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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

How To Live Life With No Regrets

How To Live Life With No Regrets

Regret is like a ghost. It arrives when we feel low or down in our lives and sticks around for a while – sometimes months, years, and even decades. Since misery does like company, it’s not a surprise that our uninvited “ghost” shows up in perfect timing, and it’s usually when we are reminded of the things we wish we had done differently in our lives.

The thing is, regret will only stay if we let it. In order to let go of his heavy burden and lingering ghost, we must first understand what we are regretting in our lives and why.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to live life with no regrets.

1. Reflect on Past Regrets

Everyone has had their fair share of things that they have regretted in their life, but the question to ask yourself is how long you have been carrying these burdens?

Guilt and regret weighs heavily on your mental health, which as a result can disrupt your physical productivity.

The first step is to acknowledge the things that you regret doing or not doing. The following step would be giving yourself space to explore in those things.

Remember, be kind to yourself when you are doing this. It takes a lot of courage to face the things that continue to cause us pain, guilt and suffering.

2. Have a Healthy Conversation with Yourself

Now, as you explore this space and begin addressing the things you regret, keep in mind that you are having a conversation with yourself. This isn’t a blame game and this space isn’t meant for you to slip down a rabbit hole of self-sabotage.

One way to avoid self-sabotage is identifying the things that are working against you. Holding onto regret is one form of self-sabotage, and moving forward means having healthier conversations with yourself to get to the root of “the thing.” There is a hidden root to the things we regret in life and finding it can help bring more clarity.

3. Find the Root

Let’s get to finding that root. We experience guilt and regret in different situations and circumstances in our lives whether it be our career, relationships, or even putting our needs in the back burner.

Here are several examples and getting to the root of these regrets:

Regret 1: I regret not accepting that job offer. I would have moved up to a senior position by now and be making x amount a year.

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The regret here is about a missed opportunity. There’s a reason why you may not have taken that opportunity when it was presented and it can timing, personal reasons, or specific priorities that needed your attention at the time.

First and foremost, see if you are that same person you were at that specific moment of your life.

Are your values the same?

Do you still want the same things you did then?

What experienced have you gained from not taking the job?

Chances are, you may be a completely different person then as you are now. As humans, we are meant to grow and outgrow older versions of ourselves. The root here of the guilt is not about mourning a missed opportunity, but accepting that things may have changed – including you.

Here’s another one, but this time it’s about something that’s been done.

Regret 2: I regret moving to a new city. It’s not what I thought it would be and I’m not happy.

The regret here is moving to the unknown and there was a reason why you decided to take that jump.

Was it to try something new or was it because you’ve always wanted to live in this particular city?

Was it for someone or something?

Ask yourself these questions and then look at what your current needs are.

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It’s also about living in the present, and by doing so your energy is not fixated on the regret itself but about finding the positives of what you thought was a negative situation.

Remember, every situation needs time to breathe.

4. Accept That You Are a Work in Progress

Everyday we are figuring out more and more about who we are or what we want in this one life that we live.

The greatest gift you can give yourself is acknowledging that you are a human being, and perfection does not exist. Forgive yourself for things you did not know when you made “regretful” decisions, and don’t let anything hinder your growth from here on forward.

Acknowledge that certain decisions were made because of what you wanted at that specific moment; it’s a way of honoring yourself. Holding onto regrets mean you are living in the past and honoring yourself means living in the present.

5. Value Your Time and Energy

Our energy is one of the most precious things we have control of even though most of the time it may not seem so.

Using time-management tools such as keeping a to-do list and delegating household tasks are helpful, but energy goes beyond just physical activities. We have emotional energies, too.

Be mindful of the energy you put into your physical work, in your relationships with partners, friends and colleagues, on hobbies, and other daily activities.

If you feel like your energy is being drained in certain aspects of your life, it’s your intuition telling you to check-in.

Choose one day out of the week and tune into how you feel during your daily routine:

  • How do you really feel after checking your email the moment your alarm goes off?
  • How present do you feel when you are eating your lunch hovered over your computer?
  • How would it make you feel if you called versus sending a text message to your loved ones?

Also, set your non-negotiables. Value the things that are important to you and stick by them especially if it’s a set date and time. This is one way of honoring and putting yourself first.

Many times, regret happens when we don’t honor the things that nourish us mentally, physically and emotionally.

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6. Don’t Wait for the Weekend to Rest

If you’re working Monday thru Friday, the moment Friday comes around a sense of relief may be washing over you.

“It’s the weekend!” you shout.

Every day should spark that emotion. Condensing all your me-time for the weekend may increase burnouts and bring instead feelings of unproductively. The weekend should not be a 48-hour countdown until Monday or a time to crank out your personal to-do list.

