Helpful Ideas for Starting Over Again When Adversity Strikes

Bikram Choudhury

You’re never too old, never too bad, never too late and never too sick to start from the scratch once again.


The Optimal Time for Starting Over Again

The start of every new year provides us with an opportunity; an opportunity to let go of the past and to release what’s not working and subsequently start over again afresh and anew.

January of every year provides us with exactly this opportunity, however why January? Why not next month, or why not next week, or why not tomorrow? Or how about today, right here and now in this very moment? Why not make a fresh start and begin anew where you are right now? There is, after all, no point in waiting when you can immediately start making changes today, right?

All this, of course, sounds fantastic. Who wouldn’t want to start making positive changes to their life today? But unfortunately, many people don’t. They wait for the perfect moment and the ideal time to begin anew. And that time for most people is typically right after New Year’s celebrations. But unfortunately, we don’t always have a choice in these matters.


Starting Over Again When Adversity Strikes

At times life just gets tough and adversity gets the better of us. One day we have everything we ever wanted, and the very next day it has all been taken away. These are moments when we are suddenly forced to begin anew, whether we’re mentally prepared for it or not.

For instance, an epic mistake, a disastrous failure, a humiliating rejection, an unexpected tragedy or loss of something can immediately transform the dynamics of your life, or more specifically how you live your life.

Whether you have faced a scenario such as this before or are still yet to face one, the chances are that sooner or later you will find yourself in a situation where everything you have worked for suddenly falls apart and you are forced to start over again.

Whatever life you had lived before is no longer your reality. You must now start from scratch right here, right now in this very moment. But of course, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Your life is after all very much like a book, and every change that is forced upon you provides you with an opportunity to begin writing the next chapter of your life.

This new chapter, of course, presents you with uncertainty, but at the same time, this uncertainty brings with it undiscovered opportunities and tremendous possibilities. It’s a chapter of your life that hasn’t as yet been written. But thankfully you’re the author and you now have the power to begin anew and write this chapter any-which-way you choose.

Given this, adversity can in many ways become a humble blessing and a wonderful opportunity for you to turn over a new leaf and create a life for yourself that you never fathomed, imagined or expected.

But of course, in order to take full advantage of this new chapter of your life, you must first acknowledge all the things that just aren’t working for you any longer. This is, after all, an opportunity for you to start fresh. As such, you must let go of all your past mistakes, failures and regrets. Yes, by all means, learn from them, but don’t carry them forward with you to the next chapter of your life. These things are your past and as such, they don’t define you in this very moment.

You must however, of course, take responsibility. Your life is your life and you have played a critical role in shaping it through your daily choices, decisions, and actions. Therefore what you have or don’t have in your life right now is a direct result of what you have made of your life. Take responsibility for this because there is no one else to blame but yourself.

Acknowledge that:

This is of my own making…

I accept things as they are…

It’s time to make a fresh start…

It’s only when you start taking full responsibility that you open the door to further possibilities as you begin writing the next chapter of your life.

Now, of course, taking responsibility also requires you to fully accept that bad things happen to the best of people. However, judging these events and circumstances too early hinders you from seeing the true value of these events beyond the present moment. You actually just never know how the dots will connect in the future and where adversity will lead. Your greatest challenges could very well become your most wondrous blessings. And starting over again by writing a new chapter of your life is the catalyst that can lead to this positive transformation.

What it Means to Start Over Again


Upgrading How You Think About Adversity

Given the fact that sooner or later we will all face some form adversity it’s important to spend a little time reflecting on what this truly means and how we can process these events and circumstances in more optimal ways.

Let’s first put to rest the fact that pain is an inevitable and unavoidable part of life. Whether it manifests as physical pain, emotional pain, or psychological pain, we will all experience a plethora of painful moments throughout our lives. Yes, life is full of pain, but nothing really has any meaning except for the meaning that you give it.

Two people will, for instance, encounter the same kind of adversity. One person gets emotionally overwhelmed and shuts down as a result of this experience, while the other person thrives when dealing with this form of pain. Why is that?

All events and circumstances that befall you are neutral experiences. They aren’t necessarily bad or good, they are instead open to interpretation. One person can, therefore, interpret these events as the end of the world, while another person can interpret them as a blessing and opportunity to start over again.

It all effectively comes down to the stories that these people tell themselves when confronted with adversity. One person will tell stories of self-pity and of being victimized by circumstance. While the other person will tell stories about the lessons they’ve learned and the opportunities that have arisen from those lessons. Then resulting from these stories, each person will make significantly different choices and decisions moving forward that will dramatically alter the course and direction of their lives.

