Find your Coach
Back to Blog

It’s time for a fresh start: How to embrace new beginnings at 50

June 7, 2022 - 20 min read

Male-professional-in-meeting-how-to-start-over-in-life-at-50

Jump to section

Can you change your life at 50 years old?

How to start over in life at 50

How to start over at 50 with no money

Pros and cons of starting over at 50

Questions to ask yourself if you’re starting over

Important reminders to boost your self-confidence

Embracing change

Considering a career change in your 50s can feel daunting. It’s enough to send you into an existential crisis. considering a. After all, you’ve invested a lot of time and energy getting to where you are.

But you need to remember: you’re never starting from scratch. That’s true for career shifts and massive changes to your personal life, too. You’ve been through a lot in your lifetime. You can lean on your years of experience for self-reinvention. And you don’t have to seek out a fresh beginning all on your own.

Vera Wang used to be a figure skater. But after several failed attempts to make the Olympics, she cut her losses and pursued her passion for fashion.

She began her new life at Vogue as an editor. After 17 years, she left the magazine to work at Ralph Lauren for two years before resigning to open her first wedding dress boutique.

She was hesitant at first. She was almost 40 years old by that point and wary about making a fresh start. But, after some encouragement, she went for it. She’s now revered for her designs.

The point is: it’s never too late for new beginnings. We want to help you get started. Here are our tips on how to start over in life at 50. 

 

Can you change your life at 50 years old?

Yes! You can change your life at any age, but it rarely happens overnight. With some planning and self-awareness, you absolutely can make significant changes. 

There’s no limit to how much you can grow, learn, and become a better person. There's no time when you must stop. Any decade of your life provides an opportunity for self-improvement and growth.

New call-to-action

How to start over in life at 50: 10 tips

Starting over will look different, depending on your situation. Are you embarking on a new career path or moving to a new continent? Finding purpose in life after 50 isn’t easy, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to starting over.

Here are some general guidelines to consider:

1. Give yourself time to grieve

You might not have expected to be here. That means you’re probably experiencing some unexpected loss. This could be the loss of a loved one, a relationship, or plans for the future. Any type of grief is normal, so give yourself the time to feel it.

2. Start journaling

Stop thoughts from swirling in your head by putting them on a page, whether you use a computer or your favorite leather-bound notebook. Through writing, you can gain self-knowledge and a valuable means to process your thoughts. 

3. Try meditating

It’s easy to fall into an endless loop of negative thoughts. Deep breaths and meditation can give you a much-needed moment of reprieve.

Grey-haired-woman-meditating-at-home-how-to-start-over-in-life-at-50

4. Do something. Anything!

Inertia sets in when you’re feeling down. But even the smallest activities can boost your mood. Staying active and busy will give you the energy you need to plan for the future.

5. Remember: you’re not alone

Your social health is important to your well-being, and having good friends to support this transition is vital. If you don’t already have a trustworthy circle, find new friends through volunteering or attending events tailored to people 50+ in your community. 

When embarking on a new chapter, take the time to nurture your social connections and maintain a support network. As we age, busy schedules and family responsibilities can force our relationships with loved ones to take a backseat. Don’t let work take over. 

If you’re struggling, you could consult with a life coach or therapist specializing in significant life changes to speak with someone prepared to help you navigate this uncertainty. 

6. Keep moving

Don’t forget to keep exercising (or start a workout routine if it’s been a while). Weightlifting, walking, or other low-impact activities boost your energy and keep your mood up. Taking care of your physical well-being is vital to your overall health.

7. Declutter

You’ve probably accumulated loads of stuff over the years. Get the weight of possessions off your shoulders by donating or selling items no longer in use. A clear space really does mean a clear mind.

8. Review your finances

Be honest about your financial situation. If you’re doing something different, you may need to dive into your finances. Consider taking the following steps: 

  • Create a living expenses budget
  • Factor in how a big change will affect your retirement plan 
  • Read the fine print on your insurance policies, and see how your new situation will affect your healthcare
  • Set financial goals to save more money 

Your financial wellness matters, too. 

