Learning to let go: The 10 Things You Should Stop Doing This Year

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brooke saward
Since starting my blog a little over two years ago from my bedroom in Australia, to travelling the world living out of a suitcase and calling the entire world my home, I have slowly but surely grown to learn that there are things in life you don’t want, just as much as those you do want. I truly believe that knowing what you don’t want and should avoid is just as important as knowing (and chasing) the things that you do want, in order to achieve your own personal interpretation of success in life. So, with that…

The 10 Things you Should Stop Doing This Year

10. Stop wanting

Things. Its an easy trap to get caught up in the act of wanting – wanting more things, possessions, and holding value to them. Over the course of my first year travelling the world solo I have learned that when I stopped wanting things and instead focused my efforts and energy on craving (and seeking) experiences, I achieved much more self growth than I ever would from wanting things.

9. Know where the door is, use it

All too often we find ourselves in a situation we would rather not be in. But also all too often we don’t know what to do in these scenarios and wind up sacrificing our happiness for another’s or for the sake of not having a better solution / the courage to make an exit. Its important to always know where the door is and not be afraid to use it. If someone or something is making you unhappy, change directions and head for the door. Besides,

when one door closes… another one opens.

8. Stop waiting

Make 2015 a year of doing, not just dreaming. They told you to chase your dreams, not just have them.

7. Don’t be a ‘gonna’

More to the point, don’t make plans to make plans or tell people that you’re ‘gonna’ do something. Just do it.

6. Do let people walk away from you

Every so often you will find yourself in the scenario of losing friends or people important in your life. So the saying goes, if you love someone, set them free. If they don’t come back, they were never yours in the first place. Know that its okay to let people walk away from you and don’t be afraid of the consequences. It shouldn’t be your worry and hassle to deal with if it isn’t your decision in the first place. Make peace with the decision of others and learn to accept it.

5. Know when to Give up, but know when to give it one last shot

Sometimes the hardest part isn’t giving up or giving in, but knowing when to do so.

4. Kick the bad habit(s)

It could be related to anything: health, personality, attitude… Whatever it is, if it is bothering you and you want to shake it, make a commitment to do so. Stop doing the things that bother you and start making a commitment to yourself (and yourself only, its important to know that change only occurs when you truly want it), and start making changes today.

3. Stop comparing yourself

One of the hardest achievements in many of our lives is to stop comparing our achievements and life goals to that of others. Its in our human nature to compare ourselves to others, it is perhaps inherent that we do so… but with a conscious effort and a clear mind + open heart, you can stop comparing yourself to others. When you lift others up, you will undoubtedly find that you also lift your own spirits. Win-win.

2. Don’t try to be someone else, be a better you

When making New Years Resolutions it can often be quite easy to determine that you ‘need’ to be a better person and set out on a conquest to be that person. But the fact that you are trying to be a better person unlike yourself should send off red warning signs. You don’t want to be a better person, you want to be a better you. Never forget that your qualities are matched by your quirks, sometimes they just need reshaping and a little redirection… not changing completely.

1. Don’t rely on others

The most important thing I learned in my year travelling the world solo was to stop relying on others and learn to rely only on myself. Because this has been the biggest life lesson for me to date, I cannot think of any better advice to give to my friends around the world when coming into the new year. Whether it be by taking a solo trip somewhere in the world or any other act of self reliance, learning to rely on yourself can be one of the most refreshing, rewarding and completely invigorating experiences of your life. You’re it!


Over to you. What will you stop doing this year?

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    Suzanne Renae
    January 3, 2016 at 12:47 am

    I agree with most of your advice except I do think there is a time and a place to rely on others. I know I want people to be able to count on me. But I will give you this – too many people are co-dependent in an unhealthy way.

    Aim Subarjat
    February 14, 2015 at 9:36 am

    I like your motivational section because it’s very genuine. I can’t find such honest words… do you always look inside before writing?


    February 6, 2015 at 7:53 am

    This is so very inspirational and I want to start seeing the world now and not just wanting things to happen.

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    January 14, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    ugh Number 4 is the worst for me! I’m my own worst enemy…. but we all have growing pains 🙂

    Cam Chowda
    January 14, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    Amen sista, couldn’t agree more! 2015 – you do you!

