Don’t Look Back – (5) Tips on how to always look forward.

I certainly cannot speak for anyone else, but one of the things that really motivates me is looking forward to something. Even when there is not anything monumental on the horizon, I can look forward to something as simple as sharing a cup of coffee with a friend. Having something to look forward to is simple enough to accomplish. It is a highly achievable experience. When I find myself less motivated, I realize I might be thinking about the past, instead of looking toward the future, which I find to be incredibly exciting.

Taking time every now and then to reminisce about what you have done in the past, and the accomplishments you conquered, joyous experiences you relished, and perhaps even some less-than-ideal days is normal, but should not consume your thoughts. Nor should looking back be something to be tough on yourself about, as many people dwell on What IF thinking. This serves little purpose, consumes too much energy, and is a habit which we should all try to reverse.We are all guilty of What If thinking, but what if instead of focusing on the WhatIf regarding the past, we apply this thinking towards the future?

When we interrupt our negative thinking, or thinking that is less constructive, we do ourselves and others a favor by changing our attitudes towards just about everything. Thinking in terms of possibilities versus reviewing our playback tape is what highly successful and motivated people do. It really is not that difficult. The first challenge is to recognize a pattern of thinking about what has already happened, especially since you cannot rewrite what has already occurred. The good news is that you do have control over the script for what can happen next. Stop and really think about this for a minute. Yes, you do have full control. Don’t let it happen, make it happen!

Having something to look forward to is highly motivating for me, but everyone is different, so this might not, in fact, work for you. However, here are five tips to refocus your energy and attention on looking ahead instead of in the rear-view mirror.

  • Think of someone you admire. Now imagine yourself in their shoes. What are their most admirable characteristics? Are some of their traits ones that you could borrow, or implement?
  • Spend time outside. Being near or around any type of nature, or simply breathing in fresh air, can reset your thinking, and put you in a better, more positive frame of mind.
  • Do something nice for someone else. Thinking through the process of doing a kind gesture for someone else forces you to think ahead and plan out the activity, even when it is a simple action like putting a blanket on your child or significant other when he or she has fallen asleep on the couch.
  • Put together a plan. It can be almost any type of plan – a vacation, a dinner date, a birthday party, opening the pool . . . The simple act of starting a plan will create the need to look forward.
  • Get out of your routine. No matter what time of the day it is, you probably have some type of routine. Do something entirely different during your day, and start thinking now what it might be. This will give you something to look forward to, and put you in a position to have to think about doing something later.

Changing how you think about the future can create positive results. The natural endorphins released from the brain when you are thinking and doing constructive behavior will help.

I know you can do this and promise it’s worth the effort.  I have coached many people who felt the same way you do, and guided them to be able to do this well, and every day. Give it a try. T




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