9. Create new habits for your new chapter

You can’t reach a new destination without a road map. The first step is doing some life planning to better understand your new future. Think about where you are and where you’d like to be, and identify the necessary steps to build a better life. 

This new life will require different habits. Developing healthy habits, like managing new job anxiety with more exercise or finding time to hang out with your family and unwind in your free time, will help you stay on your planned course. 

Identify your passions, strengths, and weaknesses and how they might fit in a new career or job. Befriend people doing what you want to do, and look for job opportunities that match your skills and desired lifestyle. Bask in the challenges ahead because this is what makes life thrilling.

10. Forget your age

Age is just a number. You’re never too old for a new start. Let go of the fear and anxiety about where you should be and start building the life you want to live.

These tips are a lot to chew on. It’s okay to ask for help. Seeing yourself through others’ eyes will help you develop greater self-awareness to find the answers you're looking for and take action to meet your goals.

How to start over at 50 with no money

Much of the above advice still applies if you have little or no money. The downside is that you might have less time to lose before springing into action.

Here are some additional tips if you’re in a financially difficult situation and can’t make a quick switch:

Man-looking-at-computer-how-to-start-over-in-life-at-50

1. Wait it out at your old job if possible

A paying job that you hate will still give you financial stability. This is more important right now. Focus on creating an emergency fund and rainy day savings while you plot your next move.

Do you need to go to grad school or earn a certificate to change industries? Or are you waiting for an available spot at your dream company? Take every change into account when deciding when's the right time to leave your job.

2. Let go of the negative self-talk

It’s tempting to compare yourself to other people your age. Your brother might have a boat by now, or your friends live happily in the suburbs. Comparison will only lead to a cognitive bias that harms your well-being. 

In reality, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Things might be difficult right now, but you still have something few people experience: the chance to reinvent yourself. 

3. Build the new you

Find your purpose and passion. Think back on the things that felt most meaningful to you. An important step in figuring out how to turn your life around is imagining the person you want to be. How can you work these things into the next phase of your life? How can you do that at a low cost?

Perhaps trying out self-directed learning or creating a vision board will help you stay focused on your goals. Make sure all your goal-setting points toward the ultimate one: doing what you love.

4. Update your resume with transferable skills

Transferable skills are abilities not tied to a specific role or industry you can apply in various personal and professional situations.

Throughout your life, you gather various transferable skills. If you worked in real estate, selling homes didn’t just teach you about the housing market.

You likely also learned important communication skills like persuasion and active listening, project coordination skills like time management, multi-tasking, and the ability to switch between a team and individual projects.

Employers often place more importance on soft skills than technical ones, as the former is gained through life experiences — and life experiences can’t be taught. Review your resume to include as many relevant transferable and soft skills as possible. 

5. Take free courses to improve your skills

No matter where you are in your career, it’s important to upskill and reskill. If you need to improve your technical or professional skills, consider enrolling in an online course or working with a tutor. 

Here are a few free online learning platforms to check out:

  1. Coursera: This platform offers online tech courses developed by faculty at universities like Duke, Stanford, and Penn State. Coursera provides boot camps that can be completed in a day and advanced programs to continue building proficiency. 
  2. EdX: More than 160 universities like UC: Berkeley, Harvard, and MIT offer courses here that range from short-term boot camps to full master’s programs. EdX is great for someone looking to transition into a managerial position with executive programs in fintech, operations, sustainability, and coding. 
  3. Udemy: This platform offers a wide range of tech-related courses, from mastering Excel to learning Javascript and Amazon Web Services. 

Pros and cons of starting over at 50

Maybe a midlife crisis has put you in a tailspin, so you want a fresh start. Maybe circumstances put you in this position and you have no choice. Either way, there are some pros and cons to seeking out a new beginning. 

