Life regrets can be painful if you hang onto your mistakes, but even more painful if you wait till you are too old to do the things you want. I know we all can’t do everything we want, but we can do a lot more if we just think about it a bit. I have a younger sister that has seen most of, if not all of the national parks in the U.S. Sometimes they had to sleep in their van, but they travelled, booked last minute hotels as they were driving into towns, and made it work.
My wife and I are looking into RV’s so we can go see the states. We started a bucket list a while ago, and have done a few items, but we are not being as intentional in this area of our life as we could be. I am a big life planner and like to do timelines, which I admit can be too much at times, but I want to minimize any regrets I may have at the end of my life.
How are you doing with your intentional living? Do you have regrets now? We all do and the key is to decide in advance as much as you can so you minimize your regrets. I read the book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware and she listed the top 5 regrets people had on their death bed. The list bellows is from the book.
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
“Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
”This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to themselves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”
These were eye openers to me and more importantly it made me dig deeper to ensure I don’t look back 5, 10, 20 years from now with a list of regrets. Being intentional about living is:
- Deciding in advance
- Keeping your priorities (God, Spouse, Family, Work, etc…)
- Planning your day in the morning
- Performing retrospectives at the end of the day to see if you did things you would like to do differently tomorrow
- Planning your time off for the year
- Performing self-reviews monthly – to ensure you are doing what you set out to do for the month/year
Minimizing your regrets and thinking about your actions in advance can help you in all parts of your life. Below is a list of items that will help you not to live with regrets.
- Realize that it’s okay to make mistakes. Just make sure to learn from them, forgive yourself, and move on.
- Make your health and wellness a top priority and always take care of yourself so you’re ready to take care of others.
- Follow your own path, not one that others want you to follow.
- Find the humor in life and laugh like there is no tomorrow.
- Relax and move with the flow of life by being unafraid of change.
- Be adventurous by trying new things and taking more risks.
- Have more intellectual curiosity and embrace creativity.
- Try to find happiness with as many different people as you can.
- Think for yourself instead of letting other people’s opinions influence you too much.
- Try not to judge people before you get to know them.
- Be thankful for what you have now instead of thinking about what you don’t have.
- Wish well upon everyone equally and try to admire without envy.
- Share your happiness with others instead of hoarding it all for yourself.
- Don’t try to change someone—love who they are now.
- Enjoy the journey, not just the destination.
- Know that happiness is bigger than any bank account.
- Control negative thoughts so that they don’t contribute to the outcome of your life.
- Use your energy wisely because spending energy complaining, worrying, or being impatient is just wasted energy.
- Be bold. Find the courage to change things that should be changed and accept that there are some things that cannot be changed.
- Love your work. If you don’t currently love what you do, figure out what you would love and take the first step toward that life.
- Turn your discontent into a mystery and enjoy trying to solve it.
- Face problems from different angles in order to find solutions.
- Gain independence by realizing that on this earth we are all dependent upon each other.
- Change your perspective by taking on a wider view of things.
- Don’t waste time trying to bring disagreeable people around to liking you.
- Become the person you would like to spend the rest of your life with.
- Be honest with yourself and others by saying what you mean and meaning what you say.
- Treat people with respect and compassion.
- Live in the now by loving the present and being aware of your thoughts and actions. Think happy thoughts and speak powerful words.
- Try not to put things off until later.
- Never hold grudges.
- Face your fears head on and try to do the things that you think you cannot do.
- Spend time with people who make you happy while also not depending on other people for your own happiness.
- Stand up for yourself and others and don’t let anyone or anything hold you back.
- Be yourself and love who you are now.
- Be a participant in life rather than an observer.
- Do the things that you love to do as much as you can.
- Write out a list of goals and achieve them by doing them step by step. Don’t give up when things get difficult.
- Do something every day that makes you feel proud of yourself—commit random acts of kindness whenever you get the chance.
- And always keep on moving forward.