8 Effective Ways to Let Go and Move On

8 Effective Ways to Let Go and Move On

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”
―Ann Landers

You are changing.  The universe around you is changing.  Just because something was right for you in the past doesn’t mean it still is.  This could be a relationship, a job, a home, a habit, etc.

It happens to you slowly as you grow.  You discover more about who you are and what you want out of life, and then you realize there are deliberate changes you need to make to keep up with the changes happening around you and within you.

The lifestyle you’ve been living no longer fits.  The specific people and routines you’ve known forever no longer align with your values.  So you cherish all the memories, but find yourself letting go and moving on.

If you’re currently dealing with this process you may feel a bit awkward, and that’s OK.  This feeling is normal.  I’ve been right there with you on more occasions than I can count.

Reasons to Let Go and Move On

  1. Someone’s negativity is rubbing off on you. – You are the average of the people you spend the most time with.  In other words, who you spend your time with has a great impact on the person you are and the person you become.  If you are around cynical and negative people all the time, you will become cynical and negative.
  2. You have grown apart from someone. – Sad but true, no matter what you do or how much you explain yourself, some people will gradually evolve away from your core values.  As time goes on they will prove over and over again that they are committed to misunderstanding you and clashing with your needs.
  3. You are truly unhappy with your current circumstances. – It’s always better to be struggling at something you love than succeeding diligently at something you despise.  (Read Quitter.)
  4. Your goals and needs have changed. – What was right for you then is not necessarily right for you now.  Sometimes the hardest part isn’t letting go but rather realizing that you have changed, and then learning to start over with your new truth.
  5. Fear is holding you back. – Part of letting go and moving on is facing the fears and disappointments of the past that are binding your spirit.
  6. You catch yourself living in the past. – If all you do is attempt to relive something that has already happened, you’re missing out.  The mental space you create by letting go of things that are already behind you gives you the ability to fill the space with something fresh and fun.
  7. An old grudge is still hurting you. – Holding on to the weight of anger, resentment and hatred will not only hold you back, but also block your present blessings and opportunities.  You’ve just got to drop some things to move forward.
  8. You aren’t learning anything new.Living is learning.  All positive change is the end result of learning.  If you aren’t learning, you’re simply dying slowly.

One Small Example of Letting Go

We had been friends since grade school when I finally told one of my childhood friends, “Enough is enough!”  Although we had basically grown up together, we were now on different planets when it came to our goals and dreams.  He believed there was one right way to do things – go to college, get a degree, get a job, and dedicate every waking moment of your life to it.  I had other plans.

Although I did get my degree and a job after college, in our free time Angel and I started writing articles on the blog you’re reading now.  As the blog’s reach grew, my friend discredited our success.  Whenever I shared one of our small success stories, he would say something negative like, “Whatever.  It’s just a blog.  I have one too.”

When Angel quit her job to work on the blog full-time, my friend basically told me we’d fail.  “That’s ridiculous!  Angel had a good job,” he said.  “You’re just playing with fire in this economy if you ask me.”  To which I replied, “I’m not asking you.”

That was the beginning of the end of our story as friends.  Years later, our relationship is now a mere shadow of what it was and my life is honestly far brighter for it.  Letting my friend go wasn’t easy, but it was necessary for my own well-being and growth.

Ways to Let Go and Move On

Holding on is like believing that there’s only a past; letting go and moving on is knowing in your heart that there’s a bright future ahead.  Let’s take a look at eight ways to design the latter.