Given this, everything is, therefore, open to interpretation no matter how good or bad it may initially seem to one person or another. People can just as easily turn an opportunity into a disastrous experience, as they can a disastrous experience into an opportunity. But how do we do this? How do we make that shift in order to see the best in every situation no matter how dire the circumstances?

Endless Possibilities Exist

To start with, you must first believe that each and every moment is full of endless possibilities.

When many people reach what appears to be the end of the road all they see is THE END. However, there is a percentage of people who do not see one possibility but rather many paths that lead from this moment moving forward. These people believe that for everything there is a reason. Moreover, they believe that everything serves a purpose that is designed to help them grow emotionally stronger and wiser.

When faced with a roadblock, these people will typically ask themselves:

How did this happen?

What’s the lesson here?

Where is the blessing?

What opportunities extend from this that can help move me forward?

These questions help put events and circumstances into perspective; they help people see that THE END doesn’t mean an ending, but rather when one door closes another opens, or in this instance a multitude of doors open. However, we need to be open ourselves and mentally aware of these possibilities in order to take full advantage of them.

These people, of course, don’t overcome all forms of adversity all of the time. There are life problems that they will not be able to overcome, and so they fail. In fact, they fail and fail time and again. They fail many times because they are willing to start over again each time they fail. And every time they start over again they learn valuable lessons that help them on the next try. They understand that the mistakes and failures of yesterday don’t need to be repeated once again today. As such they make a fresh start by beginning again.

Yesterday is History and…

“Yesterday is history and tomorrow’s a mystery” is the perspective and attitude these people bring into each and every situation. In other words, they don’t allow themselves to hold onto the past that no longer serves them. They are instead willing to let go of everything that was and focus on getting through the present moment as best they can.

In many ways, these people see the past as being set in stone. It can’t be changed so there is no need to worry or fret about it. That being said, they perceive the present as being a running stream of water. And of course, this is a helpful way to look at circumstances because running water is unpredictable and can unexpectedly change course at any time.

All this encourages these people to think in a very fluid and malleable way. Yes, change is never easy to make. In fact, it’s incredibly difficult going through change, and even these people will experience some form of resistance. However, that resistance doesn’t last very long as they are able to see the vast array of possibilities that lay before them.

Every Moment is a New Beginning

Every single moment of your life is a new beginning. It’s a new beginning to start over again, but starting over again doesn’t necessarily mean doing something drastic. To start over again might mean:

Thinking in a new and more optimal way…

Saying something differently that inspires new responses and actions…

Taking an alternate path that you never considered before…

Making better choices based on wiser thoughts that come from failed attempts and mistakes…

All these things require some form of change to take place, and this change will, of course, feel uncomfortable at first. It will be uncertain and you will probably doubt yourself. However, the only real long-lasting mistake you can ever make is to do nothing at all. Doing nothing at all means you are denying yourself the opportunity to learn and grow from your experience.

Yes, of course, by making a bold decision to move forward you might make mistakes. Stepping into the unknown has a tendency to encourage a wider array of mistakes and failures. But at least you’re moving forward. And as you move forward you learn, grow and develop yourself in tremendous ways. All these experiences translate into lessons that help you become wiser and savvier tomorrow.

Given all this it’s important to never hold yourself back from starting over again or going in a bold new direction; that is after all the path to wisdom and success.

The Value of Starting Over Again


How to Start Over Again

Within this final section let’s break down a step-by-step process for making a fresh start once adversity gets the better of you. In fact, this process is for all those moments when you are tempted to just give up and quit. It’s for those moments when you just want to crawl back into bed and shut yourself away from the world. And it’s for those moments when all you want to do is yell and scream at the top of your voice “WHY ME!?”

The following six step process is designed to help you find your feet again and get back on track in a new and more optimal way. It’s designed to help you let go of what has been and instead refocus on creating a better future for yourself.

Step 1: Eliminate Everything Holding You Back

The first step to starting over again requires letting go of everything that could potentially hold you back from moving forward. In other words, it requires letting go of everything that keeps you stuck in the past.

Many people struggle to adapt to change or are simply unable to move forward because they are still grounded in the past. A clear indication that this is happening to you comes through the grudges, regrets, disappointments, and the shame you continue to hold onto. All these things keep you focused on a past that can no longer be changed or influenced in any way.

