Imagine what we’d all look like if we wore our worries on the outside. If there were some physical manifestation of our emotional baggage and hang-ups, we’d all be unrecognizable. If you find yourself thinking sometimes that you’re not who you should be, it’s time to explore ways to kick that feeling to the curb and look at how to change things in a healthy way. Here are 25 things to let go of that we could all stand to ditch by our next birthdays.
1. Let go of anything that doesn’t make you a better or happier person
We were built to pursue greatness and to perform to the best of our abilities. Anything that doesn’t serve our search for self-improvement needs to be swept aside – though not at the expense of our happiness.
2. Let go of other peoples’ burdens
We’re all our brother’s keepers in one way or another, but letting the burdens of others consume and rule over your own life isn’t healthy. Help others within reason, but also know when to let them help themselves.
3. Let go of what other people think about you
Most of us tend to think that other people judge us much more harshly than they actually do.
4. Let go of your pursuit of an unrealistic body image
It’s almost a cliché by now to point out how badly our body images have been warped by the media. We constantly see barely clothed models in advertisements, telling us on an unconscious level that we’ll never measure up. The only person your body needs to please is yourself.
5. Let go of avoiding your problems
You might think that your attempt to sweep your problems under the rug could be healthy, but nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing will improve if we don’t actively pursue practical solutions to our problems.
6. Let go of regret
Regret is like a poison; left untreated, it can kill you. There are things in each of our lives that could have gone differently, but losing sleep over them isn’t healthy.
7. Let go of lazy attitudes and unproductive days
There’s something to be said for slowing down and enjoying a lazy day here and there, but when these days become the rule rather than the exception, you’ll fall into a pattern that’s tough to escape.
8. Let go of your insecurities
All you need to remember is this: we’re our own harshest critics.
9. Let go of crying about life’s inherent unfairness
Some of us learn as children that there will always be somebody better off than we are. If you’ve lost sight of that fact, it’s time to relearn it.
10. Let go of setting your sights too high
It’s good to have dreams and ambitions, but it’s important to keep them grounded as well. Expecting too much of ourselves is never healthy.
11. Let go of the belief that everything arrives in its own time
Maybe you believe in fate, destiny, or providence. That’s well and good, but it’s no substitute for taking charge of your life and making a positive change. If there’s something you want, it’s up to you to seek it out. Don’t wait for it to come to you.
12. Let go of your penchant for procrastination
We all have responsibilities. Trying to shirk them or put them off until another day will do nothing for you except to pile the stress ever higher.
13. Let go of dwelling on your mistakes
Maybe you took a wrong turn somewhere. Maybe you chose not to pursue that career in the military, turning your back on the military scholarships that could have saved you tons of money. Instead of dwelling on your mistakes, resolve instead to make things right.
14. Let go of stress
We all give in to stress from time to time, and the truth is that it can be a great motivator. The problem is this: there’s nothing worse than hanging on to the same sources of stress for months or years at a time.
15. Let go of trying to change the people around you
Maybe people can change, and maybe they can’t. If they can, they’re the only ones who can make that change happen. You can be a source of inspiration for the people you care about, but don’t try to become a direct instrument of change; they’ll only learn to resent you.
16. Let go of your worries about money
Most of us have worried about money at one time or another. Keeping our eyes open for new opportunities or better careers is one thing, but if you’ve got a roof over your head and food to eat, don’t let money rule over you.
17. Let go of trying to become a different type of person
To be clear: we all have room in our lives for improvement. We can become better people, but seeking to conform to somebody’s prescribed notion of who you ought to be isn’t a healthy pursuit.
18. Let go of obsessing over your schedule
Planning is great, but flexibility is even better. Don’t worry so much about adhering to a strict schedule. As long as you’re being productive, your to-do list will take care of itself.
19. Let go of your obsession with “stuff”
If you’ve ever stood outside in a line to get your hands on a new electronic gadget before everybody else, you probably need to reexamine your priorities. Don’t let the pursuit of “stuff” control your life.
20. Let go of your fear of speaking your mind
Life is too short for us to keep our feelings walled off from the world. Tell that person you have feelings for them, or talk to your significant other about what’s bothering you. You’ll feel so much better after you do.
21. Let go of your anger
The evolutionary purpose of anger, and its place in psychology, will probably always be under examination. In terms of our everyday lives, however, anger is a pointless distraction that’s not worth hanging on to for any length of time.
22. Let go of excuses
If you have trouble taking responsibility for your actions, it’s time to own up.
23. Let go of your jealousy toward the people in your life
Is there anything more pointless than jealousy? Don’t hate your ex for finding love elsewhere, and don’t begrudge your neighbors their new yacht. Instead, make the most of what you do have.
24. Let go of your worries about the future
The future will get here. All we can do is make sure we’re prepared for when it does. Worrying about what’s to come will only serve to distract you from the present.
25. Let go of the belief that it’s too late to start over
Whether you’re leaving an unhealthy relationship or setting out to explore new opportunities, never let the passage of time interfere with the pursuit of your dreams.