With 2019 upon us, we are all a buzz with our New Year’s resolutions—losing weight, eating healthier, learning a new language or saving money. What we don’t realize is, before working toward “a better you in 2019,” it is necessary to let go of 2018 or whatever events might be holding us back.
Letting go is the foundation to build upon for the future. If we continue to relive past hurts and regrets, no matter how much we “say” we’re excitedly moving into 2019, we are literally stuck.
As individuals, we only have a certain amount of focus, energy and attention. Any negativity we carry will greatly weigh down the ability to generate positivity and change. An analogy that comes to mind is watching a hamster on a wheel, moving their feet and circling round and round. The exhaustion is evident, but no progress is being made. By hanging on to our past, we are doing the same thing.
As your life coach, I would ask you to reflect on 2018. Write down any attachments, situations, experiences or people that have brought negativity into your life this past year. Specifically, circumstances that you have not let go of—ones that still are affecting you in the present time. Again, it’s important to not carry these negative incidents from the past to the present. It is impossible to move forward carrying this baggage along with you. Time to deal with it before you can bring in 2019 with a bang!
Psych Central recommends five ways to move on by letting go of past hurts. Step 1 is to make a decision to let it go, whatever it is, and be purposeful about moving on. For example, if you lost a job in 2018, it’s time to let it go. You may have relived your exit interview with your boss over and over again in your mind, but now is the time to leave it behind. You may still be angry and constantly rehashing how you were wronged. The new year 2019 could bring a new job and new opportunities, but not if you continue to hang on to the hurt from 2018.
Step 2 is to express your pain and your responsibility. Perhaps, this is where a good life coach can help. This step would entail talking it out, writing it down in a journal, or meeting with the person who hurt you. Get it all out there. Vent! And, as part of this process, take responsibility for your part in the situation.
Step 3 is stop being the victim and blaming others. You are responsible for your own life. Take charge and learn from your pain. No experiences in life are wasted, as long as we learn from them. I always think about the fact that we spend so much time pining over people who have hurt us, and quite frankly, they likely aren’t even giving us a second thought. Don’t give away your power! Decide today to take ownership of your own happiness.
Step 4 is focus on the here and now, the present and the JOY. Make a conscious effort to not let the past into your present. When you feel yourself thinking of a hurtful situation, tell yourself, “I am living in the present, and not in the past. I will not let the past affect my joy and my plans for today.” The key here is to catch yourself when you fall back into the negativity of the past. There is so much to be happy for today. Grab on and enjoy!
Step 5 is one I believe most strongly in— forgiveness—for you, and not them. Everyone deserves forgiveness. We make mistakes and expect forgiveness, consequently, we need to extend that gift to others. Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength because it is difficult to forgive. Finally, forgiving isn’t saying that you approve of what they did, it’s simply stating that, although you don’t approve, you forgive them anyway. The feeling of forgiving someone is absolute euphoria!
Letting go of the past, whether it’s events of 2018 or earlier, is the key to keeping those new year’s resolutions for 2019. Hanging on to negativity is not healthy. It causes us a lack of focus, loss of sleep, adds stress to our already stressful lives, and affects other relationships.
Before you focus on 2019, let go of 2018. Let go of the anger, resentment, regret, sadness and negativity. I believe taking this step will allow you to set clear, positive and productive goals for 2019 on the way to a Better You!
Melissa Versich lives in Hibbing, MN. She is a certified personal and professional life coach, and holds a master’s degree in communication. For information on life, health or career coaching, email email@example.com.