A friend always takes herself out to lunch on her birthday. By herself. She\’s been doing this since she was a young girl. It\’s a good time to contemplate what you want for yourself in the year ahead. But a good life is not always about what you acquire. It can also be about what you shed. You might want to think about what you don\’t want—what you want to let go of so you can live a happier life. Here are some ideas:

Let go of anything that gets in the way of performing to your best abilities. This requires you to do some serious thinking, and this kind of introspection is not always easy. But you should be the best person you can. You should perform to your maximum capabilities—to pursue greatness. It is not an unreachable goal. It is a reasonable expectation. Consider this quote from Nelson Mandela:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won\’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It\’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Let go of other people\’s judgement. First of all, most other people think about you a lot less than you think. They\’re usually too worried about what other people are thinking about them to think about you. But even if they are judging you, it\’s probably not as harshly as you think. And if they are judging you at all, maybe they are using it to manipulate you and get you to do things they way they want you to do them. And really—what right do they have to judge you? Just as you really don\’t want to be caught up in the negativity of judging them. So here\’s another quote:

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

Let go of your ostrich mentality. Yes, it is so nice to not have to think about the difficult things in life. To put them on a shelf to deal with another day. The trouble is when you do that too often, the problem takes on a life of its own and begins to fester inside you. It can even interfere with your sleep, your anxiety level, your stress level, your overall health. In actuality, it is easier and healthier to stop procrastinating about doing the tough stuff. To meet the problems head-on and face the issues that plague you. Once you take action to fix what\’s worrying you—even just a baby step—you\’ll feel much better. Here\’s what Abraham Lincoln said about it:

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.

Next time you think about how you want to live your life, think about what you can do without, instead of what you want to add to your life. Letting go can be the best thing you do for yourself.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional.  If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch.  You can reach her here: https://nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact-us.