Article Don't allow your past to keep you from your future. 0 2022 Life coaching Interpersonal skills coaching life coaching Lifecoachhub Pty Ltd LifeCoachHub

Letting Go of the Past and Moving Forward

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Can't step into future holding onto past

Updated Dec 1 2022

The process of letting go of the past and moving forward

We need to examine our emotions, thoughts, and our interpersonal relationship; a spring cleaning so to speak.

Throughout the different phases of our lives, it is our experiences and relationships, both good and bad, that play a pivotal role in determining who we become. However, those experiences don't just leave us with photographs and happy mementos. There are often scars and wounds that follow us through life and greatly influence our decisions.

Every so often, we must sit and take inventory of our lives. This means we need to examine our emotions, thoughts, and our interpersonal relationship; a spring cleaning so to speak. This is often a difficult, but necessary process to free us from things that may be weighing us down and create room for new experiences.

Through this process, we will laugh, cry and go through a whole range of emotions, but most importantly we heal.

We need to start the process of letting go of the past and moving forward.

Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward. C.S. Lewis Coaching Quote

Through this process, we will laugh, cry and go through a whole range of emotions, but most importantly we heal. But first, we discover that we have the following:

  • Negative thoughts we hold onto
  • Wounds that never fully healed
  • Guilt, frustration, and the “what if” or “could’ve been mentality”
  • Grudges, anger, bitterness, and resentment that have been secretly poisoning us from the inside out

Let go of the past


The process of healing: An action plan

How do you heal? How do you let go of the past and move forward?

Below is a list of questions to help you get started. So grab a mirror and a box of tissues and ask yourself:

  • Is there anyone who I've been taking for granted? If so, how can I make amends?
  • Is there anyone who has been taking me for granted? If so, what can I do about it?
  • Are there any unhealthy habits or relationships that I need to let go of in order to have a more fulfilling life?
  • What new habits can I form to improve my quality of life?
  • Am I holding onto any negative aspects of my past that keep me from moving forward?
  • Including myself, is there anyone I need to forgive?
  • Is there something simple that I can start doing to add more joy to my life?
  • Am I living the life I want? If not, what is holding me back?

sky lantern letting go

While we may not know the meaning of life, what we do know is that life is short. We've lost loved ones, who - even though they died in their older age - we felt as though they left too soon.

We can’t expect things to happen as we want. Neither can we stop time or turn it back to how it used to be. What we have is the present and we have to make it worthwhile by moving forward and living our best life yet. 

The key here is to honestly examine ourselves and gain control over our thoughts and emotions. Then we can let healing take its course.

The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward. Steve Maraboli Coaching Quote

Stepping forward

You can't step into the future still holding onto the past, let go and step forward.

That being said, it's even more important that we fill the time that we have with purpose. We all need to take some time to fully evaluate our lives and interpersonal relationships. While this may reveal truths that we may not want to admit and force us to make difficult decisions, remember that the future ahead of you will be much better than your past. However, you can't step into the future still holding onto the past, let go and step forward.

I hope this gives you the courage and inspiration you need to step into your future, because you won't get a second chance, and the future just won't be the same without you.

If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward. Martin Luther King Jr. Coaching Quote


  1. Why do I struggle to let go of the past?

Many struggle to let go of the past as they’ve already built an attachment to it and are unhappy with their present state. When this happens to you, you need to practice reframing to gain control over your emotions. Learn to accept that all things change and even good times last. It is the only way to break free from your hurtful past and start building a better future.   

  1. Why is acceptance important in life?

Acceptance is your key to letting go and moving forward. Often, it becomes difficult for us to move on with our lives as we still wish that somehow things should have been different. Or that we should have done something differently. 

But when we accept things that we cannot change, it brings peace with our past, no matter how painful or frustrating it may be. It also sparks a change in our mindset that allows us to forgive ourselves and other people in order to move forward.  

  1. How can I look forward and not backward?

As difficult as it is, you have to try to look forward and leave the past behind. Shift your thinking to the good things that are in store for you. Looking forward doesn’t mean you will forget what happened. But it's bringing the lessons from the past to avoid repeating the same mistake in the future. 

Here are some tips that can propel you to look forward.

  • Pick yourself up and reflect on the lessons life is teaching you.
  • Be gentle with yourself. Forgive yourself for all the things you did and failed to do.
  • Gear yourself to move forward. When you were in the relationship or in a past situation, what were the things you wanted to do? These can be a hobby, a personal development activity, or a career advancement that seemed impossible due to present limitations. Now you get to do any of them! Write your goals down and set a timeline to achieving them.
  • Allow yourself to reminisce on the good ‘ole days. What was it like when everything seemed to be happy? Freeze that moment and fondly recall your memories.
  • Be grateful despite your painful or dark past. Practicing gratitude allows you to appreciate what you have now and helps you look back with a light heart. Gratefulness also encourages us to be humble. And despite what has happened, we get to live another day. We have the present as a gift, so we have to keep moving and live a better life.   


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