If you want to move forward in life, stop wasting your time on these 12 things

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Do you feel stuck or stagnant where you are in your life, but you aren’t sure how to move forward?

Read this article to discover 12 things that may be hindering you from moving on, so you can stop wasting time on them and gain forward momentum:

1. The past.

Whether you’re mired in regret about past actions, or you keep obsessing about your ‘glory days’, you aren’t going to move forward if your gaze is fixated on a point that’s days, weeks, or years behind you.

While it’s important to learn from past experiences, spending too much time thinking about things you can’t change is only going to waste the precious moments you have left.

Every minute you spend aimlessly thinking about what you should’ve/could’ve done differently is one minute wasted.

Turn your gaze forward instead of backward.

You can’t go back in time, so put your attention to where your next step will take you instead.

2. Anger.

In the same way that you can’t change what happened in the past, there’s no point in holding onto emotions you felt long ago either.

If you’re still angry about something that someone did to you years ago (or even minutes ago), you haven’t had closure and you need to find some way to release that anger.

Only by letting go of it can you move forward without being hindered by the weight of it.

If you hold on to it, you risk poisoning your future, because angry people do and say things they later regret.

You’re not in that situation anymore. So let it go.

3. Pain.

It’s common nowadays for people’s personalities to revolve around past traumas.

Pain becomes an integral aspect of their being and prevents them from experiencing the joy that’s available to them.

We all experience difficulties. Granted, some of them are traumatic. But in the grand scheme of our lives, for most people, these experiences are fleeting.

If you choose to hold onto pain rather than find a way to move on from it, you’re wasting all the amazing pain-free opportunities spread out in front of you.

I’m not saying it’s easy. For some people, it’ll take therapy and it will be hard to work through.

But that’s got to be better than carrying this pain around with you for the rest of your life.

4. The illusion of safety.

If you spend a lot of time fixating on the idea of feeling safe, that’s something you need to let go of.

Most people equate safety with being comfortable and unchallenged by anything upsetting.

But that isn’t reality.

Think of it like this: people can put their treasures in a lockbox and think they’re going to be safe from theft. And they might be. Until someone steals that lockbox and breaks it open.

Instead of fixating on wanting to feel safe, focus on being as capable as possible so you can get through anything life throws at you.

That way you no longer need to be afraid of what might happen. Because you know you can deal with whatever unfolds.

5. Fear of the future.

None of us know what the future holds. But despite this, fear of uncertainty prevents a lot of people from experiencing truly wonderful things.

Think of all the best experiences you’ve had in life.

You wouldn’t have had them if you’d been too afraid to enjoy what was unfolding, right?

Try to view the unknown future with neutrality and curiosity rather than trepidation.

Tread cautiously, with awareness and diligence. But don’t allow your fears to keep you trapped in a comfortable dark room because you’re too afraid of what may be in the light to step into it.

6. The idea that you have control.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever came across was to pay attention to the things I can control or change and let go of the rest.

When it comes to all the different things we experience in our lives, we only have control over a precious few of them.

We can control how we behave (for the most part), and the rest is out of our hands.

So don’t waste time stressing over things you have little to no control over.

Simply prepare as best you can and deal with them as they unfold.

7. Unhelpful or debilitating habits.

Take a critical look at your everyday habits and determine whether they help or hinder you.

For example, how much time do you spend scrolling through social media, versus talking with people you care about?

Are you drinking a healthy amount of alcohol, or consuming so much that it’s damaging your health and/or relationships?

Whatever it is, examine how you feel while you’re doing it, and afterward.

Your mind and body will give you cues if an action is no good. When you find yourself doing something detrimental, stop.

Go do something you enjoy to hit reset, and then shift direction to something more beneficial.

Some habits are harder than others to break, so if you’re struggling, it’s a good idea to seek help from a therapist.

8. Being competitive with others.

Other people don’t exist for you to compete with.

If you’ve been wasting your time trying to one-up those around you, trying to ensure that you’re in better shape, have a better car, a hotter partner, a higher-paying job, and so on, it’s time to revisit your priorities.

Focus your attention on what truly matters to you as an individual, rather than what will make you seem ‘better’ than those around you.

At the end of your life, do you want to look back and be thankful for the years you spent doing things that you loved?

Or will you feel that your life was fulfilled because you own superior brand-name socks to your best friend?

9. Toxic people.

A lot of us keep toxic people in our lives out of a sense of obligation or guilt, despite the negativity they breed.

Those who damage us (whether friends or family) tend to encourage and bring out the worst in us.

If you find that these people never do any good and only bring you grief, why are you still wasting your time on them?

Don’t make a big show of telling them you’re cutting them off, but simply create distance until they’re gone.

You may still get the odd message or guilt trip, but for the most part, you’ll be out of sight, out of mind.

10. Unnecessary ‘stuff’.

Look around you and check out the various items in your vicinity.

If you don’t use these things regularly, or you have no valid reason for keeping them, get rid of them.

Unnecessary clutter just gets in the way and wastes time when we’re eventually forced to deal with it.

If you find yourself constantly moving things around so you can walk through your home unimpeded, either find better storage solutions or throw them out.

11. Other people’s opinions.

One of the worst ways people waste valuable time is by worrying about what others think of them.

The only people whose opinions should truly matter are your own and a few folks whom you consider to be in your inner sanctum.

The opinions of random strangers you run into on the street, or people you couldn’t stand when you were in high school don’t matter.

Think of it this way: if you wouldn’t turn to these people for advice about the most important things in your life, why would you care about their opinions in any other regard?

Worrying about what others think of you will only hold you back from authenticity and forward momentum.

12. Your former self.

You’ve probably heard people harp on about things they used to do, like running several miles before work or going out partying until dawn.

You aren’t the person today that you were yesterday, let alone 20 years ago.

As such, it’s best to leave that former version of yourself in the past so you can move forward with the version you are now.

For example, don’t waste time trying to get back the physical form you had when you were 21 because you aren’t that age anymore.

Work with what you have now and focus on being the best version of your current self.

What’s in the past will never happen again. But just like Ulysses, you can strive, seek, and find what’s awaiting you in the future, and not yield to the despair of being unable to have what you’ve already left behind.

About The Author

Finn Robinson has spent the past few decades travelling the globe and honing his skills in bodywork, holistic health, and environmental stewardship. In his role as a personal trainer and fitness coach, he’s acted as an informal counselor to clients and friends alike, drawing upon his own life experience as well as his studies in both Eastern and Western philosophies. For him, every day is an opportunity to be of service to others in the hope of sowing seeds for a better world.