Have you ever found yourself caught in a cycle of overthinking about the past and obsessing about the future? If so, you’re not alone. Ending this cycle can be difficult because it’s so habitual. We’re constantly asking ourselves how we can keep the past from controlling our present, and how we can ensure that the future will be bright and happy.
We’ve probably all been guilty of this at times, but there are ways to break free of the cycle so you can start living in the present. Here are 4 practical tips on how to do just that.
Begin by Realising That You’re Probably Living in the Past
This one’s a no-brainer, but you’ve got to start somewhere! You can’t move forward if you’re stuck in the past, and if you’re constantly thinking about the things you’ve done wrong, you’re going to be in a very negative place. Instead, think back to simpler times when you were happier, and try to get a clearer picture of how you want things to be now.
The best way to break the cycle is to begin by recognizing that you’re probably living in the past. Either you are not aware of it or you simply do not want to admit it. Either way, say to yourself, “Yes, I know I live in the past all the time, and yes, I know it’s not good for my health and well-being. I’m closing this chapter because I want to live here and now, in the moment over which I have control.”
Let Go of Expectations
Another common pitfall is failing to let go of expectations. You may be holding onto a certain idea about how your life ‘should’ be, but if that’s the case, you’re probably going to get disappointed. You have to let go of expectations so you can see clearly how your life is now and how things are right now. If you are stuck in the past because of a person (crush, partner, husband, etc.) you still have to let go of those thoughts and move on.
You may be surprised that once you let go of expectations, better things will start to happen in your life, or how quickly the person you have been stuck for in the past will contact you.
Make a List of the Good Things That Have Happened
Another way to let go of your past is to take a close look at the good things that have happened in your life. You don’t have to focus on the negative things that have happened, but you do have to acknowledge the positive ones. You can also think about things that have inspired you and that have brought you happiness.
By recognizing the good things that have happened, you’re shining a bright light on the present and drawing a big line behind the past. This can be a helpful way to break out of the negative cycle because you’re recognizing the good things in your life, and highlighting them with a positive perspective.
Write Your Goals For The Future
Another way to let go of your past and make room for the present is to write down your goals for the future. This can help by directing your energy and attention toward the things you want to accomplish instead of on the things that you don’t want to happen.
This is especially helpful when you’re feeling stuck or when you’re feeling discouraged because it can help to put a focus on something positive. It can also help to remind you of what’s possible if you have a clear vision of what you want for your life.
Sit down and make a list of your goals for the future. What do you want to achieve? What are your dreams? Write these down and keep them somewhere you can see them every day. You can also make a list of positive affirmations to help you achieve your goal and carry them with you or stick them, for example, on a fridge or mirror.
Recognize That the Past Can’t Be Changed
Finally, you have to accept that the past can’t be changed. There’s a simple truth here: you can’t control the past, and you can’t change the person you used to be. You can only decide how you’re going to let the past control your present and what you’re going to do about it. This is a really important point because if you don’t accept that the past can’t be changed, you’re going to get stuck in a negative cycle.
Instead of rinsing your fingers in spilled milk, wipe it off the table and pour a new one.
There’s no doubt that letting go of your past can be hard. It can be difficult to move on from memories, people, and experiences that have shaped you into who you are today. However, it is important to remember that holding onto the past can prevent you from living in the present and experiencing all that life has to offer. Letting go does not mean forgetting; it means giving yourself permission to move on. And to live your life to the fullest.