Work Out
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As we brace ourselves for all the new adventures to come, we also need to make sure we aren’t carrying any baggage, or elephants (don’t worry, you’ll understand when you’ve read the piece). Without making peace with what didn’t work out the year before, it can be super difficult to go after our new dreams full speed ahead. Let’s get into it:


Global (14 January 2024) — While much of the start to any new year revolves around hyping ourselves up for all the great things we hope to do, see, achieve and feel in the year ahead, oftentimes, an elephant sits in the room, patiently waiting to rear its trunk. This elephant’s name is ‘Things that Didn’t Work Out’. And, it is not one that likes to be ignored.

It’s easy in the first few weeks of any new adventure to throw yourself head first into all that’s possible, guided by optimism along a clean slate. Very easy, in fact. It’s also easy to ignore what didn’t work out the year before.

Now you might be thinking: if it’s easy to ignore, why should I draw my attention to the matter at all? If it makes me feel bad, why would I go there? Well, that’s because the elephant will only stay quiet for so long. And then he might just start trampling on all the plans you’ve got ahead of you.

Making peace with what didn’t work out is one of the most important things you’ll do for the journey ahead. And, to put yourself at ease:

  • You’re not a cynic for giving yourself closure
  • And you’re not negative just because you reflect on something negative that happened
  • And you’re not holding yourself back by learning from the past—quite the opposite!

So, Why Make Peace With the Elephant?

Whether it’s a relationship that ran its course, a business opportunity that fell through or a friendship that let you down, facing the elephant matters because it can only stay in the room if it’s ignored.

You might think you’ve moved on from an uncomfy time. Or maybe you’re not even sure if you have an elephant at all. The reality is, whether we’re conscious of it or not, many of us do. To thank for this, we have the protective measures in our brains that are hardwired to remember the things that caused us stress or discomfort so that we can be alert and avoid these situations in the future.

Making peace with what didn’t work out could look like making a new vision board and saying a real goodbye to an old one that might not even serve you anymore. Or writing you from the past, going through a tough time, a letter in your most messy handwriting. Maybe it’s writing a very angry letter to a friend who hurt you, and never sending it. Or maybe it’s visiting a place where you and your old flame used to visit and making peace with the fact that this place is now free to belong to someone else.

No two people are the same, and neither are our minds. So, no one is going to deal with or experience their elephant in the exact same way. But if there is one in your life, here are a few reasons to have a chat with him:

  • When we acknowledge the uncomfortable, it holds less power over us
  • We release physical stress symptoms that we might not even be aware of
  • We are subconsciously telling ourselves that we are no longer under threat from this thing, which puts us in the driver’s seat when it comes to triggers
  • We’re teaching ourselves that negative situations can be dealt with positively
  • We’re showing ourselves that the point of things not working out is the learning they lend themselves to

And, all of these little lessons—by virtue of whether we decide to accept them as lessons—pave the way to brand new, cleared pathways without baggage (or elephants). Pathways where we are free to make different mistakes, take bigger risks, and be versions of ourselves that aren’t afraid of the elephant telling us something will go wrong. Why? Because that elephant no longer lives here.

Sources: Good Things Guy
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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