In today’s video, I’m going to share my top-5 lessons from the past year for retroactive jealousy survivors.

Watch the video below, or read below to learn more about how to reach your goals as retroactive jealousy survivors.

Zachary Stockill: If you’ve been watching my channel for a while, I absolutely love having conversations with retroactive jealousy survivors. These are men and women in my online course, Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast, who made insane progress towards overcoming retroactive jealousy in a very short period of time. Some of them have been gracious enough to give me some of their time, we have a conversation which I put on YouTube. It’s inspiring and motivational.

But beyond that, sometimes I forget that I too am one of those retroactive jealousy survivors.

It’s been a long time since retroactive jealousy was an issue in my personal life. But that’s still part of my history. As I mentioned in a recent video, I am freshly back from my yearly review, when I look back on the past year, think about what I learned, and I look forward to the year ahead. And I learned five lessons over the past year which I think would be valuable for retroactive jealousy sufferers and retroactive jealousy survivors.

So I did a lot of things right over the past year, I definitely did some things wrong as well. But in today’s video, I’m going to tell you about a few changes I made in my personal life that had a big impact on my mental health over the past year, and these helped me achieve some of my goals.

The first thing that I did is I consumed less news than ever before in my entire life. I’m a history nut, I love news, current events, history, and all these things. I think a lot of history nerds like me are drawn to the news and current events; we want to know what’s going on because we know that we’re part of history.

And with the chaos in so much of the political world lately, and the epidemic, there’s a lot of bad news out there.

There’s a lot of drama, stupid debates, stupid culture wars, and all this nonsense that doesn’t benefit my life in any way. So I made a conscious effort to consume less news. This was hard initially, it really was, because I like being up to speed on what’s going on. But I’m at the point now where there are big headlines in America, or in my BBC News app that I just have no idea about because I check it very rarely.

retroactive jealousy survivors

Some people are going to say,” Oh, aren’t you worried about being uninformed and being misinformed?” Let me tell you, people tell you the news anyway, even if you don’t want to know it. People will keep you abreast of current events in the news without even you asking for it, so it’s not an issue.

I look back at all the time I wasted reading the news, worrying about certain events, and devoting too much of my energy to these things.

These abstract headlines and stuff that had no impact on my life. And I want to be clear, I’m a person who cares about the world. I love the world. I want a happy one.

I’ve embraced the philosophy of Jack Kornfield, the great Buddhist teacher. One of his famous lines is, “Tend to the part of the garden you can touch.” If you want a better world, treat the people in your world better. And for me, a big way that I can have an impact on the world is making videos like this and connecting with coaching clients, responding to the emails, and all of the work that I do associate with this channel. That’s just one part. I do other various charity-related things that I’m not going to talk about now. But the point is, I’m tending to the part of the garden I can touch rather than fretting about things that I have no control over.

So I’ve consumed way less news, and it’s really nice. My head feels far less cluttered with nonsense than it ever has before. I highly recommend you start consuming less news.

On a related note, I also consumed less social media. I went on an unfollowing rampage around twelve months ago. I unfollowed hundreds of accounts and I cut back on my time on these time-wasting apps that we’re all so fond of. I’ve now got an Instagram “limit.” There are all kinds of apps and little hacks that we can use with this technology that helps us limit our time on that technology.

I’m not going to lecture you about the dangers of social media, you’re probably well aware of them. You can look at some of the work of Jaron Lanier, he’s a famous writer, a famous thinker. He wrote a book called Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Right Now. I do think there are some benefits associated with social media, but I think it’s important to curate your social media intake, filtering out all the nonsense, drama, chaos, all the things that may be upsetting or distressting you, or aren’t contributing to your happiness in any way. Filtering out all the noise and only consuming content that’s benefiting you, that’s actually having a tangibly positive impact on your life.

For me, consuming a little more sports, fewer politics, less social media, and nonsense has been good for my mental health.

Another lesson from the past year, this was the year that I really started appreciating, in a deep way, the power of lists; literally, to-do lists. “Do this, do this, do that, don’t do this. I have to get this done today. I’ll do this next week. These are my yearly goals, these are my monthly goals…” Getting more specific and more deliberate, but actually recording what’s rattling around in my head. Different ideas, different projects, keeping more track of what I have to get done every day and what I should be working on. Because it’s a good idea to do this particularly if you’re someone who is somewhat predisposed to obsessive thinking, to irrational and intrusive thoughts.

It’s a good idea to always have something reminding you of all the things you need to get done. What’s important in your life? What matters? What is going to benefit your life, rather than the nonsense and the darkness that may be lurking in your subconscious? So when you feel yourself drifting, aimless, and just sort of hanging out, no real aim, or no purpose for that day, you can pull out your list and you can say, “Okay, I have to get this done, and that done…”

And the point isn’t to be obsessively productive and just working all the time.

Always have something better that you could be doing. Always have options so you’re not just sitting around. As I’ve often said, an idle mind is the devil’s plaything. You may often find that your retroactive jealousy is worse when you don’t have anything going on, when you’re just kind of “hanging out” aimlessly.

retroactive jealousy survivors

So if you have a list of different things you could be doing, books you could be reading, a podcast you want to listen to, or an interesting film or documentary you want to watch, if you always have lists, you always have options. And it’s very easy to remember those options because you have them listed right in front of you.

Another thing I got right over the past year: I got more work done in the past year than I have in the previous three years combined.

And the reason I bring this up is that it took me a while to learn this at a deep level. But productivity feels really good. It’s good to feel useful, to feel like your day has a purpose, has meaning, and has a tangible impact on people’s lives. So do more work, be more productive. Because we often look to the vacation, right? We want to get time off, we want to be spacing out on the couch, or watching the football game, and there’s time for all those things.

For example, I have a hockey game tomorrow morning that I’m very excited about watching. It’s important to schedule downtime. However, I have found that my mental health, sense of peace, and well-being have gotten much better the more I feel like my day mattered, the more I feel like I got a lot done.

So being more productive has been a real blessing in my life.

Finally, over the past year, I got more exercise than I have probably in the previous two years. I’ve bulked up a little bit… nothing crazy, obviously, but a little bit. And this has been a goal of mine for a long time; put on a little more muscle, to get a little more serious about weightlifting, my cardio. The point is, I’ve been more disciplined and strategic about my exercise and scheduled more time for exercise. Having it on my calendar is non-negotiable.

Having exercise as a habit has impacted my mental health, productivity, relationship, and all kinds of areas of my life in a positive way. I think my videos are better after I come back from the gym as I did today. So more exercise has been a real game-changer for me over the past year as well

Now you know, my past year pretty well. I hope you got something out of this. If you’re a retroactive jealousy sufferer, or if you’re a retroactive jealousy survivor, speaking as one of the retroactive jealousy survivors, I’m telling you this made a big difference in my life over the past year.

Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.