10 Things You Should Drop From Your Life Starting Now

Steven Aitchison
Written by Steven Aitchison

We are all doing things in our life that we should drop immediately in order to live a happier life and be the person we truly want to be.

We have around 70 years of life (on average). 20 of those years are spent learning about people, love, work, money, and living a life of mistakes in order to make the next 50 years enjoyable. The latter 10 years of our life are spent slowing down. So, we really only have around 40 years to really make a difference and truly create a life that we love.

Dropping these 10 things will help you live a much happier, and more enjoyable life…


Drop the negative people around you

We all have negative people around us, and it’s easy for me to say just drop them, but you have to find a way.

Negative people are energy suckers, they suck the life out of you until you get down to their way of thinking. I am sure you can think of a few people just now who are like this. If you’ve ever seen Harry Potter you’ll know what a Dementor is, that’s what negative people are, Dementors in your life.

It can be tough if you work closely with someone who is like this, or have family members who are like this. Drop them gradually or stay out of their way as much as possible.

Another thing you can do is counteract all their negatives with positives, oh! they don’t like that, and the more you do it the more they will avoid you.

Drop caring about the mistakes you have made

Bit of a cliche this one: your mistakes in life serve as a reminder of what not to do in the future, simple as that.

Your mind set about mistakes is what makes all the difference here, you can be in two camps on mistakes:

Camp one: woe is me, I made a mistake I am such a loser, I totally embarrassed myself, I’ll never be able to show my face in public again.

Camp two: I made a mistake, sure as hell won’t be doing that again, but at least I learned what not to do.

Nobody, but nobody, has ever succeeded in life without failing a few times, so making mistakes is inevitable if you want to live a more successful and happier life.

Drop the past

Let me ask you a question about your past…

Can you go back and change it?


So why dwell on things that have happened in the past when there is absolutely nothing you can do to change it, you can make amends for the past, you can say you’re sorry about something you’ve done in the past but the fact remains the past has happened and it can’t be changed.

The more you think about the past, the more your mind lives there, and it can be a hard slog getting back to living in the here and now, and looking forward to the future.

Drop your self portrait image

A self portrait is a painting or drawing of yourself that everyone can look at. Everyone will see something different, just like a piece of art, and so it is in life.

You are not the same person all the time to everyone you meet. You act differently depending on the people you are with at the time, you don’t speak or act the same way with your mates as you do with your parents, but really you should. You should have enough confidence to be the same with every single person who shares your life.

When you meet someone who is truly authentic they totally shine above everyone else, there’s no airs and graces, you either take them the way they are or you don’t, simple as that. I believe that’s what we should be striving for in life.

We could take this a bit far and say ‘but Steve, I curse and swear when I’m at football matches, you wouldn’t expect me to talk to my mum like that would you.’ of course not, just quit the bloody swearing :)


Drop feeling sorry for yourself

Sometimes it’s great just to sit on the ‘poor me’ train and just let it roll into ‘Woe is me’ station, but the longer you are on that train the more difficult it is to get off it.

Give yourself a shake, you’ve only got a few years to make a difference in your life, and those around you, so jump off the ‘poor me’ train and head for ‘happyville’ central.

Sounds too easy doesn’t it, that’s because it is easy: buying a ticket for the ‘poor me’ train is a choice!

Drop saying yes all the time

There are times for saying yes and times for saying no.

When saying yes makes you feel uncomfortable, miserable or stressed, it’s then time to say no, however hard it may be, you need to find a way.

The first time you say no to someone, when you usually say yes, will empower you so much that it can turn your life around.

You could take this too far and say no to absolutely everything, but your only criteria for saying no is when it makes you feel uncomfortable, miserable or stressed. So if you’re taking on too much work, say no when it becomes too stressful, if you’re doing too much in your relationships just say no to pull back a bit.

Drop trying to please everyone

It’s impossible, literally impossible, to please everyone, even if you’re the nicest, most splendid, most lovliest, most loving person in the world there’s always someone who will not like you for some reason.

Let it go, it’s okay for some people not to like you, and it’s more than okay for you to stop going out of your way to try and please them.

Be yourself, and if someone doesn’t like you for being yourself at least you’ll respect yourself for being you.

Drop saying the right thing

The world has gone mad over the last few years, talking about what you can’t say, what you shouldn’t say, and what’s a bit risky.

