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20 Things to Let Go of Before the New Year

Updated on December 18, 2016
Gina Welds-Hulse profile image

Student of life, lifelong learner, mother, writer, artist, poet, dancer, musician, and martial artist ... passionate about all of these.

Let's Set The Stage For The New Year

It's hard to believe that we are entering the final stretch of 2016. You may be sensing an energetic shift. December is an important month because it sets the stage for the new year. You may be using this time to reflect on your goals and focus forward with clarity. You may be setting goals about business, or weight loss, or where you want to travel in the next year.

You may have gone through some major hurts or disappointments this past year. Now is the time to take a deep breath, as this time beckons reflection on the emotional or physical pain, or the regrets we had over the last year. Past hurts, injustices, jealousies, broken relationships, along with the ebb and flow of life can knock the air out of anyone’s happiness balloon. We can recognize that we made poor choices, or that we felt embarrassed by someone who mistreated us. We may feel there is simply no justice.

We need a positive view of the future as we look forward. Yesterday will keep you hung up. While you’re stuck, you never see any happiness or progress.


Original Art by Gina Welds Hulse
Original Art by Gina Welds Hulse | Source

Time To Create A Stronger Foundation For Your Life

Do you feel weighed down by specific people or situations? Stressed out by life's circumstances? Use this time to consciously create a stronger foundation for your life, which means walking away from things that drag you down.

I learned this through my own journey, through battling chronic illnesses, including lupus, healing from depression, and quitting a job I loved, which propelled me into really following my dream to become a successful artist, writer, and even a designer and life coach. In the process, I had to let go of a lot of things to become the person I am today. It has been a challenging journey, and I am a work in progress, even at my age, but I am doing it.

This is an ideal time of year to:

  • release old thought patterns, fears, relationships, situations
  • things that no longer serve you
  • close down the previous year
  • prepare yourself for the one ahead
  • refocus our energy and attention on the right things

Rather than spending time focusing on what isn't working, pull all of your energy into what is going well and focus on what you want. Use deliberate action toward those goals and you'll see changes happen quickly.

Physically, spiritually and emotionally, I had to learn how to let go of the person I thought I should be in order to be the person I really wanted to be. Letting go of anything in life can be a little scary, but it can also be an amazing act of self-love.

So today, I challenge you with this list of 20 things to let go of before the new year comes.

1. Let go of the “all or nothing” mentality regarding success

Appreciate the grey area between the extremes of success and failure:

  • the journey
  • the process
  • the path
  • what you’re learning
  • how you’re helping others learn, too
  • the growing process you allow yourself to participate in

Never let success get to your head or failure get to your heart. Inhale all those thoughts that don't make you feel empowered and strong.

All-or-nothing thinking is found in depressed people all over the world. This is because it is part of the most primitive of human responses: the fight or flight response. When faced with a life-threatening situation, depressed people feel the need to make a snap decision and act on it. There is no time for 'maybe this', or 'maybe that'.

Since All or Nothing thinking is another thinking style strongly linked with depression, learning not to always think in 'all or nothing' terms but to see shades of gray is immensely helpful in tackling depression. It greatly reduces, or stops the emotionally-arousing thoughts that are necessary to maintain the depressed state.

2. Let Go Of Needing Everyone To Like You

For some reason, we all like to be liked. No revelation there. It’s how we’re wired.

Here's a news flash!! Not everyone will like you!

Here's another news flash!! That's completely okay for everyone to not like you!

Let go of trying to fit in and be accepted by everyone. Your uniqueness is what makes you outstanding.

Everyone doesn’t need to like you, and some people won’t like you, no matter what you do. Try not to take the things these people say about you personally. What they think and say is a reflection of them, not you.

While it’s normal and very human to have the desire to be needed, liked, loved and important to others, it’s also crucial for our development to get clear about who we are and what we stand for, and to live a life consistent with those values. We need to like ourselves. Otherwise we simply become frustrated people-pleasers.

Actually, for many people, their need to be liked is a significant barrier to their personal and professional growth.

