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Moving Forward: Strategies on How to Move On From the Past

by | Mar 22, 2024 | Motivation, Self-Help | 0 comments

The past has a tendency to linger, casting long shadows and holding us back from fully embracing each new day. Whether it’s old hurts, regrets, or painful memories, it can be easy to get stuck reliving what was rather than focusing on what could be. However, dwelling on yesterday won’t change what happened or make tomorrow any better. The only way out is by taking intentional steps to let go of what’s behind us and shift our perspective to a brighter future. Here are some effective strategies for moving on from the past and moving forward into a new chapter.

9 Strategies on How to Move On From the Past

1.     Acknowledge and Express Your Feelings

It’s important to acknowledge how you truly feel rather than stuffing down or ignoring difficult emotions from past experiences. Give yourself permission to feel sadness, anger, or whatever comes up without judgment. Expressing what’s inside, whether through journaling, talking to a friend, or another healthy outlet, helps release pent-up emotions so they don’t fester. It’s also a way to externally process past events and start disentangling yourself from their hold.

“English had been a subject I loathed in high school, earning mediocre grades of Cs and Ds. Yet, writing became my lifeline to the world outside. Oh, how I yearned to express myself! I was more than the sum of my conviction and sentence.”

This powerful quote from Ronald Steele’s memoir “To Be Loved: Ain’t Gonna Be Denied” shows that expressing your inner feelings is important and doesn’t need to have a fixed channel. However, releasing your emotions can be empowering and help you decide your future pathway. Steele yearned to express himself through his writings, especially after being wrongly accused and imprisoned for a crime. But this need for self-expression finally led him to freedom once he used the power of words to communicate with the sentencing judge. The memoir is a must-read for anyone who can’t figure out how to move on from the past to focus on the future.

How to move on from the past

Ronald Steele’s memoir discusses that the past can’t dictate the future

2.     Forgive Yourself and Others

Holding onto resentment, self-blame, or the desire for revenge keeps us tethered to past hurts. Make a conscious effort to forgive yourself for any role you played as well as others who caused you pain. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself – it doesn’t excuse past actions but allows you to find inner peace. Resolve to let go of grudges so you can fully cut ties with the past and stop replaying “what if” scenarios or “if only” they had acted differently.

3.     Gain New Perspectives

Getting stuck in circular thoughts about past events or problems limits our outlook. Seek out fresh angles and viewpoints from trusted friends and family. Their objectivity can help you recognize distortions in how you’ve been perceiving and relating to your past. You can also gain a renewed perspective from learning about other people’s experiences, historical periods outside your own, or personal growth books/podcasts. Broadening perspective helps put your story in a bigger context.

4.     Set Intentions for the Future

Concrete goals and plans for the future help shift your mental energy away from the past and onto new possibilities. Write down specific intentions for what you want to accomplish in the coming weeks, months and years. Your future intentions may include professional goals, lifestyle changes, personal growth targets, relationship aims or community involvement. Having a sense of direction and purpose propels you forward instead of back.

5.     Practice Gratitude Daily

Developing a daily gratitude practice is profoundly effective for staying present-focused rather than stuck in past regrets or hurts. Each morning and night, take 5 minutes to write down 3 things you’re grateful for that happened within the past 24 hours. Gratitude shifts your mindset to appreciate what’s good in your current life instead of dwelling on past lacks or losses. Over time, it will condition your mind towards optimism.

6.     Engage in Mindfulness

Mindfulness techniques like meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and being fully present during everyday activities help “defuse” the power of past events or thoughts over your mood and mindset. When your mind inevitably wanders back to the past during these practices, gently redirect your awareness to your breath or bodily sensations in the here and now instead of spiraling into ruminations. Mindfulness strengthens your ability to let go of past clinging and boosts presence, focus, and inner calm – all of which support moving forward.

7.     Create New Milestones

Reaching fresh benchmarks in areas like education, career, relationships, or health gives you momentum to keep gaining distance from the past. Set specific, time-bound goals and reward yourself when achieving smaller milestones along the way. New experiences and a sense of progress forward reduce how much history weighs you down. Milestones inject purpose and incentives for your ongoing journey toward the future.

8.     Allow Yourself to Feel Joy

Give permission to fully experience joy, pleasure, laughter and fun however they come instead of feeling undeserving due to past hurts or mistakes. Enjoying life’s beauty is a basic human need and entitlement; it doesn’t negate or minimize past pains. In fact, incorporating more joyful experiences and gratitude helps rewire neural pathways associating you with a positive future rather than an unhappy past.

9.     Staying Present & Learning to Adapt

The past shapes who you are but doesn’t dictate what’s next. Commit to staying present-focused each day on what really matters – your health, relationships, growth and contributions versus past history. Be gentle yet determined if lingering thoughts surface, then firmly redirect to what’s happening now. And should life bring new challenges, remember you’ve overcome before and can adapt again by applying these resilience strategies. The future is unwritten – may you keep filling each new chapter with light, healing and purpose.

How to move on from the past

Mindfulness techniques everyday help “defuse” the power of past events

Ready to Move Forward? Let Steele’s Memoir “To Be Loved: Ain’t Gonna Be Denied” Be Your Guide

If you’re looking for guidance and inspiration on how to move on from the past and embrace life’s joy after past hurt, consider ordering Ronald Steele’s memoir “To Be Loved: Ain’t Gonna Be Denied.” This heartfelt story shares Ronald’s personal journey from poverty and dysfunction to living fully empowered with purpose, love and faith. Order your copy today to gain insights into letting the past propel you toward your highest self and future potential.


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