How to Let Go of the Past and Make Way for a More Meaningful Future

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Feeling an emotional hangover from 2017? Or that 2018 is awfully slow to kick into gear? What you're experiencing is common, says spiritual empowerment coach and Well+Good Council member Kelsey Patel. Here, she provides advice on letting go of the past so that you can make this year more positive and productive than you imagined.

2017 is officially done, printed, and in the books—and what a year it was for all. As we prepare to write a new chapter in 2018, there are a few opportunities and words to keep with you.

For many of us, both individually and collectively, 2017 was a year of evaluation: evaluating what matters most to us, seeing what is really happening in our world, and focusing on what we value most in our hearts. If you haven’t already taken a moment to look back and reflect on what 2017's biggest lesson was for you, I strongly recommend a meditation to do so. Give yourself space to travel back to each month of last year and send yourself some healing, compassion, and gratitude for the lessons, adventures, and experiences. You may find that the year shifted much more of you than expected.

As you connect to the word "value" (it's embedded in evaluation!), notice what 2017 taught you about your own values. What did you evaluate or re-evaluate in your life that didn’t seem to come up before? What did you find matters most to you at this point in your life? From there, you have a great starting point for the energy and vibrations you want to bring in with 2018.

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As we enter this new year, don’t worry if it didn’t have quite the epic start you may have experienced in years past. There is a lot of energy at play this January and some of us were hit with immense, even challenging, moments from the start. It will lift, and this year will have an enormous amount of opportunity and abundance for all.

In order to start accessing these vibrations, there is also an invitation for you to let go, check in, and open up to self-acceptance like never before. In this new year, the challenge will no longer be about changing or altering yourself, others, or where you are in your life. The challenge will be making choices from a place of balance, self-honor, and self-acceptance.

This year, the challenge will be to begin accepting yourself exactly as you are.

Many of us try to control, demand, and judge ourselves—our weight, our relationships, our careers, and so on. This year, the challenge will be to begin accepting yourself exactly as you are: loving yourself, your journey, and the lessons you are being shown in every single moment. Tuning in so you can tune up your vibration. Making choices from a place where you let go of trying to control every moment and instead open up to the unknown, to the surprises and abundance of life and its magic when you choose from a place of self-love, self-trust, and self-respect.

There is much to come in this new year. The simple act of letting go of control and opening up to accept yourself and your life will be a gift. If you are willing to set your intentions for the year and then let them go—trusting that the universe has heard you and will bring you exactly what is needed for your highest good—you will head into this year with an open heart, opportunity at every doorstep, and your most important values being shown to you in every single moment.

Kelsey Patel headshot
Photo: Courtesy of Kelsey Patel

Kelsey Patel is a sought-after spiritual empowerment coach, yoga teacher, reiki healer, and meditation teacher. She is also the creator and founder of Magik Vibes, a soul-enhancing lifestyle brand, the resident reiki instructor for Soho House, and a head teacher at The DEN Meditation and Unplug Meditation in Los Angeles. Kelsey has been featured in  publications such as US WeeklyHarper’s Bazaar, and The New York Times.

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