I read on CNN recently that New York wants to ban the words ‘dinosaur’ and ‘evolution’ from standardized tests because they are considered controversial – WHAT! It’s mental with a capital M.

We shouldn’t be censoring what we say because we think someone might be offended, the only reason we think like this is because of our parents, the media, school, co-workers and friends; they are keeping us in check – to comply.

If we have an opinion about something we are entitled to speak our minds. I’m not saying you should try and offend everyone who gets in your way or speak up because you like the sound of your own voice, but if you have a strong opinion about something, speak up and let your voice be heard.

Drop your limiting beliefs

One of the most amazing gifts we, as humans, have developed over the last 100 years is knowing that we can change our beliefs, particularly our limiting beliefs.

We all have them, but a lot of the time we don’t recognize them.

To test your limiting beliefs let me ask you:

What do you truly want to do with your life?

If you know the answer, then the next questions is – What’s stopping you? Your answers will often reveal your limiting beliefs.

When you know your limiting beliefs you can then work on dropping them or replacing them with alternative more positive focused beliefs that will drive you forward in life.

Drop your limiting beliefs today and start working on new beliefs about yourself.

Drop worrying about the future

If you do your best today, your future has already been taken care of.

Some Amazing Comments


About the author


  • your articles are awesome. i had a small enquiry. how can i change my thought to loose weight and start to achieve what i aspire in life.

  • I don’t know how I reached here, but its so appropriate for my condition these days. Very well written and I really hope that I am able to overcome my situation by following the tips.

  • Thanks Steven for a great post. The biggest one’s when it came time to change my life were not saying yes and not saying things to please others which were both tied up together for me. For a long time I didn’t even realise I was doing it but once I recognised the pattern I came to understand that I was continually trying to please others rather than to listen to and follow what I wanted and what I felt was important. Now I make an active, conscious decision to say Yes – or No! I hope your post helps others to change their lives sooner than it takes most of us. Thanks for your service!

  • Thanks for the great article. I realized sometime ago that the first thing I need to drop is saying yes all the time and replace it with more no. This one thing alone has doubled my productivity. Rather than trying to please someone else with yeses and not progressing, one will find him/herself better off when they say no to interruptions, unnecessary or unimportant requests.

  • Hi Steve

    Great post and very true, however I’m 70 in October this year so not pleased with your comment on age. My husband and myself ran a successful business for 28 years, as business advisers, I also gave advise to start up businesses for the Princes Trust for 10 of those years.

    I don’t feel my life is over on the contrary I’ve just my first e-book 170 pages long to published 10th May, building our website and now starting out in Affiliate Marketing. which I know will be a success. Got plenty to do to fill the next 70 years, live long and prosper.

    Keep up the good work Rosa

  • Dear Steve,

    I agree with the list except for the “self portrait image”. May be i did not understand what you meant.

    I feel that your advice is direct opposite to the concept of “different strokes for different blokes” I have tried to be same to everyone and gradually learnt that the addage is true. So I am now conciously try to create images according to situation.

    But in the core, I am true myself.

    Would love to know your reaction.


  • I ABSOLUTELY love that finishing sentence:
    “If you do your best today, your future has already been taken care of.”

    Such a great way of looking at things! I’m relatively young, and I find it so easy to get caught up extending my ‘planning’ for the future into the ‘worrying’ category. But what you said is true, if I do the right things NOW then my future is already taken care of, no worrying necessary.

    Great article, thanks for the read!

  • Hi Steve, I really like this post a lot, very inspiring! You’re right, there are many things that we should ‘drop’ and let go, to make space for something better, something more positive. I’ll work on it! :)

  • What a great blog Stephen – I’m so glad to have found it (thanks to Justin Mazza:), and have just shared it with my social media network.

    Now, regarding your post: I so much agree with your point about dropping negative people. Recently I’ve come across two wise pieces of advice:

    1- You are the sum total of the 5 people you spend most time with in your life. Be aware of what you see: you are becoming like that.

    2- As a logical consequence of the above: find people that are models for you, and spend as much time as possible with them.

