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better tomorrow

By Mikkie Mills

We all have a past of some kind that can derail us from enjoying a bright future if we do not find a way to put it behind us. Whether that means changing old behaviors to give us a better future, or simply forgiving ourselves or others for things that happened in the past so they don't weigh us down in the future, putting the past behind you is critical to becoming your best self in the future. Putting the past behind you, however, is not always as easy as it seems. Here are 5 ways to put the past behind you to step into your best future.

1. Forgive yourself and others
An old saying often attributed to Buddha, is "holding on to anger is like eating poison and expecting the other person to die". When you hold on to the anger and hurt from past wrongs done to you or pain caused you, it slowly eats away at your insides. When you refuse to forgive yourself for your past, it holds you back from stepping freely into a new future. We all have baggage, but forgiveness is a way of lightening your load.

2. Change your patterns
Perhaps one of Albert Einstein's most memorable quotes is "insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Your past can't truly be your past until you change the habits and patterns that created it in the first place. Whether you need to undergo inpatient drug rehab to kick an old habit or move to a new city to get a fresh start, you can't build a new future when you're still doing the same old things you've always done.

3. Analyze your relationships
In many cases, the things holding you back aren't things, but people. In some cases, your relationships can change to accommodate a new you and in some cases they may simply need to end. Motivational speaker Jim Rohn is perhaps most infamous for the idea that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. While this may not necessarily be 100% true, there is certainly validity to making very clear choices about the people you choose to inhabit the majority of space in your life. Make sure the people you surround yourself with are helping you head in the direction you most want to go, not leading you down the same old path you've been down a million times before.

4. Stop playing the victim
When you are between the ages of 16-24, there is most certainly a lot you can blame on your parents. After all, they have most likely been the most important influences in your life for the majority of your life thus far and have probably made many of the decisions about your life. After about age 25, however, you've had more than enough time to create your own future. Ultimately, you are responsible for not only your current situation, but your future as well. Your life is the result of your choices and no one else's. If you want to experience a successful future, you have to take ownership of the choices you're making right now as well as those in the past. You don't have to beat yourself up over them, but you do need to acknowledge them so you can make better ones in the future.

5. Focus on the now
Too often, we live in either the past or the future but not the present. It's one thing to know where you want to go and where you want to be, but it's another to spend so much time focusing on it that you miss today. You can't be where you want to be tomorrow unless you invest time and energy today in getting there. So set your goals, know where you are going and spend today doing what you can to ensure you get there.

About Mikkie Mills: “I’m a Chicago native who loves to share her expertise about personal development and growth. When I’m not writing, I’m chasing the little ones around or rock climbing at the local climbing gym.” More articles by Mikkie.
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