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If You Don’t Understand These 5 Things Early, You’ll Probably Lead a Regretful Life

If You Don’t Understand These 5 Things Early, You’ll Probably Lead a Regretful Life

“At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets.”

—Steven Maraboli

The top five regrets a majority of people express as they approach the final stages of life are:

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  1. I wish I had been more loving to / spent more time with the people who matter the most.
  2. I wish I had been a better spouse, parent, or child.
  3. I wish I had spent less time working.
  4. I wish I had invested more time in the things that make me happy and enjoyed life more.
  5. I wish I had taken more risks.

Regrets are a normal part of life for most people. But they don’t have to be. If you can grasp and apply these five simple principles, you can greatly reduce the time wasted being regretful over things that cannot be changed.

1. Change how you view your mistakes.

Mistakes, mishaps, and missteps are a big part of life. We are all aware of this, yet no one likes to make them, and we certainly don’t want to own them. However, mistakes are a necessary and critical part of the growth process — there aren’t two ways about it. The truth of the matter is this: no matter how horrible the mistake is, if you are still breathing, you can recover, grow, and thrive in spite of it.

The only time a mistake is truly detrimental is when reflection, introspection, and self-analysis are not done as a follow up. Why did you choose this particular course of action? Did you ignore the sage advice of others? If so, why? Did you follow your gut? If not, why? Was your decision driven by a character flaw (i.e. greed, selfishness, immaturity, lust or lack of discipline)? If so, what are you going to do to correct this?

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Learn to view your mistakes as incognito opportunities for growth and embrace them.

2. Live in the moment.

Most regrets stem from not being present in the moment. We live in a world that moves forward at a phenomenal pace. We barely have a hold of one thing before we are reaching for what’s next. Learn how to slow down and be fully attentive to what is happening in the now. If you are in college, enjoy your time in college. Give yourself fully to the experience. Enjoy the campus, your dorm, and dorm mates. Learn how to simplify your life and narrow your focus to one thing at a time. You can have it all — just not all at one time.

Living in the moment should, of course, be done responsibly. This is in no way a license to abandon planning for your future, neglecting to save for retirement, and wandering aimlessly through life without goals. Goals are a very important part of your success, but enjoying the journey is a vital part of living.

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3. Focus on who versus what.

If you value who you are over what you do, what you do will have a much bigger impact and be more meaningful in the end. Being loving, kind, considerate, hard-working, and honest will make whatever you are doing a success. Your actions, more often than not, are a reflection of who you are internally and will flow naturally with very little thought. Good people do good things and have very few regrets.

4. Spend your time wisely.

Every person on earth has been given a measure of time. You can’t buy, earn, or manufacture more time. When it is your time to go, you will go — period. This fact alone makes time the most precious commodity on earth. Live your life intentionally and seek to invest your time doing things that matter, bring you joy, and positively impact your environment.

Spend time with people who matter. Not spending enough time cultivating significant relationships is one of the biggest regrets expressed by most people. Learn from them.

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5. Live intentionally.

There is a big difference between living and existing. Those who live take risks, make tons of mistakes, experience excruciating hurts and pains in their lives and fail often, but they have very few regrets. One of the greatest gifts we have in life is the ability to choose. You can’t control or choose everything that happens to you, but you can choose how you respond to what happens. Your attitude, outlook on life, the decision to love or hate, forgive and let go, to fight or to live peacefully are all under your control. You dictate the overall tone and tenor of your life.

Throw caution to the wind and choose to live on and with purpose. You won’t regret it.

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Denise Hill

Denise shares about psychology and communication tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

Journal writing.

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Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

Consider this:

Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

Kickstart Journaling

How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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