Pros

  1. You can make better choices for your emotional and mental health
  2. You can regain a sense of control over your destiny
  3. You can use your life experiences to your advantage
  4. Having a job that you love will improve your overall well-being

Confident-man-jogging-in-park-how-to-start-over-in-life-at-50

Cons

  1. You may have to work harder to keep yourself financially stable
  2. You risk falling into a poor mental health state during the job search
  3. Your stress levels might be elevated due to the change, which can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, and more
  4. You might struggle with imposter syndrome in a new environment

Questions to ask yourself if you’re starting over

If it isn’t apparent, “Can I turn my life around at 50?” is the most straightforward question you’ll have to ask. The answer is yes.

As you contemplate the next steps, here’s what you should be asking yourself:

  1. What do I really need to be happy?
  2. What do I really not like doing?
  3. What makes me feel free?
  4. What are my strengths?
  5. What causes am I passionate about?
  6. Am I willing to commit to my new life?
  7. How do I imagine my life in a few years?
  8. Does this new career align with my values?

Answering these questions will clarify your next steps. Knowing what you’re passionate about and what industries align with your personal values will help you decide where you should be going.

Mixed-race-woman-journaling-at-desk-how-to-start-over-in-life-at-50

Important reminders to boost your self-confidence

This is an incredibly daunting phase of your life. It’s easy to lose faith in yourself when everything is uncertain. Here are some facts that will help your confidence

  1. You have years of experience and transferable skills. Own it.
  2. You know what you want — much more than young people often do
  3. You have a solid professional network who can help you
  4. Most people want to see you succeed, even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes
  5. There’s no shame in asking for help. Therapy and coaching are available if you need them.

Embracing change

Is 50 too old to start over? Absolutely not. And wanting a change isn't a midlife crisis. Besides, no one really starts over. You’re forging a new path from where you are today. 

Acquiring skills that allow you to embrace change, such as creating new habits and using strengths advantageously, isn’t only how to start over in life at 50 — it’s how you can thrive at any age. Life will give you lemons. It’s up to you to make lemonade.

New call-to-action

Published June 7, 2022

Maggie Wooll

Managing Editor

Read Next

Well-being
13 min read | November 18, 2022

The answer is within: Only you know how to make life meaningful

There’s a million theories on how to make life meaningful, but there’s only one that will work for you: yours. Here’s how to find it. Read More
Well-being
14 min read | June 14, 2021

How to improve work performance by focusing on well-being

Mental health underscores everything we do, including work performance. Here's how to help your team improve both their work performance and mental fitness. Read More
Well-being
17 min read | June 22, 2022

Improve self-control: 10 tips that will put you in the driver’s seat

Here’s our guide on how to improve self-control. Find out what you need to take ownership of your life. Read More
Well-being
16 min read | June 23, 2022

How to give someone space in a healthy way

Learning how to give someone space is an act of care and self-care and can make for stronger, trust-based relationships. Here’s what you need to know. Read More
Well-being
20 min read | May 23, 2022

How to call in sick and what to say

Here’s how to call in sick to get the time you need to recover while being responsible and considerate of your team. Read More
Well-being
18 min read | June 1, 2022

Make the connection: 10 effective ways to connect with people

Learning how to connect with people can help you create more meaning in your career and personal life. Here’s how to strengthen your ability to connect. Read More
Well-being
12 min read | April 4, 2022

What is mental well-being? 7 ways to improve your mental health

Do you want to be the best version of yourself and live a meaningful life? See how you can awaken a state of mental wellbeing. Read More
Well-being
15 min read | June 30, 2022

It’s OK to be sad. Here's why you need some sadness and how to use it

We hear a lot about how to be happy, but sometimes we need to be sad, too. Here’s everything you need to know about the purpose of sadness. Read More
Well-being
12 min read | June 13, 2022

Too quiet? How to understand your shyness (and be okay)

Shyness impacts people of all ages. The good news is, we can learn how it’s caused and how to overcome it. Read More

Stay connected with BetterUp

Get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research.