Cleaning out the cobwebs, dust-balls, and poorly fitting beliefs is not always easy. But it is a liberating process and the work of a lifetime. As we lighten our load we feel enlivened and amazingly fresh and free, leaving us wondering why we didn’t do this a long time ago. Imagine this undertaking like spring-cleaning.

How do we begin? At the very beginning, of course. First, you have to identify what your emotional clutter is that causes the unhappiness in your life. Only then can you “let go” of it. It’s time to stop sabotaging your life and doing what is within your power to clean it up.

Here are five common areas of emotional clutter that prevent people from true happiness. Are you ready to learn how to “let it go”?

1) Let go of unrealistic goals and expectations
You can do this by coming to terms with your own limitations. Choose goals that you are capable of achieving, or redefine your current goals to make them more within reach. We can create challenges that give us growth and change, while not making them so tough that we set ourselves up for failure. Instead of starving ourselves for two weeks in order to lose those fifteen pounds temporarily, why not learn a way to set yourself up for permanent success.
Your de-cluttering tip: managing expectations is a hallmark of successful and happy people.

2) Let go of negative behavior
Begin to acknowledge those unproductive actions that you take, or those actions you’ve avoided taking. By doing this you enable yourself to replace those behaviors with positive behavioral changes. Those moments you have where your mind is on overdrive convincing yourself of why you can’t do something can be flipped on its head, turning those thoughts into why you can do something. It takes being bold, but we all have boldness within us.
Your de-cluttering tip: be mindful of your negative behavior—because you do know it’s negative—and focus on a positive adjustment to it.

3) Let go of old negative attitudes
It’s pretty common to have something in your life that you just aren’t thrilled about—negative in every way. Maybe it’s going to the dentist, or dreading every holiday where you have to put up with that “intolerable” relative. Think about how those negative attitudes serve your best interests. They don’t, do they? It’s time to focus on what is positive about these situations. After the dentist cleans your mouth, doesn’t it feel wonderful? And that relative, cut them some slack, because you may not know their “real story”.
Your de-cluttering tip: be aware of your negative thoughts and take a moment to switch them into a positive one, right away.

4) Let go of old hurt and pain
It’s time to disown and release old thoughts, ideas, and people that are no longer an asset to your life, or your highest good. You are able to replace bad memories with good ones, and are capable of reviewing and reframing negative events from the past through using positive catalysts. This is what opens you up to achieving something desirable, or something that serves you well in some way.
Your de-cluttering tip: make a list of the old pain and hurt that you hold on to and focus on eliminating them, one at a time.

5) Let go of preconceived ideas of how you think your life “should” be
What your life is here and now also matters. By focusing on what it should be, you are not allowing joy into your life, in the moment. Although you have goals to get to different places there is likely someone out there who is thinking they’d be pretty happy to make it to where you are today. Show people the joy in your life, as it is. It’s not settling to do this, it’s setting yourself up for happiness.
Your de-cluttering tip: become mindful of gratitude for the large and small things that are in your life today.

There is no better day than today to do some spring cleaning in your mind. You’ll be glad you did and in that cleaner mental space you’ve discovered you’re likely to find a few things that have been missing. Happiness is liberating, and positively contagious.

Author's Bio: 

Lisa Cypers Kamen, MA, is an internationally recognized positive psychology coach and author of "Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life." Lisa hosts the popular radio show Harvesting Happiness, which has helped millions of people around the world generate more joy and fulfillment in their life. For more information, visit and visit Lisa on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram