Although I deny living in the past (and try to follow the minimalist principle of consciously experiencing the present moment), there are a few exceptions. They are certain situations and circumstances that allow referring to the past.

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One of them is to go back in time and try to analyze our previous behavior, mistakes and failures. Another one, to which this post is dedicated, is to remind ourselves of past successes.

I believe this to be a simple technique we can use when we feel down, are disappointed of the lack of self-improvement or to boost our confidence and motivation a bit.

I refer more to successes in your personal development process rather than the material ones (like promotion, salary raise, new apartment and so on). Of course they are big achievements too, but I’ve noticed people to pay too much attention to them and that often ends by making them feel too confident and proud. And this is a step back.

Instead, I want you to do this simple exercise using things such as: successful habits you’ve built and bad ones you’ve ditched, a big change in your way of thinking, new qualities, having overcome a fear of yours, taking lessons from failures, giving up on something you couldn’t imagine living without in order to become a better person, and so on.
Also try to stress on how this has helped you, remember how much effort it cost you and feel good for having done that.

I’ll share some of mine. It’s not some kind of bragging, just a little reminder to myself that I’ve achieved something, that it was worth it and that if I’ve done it once, I can do it again. This way I know I have a reason to keep going further in my development and expect big things.

Here they are:

1. Going vegetarian

That’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever taken and I’m so glad I did it when I was 16. It’s been almost 6 years now and I feel great.

One day back in 2007 I read a lot about meat, then I read more. And after getting familiar with every aspect of the process of how animals are being treated before they are killed, how the meat we eat today is prepared and the way our body digests it (or at least, tries to), I decided not to eat it anymore.

From that day on I’ve never tasted it again. And if my body, mind and soul feel better, then there’s no other opinion I need to hear.

As I think of it, that is a proof that somewhere deep inside I have the motivation to control all my habits. I just need to desire the change bad enough.
I definitely haven’t mastered that but knowing that the power to do it is in me is rather relieving.

2. Acceptance

I learnt to accept things when there’s nothing I can do and the situation depends on outer factors.

A quick example: While on a holiday in Holland – visiting it for the first time – we missed the train to Amsterdam while in a hurry. I spent the 15 minutes until the next one arrived in a relaxed waiting, while my friend was furious and complaining about that for the whole time. These negative emotions, in my opinion, were just pointless.

So, if it’s raining, be okay with that. You’ll do what you’ve planned tomorrow. If there’s a big queue in front of you, either wait patiently, or put it off for another time.
Getting angry and focusing on the result that things don’t go as planned won’t help. It will just make it worse.

I accepted the past as it is. I accepted the uncertainty of the future. I accepted my mistakes. You can do it too.

3. Followed my passion

It’s one thing to find it and completely another to dedicate time and energy to it every day. And the more I write, the more contentment I find in life. Because that’s my passion.

4. Appreciation

I often stop for a while to look around, see the beauty in little things and experience the moment. I appreciate more and more the things I have, the hardships I’ve been through, the places I visit and people I meet.

Some time ago I didn’t do that and it was a goal of mine to learn how to stop every now and then and just find time to smell the roses (as is the last line of a favorite movie of mine – “Crank”). I guess I’ve reached it to some extent.

5. Finding simplicity

I’m grateful I had the chance to get familiar with Zen and Minimalism. And although I’m not a strict follower, I chose to live by some of the principles these philosophies offer.

So far that has worked wonders.

6. No judging

I stopped judging others. It’s not my right to judge and put labels on people.

7. Positivity

I’ve worked hard on substituting all the negative thoughts in my head for positive affirmations, all problems for opportunities and the failures and mistakes for lessons.
It’s a great way to live life.

8. Fitness

I finally managed to make it a daily habit. With some exceptions, of course, but now going to the gym is one of the good parts of my day and I look at it more like a pleasure than a task.

It’s one of the few healthy habits I love doing. On all others I’m still working.

9. Letting go

That’s a huge deal for me. I consider this to be one of the best things someone can learn to do that can change his life once and for all.

There are so many things we need to let go of – expectations, other people’s opinion, regret, perfection, disappointment, the past, worries, etc.

I’m trying to do it in the best way possible – simply and easily, by understanding, breathing deeply and just letting things, people, places and thoughts let go with a smile.

10. Giving and sharing

Somehow I find a way to include this universal law into most of the posts I write: Give as much as you can and expect nothing in return. And as a result, you’ll have more and will be more satisfied with yourself and your life.

I advise you to give this simple technique a try. Here’s why:

  • it will make you feel better;
  • it will remind you of your abilities, potential and power;
  • it will motivate you to keep doing what you’re up to and follow your dreams;
  • if you’re on the verge of giving up on something that’s difficult but important, this will show you that if you’ve achieved these things so far, you can do much more.

Β What are your successes so far?