3. Let Go Of Having A Sense Of Entitlement

“Man is not, by nature, deserving of all that he wants. When we think that we are automatically entitled to something, that is when we start walking all over others to get it.”
― Criss Jami, Diotima, Battery, Electric Personality

Today’s kids grow up with an entitled mentality due to heavy exposure from non-stop advertising, TV shows and movies that glorify having stuff, and peers at school who always seem to have the latest gadgets or the hottest labels. This ultimately leads to parents giving their kids much more than they need—and sometimes, more than their family can even really afford.

Kids need to develop a sense of ownership by earning things, not a sense of false entitlement from getting what they want whenever they want it. I have seen this cause so many problems in relationships, where things are wanted but no one wants to work for it. The expectation is that the other person should work for it and give it t the one demanding it. The one who feels entitled tends to exhibit many double-standards in the way he or she behaves or interacts with other people, For example: I can be late and forget my duties and commitments, but YOU can’t; I can treat myself, but YOU can’t; I can abuse or disrespect you, but YOU can’t do that to ME.

Feelings are too powerful to keep bottled up for long.
Feelings are too powerful to keep bottled up for long.

4. Stop Keeping Your Feelings Bottled Up Inside

If no one ever knows what you're thinking or what you need, you can't expect to be heard or receive help. Feelings are too powerful to keep bottled up.

It may be exhausting but you can put on Oscar-worthy acting performances for days, weeks or even months at a time, pretending to be okay with people and things that are actually stressing you out & driving you crazy. You’re basically a super dedicated, unpaid method actor.

However, bottling up emotions is bad for you.

One day these emotions will spill out and it won’t be pretty. You need to learn to express your negative emotions. Find a safe place where you can express freely without worrying about hurting yourself or anyone else. It can be your closest friend, your psychotherapist, your diary or even your pillow. Cry, scream, grumble, punch a pillow, talk – do anything that will help you let go of these emotions. It’s something you need to do to preserve your sanity and peace of mind.

Researchers warn that perpetual emotional suppression is nothing benign but can lead to potentially serious mental and physical health problems and even premature death.

5. Let Go Of The Idea That You Are What You Physically Own

You are not what you physically own, so stop buying things you don't need. Stop trying to live up to the Joneses. Don't spend your money to impress others, and don't think having stuff is a measurement of your success.

You are an incredible human being who’s entirely detached from what you have physically acquired in this world. Remember to remain humble. Ultimately, two things define you more than anything else: Your patience when you have very little, and your attitude when you have more than enough.

6. Let Go Of Your Anger

Never do something permanently stupid just because you are temporarily upset.

Let go of yesterday’s tragedies. You are not what has happened to you. You are what you choose to become in this moment. Drop the needless burden, take a deep breath and start again. Ultimately, you will know you are on the right track in life when you become disinterested in looking back, and eager to take the next positive step.

Let go of cheating on your future with your past. It's time to move on and tell a new story.

7. Let Go Of Thinking Your Dreams Are Not Important

Dreams are important. They make life worth living.

Your dreams are what can get you through even the worst days. If you are struggling, your dreams are your reason to keep going. They are why you wake up in the morning and try again. They are what makes your entire life worth living. Without our dreams, we are nothing.

When you make it a daily habit to work on your dreams:

  • You will meet other dream seekers.
  • You can be an inspiration to others.
  • No one is going to follow your dreams for you.
  • So you can finally be happy.
  • It will make YOU proud.
  • You only live once.
  • This is not a dress rehearsal.

Stop the glorification of "Busy."

8 Let Go Of Feeling Busy And Overwhelmed

We’re all guilty of telling our friends, “I’m so busy.” A part of us likes being too busy because it makes us feel important and valued. We also feel overwhelmed without realizing how it happened. We say “yes” to most invitations and requests without thinking about how they fit into our big picture plans. Turning down requests from our friends and co-workers takes discipline and commitment to our priorities. As we build the “no” muscle, we give ourselves the space to design our days to reflect a balance of work, play, and relaxation. We’re in charge of our time.

