Forget the Past: How to Learn From Your Mistakes and Move Forward

Mental Health

Do you feel a lot of regret about what happened in the past? Have you often worried that you will never to get to where you want to be? Do you long for a different life? Have you ever thought about what’s stopping you? If you’re like many people, your problem has to do with letting go of your past. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to forget the past and move forward, but it is something you have to do.

The hard truth is that you are probably so focused on beating yourself up for what went wrong that you can’t forget the past and move forward. It’s actually not that you can’t move forward, it’s that you choose not to. You have regret or negative feelings about what happened in the past. You may therefore think that this is what your future is going to be. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Letting Go of the Past is Not Easy

woman standing on a beach with open arms as the sun sets

Hopefully, you have reached a point in your life where you see that this is not how it has to be. You may have had trouble seeing it before, but you are ready to forget the past and move forward. The past happened but you want more for your future. Just getting to this point is sometimes difficult – it may take great courage to recognize that you want things to be different. Applaud yourself for coming to that realization so you can move forward with purpose and embrace what you want your future to be.

You have likely dealt with some less than desirable circumstances – that’s simply how life is. The point is, though, that you survived and have come to a point where you want to change things and forget the past. Letting go of the past is often the hardest part and then it’s all about dedicating yourself to the process. Transformation takes time and effort which means you have to focus on the right things. It may sound overwhelming, but it can actually be quite exciting and exhilarating to start moving on and getting over the things that have been holding you back.

So, how do you get to the point where you are actually taking steps to forget the past and move into a more positive future? You have to pull the positive lessons from the past and let them shape your future. There is always something to learn and apply if you allow yourself to get there. If you feel unsure of how to make this all happen, here are some helpful tips to help you along the way.

Moving on and getting over your past mistakes is difficult, but you CAN do this! You can start letting go of the past to create the future that you’ve always wanted! Here’s how:

1. Forget the Past and Stop Beating Yourself Up About It

happy woman jumping high on a beach

The thing about moving on and getting over the hardships you’ve experienced is that you have to let go of the pain and self-loathing. You might not even think you’re doing it until you take inventory and really analyze the situation. It doesn’t matter if it was a series of bad situations, bad decisions, or bad luck that lead you to the spot that you’re in. It’s time to let go of all of that negative emotion once and for all, and let go of all of the stress that came with it!

Even if you were an active participant in the mistakes of your past, you have to make peace with it. Maybe you’ve changed or maybe you want to change—it may just be that you want things to be different than they were before. The first and most important step in letting go of the past is recognition. You need to see what happened and you have come to terms with it. This will help set you free and ensure that you can forget the past and start moving on and getting over it to achieve the future you really want.

Let go of the pain, the guilt, the regret, and the negative feelings. This is your time to make your life what you want it to be. This is your time to finally get to a point of happiness. You don’t always have to live under a dark cloud. You don’t have to continue to blame yourself or feel bad about the way things went down. The past happened but you now have the desire and willingness to change things and that’s what matters in this journey.

2. Start Moving on and Getting Over the Past

happy woman in a lace dress back-lit by the sun

Once you stop beating yourself up about the past you have the opportunity to start moving on and getting over the things that have been holding you back. An important step you must take is to gain clarity. You have to look at the situation you were in and the things that happened. It is important to consider how you got there and why you made the mistakes you did. You have to forget the past and the only way to do that is to find the lesson in it. Believe it or not, there is always a lesson!

Whatever happened in the past helped bring you to this point. Something shaped your path and lead you to this defining moment, so what was it? What caused you to want to move forward? What occurred that made you desire change in your life? Consider any positive aspects of what happened in the past, for they matter greatly, then take some time to reflect upon the past very carefully to see what may lie ahead.

Even out of the worst, most tragic and stressful times comes some sort of life lesson or affirmation. Though the past may have represented negative things, it’s time to turn them into positives. It’s time to recognize that what happened taught you something about yourself, about your life, or what you are capable of. That is the key to moving on and getting over the hardships. There is always something to learn and once you can focus on that you can get rid of the negative and focus on the positive—this is your future!

3. Focus on The Future You Want

happy couple skipping in the water letting go of the past

If you want your future to be a certain way, you need to focus on what that entails. You have to envision the life you want in order to get to it. Think through what you want this future of yours to be. It can bring you great joy to focus in vivid details about what you want in your life. Allow yourself to dream a bit and it can be a really exciting and rewarding.

You may have been held back in the past and therefore afraid to envision what could be in the future. That thought of what could have been is here and it’s waiting for you now. This is the time to grasp it and make it happen. You get to put your dreams into motion and focus on what you want rather than what you have had. Just because it was your reality in the past doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s your destiny.

Letting go of the past is hard but, if you want to move forward with your life, you have to allow yourself to get to where you really want to be. This only comes from setting goals, having dreams, and putting in the work to make them reality. So, start today by focusing on what you want your future to be and how it will be different from your past.

4. Know That You Are Capable of Change

two happy couples standing together smiling

Though you may have made mistakes in the past, they don’t matter anymore. They don’t define you and they don’t shape the path to your future, either. If there are other things you want in your future, then go for it! Make them happen and don’t worry about what lead you to this point. If nothing else, you may have gained the courage and the confidence to forget the past and move towards what you really want.

You are not destined to follow the path that your past may have set you on. It happened, you’ve made peace with it, and now it’s time to focus on what you want for yourself instead. Moving on and getting over the past all starts by recognizing that you are truly capable of that change. You CAN have what you want,  and you CAN be the person that you want to be. There is nothing stopping you but your own limitations and even those are within your control. Once you start letting go of the past, a whole new world will open up in front of you.

It’s very easy to say what you wish for or want for but it’s another thing to make it happen. Don’t just sit on the sidelines of your own life, but rather go after it and make it what you want it to be. You are capable of so much more than you think you are. Ultimately you are very much capable of enjoying the life you create and the person you want to be.

You have to believe in yourself, feel confident, and allow yourself to get to where you want to be. Once you let go and forget the past, it all becomes possible and you can live without the stress of past mistakes too.

The past is the past and the present is where you are, but the future is what you make it. You get to define what lies ahead and get where you want to be. You made mistakes in the past or did things differently than you may have meant. Learn from it because there is always a lesson in the past. Then you can start moving on and getting over the past, instead focusing on what can be in the future. It’s so exciting when you can start letting go of the past to really focus on what you want for your future and work to make it a reality. Good luck!

In addition to letting go of the past, creating healthy habits is a great way to work toward a brighter future. Check out our article on building healthy habits to learn more.

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