No matter what you do, you can never live a better past.
You might be thinking, “Well, yes, of course we can’t change the past,” but for as much as we know this to be true, we live our todays as if we can give ourselves a different past.
In the past, you might have tried going to the gym and felt embarrassed because you didn’t know how to use the machines. Today, that embarrassment you felt so long ago spikes your anxiety any time you think about trying to go to the gym again.
In the past, you raised your hand to ask a question, and someone behind you snickered, making you feel badly about yourself and your intelligence. Today, you hesitate to ask for help and avoid situations where you might have to try something new in front of others.
In both of these stories, you are making choices as if not going to the gym today will erase that terrible experience you had years ago. What does not going to the gym today really do, though? It holds you back. It keeps you from becoming the person you want to be. And it probably makes you feel even worse about yourself.
When you feel your past dictating the choices you make today – and, therefore, dictating your future – Stop. Challenge. Choose. Recognize that you are letting a past experience overwhelm your present and instead ask yourself: What choices can I make today that will give me the tomorrow I desire?
Learn from your past, but make choices in the present that help you to build a new future.