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Published on September 9, 2019

How to Stop Dwelling on the Past and Move on for Good

How to Stop Dwelling on the Past and Move on for Good

If there’s a thing or two that pain will teach you in this lifetime, it’s how it feels to swim and how it feels to sink. We must learn both. We must make this discovery because without determining how much effort it takes to keep our head afloat, or even understand how it feels to hit rock bottom, we will not truly understand our power. 

With that power, we can break away from the past and stop dwelling.

Dwelling on the past means reading the same chapter over and over again while expecting the ending to change. It’s reopening wounds and allowing opportunities for self-sabotage. Dwelling on the past is the biggest roadblock from moving forward, and life will move forward whether you’re on board with it or not.

No matter what we do, time will continue to tick, and days will begin to pass. The morning will turn to night, seasons will change, and years will pass with or without our consent. I get it, letting go is easier said than done. It may take some time, but the first step is the willingness to take that step.

“1. You must let the pain visit.
2. You must allow it to teach you.
3. You must not allow it to overstay.”
— Ijeoma Umebinyuo, three routes to healing

When you begin to recognize that it’s time to move on, then you are letting the universe know that you are ready to accept and welcome change. Change is nothing to be scared about, because without change, there is no flow.

Here’s how to stop dwelling on from the past and move on for good.

1. Remember You Are the Author of Your Own Story

Look at it like this – you are the author of your book; this book is your whole life, and you are writing it as we speak. In this book, there are chapters, and each chapter tells the story of that particular year. For example, chapter 14 is a chapter that tells the tale of when you were 14-years-old, and chapter 30 is when you were thirty-years-old. Like a novel, each chapter introduces a series of supporting characters and events that will shake up your world. These supporting characters come in the form of friends, lovers, colleagues, and family members, all who are here to help the growth of the protagonist.

Now take a look at this book and see which chapter you are currently dwelling on. How many chapters have you written since then? How many chapters have you written before that? Now, how many times have you dwelled on the same chapter expecting the ending to change?

We have the power to write the ending to whatever we please, but we must keep writing our story. No one else will write it and can write it for you. Always remember that.

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2. Own Your Mistakes and Grow from Them

The true art of letting go is ownership. This includes owning up to the mistakes you have made, acknowledging the imperfections we all have as humans, and opening yourself to grow from them.

It may be a tough pill to swallow, but studies show that forgiveness can lead to lower stress and anxiety levels.[1] Forgiveness is a powerful tool for your self-growth and one of the most beneficial tools to prevent you from dwelling on the past.

Learn to forgive others, and yourself: How to Forgive and Live a Happy Life Again (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. You Can Only Connect the Dots Going Backward

In life, there will be moments when you realize that things had to unfold the way that they did. You will begin to understand why certain things didn’t work in your favor, but connection will become clear in due time.

Dwelling on the past also means resisting what’s in store for you. Trust the process and give yourself some credit for coming this far.

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4. Better Things Await

Our energy may be finite, but the possibilities of what we can achieve in this lifetime are infinite. Remember that you are using energy when you dwell, when you worry, or when you become angry. What’s exhausting is focusing on things that are out of your control.

Letting go is easier said than done, but like the muscles in our human body, this takes time to build and trust. The beautiful thing about letting go is that you are making room for new things in your life.

Change does happen for a reason, and sometimes, it’s resistance that’s preventing it from manifesting.

5. Honor Yourself

When you look back on some of our life choices, are there a few that stand out? Ones that usually start with the phrase, “what if?”

Before we go down that never-ending rabbit hole, ask yourself if you were honoring yourself during that specific period of your life. The needs and wants when you were 23 are probably not the same priorities you have today. Our financial requirements, job expectations, qualities in a partner, and our life necessities all evolve with change. If there’s ever a moment you find yourself dwelling because of a decision you made in the past, remember that you were honoring yourself and what you needed then.

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Let go, move on, and start honoring yourself today.

5. Get Inspired by Others

Who doesn’t love a great success story? Watching Ted Talks, Goalcast, inspirational documentaries, and reading autobiographies is a great way to fuel your inspiration. Every hero and successful leader has a story of their own. Stephen King’s first novel was rejected 30 times before being published, Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime, and Steven Spielberg couldn’t get into his dream film school. One must go on a journey in order to find your life’s purpose.

Watch this inspirational speech by the co-founder of The Manifesting Academy, Sarah Prout, as she shares how she overcame 10 years of suffering and went from welfare to multi-millionaire:

6. Meditate on What You Want Today

As we change, our dreams can change. One way to stop dwelling on the past is to focus on the future, and that works if we live presently today. A vision board is an empowering tool to help you gain clarity by re-shifting your focus on your goals. You can never move forward by moving backward. You can only move forward if you have a vision to work toward.

Final Thoughts

“You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It wont happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.” — Joel Osteen, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential.

Your past is only a part of you and by no means the definition of you. You are currently evolving, learning, and nourshing yourself to be the best version you can be. Learn from the past, but never live there.

More About Letting Go

Featured photo credit: Havilah Galaxy via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Hopkins Medicine: Forgiveness: Your Health Depends on It

More by this author

Akina Chargualaf

Akina Chargualaf is an entrepreneur, writer, and the content creator of travel and personal development blog Finding Fifth.

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

  • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
  • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
  • Answer a few Superpower Questions

Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

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This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

5. Embrace Your Inner Weirdo

Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

  • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
  • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
  • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward.

Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

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“You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

Final Thoughts

Eleanor Roosevelt said,

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

More About Success in Life

Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

Reference

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