A new chapter in our life can be bittersweet. It can be sad, stressful and/or terrifying but it also can provide relief, happiness, inspiration, peace and a good night's rest.
There are times in our lives when we feel stuck. We feel in our gut that something in our lives (which I'm calling the 'it') no longer serves us. But because we are too scared, tired or set in our ways, we are frozen in place,
We get comfortable in the belief that the status quo is the easier path to take. But is it really? Are we exerting more energy staying in the current situation then taking that first step to something better? We've all heard of the phrase "You can't start a new chapter if you keep re-reading the last one". At some point in our lives, we all have to make those difficult decisions which can leave us feeling sad, anxious, or scared, at least initially. But are those temporary feelings worth the end result? Is the unknown scarier than your existing situation? Only you can decide. But without taking that first step, we can't transition out of that something that does or has not serve(d) us for a very long time.
And suddenly you know... It's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings
Have you (or are you currently), experienced any of these life conundrums?
Stuck in a job or career that is not fulfilling and even detrimental to your health?
Spread too thin over too many activities and responsibilities?
Involved in a relationship or friendship that zaps your mental energy and a little from your soul?
Experienced diminished health due to poor nutrition, lack of exercise and sleep?
Addicted to something that has taken control over your life?
We all feel trapped at some point in our life. Reasons why we remain static are many and varied. Day after day we live with 'it', not realizing or noticing that 'it' is having a negative effect on our health. How long we can endure consistent and high levels of stress and unhappiness influences how long we usually stay in the status quo.
There are those who say life is life and we have to accept the cards we've been dealt. But is that really true? Do we have a choice or do we not? In my opinion, I believe we do. Each day we wake up with infinite possibilities. Every second of every day we are making small conscious and unconscious decisions that create our journey called life. Some are like building blocks that create our reality over time. But some can instantaneously transform or shift our direction in life.
So if we DO have a choice, how do we pick up the pen and write ourselves a new and better chapter?
Identify - Reflect and identify what is no longer serving you. Is there something (the "it") that consistently brings you stress, little to no joy or satisfaction? Do you tend to function on autopilot when your experiencing 'it'? It doesn't have to be a big 'it'. Sometimes even the smaller things can be detrimental to our self.
Set a timeframe - Now that you have identified your 'it', determine how long it will take you to implement this change based on other factors in your life. Be realistic but positive! Will the transition be over a short period of time (like a day, week or month) or longer? Don't be discouraged if you have to set a timeframe that feels daunting. Just setting a goal will help you mentally manage the challenge. Plus, you can always revisit your timeframe at any time and adjust when necessary.
Plan - Determine the steps (small or large) that will need to be taken to move you forward. It doesn't matter if its a perfect plan. The most important part of the plan is taking that first step. You can always adjust your plan as needed.
Support - Find someone who will support the new chapter. This is so critical to keep you moving and keep you accountable. On the days that you are scared out of your wits or feeling discouraged, your support person can be there as your sounding board and cheerleader. Never underestimate the power of a friend or family member as support.
Action - Just get into motion!
As you know, with age comes wisdom and just maybe a little added bravery. I've made a lot of hard decisions in my life but there were also ones I didn't make. These were decisions that I regret not making because they cost me. They cost me happiness, good health and a little bit of my soul. So if I could give myself one piece of advice to my younger self as I started on my adult journey, I would tell her she is worthy. That is the bottom line. We are worthy of good things. We are not meant to suffer in chapters that just never end and are in our control. Life is precious, short and needs to be lived to the fullest. Do not be afraid of new chapters. Do not be afraid of saying no (or yes)! Do not live on autopilot.
This is YOUR storybook of life. You may not be able to control all of the content of each chapter or how long the chapter lasts but it's up to you to take that first step towards a new chapter. It is up to you to pick up the pen and start writing.