Let goOne of the characteristics that separate happy, successful people from all the rest is their ability to look into the future with curiosity, excitement and knowing that the best is yet to come. And, the only way to do that is to let go of the past. That doesn’t mean discount the life you’ve lived; rather, it means learn from your hardships and mistakes and then let them go so you can move forward to create your perfect future.

The past can be haunting if you allow it — failed relationships, bad business decisions, trusting someone unworthy of trust. When you break it down, what people fear most is rejection and failure. This fear often keeps you looking over your shoulder, always on guard for the past creeping up to derail you.

Fear cripples your ability to move successfully forward. When you live your life looking over your shoulder fearing the past, you can’t see the opportunities right in front of you! The good news is that fear doesn’t have to hold you back.

Here are five simple steps you can take to let go of your fear and begin living the life you’ve always wanted.

1)  Acknowledge your fear — it’s not a bad word. Fear is simply an emotion indicating that a part of your life is out of alignment. It’s telling you very clearly that you need to make changes. It’s up to you to understand the source of your fear and to know what changes need to be made to live the life you desire. If you can’t get to the root of your fear, then reach out to friends, family or a professional. Acknowledging the fear is the first step in moving through it.

2)  Practice gratitude — even in fearful moments. If you can acknowledge the positive aspects of fear with gratitude and adjust your life as a result, then your energy shifts to a higher level. Shifting to an attitude of gratitude allows you to better visualize your own success. Take a few moments each day to imagine the perfection in your life, the goals you have achieved and the gifts that each day brings.

3)  Name what you want — let fear lead the way. If what you fear is what you don’t want then it should be pretty easy to know what you do want. Surprisingly, many people can’t really name what they do want. A good exercise to create clarity around what you do want is to draw a line down the center of a piece of paper and on the left-hand side write down all the things you don’t want in your life. When you’re list is complete, go down the list again and for everything on the left-hand side that you don’t want, cross it out and write what you do want on the right-hand side. By the time you get to the end of the list, you should have a good summary of what you do want in your life!

4)  Tomorrow is a gift — let go of the past and live! One of the most effective means of doing this successfully is with simple affirmations or mantras. It’s only normal that these emotions will often feel crippling so have a plan in place to acknowledge the fear with love and gratitude. Then immediately recite your affirmation or mantra to shift your thinking to what you want and your absolute belief in yourself that you will get it.

Here are ten affirmations for you to consider or use the desire list you created above to write your own:

There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

I choose my life. I choose my destiny. And it’s better than even I can imagine!

I am grateful for each day that brings me one step closer to my perfect life.

I know I am part of something greater that has meaning beyond my wildest dreams. 

Success and good fortune flow toward me in a river of abundance.

Opportunities and advantages come with each door that I open.

Every day I feel the success that I am.

My confidence in my abundant future is my daily gift to myself.

Each day I choose to seek and acknowledge my own happiness.

I see the miracle in every day.

5)  Be patient with yourself — life is a process! Once you know what you want, you’re usually in a big hurry to get to get it. Because there is a complex system of universal order, it takes time for all the cogs and wheels to get in the right position to deliver what you desire. Think of it as a period of gestation — a holding pattern until everything is in its rightful place! In the meantime, rejoice that you are in the process of creating positive change in your life.

Your future is yours, all you have to do is claim it. So stop looking over your shoulder and open yourself up to the excitement that each day can bring. Little by little, you’ll notice that your nagging fears have subsided and you’re one step closer to the life you always desired!

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