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It’s hard not to get stuck in the past. Something reminiscent happens and you feel sucked back in time. It begs the question: Do you linger briefly or stay a while?

You’ve heard it before, “Today’s a new day; forget your failures and focus on the present moment!”

Your answer, “If only it were that easy!”

The sun rose over your home again this morning. The birds are chirping and you can hear the cars buzzing down the highway near your neighborhood. But your disappointments and troubles are still here, lingering like a dark shadow behind you. That tiny dose of encouragement yesterday did not shoo them away. You wish you could pick up your things and leave for a fresh start. You can’t. You’re tied here financially and to people who are counting on you. Even if you tried to run, there is really no good way to hide from yourself.

How you show up at the office isn’t helping. You force a smile to your staff or co-workers in an attempt to re-engage with them.  If only those relationships would thrive, maybe that would solve everything. They ignore or even avoid you, mindful of all the empty conversations you previously shared with them when you felt down and out, repetitiously complaining.

What can you do when the past constantly recycles itself around you?

Consider long-distance runners.

Some are compelled to buy the latest scientifically designed sneakers to adjust to their environment. Others discover that certain types of clothing can hinder their oxygen intake in the warm weather, so they buy the thinner material. A few stop carrying water bottles and iPods to help balance their body’s resistance while running. Most wouldn’t dare put their iPod down at the risk losing motivation.

What then can you do to promote forward thinking and stop living in the past?

Making these types of subtle external changes is a short term fix. Long-distance running isn’t about buying the best sneakers, having that hot new athletic tee, or ditching your iPod.  It’s about properly moving your legs (formulating a stride and a plan), concentrating on your breathing (focusing on being present) and becoming relentless (resilient to the pain of rejection, ridicule, or that self-pity party) when your body says no.

Many times, Life isn’t easy. Forgetting the past and becoming renewed involves thinking and acting in ways you haven’t done before… or at least haven’t done in a while.

What one, small action step can you accomplish right now to put the past properly in its place and move toward a more positive and fulfilling outcome?

Do you want it enough to push fear aside and bounce back? If so, commit to that decision.

If you feel stuck in the past, the answer isn’t simply flicking a switch. It is a conscious dedicated decision to treat time with respect, wisely using this precious, non-replenishable commodity.  Take ownership for what didn’t go well. Get the help you need to leap over those hurdles.

Then, visualize yourself crossing the finish line with a big smile for the cheering crowd TODAY!