Do you want to let the past go? The past will hold you back if you allow it. Like toppling dominoes, the past can bring you down, whether stuck on past success or endlessly beating yourself up over colossal failure. Yet you have the power to stop this trajectory. Here are 10 tips to help.
Let the Past Go
If you want to let the past go, it takes work. This is in your wheelhouse, so there’s no need to panic. While the solutions are easy, only you can make them work.
Everything isn’t a big deal, so don’t make it one.
It’s incredible how few of us pay attention to this point. We tend to lump all our ills together and carry them forward even though the burden is too much. Stop thinking that everything is a big deal. It isn’t. Many of the unpleasant memories of the past are more in your head than anyone else’s. Those bad things you did. You cannot undo them. That resounding success that’s caused you to stall.
Taking stock of the good and acting on something new today is far more productive. Also, piling things up in your head means you can’t fully concentrate on what should be done now. Stuck in the past, you can’t see what’s here. Don’t miss opportunities by looking backward. Instead, take stock of what is happening now.
Yet, trying to lighten the load and let the past go will take some time. It’s also not always easy to do. Still, by adopting the mindset that life is precious and short and there’s no benefit to wasting it, worrying about things that are over and done with can help you ditch that baggage and start moving forward.
Now is the only reality when you want to let the past go.
Time for a reality check: The past isn’t reality. It can’t be because it’s in the past. While the consequences of past actions may continue, and you need to take responsibility and atone for them where possible, the past is behind you.
Here’s another truth: You don’t live in the past. Instead, you live in the present. Why give so much time and effort to worrying about what happened before? Changes you want to make you do in the present.
Therefore, remember this when you want to let the past go: The only reality is now. This shifts focus from the past and jump-starts forward movement. What happens tomorrow begins with today’s actions. Embrace the opportunity of what is here and now.
Don’t waste energy trying to change the past.
As much as you’d like to erase some of your past actions, no one can do that. It’s impossible to change the past, to rewrite personal history, and to do away with what you said and did. Thus, it’s a waste of energy trying to change the past. It saps motivation and stalls forward momentum.
Of course, since everyone has something in their past that they’d like to have a do-over to change, rather than acknowledge what you did, telling yourself to forget trying to alter the past is easier said than done. Still, those bad memories are something you have to deal with, so while the past can’t be reversed, there is another option. Alter today’s behavior and make the necessary changes so that you learn from your mistakes and do better from this day forward.
To let the past go: Ask others for help.
No one person has all the answers. Faulty decision-making has resulted in a lot of painful mistakes. Having decided to move forward, to live life positively and proactively is a great first step. But how can you get past the giant logjam of everything you’ve done? You’ve tried but still can’t seem to shake those incessant memories.
When you need help, ask for it. This simple truth is as valid for how to let go of the past and move forward as it is for anything else. Talk with a loved one, family member, a trusted friend, or a professional therapist. There’s no shame in asking for help. It’s a sign of the commitment you have to making responsible changes.
Celebrate what you accomplished today.
To get over being hung up on the past, find something in the present to celebrate. The easiest way to do this is to create small goals you can achieve in the short term. Then, diligently work toward completing them to the best of your ability.
Once you achieve a goal, acknowledge your success. It’s essential to learn how to celebrate today’s accomplishments. This emphasizes the present and results of your actions more than anything that happened before.
It’s also worth noting that the achievement doesn’t have to be anything significant. The simplest, most minor tasks that you complete will do just fine. And the more you accomplish, the better you’ll feel about yourself and your ability to progress. Feeling good about yourself is an excellent motivator to keep moving forward.
Start fresh to let go of the past.
A do-over sounds like a terrific idea when it comes to overcoming the burdens of the past. And to be honest, a new perspective could be refreshing. For some, this may come about by making a fresh start. This isn’t as tough as it sounds.
- Some people need to take a break from the past to start fresh. They move to a different city, state, or neighborhood. Or, they quit an old job where they had a lot of “history” and took a new one in a related or unrelated field.
- Giving up old acquaintances associated with past misdeeds is another path to a fresh start. It’s one that many people put off as long as possible. It can be challenging to let go of what was comfortable. But those so-called friends were anything but when it came to your well-being. Trying to hang onto the past and friends you did terrible things with is to travel in dangerous territory.
Make a fresh start, beginning today. Look for a new goal that offers challenge and motivation. Focus on self-improvement, take a class, find a new hobby or recreational activity, or anything that energizes and exposes you to healthier lifestyles and potential new friends.
Build on what you know.
Each person has strengths and talents. Why not use this ability to your advantage and look for healthier, more productive ways to express creativity? There are always several ways to approach decision-making. Use your creativity to build on what you know and do best. This will help you better strategize various solutions. With more than one potential solution, making an informed choice is easier.
The good news about building upon what you know is that the more successful you are in doing so, the more self-confident you’ll feel about your ability to make the right decisions. Success builds upon success.
Map out goals.
To understand your future, look at where you want to be in six months, a year, five years, and 10 years. Make some short- and long-term goals. Then, look at what kind of skills you need to get there.
- Will more training or a degree help? Put together a plan and work toward these goals each day. Don’t worry that you can’t see the finish line. Concentrate on working toward the short-term ones first, taking them individually, and doing your best.
- Other opportunities will present themselves as you work toward or complete a goal. These may include new people you meet that open doors to possibilities you never knew existed.
- Don’t limit yourself or your options. Never allow someone else’s criticism or negativity to influence or shape your life.
To let the past go: Be optimistic and open to change.
Attitude is the key when looking toward the future. The more optimistic you are, the more likely you are to recognize opportunities and be open to change. Think of your spirit as a flowing river, an endless current of positive energy propelling you forward. It’s hard to be stuck when you have such powerful momentum.
Likewise, maintain a generosity of spirit. When you give to others, you receive more than you can imagine. Do something for another with no expectation of anything in return. This will boost your self-confidence and self-worth and replenish overall self-satisfaction. By giving, you also open yourself up to receive. Be optimistic and open to change. It will be easier to let the past go.
Let the past go: Keep things in perspective.
What happened in the past can’t hurt you. Of course, there are times when past behavior has serious repercussions, such as jail time, financial restitution, a tarnished reputation, and estrangement from loved ones and family. The sooner you face and deal with the ramifications, the better your life will be.
Keep things in perspective to let the past go. Where you were at the lowest point is not where you are today. You’ve gained strength and self-confidence and worked to restore your self-esteem. There are many ways to learn to let go of the past and move forward.
Life works and changes as you work it. Every day is a new beginning, a fresh start along a path you can chart. The past has no business or staying power here in the present. Be alive and joyful. Also, be thankful for today and start moving forward.