27 Ways To Shed Your Past Lives And Make A Fresh Start

“You’re under no obligation to be the same person you were five minutes ago.” -Alan Watts

1. Travel somewhere new by yourself.

If your surroundings are bursting with the life you no longer want to be leading, kick-start a new beginning by escaping to somewhere you’ve never been. There’s nothing like solo travel to help you conquer fears, contradict your expectations and force you to rise above any pre-conceived ideas about how you ‘can’t go it alone.’

2. Completely replace your music collection.

Music has an incredibly powerful tie to memory – which means that the more you listen to old music, the more you re-live your past. Make a clean break by revamping your music collection and making brand new associations to brand new songs.

3. Delete or take a break from social media.

Step away from the ways you’re trying to present your life and get in touch with what you actually want from it. When you’re no longer attached to what you think your life should look like, you’re free to focus on what you want it to feel like.

4. Infuse your home with new scents.

Scent is also heavily tied to memory. To rid your home of old vibes, invest in some scented candles or incense – avoid unnecessary flashbacks and start associating the new scents in the air with the new life you’re forging for yourself.

5. Surround yourself with a new social circle.

Don’t do away with old friends, but make an active point to search out new ones – ones who don’t know anything about your past, and don’t hold you accountable to the person you used to be.

6. Update your wardrobe.

In the words of Blair Waldorf, ‘Fashion shows the world who we are and who we’d like to be.’ Show the world you’d like to be someone different, by changing up the style you’ve always clung to.

7. Re-vamp your appearance.

Radically alter your hair, or take up a new makeup routine. Your appearance doesn’t dictate who you are as a person, but it’s a method of self-expression. So start expressing yourself as the person you’d like to become.

8. Make sense of the past to let it go.

Start seeing a therapist who can help you make sense of why things happened the way they once did for you, and how to avoid repeating the same patterns in the future – self-awareness is a critical component to starting over.

9. Re-write your story – literally.

Journal, reflect on or even fictionalize your past, in order to see it from a new angle. In the words of Henry Miller, “The best way to get over a woman is to turn her into literature.” The same rule applies to anything from your past that you no longer want.

10. Read five books that challenge you to think in new ways.

If you’re normally into romance novels, pick up a physics textbook. If you usually stick to home-improvement manuals, try a self-help book. Push yourself to consider new perspectives and expand your awareness.

11. Take a class you always wanted to take, but thought you’d be bad at.

The best way to prove to yourself that you’re limitless is by actively pushing through your self-imposed limits.

12. Make a five-year plan.

The point isn’t to follow it exactly. The point is to identify what you want for the future, so that you can start making concrete strides in a direction that feels right.

13. Go back to school (or take a course you’ve always wanted to take).

Re-engage your thirst for knowledge by bringing yourself back to the classroom – there’s nothing like ingesting new information to help you start thinking in new ways.

14. Spend time meditating.

Keep yourself balanced by taking ten minutes each morning to clear your mind of stressors. Start training yourself to approach life mindfully, rather than anxiously.

15. Speak to people who are in the industry you want to be in.

Rather than daydreaming endlessly about the job you’d rather have, start speaking to the people who have it. In hearing how they got started, you might just realize that your pipe dreams aren’t as lofty as you once assumed.

16. Overhaul your diet.

Cut out a vice, learn to cook a new dish or make the major dietary changes you’ve been vowing to make for years. Food has a massive impact on our emotional state, so start feeding your mind by feeding your body more appropriately.

17. Retrain your body.

Learn a new sport, take up a new activity or hire a personal trainer to help you achieve the physical goals you’ve never been able to bust through on your own. In the words of Jillian Michaels, “Once you see how strong you are physically, it transcends into all other facets of your life.”

18. Write letters forgiving the people you’re holding onto anger towards. Don’t send them if you don’t want to.

Let go of the anger and toxicity that’s been holding you back by taking responsibility for your own emotions and letting go of the hatred you’ve been holding onto. Not because they deserve to be forgiven – but because you deserve to be set free.

19. Learn a new language.

Download Duolingo or sign up for a language exchange. Realizing you can learn to communicate in a completely new way is an eye-opening experience – one that makes you feel like a child again, in the best way possible.

20. Deliberately ditch a bad habit.

Go cold turkey on that habit you’ve been trying to leave behind forever. Conquering something you thought you’d never conquer gives you an indescribable boost of confidence, that infiltrates every area of your life.

21. Dedicate ten hours/week to the field you want to be in, even if you have to volunteer at first.

You may not be able to step into your dream role right away, but engaging in any form with the industry you’d rather be in gives you an active reminder that it’s possible to forge a path in that direction. Not to mention, it opens up opportunities for advancement in the future.

22. Try out a new art form.

Flex your creative muscles by expressing yourself in a way that doesn’t come naturally to you. If you’re a writer, trying dancing. If you’re an artist, learn to play a new instrument. Remind yourself that expression comes in many forms and you are not limited to any of them.

23. Get rid of unnecessary clutter.

Spring-clean your home and get rid of anything you don’t have a practical use for. Stop holding onto the mementos of a life you’d rather leave behind. Once you realize you can live without the physical remnants of the memories you’re so desperately clinging to, you’ll realize you can live without the emotional remnants, too.

24. Go on a date with someone who isn’t at all your ‘type.’

Maybe the reason all your past relationships have failed is because you know what kind of person you want, but not necessarily what kind of person you need. Break out of your romantic rut by dating someone you’d normally overlook – at worst you’ll learn something about yourself. At best you’ll meet the love of your life.

25. Organize a group that you wish existed.

Take the initiative to form a meetup group or club based around an interest you’ve been harboring for a while. Remind yourself that it’s a lot easier than you think, to be the change you want to be in the world.

26. Write a letter to your future self. And then write back, as your future self.

Think about the person you hope that you’re writing to. What choices did they make? What things did they leave behind? What would they tell you, if they could stare down the life that you’re living right now?

And then answer your own questions by responding as your future self. I know it sounds crazy. But you’re putting yourself in touch with the person you secretly hope you become.

27. Write a brand new bucket list.

Scrap the old list of dreams and accomplishments and give yourself permission to re-write the story of your future, as the person you are now. You’re allowed to have a new dream. You’re allowed to have a new goal. You’re allowed to toss out every old idea about what you thought your life might once look like, and start over.

It’s just a matter of giving yourself permission to. And then actually taking the plunge. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

More From Thought Catalog