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Last Updated on March 5, 2020

How to Start a New Life Without Sacrificing Everything You Have

How to Start a New Life Without Sacrificing Everything You Have

Do you ever wish that you could just hit the pause button on life and move on to a new chapter without any negative repercussions?

Unfortunately, time is linear. On the other hand, time is a social construct. In other words, your life’s timeline is yours to manage, and you shouldn’t compare your goals and achievements to those of others.

Taking a long, hard look at your life to get to the root of the change you would like to see will benefit you. Focusing on what you would change in your life might help you answer what you should pursue in the near future.

So, how to start a new life?

The great news is that you don’t have to pull a Madonna and completely reinvent yourself every time you are ready for a change.

By implementing these 12 small yet impactful changes outlined below, you can start a new life without being extra about it.

1. Always Learn Something New

Perhaps you have achieved success in your career — only to find you want more.

If you feel stagnant in what you are doing for work or are bored with your day-to-day, expand your options.

One way to make yourself more competitive in various career fields is pursuing further education. Most of us don’t have the bandwidth to invest in attending classes on a college campus.

Luckily, online universities are nationally recognized and more affordable than traditional in-classroom schooling. Consider signing up for some asynchronous online classes that fit your work schedule so you don’t have to interrupt your life to get ahead.[1]

2. Take Steps to Face Your Fears

It is amazing how many of our decisions are based on fear. We fail to take risks, avoid conversations, and miss opportunities because we are afraid of the outcomes.

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Here’s the deal:

Taking risks, within reason, can change your life overnight. If you have had your eye on the cutie at your local coffee shop, take a shot and ask them out for a drink. The worst that can happen to you is a slightly bruised ego. Even if they are already in a relationship or simply uninterested, your flattery may have made their day.

Don’t go through life with too many regrets. Going back to that coffee shop after being turned down is just another opportunity to face your fears.

3. Maintain a Meaningful Social Circle

Most of us have heard the timeless adage “you are as good as the company you keep.” Expanding your horizons to include new and interesting people might be the spice in life you were looking for.

Take a holistic view of your friends, family and professional relationships. Make a mental checklist of the relationships that most positively affect you and why. Take that checklist with you the next time to go to a social event. Try to strike up a conversation with new and interesting people that check those boxes.

While you’re out being a social butterfly, don’t forget where this exercise started. Be sure to not leave your old, longtime friends in the dust while fostering new friendships and relationships. You don’t want to be “that guy” in your friend circle.

4. Find Healthy Ways to Cope With Anxiety

If you experience excessive anxiety in your daily life, you are not alone. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. They affect 40 million people over the age of 18 every year, which represents 18.1 percent of the U.S. population. [2]

Finding healthy ways to cope with anxiety has the ability to turn your world upside down. Many people have looked toward CBD to help ease and manage anxiety. It can be used to target anxiety as it arises without the need to take daily medication.[3]

CBD is not commonly prescribed by mental health professionals — at least not yet anyway. Some have compared it to having a glass of red wine after a long day. However, it is important to practice a sense of heightened self-awareness and recognize if you are negatively self-medicating with overconsumption.

Here’s the kicker:

Anything you do to relax can be done in excess: exercise, watching Netflix, drinking, or shopping. Be sure to choose an activity that works to relieve your anxiety in a manner that is healthy and can done in moderation.

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5. Become Part of a Movement

You know all the hours you spend scrolling through social media idolizing other people’s lives? Well, they could be better spent.

As humans, we naturally seek out a connection with others and desire to feel as if we are needed. Finding a cause to get behind can help you to feel as if you are contributing to the common good. Whether it is a social justice issue or an environmental movement, there are many different opportunities to focus your time and energy to help you feel needed.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be protesting every weekend to feel as if you are creating change. Making small changes in your life can make a big impact.

Using your consumer power to only support businesses who have sustainability at the forefront of their business practices is a powerful choice. It is small actions like this that have caused big businesses to reevaluate how they conduct business. Feel empowered by spending your dollars wisely.[4]

6. Take Ownership

It is all too easy to move through life as a passive passenger. The good news is that you don’t have to give up anything in your life to regain control over it.

Take ownership over your life by taking control of a particular aspect of your life. It could be as simple as no longer being a public transport passenger and instead, using your own body’s physical power to get you to your destination.

Knowing that you can depend on yourself to make your morning commute is incredibly empowering. Free yourself of passivity and become the captain of your own ship.

7. Pay Attention to Your Dreams

If you feel unfulfilled in your life but aren’t sure why, try tapping into the esoteric side of life. Diving into your subconscious can be liberating and freeing if you allow yourself the mental space to do it.

Not everyone remembers their dreams, but you can train your brain by keeping a dream journal next to your bed. Dreams can reveal unconscious hopes and fears that we either ignore or prefer to be unburdened with during our waking lives.

