You get up in the morning and hate pretty much everything in your life — except your dog Henry, of course. Everything has lost its color and taste.

You’re fed up with meandering through life without any sense of fulfillment, purpose, or happiness.

Deep inside, you feel these crackling flames inspiring you to start over. You feel a strong conviction whispering to your soul that life isn’t supposed to feel as mundane and bland as yours feels.

That it’s meant to be an experience that’s large, electrifying, and full to the brim, overflowing even.

And if you’re honest, this feeling has lingered for a while now. But you’ve hidden it deep in the crevices of your heart because you haven’t mustered the courage to back it up with action.

Until today.

Today is the day to make a change. It’s time to start over. This is it.

Sounds familiar?

You’ve probably felt this way at one point or another, or perhaps you’ve heard someone express themselves this way.

But, what exactly is ‘starting over?’

When we hear the words ‘starting over’, the picture that comes to mind is that of bankruptcy, foreclosure, divorce, or death.

And whilst all these events do indeed present an opportunity to start over, they are only but an aspect of starting over.

The truth is, we start over all the time. Starting over isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime event. You start over numerous times throughout your life.

You start over when you graduate from college. When you take on new a job. You start over when your friendships run their course. You start over when you welcome a newborn.

Or when move you to a new city and build a new career. You start over when you lose weight and when your children leave home.

Because every time you let go of a component in your life to make room for another, you’re starting over.

Whenever you feel a nudge to start over, it’s often a sign that your life is speaking to you. It means that your larger life is beckoning, demanding a better version of you.

When you begin to sense a twist of dissatisfaction — one that nudges you to make a certain change in your life, it’s because your fifty-year-old self is demanding something from you.

(S)He’s demanding that you make the necessary changes today to have a purposeful and meaningful existence when fifty comes knocking.

This is because life is always expanding and seeking fuller expression. This explains why after a while, every achievement normalizes.

Look around, even the highest accolade, after a while descends to normalcy. People move on and then direct their energy to new conquests.

The minute you arrive at an equilibrium, something inside you begins to shift. There are no constants in the cycle of life.

What a man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some worthy goal of him.

Viktor Frankl

You’re always either creating or disintegrating. Never in the middle. When you have nothing to work towards, you’ll eventually wither and die.

Viktor Frankl, a holocaust survivor, said it best when he said, ‘‘What a man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some worthy goal of him.’’

Isn’t this ironic, coming from a holocaust survivor?

You’d think that after spending a huge chunk of his life squeezed in a wedge of bondage, turmoil, and pain, he’d want to rest. That he’d be seeking the easiest life possible.

Not so.

Victor Frankl must have known that a life without tension would only smother us in the long run. Essentially, he was saying you need to have a purpose to throw whole self into.

You can’t just coast through life.

But most importantly, he was saying it’s got to be bigger than you.

A mission that makes you sweat. An endeavor that causes the ground beneath your feet to shift. A quest that stirs up a tinge of discomfort within you.

If you feel this way, then this should come as a comfort to you because it attests to the fact that you’re indeed on the right path.

It’s easy to see why many end up incapacitated in a heap of broken dreams. Because really, to start over, you’ve got to be willing to ride on the wings of fear.

Besides, nothing precious comes cheaply.

It’s not that you don’t believe in yourself, it’s that the lens through which we view the future is always blurry. Fear has a way of blindsiding all of us.

You ask,

  • “What if I’m aiming too high?”

  • “What if this is the best I can make out of my life?”

  • “What if I end up ruining my life completely?”

  • “What if I have to spend the rest of my life smelling the stench of regret?”

However, it’s not enough just to silence the whispers of fear coming from inside your head. Because like the sidewalk weeds out of the cracks, there’ll always be other voices to contend with.

Always.

Your friends, family, and colleagues will always try to put ‘sense’ into you. They’ll be quick to present you with proof as to why you shouldn’t go after your new life.

It’s not that they don’t mean well, it’s often because subconsciously, they are projecting their fears.

You see, deep down, they too, feel a tugging to get out and pursue their ideal life, but over and over again, they fail to honor it.

Instead, they allow their fears to choke them into settling. Telling you why you shouldn’t take chances is their way of giving life to their self-defeating narratives.

They’d rather you didn’t find your light because this guarantees they’ll always have the company back in the shadows.

It’s even worse for people who’ve known you for extended periods. They’ll always be the first to paint you in a corner by reminding you of your past failures and mistakes.

If you’re not vigilant, you’ll end up retreating to the cocoon of your insecurities.

So.

How do you navigate through these cocktails of fears?

By asking yourself: Why am I doing this?

This simple question has got great power. It’ what puts everything into perspective. You’re able to hone in on the exact reason for starting over.

For example, “Why am I leaving my job?”

Your answer could be: “To pursue my ambition of running my own restaurant.”

As opposed to: “Because I no longer enjoy my job.”

Or? “Why am I losing 10 kilos?”

Your answer could be: “To participate in next year’s marathon.”

As opposed to: “Because weight loss is fashionable and trendy.”

Your WHY is your purpose

It’s the glue that holds everything together. Without a purpose, your pursuit dissipates like smoke in the wind. Your purpose is what ignites a fire in your belly and gets you out of bed at the crack of dawn.

This is crucial because if you don’t know your WHY, your commitment is likely to fizzle out along the way.

As the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe put it, “ Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.”

Your WHY is your lifeline

You’ve heard that jumping off a cliff is the best way to live. Because on the other side of the jump, lies your best life.

That’s all true. But…

What’s normally overlooked is the truth that jumping off a cliff can go in one of two ways; fly or flop.

This is precisely where you WHY comes into play.

If you know why you’re starting over, you can always use this as a lifeline when you fail or when the darkness of new challenges becomes too intense.

Your WHY is your locus of control

  

When you know your WHY, you start to operate from a strong internal locus of control.

This way, you’re able to create new mental scripts that you can reach for when negativity comes creeping in.

Over time, you develop some tenacity because you now understand you’re responsible for how your life unfolds.

Your WHY is your true north

Setting you apart from those whose lives are a twist of mundane and bland.

If you’re not fixated on a certain desired outcome for starting over, you’re more likely to wind up in a darkened tomb of failure when the going gets tough.

Robert Brault is quoted,

“We are kept from our goal not by obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal.”

Your lesser goal could be settling back to your old life. But when you’ve got your eyes fixed on your WHY, you’ll get up, dust yourself off, and keep it moving.

We think that starting over is always in pursuit of something bigger and better.

Not the case.

Your WHY isn’t always wrapped up in a red ribbon and a bow at the top. Sometimes your WHY is the thing you’ve spent your entire life running from.

It’s the monster who keeps you up at night. It’s that person or habit or quality of life that makes you whisper to yourself, I never want to end up like that.

At times, that’s all you need to make the shift that can alter the entire trajectory of your life.

Change is the only constant in life.

Heraclitus

 

In the end, life will continue to demand more from you. You’ll have to keep re-creating yourself and aspects of your life over and over.

The more you can embrace that notion, the easier you can move with the tide of life.

Your WHY is the map that will lead you towards the life that’s waiting on the other side. It’s the anchor that’ll keep you tethered to the future you want.

A future lived on your terms.

It’s the mast that will continue to silence the wind of obstacles and challenges as you move boldly in the direction of your best life.

As such, you’ll need to stay fixated on your WHY.

Carry it with you.

Write it down.

Feel it deeply.