    See you again soon,


  • Steve, I can say that, being authentic and being myself is the most liberating thing ever, I think I lost that for a short period when i was going through a crisis…other than that I am so easy and real at most times.
    I don’t need to think about dropping negative people, if someone is complaining all the time, or being miserable, or just have limiting beliefs, I avoid hanging out with them…it’s easy. Anyone who would stop me from dreaming and going ahead, don’t need to be near me.
    I have learned to say no when necessary, actually this was hard, but with some practice u get there.
    I just loved your post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Thanks for the article!
    I am at the moment at the beginning of changing my life to the better! I am still young but just ain’t using my full potential. It’s not that easy to change but i don’t want to be sorry for my life in a fey decades when i am old!

  • Great post Steven. There are so many things we do that are not necessary and are time and energy wasters. Dropping the 10 things you mentioned, or at least a few of time, can improve one’s life and health.

    Thinking about mistakes, worrying about the past or future, trying to please other people, and the other things you speak about in this post are better left and forgotten. Life is happier without them. However,this requires desire and effort, but is certainly is possible for people who want to improve the quality of their life.

  • Thanks again, Steve, for a great post. As always, I needed to hear it. Let me tell you what it brought up for me. In my life, I have done a lot of things, and what I’ve been most proud of was starting my own Garden Center in Florida,RVing alone back and forth across the U.S, teaching Seniors about computers, and running a Computer Lab for the last 7 years in the public schools.
    But I just retired last year, and it hit me harder than I thought. I had planned activities.. but I’ve done none of it. I’ve sat around and hit the “Pity-pot”, or Woe is me. I’m “too old”, my brain doesn’t work anymore, no one cares, etc, etc, etc.
    Then I read your thoughts on Courage, and I started thinking. I’m just scared. Yes, I am getting old, I can’t do what I used to, but just “sitting back and accepting it”, is not working for me.
    That next 10 years is really ALL I have left.. and that’s really important. My old self-image is not who I am today, and the really big thing is the Limiting Beliefs that I just adopted so quickly. I gave up all the self-esteem that I’ve operated with for most of my years. And that’s a “Crock”.
    I will work on a new self-image, a realistic one, accepting only my limitations as a starting point, to learn adapt ability. I’ve only got 10 years, and I intend to make the most of them. Thanks so much, I’ve got work to do.

  • Thanks for the article Steve. It is a good reminder. It’s interesting how when you start saying no and doing your own thing how people around you act for a while, but when you stay strong, they get used to it and accept it eventually, and in the long term it’s worth having that transitional period.

    The whole ‘political’ correctness thing pisses me off (oh that’s not politically correct to say! haha) Drop the word dinosaur and evolution so not to offend somebody!! What is the world coming to.. there is much more crazy examples of this, a woman I know tells me about it sometimes and the stuff she comes across due to her child being in school and some of the stupid stuff they say.. apparently boys aren’t allowed to bring action figures because they are not friendly to girls.

    There is something very wrong here.. it’s even more important with stuff like this going on to stay strong and be positive inside yourself!


  • Excellent advice Steven – am printing this up for distribution to my family practice patients. “Free to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work per permission of author – Steve Aitchison
    sign up for his excellent regular email blog

    Thanks for your permission to reproduce your blog.

  • Some of the points I have learned to do and I am applying already, but some others are still very hard to achieve, things like trying to please everyone.

  • I would like to say done done done….Although I’ve managed to tackle more than a few of these…I have more to go. A great reminder to keep moving forward.

  • Thanks steve.I love this article.I just realized my limiting belief and have promised to work on the now and stop worrying about the future.Great article.

  • Thanks Steven for such a nice post. I like this very much specially “Drop the past”, that’s the thing which makes thinking process uncomfortable for many people.

  • thank you so much for your timely and sensible articles and this one is one of the best. more power…

  • Hi
    Very effective article. Rightly said, its easy to say but depends on person how effective it will be for them. Thanks a lot for making us to think again in different outlook towards life. Keep up your great work.

  • What happens when the negative person in your life is your partner? I’m usually a positive and happy person and have tried to help my partner, but there are times that I feel like hitting my head against a brick wall ’cause it would be easier to get through. We have a loving relationship normally but some days I cannot help her. She seems to think that the world is against her. My quandary- do I stay and help or do I leave?

    • Hi Drew. That is a different scenario altogether. Nobody can you advise you what to do in this situation with regards to leaving or staying. Finding out what makes her feel positive would by my priority, even if it’s just a little, it’s a start. I think this is all about finding leverage for your partner and get them back to their ‘normal’ self again.

