There are important decisions we can make and things we can do now to avoid regret later in life.
It’s uncomfortable to know we may have regrets when we get to the end of our lives.
Therefore, to avoid regret later in life, there are things we should know so we can make better choices now.
The Top Regrets People Have Later in Life
In the book, “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying,” Bronnie Ware, a nurse who spent many years with patients in palliative care, captured the common regrets people have.
These were based on many conversations she had with patients, which can be an inspiration for us to make better choices. The top five regrets were:
- I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with friends.
- I wish I had let myself be happier.
Not having the courage to be true to themselves was the biggest regret people had.
These regrets should be valuable reminders to reconnect to our priorities and what matters most to us.
While they’re the most common regrets, there are other valuable things to know now to avoid regret later in life.
5 Things to Know Now to Avoid Regret Later in Life
As we go about our daily lives, we experience reality based on our beliefs, conditioning, self-confidence and self-worth. To have a better reality now and to avoid regret later, there are things we should address.
Here are five things you can deal with now to avoid regret later in life.
- Not loving yourself more. We’re harsher to ourselves than we are to others. Knowing how to dis-empower our inner critic will help us accept ourselves fully and will also lead to more happiness.
- Not trusting your gut or intuition more often. Sometimes we agree to do something because we want to be accepted or fit in with others, even though we don’t feel good about it. That feeling we get that something doesn’t feel right is usually our gut informing us to make a different choice. We have to learn to trust and follow our intuition more often.
- Not letting go of grudges or resentments. We make mistakes and so do others. We’ll have experiences that will not go our way or hurt our identity. If we hang onto anger, resentments or grudges, we’re letting other people control how we want to feel. Our real power is in our ability to choose our attitude no matter what’s going on.
- Not stepping out of your comfort zone. We’re programmed for growth, which means we want to experience new things in life. We can only grow when we’re going beyond what we’re comfortable or familiar with. We’ll learn more about ourselves when we’re facing challenges and pushing ourselves to do new things.
- Not placing a high value on your time. Time is a resource we can never get back. Our time on Earth is limited and short, therefore we must place a high value on it. Knowing what’s important to us and how we want to live our lives will help us decide how to spend our time more intelligently.
Things You Can Do Now to Live Life to the Fullest Without Regrets
Here are things you can do or mindsets you can adopt to live your life to the fullest.
- Practice gratitude and appreciation daily.
- Make your health and wellness your top priority.
- Be generous to others in terms of your time or other resources.
- Listen to your heart more than your head.
- Laugh and smile more.
- Look for the good in people and see things from different perspectives.
- Surround yourself with people who will inspire you to be the best version of yourself.
- Treat others the way you want to be treated.
- Live in the moment more and enjoy the journey instead of being attached to where you want to be.
- Have your legacy or how you want to be remembered as your guide when making major decisions in life.
We don’t want to get to the end of our lives and wish we had done things differently. We can make different choices now to avoid regret later in life. Even though we may not always get things right, we’ll benefit from the experience and the lessons we’ll learn.
There’s nothing more painful than to wish we had done things differently when we don’t have time left in our lives. Making new choices now will help us avoid regret later in life.
Action Step: Choose one thing you will do differently and do it to avoid regret later in life. Encourage those closest to you to make new or better choices as well.
Question: What are other things to know if we want to avoid regret later in life?