  1. Accept the truth and be thankful. – To let go is to be thankful for the experiences that made you laugh, made you cry, and helped you learn and grow.  It’s the acceptance of everything you have, everything you once had, and the possibilities that lie ahead.  It’s all about finding the strength to embrace life’s changes, to trust your intuition, to learn as you go, to realize that every experience has value, and to continue taking positive steps forward.  (This process is something Angel and I discuss in the Adversity chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
  2. Distance yourself for a while. – Sometimes you need to take several steps back in order to gain clarity on a situation.  The best way to do this is to simply take a break and explore something else for a while.  Why?  So you can return to where you started and see things with a new set of eyes.  And the people there may see you differently too.  Returning where you started is entirely different than never leaving.
  3. Focus only on what can be changed. – Realize that not everything in life is meant to be modified or perfectly understood.  Live, let go, learn what you can and don’t waste energy worrying about the things you can’t change.  Focus exclusively on what you can change, and if you can’t change something you don’t like, change the way you think about it.  Review your options and then re-frame what you don’t like into a starting point for achieving something better.
  4. Claim ownership and full control of your life. – No one else is responsible for you.  You are in full control of your life so long as you claim it and own it.  Through the grapevine, you may have learned that you should blame your parents, your teachers, your mentors, the education system, the government, etc., but never to blame yourself.  Right?  It’s never, ever your fault… WRONG!  It’s always your fault, because if you want to change, if you want to let go and move on with your life, you’re the only person who can make it happen.
  5. Focus inward. – It’s important to make a difference in the world.  Yes, it’s important to help people, but you have to start with yourself.  If you’re looking outside yourself to find where you fit in or how you can create an impact, stop and look inside yourself instead.  Review who you already are, the lifestyle you’re currently living, and what makes you feel alive.  Then nurture these things and make positive adjustments until your current life can no longer contain them, forcing you to grow and move beyond your current circumstances.
  6. Change the people around you. – Some people come into your life just to strengthen you, so you can move on without them.  They are supposed to be part of your memory, not your destiny.  The bottom line is that when you have to start compromising your happiness and your potential for the people around you, it’s time to change the people around you.  It’s time to join local meet-ups, attend conferences, network online, and find a more supportive tribe.
  7. Take a chance. – When life sets you up with a challenge, there’s a reason for it; it’s meant to test your courage and willingness to make a change and take a chance on something new.  There’s no point in denying that things are different now, or being fearful of the next step.  The challenge will not wait even if you hesitate.  Life only moves in one direction – forward.  This challenge is your chance to let go of the old and make way for the new.  Your destiny awaits your decision.  (Read The Untethered Soul.)
  8. Focus on today. – You can decide right now that negative experiences from your past will not predict your future.  Figure out what the next positive step is, no matter how small or difficult, and take it.  Ultimately, the only thing you can ever really do is to keep moving forward.  Take that leap without hesitation, without looking back.  Simply forget the past, look straight ahead and forge toward the future.

The floor is yours…

What are you holding on to that’s holding you back?  What’s the first step you need to take to let it go?  Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below.

Photo by: Hartwig HKD


  1. Louann says

    Just thank you………for all that you write. You create hope and offer inspiration for this amazing and blessed journey called life.

  2. Christy says

    Thank you for this article. I’m having problems with a woman who is supposed to be my boyfriend’s best friend, but she seems to just live to make my life painful. I have a hard time letting go. This article has inspired me to take hold of my own life and get the help I need so I can let go and move on.

  3. Jenny says

    It’s been a long journey to this current place in my life where I am seeing with new clarity that the key to my happiness is living each day from my own truth. Overcoming years of being a people pleaser and giving up my own power has given me the insight that living your own truth really does set you free. BUT….my biggest challenge was overcoming the people in my life that wanted to pin me to my old ways and not let me forget my past. I still get very tired of going through this ritual in conversations of listening to them tell me how I was. I walk away carrying a very heavy layer of negative sludge. I wear it for a few days. I am aware of it but it takes time to work it off. Thanks Marc and Angel for this article. It brought me so much enlightenment and comfort in reconnecting with my present truth. I love your book. I keep it on my coffee table and reach for it daily. I appreciate your journey.

  4. Shannon says

    Wow! This article really resonated with me. I have been on a quest to move on for well over 10 years now. Unfortunately, I grew up in a very negative and angry family. I met a wonderful man and we quickly got married, but my old family turned on me. They were so hurtful towards me and said so many cruel things. It took me aback because I hadn’t done anything except find a loving person to spend my life with. I cried a lot. I worried a lot. I prayed a lot. I realized that their jealousy was rampant because I was happy, and that if I didn’t choose to engage in gossip and belittling of others with them, they had no use for me. With God’s and my husband’s help, I am learning to let it go. It’s really difficult because my mother is so negative and harbors so much anger. I never know what will set her off and she has managed to ruin relationships with immediate family. I still feel compelled to look after her and converse with her (even though it harms me) because she is my mother. Sometimes we just need to move forward and let go of the past to protect the future generations and give them the loving example of our Heavenly Father.

    • Beth says

      I have been encountering this kind of thing for years now, involving my mother AND children. This weekend was extremely rough for me, and am at the point of needing to let go, but being that it’s immediate family, I am torn.

      Am wondering though, do you still have contact with your immediate family, and how is it all going, either way?

      Thank you for your input.

  5. Aliss says

    Thank you so much for this very nice article.
    May God bless you always!

