People who always move forward in life often display these 8 behaviors

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You those people who are completely stuck in the past? The kind of people who always harp on and on about the good ol’ days and who clearly feel like they hit their peak years ago.

I do because for a long time, I was one of them.

I used to be an extremely nostalgic person, always pining for the times when I was young, footloose, and fancy-free.

I used to regularly fall into reveries and thumb through shoeboxes of old photos (remember when people used to print photos!?). I re-lived my memories and thought a lot about the people in them. 

I was definitely stuck in the past.

Eventually, though, I came under the influence of a few good friends who showed me a whole other way to be. These people lived future-oriented lives, always thinking about and planning what would happen next.

They didn’t forget their pasts and certainly didn’t ignore the present. But instead of getting stuck in the past, they used it to inform and direct the future.

I’m happy to say that I learned a lot from them and have, for the most part, broken free of my past fixation.

People who always move forward in life often display these eight behaviors, and if you can learn to cultivate them, you, too, can build a great future to look forward to every day.

1) Taking risks

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense that people who move forward are constantly taking risks.

When you keep doing the same things, day in and day out, you should be able to keep your life quite safe and stable. And while safety and stability are good things, they can often block you from growth and development.

Imagine you’re a very timid person, and you keep doing the same things in your life. How will you ever learn to be fearless?

The answer, of course, is to put yourself out there and try new things. 

This will be risky, but you have to think about what you risk if you don’t do it. You risk staying the same, never developing as a person, and never moving forward.

Now, I’m not talking about wild risks like throwing a parachute out of an airplane and then jumping out to try to catch it. I don’t think you should wager your house in a poker game, either.

I’m talking about measured risks like applying for that job that you want but aren’t sure you’ll get or asking out that person who really turned your head.

You might feel like you have a lot to lose, but people who always move forward know that without taking risks, you risk staying in exactly the same place. 

2) Avoiding negative people

Without taking risks, you’re holding yourself back. But there are also other people in your life that can keep you stuck or even pull you backward.

I’m talking about negative people, toxic people, people who don’t make you feel good about yourself, your abilities, and your future.

These are the kinds of people who drag you into their drama, use you, bet against you, degrade you, insult you, and make you feel like you can’t succeed.

My friend, Sa, once told me an important lesson. After listening to me talk about a person I was dating who was treating me badly, Sa asked, “How can you live a positive life surrounded by negative people?”

That question hit home really hard, and I realized that some people are just not worth keeping in your life. I had that romantic interest, plus a bunch of old friends who were holding me back from becoming the person I wanted to be.

Sa made me realize that I had to let go.

3) Learning from… everything

What keeps people moving ahead all the time? 

How about humility and keeping an open mind?

When you’re humble, you understand that life is full of a nearly infinite number of things to learn and experience. You couldn’t know all there is to know in a thousand lifetimes. A million.

So why would you ever stop learning?

That’s like thinking your gas tank is full when, in reality, you’re only running on ten percent.

But to keep learning, you have to have an open mind. 

It’s human nature to try to understand and categorize things. Our minds run on a sort of “OK, I’ve seen that before. I know what to expect” kind of program.

But the reality is that no situation ever repeats exactly the same way. No snowflake is exactly the same. Not even twins share exactly the same DNA (due to mutations during life – check it out!).

You get me?

People who always move forward are driven to do so, at least partly because they’re open-minded and curious. They know that there’s always more to learn from every single day ahead of them, and they bounce out of bed thirsting for it.

4) Practicing self-acceptance

Can you move forward in life if, deep inside, you’ve shackled yourself to a giant ball and chain formed from your own self-denial?

Doubt it.

Moving forward means that you have to be able to put things behind you. How can you do that if there’s a part of yourself you haven’t dealt with or learned to accept?

You are a whole person. You have flaws and faults as surely as you have fine, upstanding qualities.

But if you never accept your flaws, you’ll instead be ashamed of them, and that will make you hide away parts of yourself. 

These hidden, rejected parts won’t go away. Instead, they’ll weigh you down and keep you from aiming high and shooting for the potential that’s really inside of you.

People who move forward in life take everything with them – the good, the bad, and even the ugly.

5) Stamping out self-doubt

Don’t think you can do it?

Then you can’t. Self-doubt is probably the most powerful limiting factor in our lives, and it holds us back more than rules or other people ever could.

People who constantly develop themselves are aggressive in stamping out their self-doubt. 

When doubts enter their heads, they first listen and evaluate them.

Are the doubts rational and based in fact, like doubting that you can pass a skills test, for example? If so, there’s learning and development needed that will eventually overcome that doubt.

If the doubt is irrational, like being worried about being turned down for a date, they attack it and pull it out by its roots. They do this through positivity, telling themselves that it’s just negativity and pessimism creating the doubt.

6) Letting go

Things have happened to all of us that we wish we’d never experienced.

We may have been hurt, seen hurt, or hurt others. These traumas can be deep-seated, terribly serious, and incredibly damaging.

And these are the exact things that people learn to let go of when they want to move forward.

Some experiences, like having your trust broken by a cheating partner or betraying someone you were supposed to care for, can really hurt. And at first, this hurt serves a purpose. It shows us how to behave in the future and to be more aware of the dangers we and others can cause.

But at some point, the pain of negative experiences simply doesn’t serve us anymore. We’ve either learned our lesson, or we haven’t, so now, carrying around that hurt is just a burden that restricts our development.

People who want to move forward have to be able to release this pain and let themselves heal.

Disney’s Frozen taught a whole generation of kids this concept early, so I’m excited to see how that bears out in their lives!

7) Focusing on clear goals

So, you want to move forward in your life? 

Uh, which way is forward?

This doesn’t just mean chronologically – all of our lives follow the arrow of time whether we want them to or not.

“Forward” means toward the right direction, and how do you know what that direction is?

The answer is that people who move forward aim themselves at dreams and goals. They need to look inside and decide what they want and who they want to be.

Then they set goals to achieve and that designates the direction they can commit their energy to in life.

8) Making connections 

Last but not least, people who move forward in life know that the best way to do this is with the help of others.

They constantly make connections to other people who can help them toward their goals. And if they can create win-win relationships, so much the better!


People who always move forward in life often display these eight behaviors, and the good news is that you can learn to cultivate them, too.

Choose one from this list and try to incorporate it into your life. Then add another and another until you find that your life has got some incredible forward momentum!

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