Making excuses and playing the victim card are two more clear signs that you are grounded in the past. Excuses are of course tied to regrets. We make excuses in order to temporarily feel better about ourselves. However, excuses often encourage very unhelpful thoughts and can lead to falling into the victim mentality trap that brings about “why me, why now?” tendencies.

Anything that is keeping you tied to the past is at this very moment hindering you from moving forward. So whether you made a poor decision, a mistake, or maybe miserably failed to achieve your desired objectives, makes no difference. All these things are now in the past. If you desire to start anew, then yes, by all means, learn from these experiences but don’t continue to focus on them if they don’t serve you in the present moment.

Holding onto your past is like trying to run with a ball and chain tied to your foot. Yes, you will progressively move forward, but eventually, the ball and chain will become too much of a burden and you will turn back in disappointment.

Take off that ball and chain and commit yourself to letting go of everything that is holding you back. That is the only way you will free yourself from the burdens of the past.

To make this process a little easier it’s helpful to commit yourself to cleaning out the clutter. By clutter, I mean both physical and emotional clutter.

Emotional clutter comes in the form of any emotions that are tying you to the past. One of the best ways to progressively clear this emotional clutter comes through meditation. Meditation will help you to settle your thoughts and focus your mind back to the present moment. And as you will find out within the next step, at the present moment is where your power lies.

The other form of clutter that you must remove from your life comes in the form of the physical clutter within your present environment. This clutter will typically drain your energy while also keeping you grounded in the past.

In order to truly free yourself to begin moving forward with your life, you must effectively refresh your environment. In fact, starting over might actually mean changing your environment entirely. But even if you don’t change your environment, it’s important that your existing environment supports the new beginning you are creating for yourself. Therefore, commit yourself to clearing the clutter by eliminating anything that no longer serves the new journey you are now on.

Step 2: Acknowledge the Power of the Moment

When you successfully let go of the past you naturally give power to the present moment. And within the present moment, you always have a choice. You have a choice to turn things around and decide which path you will take next. The past doesn’t give you that choice. There is no choice within the things that have already transpired. That choice can only be found in the present moment.

Now, of course, as great as the present moment is, it’s important that we don’t get stuck there either, and that we instead commit ourselves to moving forward. And to move forward, we must first acknowledge and accept how things are without resistance.

People, events, and circumstances are how they are and there is nothing you or I can do to change them. Accept that as a fact. It’s only when you accept things in this way that you effectively free yourself to move forward and start over again.

To help with this process, acknowledge to yourself that:

I am grateful for all the lessons that my past has given me…

I am grateful for this moment and for what it has to offer me…

I now give myself permission to begin again anew…

I will start over as many times as necessary in order to create the life I desire to live…

In order to ease yourself through this process of change and transformation, it can be helpful to acknowledge the need for cleansing your body and mind. Possibly you might need to step away from your daily undertakings and take a bit of a mental and physical break. Or maybe a little exercise away from your regular environment can help refresh your body and clear your mind.

No matter what you do, it’s important to now fully ground yourself in the present while preparing your body and mind for the changes that are about to take place.

How to Start Over Again

Step 3: Engage in Self-Reflection and Self-Evaluation

The third step of this process requires a period of self-reflection and self-evaluation.

By this stage, you have successfully unchained yourself from the past and are now fully locked away within the present moment. This now gives you an opportunity to think and reflect on your journey in a detached way. Yes, this does involve revisiting the past, but because you are no longer tied to the past this experience will be incredibly rewarding and valuable.

Your period of self-reflection, self-evaluation, and self-examination will allow you to clearly see the events and circumstances that led you to this very moment of your life. There are no more regrets or strong emotional experiences attached to these events and circumstances. You are instead looking back at them in a detached and objective way with the purpose of using the insights you gather to help give you a fresh start.

As you reflect back on your journey and recollect how you were along that journey, ask yourself:

What happened?

What specifically went wrong?

What potentially went right?

How did I get into this situation?

What can be learned from this experience?

What was I potentially lacking that I needed to succeed?

Where could I improve moving forward?

Asking these questions effectively lays down the foundations for starting over again. But of course, the main key area of focus for you is to leverage your failures and mistakes as much as possible. In other words, learn what you can from these experiences to help you make necessary adjustments moving forward as you go about creating a new beginning for yourself.

Your future will only be as bright as the insights you gain from the lessons of the past. You must effectively use these lessons to help you figure out your next steps moving forward. And this of course also requires a period of self-examination where you need to figure out who you are and how you might want to proceed. Ask yourself:

Who am I?