    -Cam Chowda

    Alfonso C. Betancort
    January 14, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    That’s so simply true for all endeavors and decision in life not just taking a the time for a dreamed travel.
    I see mostly women are wise enough to comment on your post, better in good company… 😉

    January 13, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    This was a great post and has really inspired me to follow through with these. I’m generally a dreamer and will wish I could do certain things, without actually being proactive about it so this year I’m going to try and actually go out and do the things I want to, like my first solo trip to Europe this year! x

    January 12, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    Loved this article! I find number 1 and 9 the most difficult ones. But after three months of solo traveling, I am starting to learn to rely on myself!

    January 12, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Ah, I find using the exit door to be the hardest thing for me… So many times I find myself -just like you wrote it – sacrificing my own happiness either for the sake of others or simply because I don’t have enough courage to leave. It’s one of the most difficult things in life, to leave, especially those who you love.

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    January 9, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    Brooke, I love your motivational posts !! <3

    January 8, 2015 at 6:00 am

    Great tips Brooke!
    I especially liked the last one!

    Tammy Miller
    January 8, 2015 at 1:31 am

    You are wise beyond your years! Took me much longer to figure most of this out. Love your blog!

    Miles of Happiness
    January 7, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    Great ideas.. So many resolutions to take! I like the “don’t be a gonna”.
    Here are mine :

    Simple and easy to take as well.
    Happy new year!


    Marie @ Marie Away
    January 7, 2015 at 4:42 am

    Beautiful post. This year I plan to stop telling myself who I am and instead accept my interests, passions, and personality for what they are. It’s so easy to get caught up in what we want to want, rather than letting ourselves be happy. Cheers!

    January 6, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    2, 3, 6, 7, and 8 – i really need to read these parts over and over again. thanks so much for sharing. 🙂
    xo, cheyenne

    January 6, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    Number 6 hits the spot! I’m a big believer in putting energy into a friendship that goes both ways. It’s funny, when I first moved to Canada in 2011 my friends who I had gone through high school with regularly emailed me asking about life abroad but shortly after the emails from their end died down and came to a complete stop. Now that I’m back home the people who I talk to almost daily are the ones who I met while living abroad and are from all over the place – other cities in Australia, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa etc and it’s completely effortless! It’s unfortunate that these things happen but you’ve just gotta keep going because the people who truly give a crap will always be there.

    January 6, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    such good advice, will have to keep reminding myself of these! Love the quote in number 6. x

    Jessica C. (A Wanderlust For Life)
    January 6, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    A lot of people posts these types of lists, but somehow, your’s seems to hit home the most. Number 6 is really the hardest once you move away because I feel like it’s my fault. That because I’m not there, they don’t want to put the effort into being friends. It’s been the hardest thing since becoming an expat. But I think it also teaches you a lot too. Some people come in to your life for a little while and aren’t meant to be there forever. And that is okay.

    Thanks for another inspirational post!

    January 6, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    I agree with you completely. It’s really good advice. Love it!
    Have a happy 2015!

    January 6, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Great advice! I’m trying to build all these qualities in me. Not comparing myself to others and improving myself as an individual is on top! 🙂

    Best holiday destinations
    January 6, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    yes !! It is good thought to remove your bed habits in new year. thanks for sharing nice views.

    Jodi Duncan
    January 6, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    This is amazing advice B, thank you so much for being such a huge inspiration for myself and so many others! xx

    January 6, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Yes! There’s are perfect.

    I’ve started wanting less material possessions. It’s particularly easier now I don’t work in retail. I used to be surrounded by material things, watching people buy more of what they don’t need every day.

    Now I work for myself, and have come to appreciate the little things!

    Chalsie | The Workshop Co. x

    January 6, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Love these. I’m not one for resolutions ( I just posted about how I feel about them) but I like the idea of letting go of things, to leave room for new ones. Great post!


    21 year old backpacker currently an expat in New Zealand

    January 6, 2015 at 11:21 am

    I’m not much of a resolutions person either. Every year, I also like to reflect on my year and see what a can do ( or what I need to stop doing ) in order to improve. Love this!!

    January 6, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Great post!! Loved every single point, will keep them in mind.