Understanding what your dreams mean is like learning a new language — requiring you to pay attention to clues, signs, and symbols. [5]

If you are the type of person to remember having recurring dreams, pay attention! Your subconscious is sending you a message. However, here’s the catch:

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Dreams are irrational and a product of our psyche we can never truly comprehend. Don’t make any rash life decisions because a little blue man in your dream told you so.

8. Unplug to Tap Into Creativity

What are you reading this on right now? Are you on your phone or your laptop? Well, after you’ve finished reading through how to start your new life, unplug it.

Being tuned into technology all the time creates mental fatigue — leaving little energy for creative processes. By spending time in nature the prefrontal cortex of the brain is able to rest. [6]

Find out what inspires you in life and use it to take the new life that you are seeking into new dimensions. Your muse may be found in unlikely places. Be open to saying “yes” more often to allow inspiration into your life.

9. Challenge Comfort Zones

If you are attempting to step away from a life of stagnation, you have to step out of your comfort zone. But don’t strap into that bungee cord harness quite yet. You don’t need to unreasonably take elevated risks that put certain aspects of your life at stake.

Challenging your comfort zones are meant to empower you to see what you are capable of achieving when put to the test. It is understandable to want to relax in the comfort zone after working so hard to get there, but there comes a time when you have to level up.

Set your sights on the next attainable dream and go for it. If you’ve always wanted to run a marathon, set up a strenuous training schedule to get you there. Learn how to push through the pain and the mental blocks that have kept you from being your own champion.

Dig within yourself, figure out where to set your hard ceiling, and push towards reaching your goals to live your best life — you deserve it.

10. Practice Daily Mindfulness

If you want to turn your whole world upside down, integrate a mindfulness practice into your daily routine. Meditation, yoga, journaling, or breath work do not require anything from you besides a commitment to being in the present moment.

You may be rereading the title of this article because you assume these words are convincing you to become a monk and take a vow of silence. You don’t have to go that hardcore with your mindfulness practice.

Meditation is called a practice because it takes time to become comfortable with sitting still and focusing for a long period of time. However, you will be happy to learn that the effects of meditation are immediate. Just taking five intentional deep breaths at your desk during a stressful day will help to lower your blood pressure and aid in regaining your mental focus and clarity to get you through your day.

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11. Assess Your Budget

Money is the root of all evil — but it is also the driving force behind why we wake up and go to work each day. The less you spend, the less you work. Doesn’t that sound like a better way to live life?

To be able to pursue a path in life that allows you to feel more fulfilled and happy, you need to know where your financial boundaries are. If the new life you picture takes place on a beach, you do not need to sell your family heirlooms to get there. Instead, set yourself up with a budget and a plan so you can save and make your dreams a reality.

12. Manifest Goodness

If you are considering starting a new life or recreating how you project yourself to the world, you need to know what you want the new version to look like.

Does your new life have big financial goals, or is it your intention to move away from focusing on your career to spend more time with your family?

Creating a vision board is one way to help you to manifest what goodness you want in your life. Flipping through magazines and newspapers to snip out people, places, and items that help to define your dreams can be an eye-opening experience. Certain words you previously did not associate with yourself may be more appealing than before.

Sounds silly? It’s not. Consider creating them with friends or family members to see if their perception of you holds any weight in your plans for the future. Friends and family members can act as a mirror for ourselves at times. Seeing them surprised by your interest in different things may cause you to either think twice about that decision or pursue it with more vigor.

Be sure to revisit the board often to remind yourself of what you are working towards. It is normal for projections to change over time. There is no harm in creating a new vision board every year to refocus and fine-tune your intentions as you evolve as a person.

Remember, It’s Your Life!

When looking at the big picture of what is your life, note what you dislike, make a plan to change it, and move forward with decisive action.

You’ve only got one chance to live life on your terms (that we know of, at least). You have everything you need to achieve the level of success you hope to have in this life — you just have to reach out and grab it!

More Tips about Living Your Best Life

Featured photo credit: Roksolana Zasiadko via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Bradley University: How Do Online Classes Work?
[2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Facts & Statistics
[3] CBD Choice: Strategies for Managing Anxiety
[4] University of California Riverside: Major Corporations’ Growing Interest in Sustainable Product Design
[5] Tuft and Needle: What Do Your Dreams Mean–What Is Dream Interpretation?
[6] AGI Training: How to Improve Creativity by 50%

More by this author

Dan Matthews, CPRP

A Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner with an extensive background working with clients on community-based rehabilitation.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It) 15 Ways to Set Professional Goals (Examples Included) 15 Ways to Stop Overthinking and Worrying About Everything How to Start a New Life Without Sacrificing Everything You Have How to Be More Positive: 15 Habits to Take Up

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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