  • Love this one Steve. I could feel your passion while reading it. I have to agree that the World controllers have gone mad with all this PC crap that sensors everything we say and soon the be think if we are not careful.

    Letting go of negative people has been in place for several years in my life. It’s so hard to even realize what kind of negative effect someone has on us until they are out of our lives.

  • Steve,

    This must be my favorite thing that I’ve read of yours. I started ages ago with the “self portrait image” dropping and once you’ve managed that, the rest of the steps really come quite naturally (even if you have to work at them). You should laminate!

    • Aw thanks Julie, that’s a great compliment coming from yourself.

      You’re the second person to say this should be laminated :)

      Thanks for visiting, always great to have you here.

  • Hi Steve

    Very good post. Just makes me wonder – have you personally dropped people like this in the past? Or if they’re good long-term friends, shouldn’t they be given the benefit of an honest chat before you make such a decision..?


    ps I like what Brandon says above!

    • Hi David. I have dropped people like this in the past. What tends to happen is the cracks begin to show when you start to counter their negatives with positives and you drift naturally. Both parties usually know when it’s time to split, so a chat usually isn’t necessary or needed. However, if it’s a good friend, of course, sitting down and having the conversation with them highlights how negative they are being. They might not have realised it before and will, if they want to, stop themselves from being so negative in the future.

      • Hi Steve and David,

        I often find myself struggling with good friends who tend to be negative. On the one hand, I feel a certain loyalty toward them. I guess this comes from our longtime relationship. On the other, I can see how they hold me back. Usually in these instances I try to assess each relationship for how it is. Some people are more destructive to my goals than others. If it’s really bad, I drop the relationship, but if the person’s only a little negative, I just distance myself but remain cordial.

  • I’ve dropped most of these out of my life. By far the hardest was dropping the need to say the right thing. It’s a deeply ingrained thing but I managed to beat it. My best advice would have to be just to focus on connection with the person and not the actual words coming out. Coming at it from a social situation perspective.

    • Hi Brandon, wise man for one so young :)

      You have learned this lesson at 20 years old, a lot of us never learn them in our life time.

      Great advice Brandon, thanks for adding to the post.

  • Your wonderful list has impeccable timing arriving in my email! I am currently dealing with a long time friend who I’ve recently gotten closer with and unfortunaley discovered is quite the Negative Nellie! With every negative remark out of her mouth which may I say would be just about every remark. I counteract with a positive affermation. I’ve noticed the two most prominent actions that developed are #1 She gets aggravated and cut our conversation short re: hanging up or leaving and #2 forces herself to change the subject but sooner than later the end result is still #1. Interestingly enough however the end result for me is it stengthens me, I feel engegized with positive engery and most important….empowered!

    • Hi Suzanne, glad this found you at the right time.

      It is amazingly empowering to drop negative people in our lives, as long as it’s people who are not in need and are being negative because of some crisis in their lives, however counteracting is a great way to help out.

  • Being trapped by all this tips in one’s life means you are programmed, i think what you mean here is for us to leave our own life choice which is entertaining those important and inspiring tips you have share with us. Great Job and may God bless you more.

  • Wonderful post Steven!

    I wish people could easily follow all these things in their lives and make it a much happier one!

    Speaking of myself, I think I have passed most of these phases and am quite content and happy now. Getting rid of negative people was earlier an issues, as it just brings more negative energy around, so those are a definite no-no now.

    Similarly, saying yes to everything or trying to please everyone doesn’t work every time. And yes, I really never bother much about the past that’s gone or the future that is yet to unfold.

    I guess what really matters is that we learn to live in the present, as this is THE moment, and the NOW that is all we have – isn’t it? Living each day to it’s fullest and and learning from each passing day is what life is really all about.

    Thanks for sharing and a wonderful reminder to lighten our lives by dropping the things you mentioned. :)

    • Hi Harleena, thanks for your comments.

      Dropping the negative people in my life was a tough one for me too, but it’s so empowering when you do it, you really start to appreciate the people who matter in your life.

      Thanks again.