Lidiya K

Lidiya K

Author, blogger and podcaster in the fields of self-improvement and life hacking. Creator of Let's Reach Success.
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
Lidiya K

51 Comments

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  1. May I re-blog this post Thursday as a guest blog at betterendingsnow.com? Your approach is spot on for our focus on benefiting from positive attitudes this week! Linda

  2. You kinda gave away your age in your post πŸ™‚ you are WISE beyond your years. Such great advice. You should be extremely proud of yourself! As for my own successes – and this one is a big one for me- I have always been a people pleaser. Always worrying about what others thought of me and what I do. When I FINALLY decided that it wasn’t my business what others thought of me or what I do, or the decisions I make because everyone is entitled to their own opinion and when I started doing what I wanted without this worry- this is when I discovered my happy place πŸ™‚ Although I will always care to some degree what others think, if I know in my heart it’s right and it’s what I want – I am going for it! This alone has changed my life for the better. Have a great week.

    Rebeca

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words, Rebeca! It means a lot.
      Caring too much about what others say and trying to please and impress them is something I also almost ditched. But it’s a tough one. It’s great that you realized it, know how it affects your life and did your best to stop doing that.
      I myself know what a prison it is to live that way. But once you let it go, it’s the absolute emotional freedom. Priceless!

      1. As I said I have a BIG HEART so it is extremely difficult to do but I have so many negative people in my life and if I keep listening to them and what they think I will get NO where. It truly is emotional freedom. Thanks again. You have many inspiring posts.

  3. I challenged myself to do a 90 day extreme home fitness regime. I’m on week 6, so I am proud of myself for sticking with it ’cause it’s been really hard, but worth it. I hope I will finish and continue to incorporate fitness into my daily life.

  4. Wonderful advice, Lidiya! Last year around this time, I made goals and as each was accomplished, I made a note of them. Now, as I move forward with new goals, I look back at the list and am reminded what I accomplished. It gives me the motivation to do more.

  5. Great article, Lidiya. It’s all very well saying, “Live in the moment.” But we have to have direction in life if we are to avoid being frustrated. Knowing where we came from, and knowing where we want to get to, are very important. So, reflecting on past successes and setting future goals may not, strictly, be living in the moment, but they certainly make the moment more enjoyable.

    1. True! Having a purpose and a direction is one of the most important things. Otherwise, everything else loses its meaning.
      What I want to tell people with my writings is that we tend to spend too much time regreting past experiences and worrying about the future. And that is harmful. So living in the moment is what can fix that and let us enjoy and be free.
      Thanks for stopping by. Glad you liked my post πŸ™‚

  6. Thank you Lidiya for posting this beautiful, positive blog. Just the act of reading it calms the spirit. When I began to trust God for the path I should take it followed something unjust that had happened. Then I read Genesis 50:20, which states that “You meant it for bad but God meant it for good.” How can we hold grudges and stress against someone who was only used as a pawn in God’s master plan to move me to where I am today? God provides peace within. Blessings,

  7. We speak the same language! Although I haven’t practiced Zen and am not a vegetarian, I do find peace in quiet moments and eat meat sparingly. I “fairly good” at practicing all of your other tips. I got sort of tickled at the one about you and your friend waiting for the train in Holland because it reminded me of scenarios that I often find myself in with others. And finally (I could go on and on but won’t), cognitive psychologists say that depressed people seem more apt to magnify their losses and disappointments and minimize their successes and good things going on in their lives. I see that day after day after day after day in my job.

    1. It’s always nice to meet like-minded people. We do speak the same language.
      And I’ve also noticed that in many people around me. It’s a sad thing and unfortunately, they take no advice and I can’t really help them.

  8. I nodded throughout your post, and I admire you for the awareness you’ve achieved at your age. Each point is so spot on (even the vegetarian one, from the point of investigating something on your own and making your own decision on what to believe). These are the true success principles of life.

  9. Nice advises.
    I think everyone who want to follow some advises like that and reach some objectives needs to go on a personal development process. It will be good to understand why we act and are formed (in our bodies and systems) in a particular way before change something, if it’s the diet, the attitude, the workout, every habit. As soon as we don’t understand what we are doing is very possible that we come back for old habits determined by our belief systems and behavior patterns.
    About going through the past, I think is good to check and understand where we failed (in the sense that we reach results that we don`t like). Then we can put in practice something different to get another results more satisfactory fur us. In my opinion when someone think on the past in his present moment, this past is a part of the present. So we are not in the past but in the present trying to understand something that is connected with our topics… in the present.

    1. True! But we shouldn’t go back to the past too often as it starts to ruin our present moment.
      Thanks for the comment! It’s nice to meet others who are aware of what it takes to move forward and invest in their self-improvement.

  10. Visiting the past for a positive purpose is alright but dwelling in the past is counterproductive. You are a much aware entity πŸ™‚

    1. Yes! So many people spend the present in the past. I finally – almost – learnt to let go of it. It can be harmful sometimes.
      And thanks πŸ™‚

  11. I was impressed to learn that your are only 22. That amount of mindfulness and awareness at your age is not a common thing. When I was 22 I first started macrobiotic diet (and few years later went completely vegan), but it took me years to change my negative thinking and feeling habits. And I still sometimes struggle, so your post and blog in general really help! Thank you.

    1. Age means something only when you compare yourself to others. And it’s better not to do that.
      Thanks a lot for the nice words, though. I’m glad you find my blog helpful.
      Congrats on going vegan. I’m still working on my eating habit. After all, being a vegetarian doesn’t mean eating healthy πŸ™‚

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