Advertising
Advertising

If You Don’t Do These Now, You’ll Regret 10 Years Later

If You Don’t Do These Now, You’ll Regret 10 Years Later

When you’re nearing the summit of this turbulent climb through life, will you reach the top with wild enthusiasm or will you be hobbling with the aching knees of regret? You’ve climbed through storms, passed over green patches and had help from friends, and now it’s almost over. Your whole life has been leading you to this moment and one thing is certain: this final ascent we all have to do alone.

What thoughts will flash through your mind? You will be faced with tough questions such as: Did I do enough, love enough, was I happy?

You might leave these questions simmering on the back burner, thinking tomorrow will be a good day to contemplate the answers, but remember—tomorrow might not come!

So here’s what you can do today. Let’s call this an insurance policy for tomorrow’s happiness.

1.  Put your health and wellness above everything else

There is an old saying: “If you don’t have your health you have nothing,” and this is very true. Your body is housing your soul. Exercise, eat clean and get the proper rest. Take care of your body so that you have the opportunity to lead a long and full life. See 15 tips on restarting an exercise practice.

2.  Take the time to do the things you love

This may sound cliché, but work less and play more. You will never regret taking a vacation, engaging in a new hobby or spending a day with those who make you happy. But you might regret never taking that art class, reading that book or crossing big items off the bucket list. Be a participant in life.

Advertising

3.  Stop taking life so seriously

Why are you taking life so seriously anyway? Really? Find humor in something everyday, and laugh, laugh a lot!

4.  Always say what you need to say

If you love someone, tell them. If someone hurt you, tell them. If you have trouble expressing your feelings, then write a letter. Make sure those around you know each and every day how you feel.

5.  Open up your mind to possibilities

If you look in your garage and see a coiled, dark shadow that resembles a snake, your reaction might be to jump with fear, but later when you look closer and realize it’s just a green hose, you might feel silly for believing the tricks of your mind. Stop being controlled by your deluded projections.

Change your perspective and open yourself up to a new world of exciting and fulfilling possibilities. Look at your life with fresh eyes and you’ll find improved relationships, more excitement, and less resentments, anger and bitterness.

6.  Follow your own path—live a life true to you

Stop comparing yourself to others and stop striving for perfection. Life is not a masquerade ball—take off the mask, be yourself! If people don’t like it, then maybe it’s time to find a new party. Doing or being any other way will leave you feeling lonely, depressed and hopeless. Stop living a life based on the expectations of others.

7.  Stop living in the past

Right now you need to throw away regrets of the past. It’s gone, there is no point dwelling on what could of been, doing so will only rob the present moment of joy. 

Advertising

The past doesn’t exist except as a memory, it’s a mental story and it can’t be changed. Why not tell the story of your past in a way that enhances your present moment and future.

8.  Accept the things you cannot change

 “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying.” — The Dalai Lama

When you fight against reality, you get bloody in a battle of what ifs and denial. Whether your reality is that you should have married someone else, said something you needed to say, or are dealing with an illness, the reality is you can’t change any these things. Dwelling or worrying is only robbing your present moment of all joy.

What you can do is re-evaluate your life now and take the necessary steps to make the appropriate changes. Follow your instincts, they will tell you when you have veered off the path of where you should be, whether it be your relationship or career. Tune into your inner compass it will guide you in the right direction.

Take “what if”, “should have” and “why me” out of your story. Move on.

9.  Practice mindful living

Mindful living will in fact slow down time; it will enhance the present moment and fill otherwise mundane days with awe and joy.

Advertising

Ten years from now you might think, Where did my life go? When we live mindfully we immerse ourselves in moments. These are the moments that make up our lives. If you don’t practice mindfulness you run the risk of having these precious moments of your life lost to a string of foggy over-thinking. Rest in the spaces in between the major events, these spaces are your life.

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn

10.  Stop chasing money, fame, and possessions

We crave wealth, prestige, fame and popularity, we crave material things and beautiful people. We mistakenly think that happiness is going to arrive when we meet these goals. Instead of enjoying our life, we are in a constant pursuit of something other than where we are right now.

At the end of your life, your expensive BMW will not be what’s flashing through your mind. You will more likely smile at the memory of your loyal dog. Stop chasing material possessions, there is no real happiness there, only an endless pursuit.

11.  Always practice gratitude

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a  friend.” — Melody Beattie

Gratitude improves health, happiness, spirituality, connection, relationships, self-worth and simply gives life intense meaning.

Advertising

Even if your life isn’t perfect—and here’s a secret, it never will be perfect—you still have a lot to be grateful for. So every day remember to take the time to smile, laugh and truly say thanks for all the small and big joys in your life.

12.  Love

This is an excerpt by the famous Martha Beck that has made an enormous impact on my life. It sums up regret beautifully:

“So the ultimate lesson of regret, the one that will help guide you into a rich and satisfying future, is this: Every time life brings you to a crossroads, from the tiniest to the most immense, go toward love, not away from fear. Think of every choice in terms of “What would thrill and delight me?” rather than “What will keep my fear—or the events, people, and things I fear—at bay?”

Pay attention to all of the sources of love in your life and you’ll develop a growing sense of abundance of how much beauty surrounds you each day.

So let’s summarize: A cheat sheet to living without regrets

  • Take care of your health
  • Make time to do the things you love, work less, laugh and play
  • Say what you need to say
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Change your perspective
  • Let go of the past
  • Accept the things you can not change
  • Stop thinking happiness is a future event
  • Stop chasing money and material wealth
  • Live authentically
  • Take off the mask
  • Follow your instincts
  • Practice gratitude
  • Don’t make your decisions based on fear
  • Love, love love!

There is no guarantee that you won’t make any bad decisions, but when you start living your life with these tools in mind, your days will naturally become meaningful. Your wise eyes will be full of adventure and tales: adventures that might not be perfect, but at the very least won’t be filled with regrets.

More by this author

Tina Williamson

Writer and creator of Mindfulmazing

Top 8 Benefits of Living a Minimalist Lifestyle 10 Things People Who Live Their Dreams Don’t Do 15 Ways to Lead a New Life You Love 5 Gut Instincts You Don’t Want to Ignore 10 Amazing Benefits of Cucumbers You May Not Know

Trending in Communication

1 10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life 2 9 Things to Remember When You’re Having a Bad Day 3 5 Steps to Cultivate a Positive Mental Attitude 4 How to Think Positive and Eliminate Negative Thoughts 5 How to Deal with Failure and Pick Yourself Back Up

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

Advertising

Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

Advertising

We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

Advertising

It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

Advertising

Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

More Inspiring Lessons

Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

Read Next