, you are improving the quality of your life.

The last year of my life is extremely different from the previous years because I started incorporating habits that made my life so much better!

12. Take up a new hobby

Practice a hobby that makes your heart sing.

I love this quote I read in Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon:

The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.

Austin Kleon

What do you find yourself doing when you take a break from work? Or when you’re catching your breath from having to take care of your kids all day, what do you usually do?

  • Do you find yourself cooking a meal from scratch
  • Or do you write poetry when you have free time?
  • Do you love talking to people?
  • Or are you reading?

Take some time to identify what you love doing and figure out how you can make money doing just that.

One of my students – Leslie, loves reading romance books. She started a blog about the books she reads, and she’s making an income doing just that!

When I started a new chapter in my life, my hobbies kept me going.

There were many hard days when I felt down and dejected, but practicing my hobbies helped me find solace and push me forward.

13. Open your mind and heart

You cannot embrace starting a new chapter in life without first learning to accept new things.

You have to be ready to open your heart and mind to new concepts, challenges, and hurdles.

Understand that because you are embarking on a new journey, you will face some roadblocks.

You may even run into situations you’ve never faced before.

And, that’s completely alright!

That’s what you’ve signed up to do.

So, take the time to figure things out and open yourself up to doing new things.

It will help you cast your fears aside and help you expand your knowledge and learn new things.

This will make you wiser and sharper.

14. Reject rejection

Any person that has achieved greatness or success will tell you that they’ve been rejected more times than they can count.

The thing is, everything worth having in your new chapter comes at a cost.

Many people envy me because I get to write and draw for a living.

Sometimes, I work only 1-2 hours a day. And sometimes, I don’t work for a month at a stretch.

But very few people know the number of hours and the amount of money I’ve put into my business.

I’ve spent years researching and learning SEO, email marketing, blogging, and drawing.

I’ve spent countless hours creating and publishing content that has helped thousands of women to become financially independent.

And I’ve taken multiple risks (many of them have been massive failures), but I’ve never stopped trying.

I accept my failure, learn and adapt before launching again.

And that’s what is so amazing about life.

The more mistakes you make, the faster you learn, and the faster you find success.

People who take calculated risks and constantly try to learn new things will always be ahead of most.

So, when you’re faced with rejection, reject it.

And try again.

Don’t let it defeat you.

If you really want to become an author, learn how to write. Read every single day. Practice writing, and don’t quit till you’ve written your first book and more!

15. You are a work in progress

Remember you are a work in progress.

Starting a new chapter in life doesn’t mean all your problems will disappear.

  • You may be in a custody battle for your kids.
  • Or you may be studying an intensive course to complete your degree.
  • Or you may be working a gruelling 12 hour shift in a job you despise just to put food on the table.

But this doesn’t mean you cannot work toward a better future – a future you desire to make happen.

You can still work towards a solution while trying to change your life.

We are all a work in progress.

Nobody is perfect.

And nobody has their life together all the time.

So, take a deep breath. And know that it is okay not to have everything completely sorted.

What matters is your journey – as long as you take one step toward your goal every day, you’ve got this in the bag.

Trust yourself and the process.

16. Do not compare your life to someone else’s

It is natural for us to look for inspiration when looking for ideas or role models to motivate us.

We all do that!

But if you find yourself envying others or constantly comparing your growth to someone else, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Remember, you don’t know anyone else’s story other than yours.

You have no idea about the hardships that they’ve had to endure.

Everyone’s path is different.

So, don’t set deadlines for your success.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re taking time to reach your goals or get something done.

Focus on your own journey.

Focus on your own story.

Create a plan and stick to it.

And put your head down and work.

17. Be patient

It’s okay to fall back sometimes or lose track of time.

It’s okay to have slip-ups.

None of us are perfect, and holding ourselves to high standards can be a little overwhelming.

Understand that it’s okay to make mistakes.

You are starting a new chapter in life. It’s a big step.

As long as you don’t lose sight of the main picture and are motivated to do better next time, you’re good!

So, be patient.

Learn to be kind to yourself. Show yourself the same kindness you would show others in moments like these.

And if at all you find yourself off-course, make tweaks and adjustments so that you can get back on track.

Because no matter where you are if you plan to reach point B from point A, you’re going to do it!

You just need to have a little patience and believe in yourself.

And whenever you find yourself stuck in an unfamiliar situation, remember that you can do this.

You have literally survived all of your bad days.

Every obstacle is an opportunity for growth, even if at that point it may not look like it.

And you have the ability to adapt.

So pucker up, form an action plan and shoot for the stars!

Starting a new chapter in life will not always be a linear rise.

You’re going to have ups and downs.

You must realize that this new chapter is a long game.

You’re not just making a change to your life because you got bored. You are doing this because you want something different.

You desire an outcome.

So, learn to fall in love with the process. It’s going to be a long road ahead.

And remember to take breaks.

You cannot work like a dog 24/7. You’re going to burn out.

Take breaks.

  • Have fun.
  • Meet people.
  • Go out.
  • Spice up your routine.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Make time for the people and things you love.

Remember to live a little while trying hard to achieve your goals.

The key to achieving success without burning out is to keep a healthy balance of play and work.

So, be patient and remember to take it easy.

Conclusion

Starting a new chapter in life is not easy.

Most people lay back and let life take over.

So, you’re already researching this topic and want to take ownership of your life, so you’re already 50% there.

It means you have a burning drive and are passionate about living.

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Angela is a 30 year old Illustrator and Blogger living with her 2 adorable labradors in Bangalore, India. She has a degree in Psychology and Human Relationships from the University of Toronto. When she's not writing her heart out or drawing, you'll find her sipping chai and reading non-fiction books.

2 Comments

  1. Angela,
    Thank you for this post :)) I really needed to read this. I really want to start a new chapter of life, and I’ve been pondering how to do this for several weeks now; so glad I stumbled upon your blog! Your posts are exceptional, keep it up!
    Lots of love, Clara

    • Hey Clara,

      I’m so glad that you loved this post. I honestly commend you for wanting to start a new chapter in your life! I know it’s not easy but it’s doable!

      I wish you nothing but the best!

      Lots of love,
      Angela

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