Who am I really?

Why am I this person and not someone else?

What are my true passions?

Where are my greatest strengths?

What areas do I still need to work on?

What’s my life’s purpose, or what my purpose for this year?

How do I see myself fulfilling this purpose?

Once you know and understand yourself at a deep level, this now opens up a world of possibilities that can help you to set empowering goals as well as build an effective plan of action for accomplishing them.

Step 4: Build a New Plan of Action

You should by this stage have greater clarity of mind about the next steps you might like to take along your journey. Lessons have been learned from the past, and through self-examination, you now fully understand where your strengths and weaknesses lie. It’s time now to set some goals and build a plan of action for this new beginning you are creating for yourself.

Your first objective is to set some empowering goals. Make sure that these goals are measurable and realistic. They must effectively keep you motivated and focused for the long-haul.

Like your previous journey, this journey might not be easy. And you will likely face even more adversity. But the difference now is that you know and understand yourself at a deeper level. Moreover, you have learned the lessons from the past and will, therefore, make more optimal decisions moving forward. This all works to your advantage and can help you tremendously as you move down this new path.

One you have laid down your goals, it’s time now to outline a plan of action for achieving these goals. This plan doesn’t need to be detailed. The main purpose of this plan is to essentially get you unstuck from the present moment and moving forward toward your goal. It’s all about building a plan of action that can progressively help you build the momentum you need to consistently move forward in an optimal way.

A Process for Starting Over Again

Step 5: Optimize Your Mindset and Habits

By this stage, you might have set some fantastic empowering goals, and you very well might have laid down an effective plan of action for achieving them, however, this doesn’t yet guarantee that you will follow through with these actions. What you now need to work on developing is the necessary mindset and habits that help support these actions.

People typically struggle to achieve their goals because their mindset and habits are simply not congruent with their goals. Their goals are leading them in one direction, but their mindset and habits are keeping them stuck in the present.

The goal you are striving to achieve requires certain things from you. It requires that you become a certain kind of person working toward a specific set of standards that will help you accomplish that goal. If and when you fall below a certain benchmark of performance this will essentially hinder your progress. As such, you must outline what this new goal requires of you in order to bring it to life. Ask yourself:

What kind of person must I become in order to achieve this goal?

What kind of skills must I master or knowledge must I gain?

What books should I be reading or courses should I take to gain this knowledge and skills?

How must I think in order to achieve this goal successfully?

How must I dress in order to feel as though this goal belongs to me?

What daily positive actions must I take to help move me toward this goal?

What new habits could serve me here that can help support these actions?

What empowering rituals can I develop that could be of value?

What kind of morning ritual would it be worth having that could set me up for the day?

To help make this process a little easier, have a think about the end goal in your mind’s eye. See yourself having achieved this goal successfully as well as experiencing all the wonderful rewards that this goal has to offer. Now take a look at yourself as a person. Reflect on the kind of person you have become as a result of achieving this goal. Think about what habits you have needed to develop and the mindset you bring into various situations.

That essentially is the person whom you need to become in order to have this goal in your life.

Step 6: Commit Yourself to Moving Forward

You are now free to move down a new path. You are starting over again and making positive changes to your life. It’s time now to build some consistency and start progressively moving forward in this new direction.

Yes, of course, you will still have doubts. Every journey you take will bring some doubt. That’s okay. Doubts are a part of life. However, don’t allow these doubts to get the better of you. After all, this is a new beginning for you. It’s a change that you have consciously decided to make, and the journey ahead is uncertain. As such, you are likely to make mistakes, but given how you have learned from past mistakes you no longer see mistakes as a failure but rather as valuable feedback that can allow you to adjust your course of action moving forward.

This new path you’re on brings you tremendous opportunity; possibly opportunities that have never been available before. But these opportunities will require a little risk on your part. Yes, a risk is risky. Errors of judgment will be made. But unless you risk and take a chance on yourself you will never really know how far you could potentially go.

Sometimes you just need to have faith and belief in yourself that no matter what happens you will get through it in the end.


Time to Assimilate these Concepts

Starting Over Again When Adversity Strikes

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Adam is a life coach, mind mapper, doodler and visual thinker. He founded IQ Matrix in 2009 and has created over 350 self-growth mind maps. He also has a Free 40 Day How to Doodle Course where he teaches how to doodle using simple daily lessons. Read more about Adam’s story, and how he created the concept for IQ Matrix. Feel free to also get in touch and send Adam a message here.