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I have moved a lot – don’t believe me, check out my Vizify profile. When asked why I move so much, I often give a generic answer along the lines of, “Work moved me,” or “I am a commitment phobe.” While both of those answers are true, it’s not at the core of why I like to move around so much.

A New Location = A New Start

I’m a visual person, a homebody, and an introvert at my core. So for me, my home is an important part of being comfortable in my skin as well as my success. As crazy as it may seem, looking back at my various moves, the one thing that they all had in common was I was seeking a new start.

Changing my surroundings has always allowed me to change my perspective and actions. I would get into a pattern or a rut while living in one location, and want to change something… but would be stuck in analysis paralysis until I made a location-move. For those of you who hate change, own homes, or love being deeply entrenched in your community – this probably sounds insane.

I agree – it’s kinda kooky. But it’s worked for me.

Some examples:

  • I was really overweight (morbidly obese) nearing the end of my time in New York. I just couldn’t activate the eat right/workout more muscles. I moved to San Diego and worked my butt off – lost the weight, and created a different lifestyle.
  • I wanted to start my own business, but couldn’t seem to get out of the rat race while living in the Bay Area. I moved to Atlanta to focus on going out on my own, and was able to make it successful after failing at it in California.
  • I needed to take this summer to focus on writing and growing. I didn’t feel like I could do that in my “launch pad” apartment in Atlanta. So I’m hanging out in the Rocky Mountains instead.

For those of you who can’t (or like a more sane person – don’t want to), move across the country or into a new house to start over or start something, you can do it from where you are right.

6 Rules for “Starting Over” Wherever You Are

1. Set a start date or “move” date.

For me, the date of the change has always been the most motivating factor. When I know that I am going to be in a new location by a specific date, it propels me forward like nothing else in the world. For some reason, knowing when you will be starting, takes away any possible excuses.

2. Create your prepare list before your start date.

We often get in our own way by making things SO BIG that we don’t know where to start. So get all of the preparedness items ready and listed before your date.

What are your big goals for the new start? Where are you today and what does success look like at the end?  What materials do you need to have on-hand for the “move?” Essentially, create your plan well in advance before you need to start to take action.

3. Take it seriously.

If you were moving cities and forgot to pack your stuff, you’d be in a bind when the movers arrived. Same concept, smaller scale. Take your start date seriously – and give it the levity it deserves. If you need some extra accountability, tell a friend about your “move.”

4. Set baby milestones.

You can dream big– but create action-items that are small. Break down your bigger goal into baby milestones to start making progress. “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” is annoying, but true. Set at least one or two milestones that you can achieve during your first week – yes, that easy.

5. Change your surroundings.

No, this isn’t a trick post – I am not saying you have to move after all; however, you should definitely change your surroundings. If you tend to work in one area of your house, try a different location. If you’ve stared at the same picture for years, change it. If you absolutely cannot work at home, try a local place.

Changing the smallest thing in your surrounding can greatly change your perspective. In my place in Atlanta, I was stuck with a few ideas and stewed on them for awhile. I decided to put up some of my own black and white photography pics, and my productivity increased ten-fold.

Why? Because I was beyond giddy at seeing something that made me smile as I walked up the stairs to my office. It didn’t cost me anything other than time (and a lot of picture nails), but it jazzed me up at the start and end of each day.

6. Allow yourself to move forward.

Nothing else you do will make a difference if you aren’t able to give yourself permission to start. To move forward and explore – even if you aren’t yet ready to achieve. A fresh start can come in so many different ways – let yourself create your own “move” and start over on your own terms. 

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Melissa says:

    Lots of interesting ideas in here on changing your perspective. This also reminds me of David Sedaris’s “When You Are Engulfed in Flames” – he moved to Tokyo for a few months just to force himself to quit smoking!

    • Melissa says:

      Yes, I lived in Tokyo for about 7 years AND I’m a huge David Sedaris fan, so of course I love that book! I don’t remember in detail but I believe he cites a scientific study that demonstrated how changing your location can really help you to change your behavior, so you definitely have science on your side. 🙂

  • What a creative post! I have never once thought of “moving” without moving, and I love the idea. I’ve now been in the same location for the longest period since childhood (5 years in the same house, and 10 in the same area). Things starting to feel quite stale and I’ve been itching to move to a new house, but we can’t afford it right now. The tips here could definitely help me make a “fresh start” right where I am. Thanks for the ideas! -Rebecca