There’s something I know that is true for everyone, and it’s this: starting over is a part of life.

Starting over is almost always difficult. A relationship ends. A job is taken away. Plans for the future are dashed. Or maybe you just changed your mind.

No matter the reason or whose fault it is, the good news is that the chapter that follows is one you get to write. How you choose to move forward on the other side of a difficult situation is entirely up to you. So how can you start over in the best way possible?

Well, for starters, you avoid believing THREE MYTHS:

  1. “Experience makes me wiser.”
  2. “Since I know better, I’ll do better.”
  3. “Time is against me.”

While it’s tempting to believe these myths, it’s the surest way to set yourself up for a repeat of the past—the past that got you where you are.

And here’s why . . .

As much as you’d like to believe surviving a tumultuous experience earns you a badge of wisdom, experience alone does not make anyone wiser. It can, however, make you older, angrier, and poorer. But, evaluated experience does make you wiser.

And just because you’re now an expert in exactly what went wrong the last time, it doesn’t mean you have the ability or self-control to avoid those same pitfalls next time.

If we can agree that an honest evaluation of the past and strength to avoid its pitfalls in the future are worthy pursuits when starting over, then there is one thing you’ll absolutely need—time. But the vulnerability that comes with starting over often leads us to believe the opposite. Instead of appreciating time as a tool for ensuring a better next time, we fall prey to the illusion that the passage of time is like a thief threatening to steal our last shot at happiness or is an affront to what feels so right in the moment. The belief that time is against you is the most destructive myth of the three. But in reality—especially when starting over—there’s no better friend to you than time.

So if starting over is where you find yourself, fear not! Take the time you need to evaluate your experience, learn to avoid the pitfalls of the past, and, most importantly, to heal. Because when you are healthy, you have clarity. And when you have clarity, you make better decisions.

Next time can be better than last time, but not just because you want it to be—because you plan for it to be.

It’s your move.