9. Let Go Of Thinking You Are Damaged

You matter, and the world needs you.

Past hurts and old injustices have a way of keeping us stuck in our tracks, unable to move forward or experience joy. It can take a radical reboot to get past yesterday.

If you look really closely, you will that a long shadow may be clouding your future. It's the shadow cast by the pain in your past—the parent who wasn't there, the ex who betrayed, the boss who humiliated you.

Or perhaps you're stuck in place by the unhappy residue of your own bad choices.

Ask yourself if you are willing to take the steps forward that you should, no matter how much effort is required, to push those boulders up and out of the way. You need to get unstuck!

You need to challenge that irrational, unproductive thinking until you get your head on straight. You need to face up to your fear and then call on your courage and your character to face it down.

Anchor yourself for the future. It is going to be hard to let go of the past in the absence of a positive view of tomorrow. So what you need to do is create a vision of the future, something exciting that will supply the energy and the will to push what is happening and towards the good things that await.

While you are anchoring yourself, you also need to be discarding. This is a necessary path forward under special life circumstances.

Stop the finger-pointing!

10. Let Go Of Blaming Anyone For Anything

At some point you are going to have to be accountable for your own life. If you don't like something, you have two choices, accept it or change it.

Blame is a popular strategy. It has a false air of empowerment. It feels active and engaging, like you’re doing something – while you are actually stuck.

Chronic blame is fueled by chronic anger and hatred. These are emotions that fire up our fight-or-flight system, creating an adrenaline rush and a sense of hyped and nervous strength.

Dropping out of such blame requires acknowledging the fear and sense of powerlessness that underlie the anger. For someone who has been blaming others for a long time, that is a big and courageous step to take. For anyone to be able to move forward, it’s a step that must be taken.

We can only effectively assist others when we help ourselves first.

11. Let Go Of Being The “Go-To Person" For Everyone

On an airplane, an oxygen mask descends in front of you. What do you do? As we all know, the first rule is to put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else. Only when we first help ourselves can we effectively help others.

Let go of being the “go-to person" for everyone, all the time; stop blowing yourself off and take care of yourself first … because you matter. Don't get complacent about your emotional and physical health.

  • Focus on your strengths.
  • Focus on solving problems.
  • Focus on the future instead of reviewing hurts from the past.

Take care of yourself so you can effectively help others.

Worrying is like carrying around a huge boulder on your head. It eventually crushes you.

12. Let Go Of Worrying


It starts with a nagging thought.

That creates another few nagging thoughts.

Before you know it, there is a storm brewing in your mind, making you think irrationally and completely destroying your mental and physical energy.

Your old friend is back, creating chaos within. Worry!

Worrying is like praying for what you don't want.

It's hard to not worry, though. Isn't it? It makes sense that we do need to worry about certain things, particularly those that represent imminent danger.

However, too much worrying can bring on an anxiety state that has real, physiological consequences, not just emotional. When we are anxious, our bodies secrete excessive amounts of hormones like cortisol (the “stress hormone”) and epinephrine, which can have damaging effects on our heart rates, our blood pressure, and even our propensity to gain weight. Chronic stress has even been found to damage areas of the brain that are essential for memory.

13. Let Go Of People Who Drain You

Stop spending time with people who drain you. Simple!

It’s not always where you are in life, but who you have by your side that matters most. Some people drain you and others provide soul food. Don’t jeopardize your dignity and self-respect by trying to make someone accept, love and appreciate you when they have proven that they are incapable of doing so.

When you leave the wrong people behind, the right things start happening. What would happen if you surrounded yourself with people who made you better? What would happen if you started spending time with the RIGHT people?

Think about it.

Let go of relationships that only bring you down.

14. Let Go Of Self-Hate

You are not the shape of your body or the number on the scale. Who you are matters, and the world needs you as you are. Celebrate you!

Self hatred is a highly toxic form of thinking because it directly resists your well-being. When you have thoughts of inferiority about yourself, or when you feel undeserving/unworthy, it’s a form of self hatred because through these thoughts you are undermining yourself and not valuing who you are.

