How To Start Over When Your Plans Are Shattered

We make plans in life and sometimes they unexpectedly fall apart forcing us to start all over again. This can be a time of fear, anxiety, shame, sadness and intense stress. We may even find ourselves encountering dark thoughts as the future that was once full of hope and direction is suddenly blank and empty. If you find yourself in this position, please know that this is temporary and that you have the power within you to ride out the storm and create a better life for yourself.

Photography by Paul Garrett

Photography by Paul Garrett

I’ve been through several major storms in my life where my vision of the future was shattered, including a difficult divorce just years ago. Here are six important lessons that I have learned along my journey that have guided me through rough waters and helped me to start over again:

  1. Accept what you can’t control and move on. Sometimes we create more pain for ourselves by holding onto situations that will never be the same again. Our resistance to change and move on keeps us stuck in a past that no longer serves us. Going through the process of divorce was emotionally difficult, but when it was over I experienced a huge sense of relief. It’s like a child fearing the prick of a needle at the doctor’s office. The fear of the pain is actually greater than the actual shot. By facing your fears and accepting reality you can get on with your life and return to a happier state of being.

  2. Believe in yourself. In Mark 5:36 of the New Testament Jesus said, "Do not be afraid any longer, only believe." It is our lack of faith in ourselves that makes life feel so hopeless when the metaphoric rug is pulled out from under our feet. By believing in yourself, you will regain hope knowing that you will survive this crisis and even thrive in the future.

  3. Turn setbacks into victories. Starting over means that you have the opportunity to create an even better future. What you think is what you create. Let go of negative thoughts and focus on the positives. In his classic book, “Think and Grow Rich,” Napoleon Hill wrote, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” Look for the opportunities that lie before you!

  4. Surround yourself with people who love you. It’s during a crisis that you find out who your friends are. They are the ones who step up and extend to you loving support. There is nothing worse than feeling all alone at your darkest hour. Allow others to help you and also lend you their ears. It is extremely therapeutic to have people who will listen to your story, and offer you sympathy and constructive solutions free from judgement or shame.

  5. Move forward as quickly as you can. Never get stuck in a victim mindset. The universe has a way of testing us. This is not to destroy us, but to make us stronger. Look for the lessons and also be receptive to the miracles that are all around you. My divorce, for example, gave me the opportunity to pursue the interests that I neglected during my marriage. Having a blank page to write the next chapter of my life was a blessing in disguise.

  6. Take time out to create a new vision for your life. This is a very critical step if you want to move forward. In a time of crisis I personally seek knowledge and rapid growth. By reading self help books and listening to motivational speakers, such as Tony Robbins, Lewis Howes, Bob Proctor and Louis Hay, I have found wonderful sources of inspiration and valuable tools to propel me forward. Furthermore, by applying this knowledge and taking action steps I have been able to create a beautiful life over and over again.

As we have often indicated on this blog, being in a state of gratitude and having the courage to forgive yourself and others will help you to weather life’s storms and come out of them stronger than before. Trust yourself and the universe by moving forward with courage and with grace. Release anger in a constructive way and try not to burn bridges.

A crisis is an especially important time to invest in your personal growth and to take responsibility for your life. Own your decisions and your actions so that you don’t get caught up in the blame game. Projecting hurt and anger upon others may make you feel better for a brief moment, but it is also apt to inflict pain upon others. Fighting and blaming create a destructive cycle of despair. Step back and practice the pause before saying what you may later regret. Compassion and kindness breakdown walls and start the healing process.

Photography by Paul Garrett

Photography by Paul Garrett

You are much stronger than you may think that you are, so have faith. Better days are are coming your way as soon as you are ready to receive them. You have choices and by choosing to move forward you can once again create a beautiful life.

Sending you love and strength,


P.S. - Your feedback means a lot to me. Please click the heart below if you found value in this blog. I also appreciate your comments. You can connect with me on Instagram at either of my accounts: @totalsoulfuljourney & @thepaulgarrett

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