    Fabi |

    January 6, 2015 at 10:51 am

    This is perfect, just what I needed!

    Silly Medley: Lifestyle and Travel

    January 6, 2015 at 10:28 am

    Couldn’t agree more! As soon as I learned to rely on myself I was then much more able to utilise the strengths of other people that came into my life without depending on them. Have a very happy 2015!

    Courtney {Alkeks Abroad}
    January 6, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Love these! I have a little sign on my dresser that says “Comparison is the Thief of Joy” as a reminder each morning.

    January 6, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Great post! I totally agree!

    Tessa / Bramble & Thorn
    January 6, 2015 at 9:59 am

    What an excellent post! This is all such valuable advice that I should probably take heed of in 2015.

    Tessa at Bramble & Thorn

    January 6, 2015 at 9:46 am

    yeah I agree with all of this!!

    January 6, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Great list! All things I want to stop doing this year

    January 6, 2015 at 9:21 am

    These are such good “resolutions” for the new year – or any time of year really! Too often, we get caught up in the “right now” and forget to look at the big picture. We should all focus our energy on being the best version of ourselves that we can be.

    Thanks for sharing!
    XO, Chekara |

    January 6, 2015 at 9:13 am

    Hi Brooke,
    thanks for this great post. I am reading your blog just for a few months now and I really enjoy your posts (and your photos).
    You are talking about a lot of things I realized (and learned) during the last year. A great year! Reading all this summarized, reminds me that I am on the right – my – way and to stay focused!

    Thanks again! All the best for you!
    xo from Germany, Caro

    January 6, 2015 at 8:59 am

    I swear your posts are always EXACTLY what I need to read! :)! I love seeing them each day! Thank you for the great advice for a new year!


    CPO Experts
    January 6, 2015 at 8:31 am

    Ha ha ha 😉 must stop!

    January 6, 2015 at 8:30 am

    some amazing tips here, all of which i have told myself to do. will definitely help in becoming a better person following all of these!

    Rachel // Style Soup

    Jake Ryan
    January 6, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Good post again Brooke.
    Agree with pretty much every point here.

    Bianca @itsallbee
    January 6, 2015 at 8:19 am

    fantastic post and great advice.


    Charlotte Smart @ A Love Triangle
    January 6, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Brooke! I love this! Great post for the new year 🙂

    Now I know the chances of you getting time to reply to this is quite slim, but I will ask anyway! I have the chance to go to Lapland at the end of 2015, and I’m really unsure whether to go so I thought I would ask if you’ve been!? And if so what your experience was!? If not no worries – although if anyone else has been, perhaps you could let me know your experience on here or my blog!?

    Happy New Year 🙂

      January 12, 2015 at 11:43 pm

      Lapland is wonderful! I was there two years ago, while I was an exchange student in Finland. It is one of the most amazing places I have ever visited, it’s just so magical and special.
      My advice? Take the opportunity and go! You won’t regret it. 🙂

    January 6, 2015 at 7:57 am

    Great advice. It is very easy to fall into some of these while reading others blogs, looking at pinterest, or facebook. Thanks for reminders.

    Leah of The Mochilera Diaries
    January 6, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Great points, especially number one! I have always found myself reliant on other people’s approval or love or whatever it may be to define my self-worth and it’s absolute rubbish! I’m still working on believing I am good enough without giving a hoot what other people think, but easier said than done sometimes!

    January 6, 2015 at 7:22 am

    Great post. I especially love the way you articulated #6, which is such a tough one. Happy New Year, Brooke!

    Danielle {Styelleish }
    January 6, 2015 at 7:14 am

    Awesome advice. I have a bad habit of being a dreamer, not a doer. This year I want to start putting myself out there for experiences that I sure have missed out on in the past by simply not looking for them.

    January 6, 2015 at 7:08 am

    Great post Brooke! Number three is so important and something I used to do all the time. It wasn’t until I learned about the negative affects of social comparison in my University courses that I realized it’s silly to constantly compare ourselves with others. All the best in your 2015 endeavors! 🙂

    Meg @ Adventures in Verdance
    January 6, 2015 at 7:05 am

    Great advice — thank you for sharing!

    January 6, 2015 at 7:01 am

    Best thing I have read in a while!!!