Always remember that who you are is a unique expression of life, and there is no-one like you in this whole universe.

Your uniqueness is evident, not only in the way you look externally, and the unique aptitude/attitude you possess, but also in the way you perceive reality in your mind through the unique make-up of your brain.

All forms of self-hatred arise out of comparison, and the only way to stop self hatred is to acknowledge your uniqueness and avoid trying to meet up with someone else’s standards.

Let go of the negative self-talk

15. Let Go Of Doubting Yourself

Let go of thinking it's too late for you. Your dreams matter and they come to you for a reason. Follow your heart, and you will be free.

Passionate, determined people do remarkable things. Never allow your self-doubt to get in the way of what you want to accomplish.

We must be willing to let go of the life we have so we can have the new life that is waiting for us.

16. Let Go Of Trying To Save Or Change People

Have you ever had someone in your life who was really struggling with something and you wish desperately you could save them from themselves?

To be honest, I’ve been around and around this merry-go-round a few times in my life, wishing I could save someone from their own destructive choices, all the while missing the fact that it was never my job to save them in the first place. Not to mention the fact that it is an impossible task to undertake.

We are the only ones who can save ourselves.

Let go of trying to save or change people. We can only pray for, and love those who we are trying to save. Everyone has his or her own path, and the best thing you can do is work on yourself and stop focusing on others.

Of course, a little assistance never hurt anybody. It's okay to suggest that if he or she is about to make a self-destructive decision, it might help to take a deep breath first and ask if this is really what is wanted. After all, who is going to live with the consequences of the actions?

17. Let Go Of Your Money Woes

Sometimes no matter how much planning and saving you do, you will somehow come up short in your finances and be unable to make one or two of your monthly payments.

This may be because of a lack of proper planning or maybe an unexpected occurrence of a financial situation. None the less, you spend your time beating yourself up for not having enough money or constantly stressing about what you could’ve done to avoid being in the financial situation you find yourself in.

It happens to the best of us.

Money problems affect many people in different ways but it is important to not let those problems take over your life. Deal with the little problems that you can handle on your own and speak to a professional about those that you can’t on your own.

Be yourself!

18. Let Go Of Thinking Everyone Else Is Happier

Let go of thinking everyone else is happier, more successful or better off than you. You are right where you need to be. Your journey is unfolding perfectly for you.

Life is NOT short if you spend every waking moment appreciating it. It’s just that by the time most of us catch up to appreciating what we have, we’ve already squandered our time and left life at least halfway behind us.

The key is being thankful for what you have NOW.

No matter how good or bad you think you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life. Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs. Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, think about what you have that everyone else is missing. Think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive in your own shoes – to breathe a fresh breath, to think another thought, to enjoy a new moment, to have options – then go out and make the day count.

19. Let Go Of Setting Small Goals

If you set small goals, you get small results.

Set big goals, and then do everything in your power to achieve them. My dream of designing came to pass after 15 years of mouthing that dream. It is still a dream that I work on each and every day.

Stop procrastinating. If you want to accomplish something, stop waiting, and start doing.

Nobody is ever 100 percent ready for the opportunities that come his or her way. The best opportunities stretch us beyond our limits.

20. Let Go Of Regrets

Let go of regrets.

At one point in your life, that “whatever" was exactly what you wanted.

When something negative happens, view the circumstance as a chance to learn something you didn’t know. Don’t wish it never happened. There is nothing you can do about it now. Don’t try to step back in time. If there was a time machine, we would have all time-traveled all ready. Take the lessons learned and step forward.

Stop whining and start doing something about the situation that you do not like.

Complaining does not work as a strategy. Those who complain the most accomplish the least positive results. When you spend time worrying and complaining, you’re simply using your imagination to create things you don’t want.

Don’t talk about what’s wrong. Harping on your problems makes you feel worse, not better. Unless you want to complain about it forever, eventually you’ll have to DO something.

Have a wonderful New Year!

© 2016 Gina Welds


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