  • Terrific post! Very inspiriting matter of fact tips to build on the past without getting stuck in it, and not defining yourself by self-limiting beliefs. AS a therapist, I see many people clinging to people and situations out of habit, fear and self-limiting beliefs, even if it is toxic for their growth. They are prisoners in their own mind and the people they have around them reinforce a negative self view. This is a great post to give people a great perspective! Thanks!

    • Hi Judy, great to see you here as always.

      You’ll know yourself with the clients that you see that it can be hard to drop these limiting beliefs, but I believe that it’s hard because we haven’t really known any different. When people like yourself who help your clients to view life from a different angle it can be so liberating for both the client and the therapist.

      Thanks for your comments Judy, always warmly welcomed.

  • This is a great list Steven. Or I guess a not so great list, depending on our perspective. Maybe not so great because it rings true for so many folks and great because it gives a sharply focused on what is not serving us.

    With these things on the list, when we release them from our lives, we feel so much lighter. It is as if when we have them our hearts are really heavy trying to make sense of why we feel the way we do. We wind up living our lives in the margins and can’t quite figure out why we don’t have enough energy to feel great.

    Carrying these ideas around with us takes up a lot of space in our suitcase and a lot of energy trucking them all over the place. Drop them and out lives are light, sounds pretty good to me. :-)

  • I love how you frame the process of “dropping” less than productive behaviors. It’s really not a matter of understanding why you do things or making some small efforts to sometimes do things differently.

    It’s like a circuit. Some behaviors generate more energy, some less. If you’re stuck in low energy you need to change the circuit. Brilliant and simply stated.

    My only critique is with the “dementors”. In my experience the more I shine, the more people want to suck my energy. Some people I’m happy to share a little energy with because they go out and do amazing things with it. Others just use it to justify their own limitations.

    I just make sure I take care of myself first.

    • Hi Jerry. I love your analogy of the circuit, and I guess it’s all about conserving our personal energy, and dropping these 10 things would certainly help to do that.

      I don’t feel there’s anything wrong with people borrowing your energy, but the people who are constant borrowers of energy without giving anything in return are the ones we have to drop. Picking someone up when they are feeling down is a great thing, picking someone up who doesn’t want picked up is another story altogether.

      Thanks for adding to this Jerry, much appreciated.

  • Great list Steve! The first on your list – drop negative people – was a biggie for me for a very long time. A couple of people who’d been in my life for many years (through marriages, child births and divorces) fell into that category but because we’d been friends for so long I just kept stuffing the irritation when they’d complain about pretty much everything. But when it got to the point I began actually having a physical reaction – upset stomach, etc., I knew I needed to terminate the friendships. I did, but the one regret I have is that I couldn’t bring myself to be completely upfront about why – I pretty much just eased out to prevent upsets – theirs or mine. Since then, I’ve paid attention to my gut and don’t allow negative people into my inner circle of friends.

    • Hi Marquita

      It is a tough one I have to admit, but so worth it for our own sanity. Getting a physical reaction is your minds way of telling the body it’s time to bow out.

      Sometimes it doesn’t do you any good to let the person know the reasons why you can’t be around them, so I think you’ve done the right this for you.

  • Steve,
    These 10 issues that you have listed are an excellent way to de-clutter your life from negative attitudes, habits and people. Why don’t you laminate these in the size of a book, back and front, and offer them to be carried always in our laptops, iPads, purses, backpacks, etc., you get the picture. You have great information on your site. I appreciate you and your information.
    Continue to be Blessed,

    • Hi Dessie

      Yeah I should laminate these and give them out to all my clients :)

      More books are coming from me in the near future, watch this space.

      Kindest regards to you.

  • Great tips Steve. Destructive use of the mind never offers constructive results. Indeed, taking command of our lives is often about what we need to drop,rather than what we need to add. We need to learn to drop the ‘poor me’ act. When I catch yourself saying, “WOE is me,” I consider it an opportunity to correct. W We reap what you sow. If we sow thoughts of NO, we reap a harvest of WOE. Don’t let WOE rule your life and run it to ruin. Replace what’s neurotic with what’s healthy and natural. I‘ve proven to myself, over and over again, that things never get worse when I drop WOE; they only get better.

    • Thanks for your comments Rob, your wisdom is always appreciated.

      Woe is me is one of the biggies, but, like you say, it’s a great opportunity to catch yourself and correct your thinking.

      Cheers buddy, speak soon.

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