4 Ways to Thrive in 2024

Ally Garofalo
4 min readDec 29, 2023

It’s time to level up and leave the BS in the past.

Moving forward is the only option at this point. Photo taken by me of my toddler.

Every late December, I reflect on the last 12 months. Sometimes, it’s worth a second glance back; other times (like now) it’s better to keep moving forward and approach the future with trepidation. And moving forward is much easier than you’d think. For example, toddlers do it without thinking all the time.

We can all learn a thing or two from toddlers. To them, everything is still so fresh and awaiting exploration, however, taking caution with every step is necessary for their self-security.

Storytime: In the summer, we took my daughter to a lavender field. While it was great fun, it was unfamiliar territory to her. She had never roamed on ground that was as uneven as that field. So inevitably, she tumbled ever so often when she plucked up the courage to scamper about. But as fearless as toddlers are, she got up and kept going along the field.

In this introspection, she quickly forgot what had happened and built resilience to keep moving forward. And I thought, “Why don’t we all carry this notion when shit happens?”

Our personal growth works in the same way. We need to allow ourselves to make room for what’s ahead instead of being scared of our previous experiences; and when you attempt to reflect on a year that’s closing out, it’s easier to take stock of the strengths you gained and cut your losses.

For me, 2023 was most certainly a year that kicked my ass in more ways than I want to admit. Instead of opening up old wounds, I’ve equipped myself with a checklist of things I’m chucking into the garbage and setting on fire the moment the ball drops at midnight on January 1.

Want to learn how to move forward with less baggage in 2024? Read on.

What No Longer Serves Me?

This question is important, and I want you to ask yourself this as well. By doing so, I have learned to recognize the things in my life that no longer serve me.

But what does that mean exactly?

What things (or people) are creating unhealthy habits in your life? Is it time to re-align your values? Whatever it may be — it’s time to drop the bullshit.

When the realization hits that something isn’t working in your life, it can be incredibly liberating.

We all want to move forward and grow with expansion and opportunities that will benefit us. However, if you’re holding onto something that’s preventing you from growing in the right direction, it’s difficult to make room for something better to take precedence.

It’s very easy to become complacent or attached to a familiar routine, even if it doesn’t contribute positively to your life. Whether it’s a toxic relationship, self-destructive habits, negative thought patterns, or a soul-sucking, dead-end job, acknowledging these burdens is imperative as the first step.

Create the life you envision by bringing these non-serving elements into the hot seat so you can confront them head-on and begin the process of releasing their hold on your life.

Self-Reflection and Acceptance

One of the most significant burdens I have decided to leave behind is the constant worry about others.

It’s easy to get caught up in the opinions and expectations of those around us, losing sight of our own needs and desires in the process.

In 2023, I have made a conscious effort to prioritize my well-being and happiness, but also with the understanding that I cannot control how others perceive or react to my choices.

By releasing the need for external validation and focusing on my growth, I found a newfound sense of freedom and authenticity.

Want to let go of worrying about others? It’s important to cultivate self-compassion and trust in your sense of judgment, allowing you to live more authentically and in alignment with your true self.

Stressing about Things I Can’t Change

In the face of uncertainty and adversity, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and stressed about circumstances beyond our control.

This year seemed to be the year where I felt the least in control of occurrences in my life. When things (especially bad things) are happening to you, hopeless feelings can mentally overtake you down a spiral that’s difficult to climb up from.

However, expending energy on situations that are beyond your control won’t serve you — so cut it out.

Instead, I focused on redirecting my energy toward what I could control — my thoughts, actions, and attitudes. When we accept that there are limits to our control and choose to channel our energy into productive endeavors, we can find a greater sense of peace and empowerment within ourselves to turn a bad situation around.

Bad Things Happened — Leave Them Behind

In 2023, I made a conscious decision to let go of the constant rumination over past events. Although it seemed like the easiest thing to do, it was more difficult than I thought.

While it’s important to learn from our experiences, excessively dwelling on what’s already happened inhibits personal growth and hinders our ability to fully embrace the present.

By practicing mindfulness and focusing on the here and now, I have cultivated a greater appreciation for the present moment and an optimistic outlook for the future.

Letting go of the past allows us to create space for new opportunities, personal growth, and the chance to rewrite our stories in a way that aligns with our true aspirations.

So, if you’re like my toddler who stumbled when she faced new experiences this year, let’s all learn from her. Moving forward is the only way we are going to learn how to walk through rougher terrain and eventually run through greener pastures ahead.

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