    Well, it has been a year since that first downfall happened that I cannot let go of it. That is why I took the decision to search and read articles in the net and it happened that I read yours (this).
    I always thought that maybe I needed time to wait for that someone but the longer I wait the more painful it may seem. So I really thank you about this article.

    Moreover, I’m not really a person doing comments or responses to articles nor really a fanatic one to read articles yet if I may say, this is a good start though.

    As a Christian I believe that I need to read and listen to the teachings of God which is in the Bible to relieve my situation but perhaps God painted something around, and made you His instrument to enlighten people whose life lives in the past and whose future is so glaring.

    May you continue to inspire others!
    God bless!

  6. Ritu Chowdhary says

    This is what I needed right now…Thank you so much!!

    I realized no one but we ourselves can make us free!! We cannot give the power to make us feel a certain way, we cannot allow others to drive us. I need to take responsibility of my own actions.

    Thank you again.

  7. Elaine says

    This is great advice for moving forward, it is very difficult when you are in a situation where the paths you wish to take to move yourself on are blocked by those trying to bring you down. For example, during my time at university I tried to move forwards from bullies who continued to block my every move, through facebook stalking and rumour spreading, even to my academic staff. I felt completely trapped in this situation, and all my confidence had been undermined….which of course was the aim of this vicious behaviour.

  8. Ritzelleyliahfaith says

    I’m gonna do this. Your advice and article is really good, nice. I’ve been depressed for days but this article gave me a hope. To live my life to the fullest with or without him.

  9. gineve says

    Wow this article really helps me a lot, in fact I was so connected while reading it, it’s been 6years from since that traumatic heart experienced happen and now I can completely said that I was totally overcome with it..it’s not that easy when I look back the past I couldn’t imagine how I survive. But after a long 6years here I am again fall in love with a wrong person. For me he is my ideal man,.. a man of my dreams a man who could simply make me feel happy and give smile on my face even by simply thinking of him. But sad to know that he was no longer free, I was so stupid to let myself believe that everything’s will be alright…that there is “someday” for us I keep on believing that fools reality. In myself I know it wasn’t right so I decided to stop this craziness that I feel even though it will cause to much pain.,.. I need to let go of things that makes me feel sad. And thank you so much for I found,…..this article it really a big help..God bless

  10. Divya says

    Really really thank you for this article.. I’ve been stressed for three years but this article gave me a hope. To live my life with or without him…from now I won’t sacrifice with my life for him… This article helps me to move on such things that makes me feel sad…

  11. Karen Marsh says

    Thank you for this reminder, I am a domestic violence counsellor and have been struggling for years under the stress of an under resourced organisation and being placed in the role of management and trying to fit!

    With high blood pressure and burn out I have struggled on to meet client needs and organisational demands as well as working in system that mirrors the crisis and chaos so many clients face!!

    Reading your article helped remind me of the things I know and tell others but that I am not really practicing in my own life! I have resigned from my job after 13 years, and will NOW work through the process of ‘Letting Go”

    Thank you :)

  12. Maggi says

    I am finding it so difficult to let go, so am pleased to have found this article at a time when I need support to reflect and learn to move on.

  13. says

    I have to move on from an association that has been abusive on my part. I have been assaulted twice for deeds my elder brother did and am afraid that the scenario may replay again. I even thought of suicide but the world is not at fault, I am at fault and I have to make changes… I hope it’s not too late to do so.

  14. Williams says

    I have been in denial for ten years thinking the father of my children will marry me and be a family together in the same house. For the past three years he haven’t taking me out, no birthday present, no holiday gift, ,and he want invited me to his home. Pain is killing me inside holding on to a man that don’t want my love. Thank you for helping me to realize I don’t have to depend on someone to live a happy life.

  15. Annie says

    Dear Marc and Angel, I normally don’t leave a comment to a public site, but I’ve been meaning to tell you both that your blogs are a godsend to many of us! I realize it more and more that when I’m struggling with something at the moment, yor post the right, positive and encouraging words just in the perfect time! I am also noticing that others do feel the same about it! Thank you both for what you do to help so many of us, It’s very much so appreciated!

  16. samu says

    Thanks. I know what is holding me back. And I’m pretty sure it will not have a value in my future. It is my falut and i need to correct it now. Therefore, your article can help me to move on from it. I hope I will have all strength to do so…

  17. Elizabeth says

    Thanks for this! I love your posts!
    I wonder if you or anyone has practical tips for how to “let go” when you physically can’t? I’m in a job situation where I’m not able to move on at the moment, but it’s very toxic. I’m not sure how to stay sane amidst the chaos.

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