Why It’s Sometimes Good To Look Back

There are people who say we shouldn’t dwell on the past, that we should just keep moving forward.

I came across this quote by the author Roy T. Bennett:

“If you want to be happy, do not dwell in the past, do not worry about the future, focus on living fully in the present.”

On the whole I agree with this. There’s no point beating yourself up over things you cannot change; it can end up dragging you down. Learn from the situation and take that new knowledge forward into future situations.

However, I do believe that there are times when it’s good to look back and reflect on where you are versus where you’ve come from.

What I’ve learnt from looking back

My reflection on where I am now versus where I was 5-10 years ago has made me realise how much I have developed as a person.

Consistency and persistency pay off

Whatever area in your life that you’re trying to work on, it’s a marathon not a sprint. There may be days where you don’t want to make the effort. If you can push through those feelings and keep plugging away it will be worth it. Don’t get me wrong, you may not always get what you want but there is a lot to be said about learning from the journey and not just enjoying the end result.

My confidence has increased

I’m much more confident now than a few years’ ago. I believe a lot of this confidence has come from me pushing through, even during the times where I doubted my abilities and didn’t necessarily think it was worth continuing with the things I was pursuing. I have much more faith in my own resilience.

Getting support from others has helped with my self-belief

Having supportive people around you is incredibly important.  I’ve been able to push myself further than I thought possible because the people around me have faith that I can do what I’ve set out to achieve. To have others believe in and support me has given me the strength to keep me focused on my goals.

Time to look forward

The exercise of looking back was really helpful; I felt proud of how far I’d come. It also focused me on what I want to achieve in the months ahead.

Why It's Sometimes Good To Look Back

So I do think it’s useful to look back and reflect, but I also think it’s important not to stop there. The next step is to take what you have learnt, look to the future and ask yourself what you want to achieve in X many months or years.

Setting future goals can bring more focus to whatever you’re working towards. Just make sure your goals are achievable (i.e. you have the resources to achieve them) and realistic. So, wanting to be a millionaire within the next few months probably isn’t realistic, even though the thought is appealing!

What things have you reflected on recently? How do you think you’ve grown?

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23 thoughts on “Why It’s Sometimes Good To Look Back

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  1. Yes I totally agree. It’s good to look back at good times and at our achievements. Look at the mistakes we made and learn from them. The important thing is not to look back in anger and bitterness. Accept the past for what it is. Live in the present and plan for the future. Great post!

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  2. I so agree. After my surgery a few years back I was unable to walk on my own for a few months. It’s so easy to forget that once you can walk and the further away I get from those days the more I complain about stupid stuff. It’s good to look back and say to myself, remember when you couldn’t get to the bathroom on your own or it took you 20 minutes to get to the mailbox? Then my mind shifts and I’m grateful for the little things again. Great post!

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      1. I think that’s awesome. I used to be someone who ‘needed’ others and it wasn’t healthy at all. Now, I’m much more happy with myself and I choose the people I have in my life, rather than having them there to make myself feel better.

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  3. What a great piece – I am part of a chronically ill online community, and I believe that so much of what you write here translates perfectly for so many of us. Sometimes we can get so hung up on what has happened in the past that it prevents us from moving on – and yet it is the now and the tomorrow that we can influence, not what has been before. When I am having a “bad” day when my chronic pain peaks, a joint dislocates and dodgy circulation causes me to pass out, it can be tricky to focus on the future…..but when that future does come with a good day, it is important to look back and know that I got through that bad patch and am still here! Thank you for sharing this on #BigUpYourBlog! – I will share your link on my regular piece Monday Magic Inspiring Blogs for You! You should get a pingback when I post it. Great to connect, Claire x

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  4. a couple of years ago I started looking back at my life in general, and some past relationships. Haven taken years of time to separate from certain events made it easier to assess situations and get to know myself better and realise how some of my behaviours came about. Looking back and considering the past has given me the bump I needed to make some personal changes in my life

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