Carve out time everyday to unplug and fuel your soul with the things that you want to do. This could be anything from not checking emails after 6 p.m., putting your phone to airplane mode at a specific time, or simply playing the guitar every single day.

The more you fuel yourself with the things that make you happy, it’ll limit those excuses of “I regret not keeping up with learning the guitar” or “I regret not spending more time with my family because I was focused on work outside of work.”

Me-time is important.

7. Set Goals

It’s essential to set goals – long-term, short-term, big and small goals. When you set your goals and have a clear vision in mind, you have a focus.

Often, regret happens when we’re “not where we want to be” in life or when we don’t achieve certain things. One way to live a life without any regrets is to simply hone in on the things you want to achieve, and it’s even better when you can see it everyday.

How?

Get out that pen and paper – it’s time to create a list.

This is the 101 things to do in 1001 days exercise. 1001 days is a little short of three years and will fly by before you know it. Having small fun goals is just as important as having big life goals. Although this list may seem like a bucket list (which it could be), it gives you a timeframe of 1001 days to complete the items on your list.

Don’t sell yourself short and be creative. You can section your list into categories such as career and travel, or write them down as they come to find. Every day is a new day. It’s another 24-hour reset, and the question to ask yourself is what you will do about it today.

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Check out this ultimate guide to goal-setting to help you achieve your goals.

8. Learn from Others

“Frodo: ‘I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.’ Gandalf: ‘So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.’” -The Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring

When death arrives, our perception of the world changes. This moving article, “These 20 Regrets From People On Their Deathbeds Will Change Your Life” explains just that. We all think we’re immortal until we’re not. We all believe we are invincible until the world around us shows that we are equally fragile and delicate as our bodies. Here are some of the things that were listed:

  • I wish I wouldn’t have compared myself to others
  • I wish I’d told others how much I love them.
  • I wish I didn’t wait to “start it tomorrow.”

Some of the most profound lessons are learned from not doing or not saying enough.

Do two things today:

The first thing is to tell someone you love them and are thinking about them.

The second thing would be to choose something you’ve always wanted to do and start today. No excuses.

Final Thoughts

Regret is a powerful emotion, and if not careful, it can consume your thoughts, energy, and time.

Several years ago, I made the conscious decision to laugh every single day including on the days I felt miserable. I knew that when my time came, I can look back and say that my life was filled with laughter and it’s the one thing that helps me feel alive.

Always remember that no matter what your situation is, you can kindly ask this “ghost” to leave, but it will only leave when you begin doing things for you.

Whatever it is, do it with passion and love.

More Articles About Living a Fulfilling Life

Featured photo credit: Jeremy Bishop via unsplash.com

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Akina Chargualaf

Akina Chargualaf is an entrepreneur, writer, and the content creator of travel and personal development blog Finding Fifth.

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Last Updated on April 8, 2020

11 Things Overachievers Do Differently

11 Things Overachievers Do Differently

We all know some overachievers: supermoms who manage to get online degrees between cleaning, cooking, and taking kids to practice; students who write 10-page papers when the directions call for 4; managers whose resumes look more like pages from the Guinness book of Records.

How do they do it all? How is it possible that one person can graduate at the top of their class, found an orphanage in India, run 30k marathons, write a best-selling book, travel all over the world and learn to speak Mandarin Chinese while having a full-time job?

What’s the secret of an overachiever? Here’re 11 things overachievers do differently that you can learn from.

1. They Know How to Manage Their Time

It’s pretty simple actually – you can never become an overachiever if you don’t know how to organize your time efficiently.

The great thing is that overachievers are ready to share their knowledge and time management talent with the rest of the world. Read The 4-Hour Workweek or The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

2. They Don’t Spend Hours Watching TV or Playing Computer Games

Mostly because they have better things to do, like exercising, reading, spending an evening with their family or volunteering to work in the local soup kitchen. Their philosophy is simple – the world is full of wonderful things to try, explore and experience. Watching TV is not one of them.

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3. They Are Obsessed With Perfection

Imagine Steve Jobs’ work approach and you’ll understand the level of perfection and painfully high standards that overachievers set for themselves and those around them. Often it pays off (especially if they focus on just one domain). But sometimes compulsive over-striving turns into a sure-fire road to disappointments and unfinished tasks.

Learn how to strike a balance: How Not to Let Perfectionism Secretly Screw You Up

4. They Know How To Inspire

Overachievers learn quickly that it is much easier to achieve goals through collaboration (and especially delegation). So they know how to inspire, encourage, persuade and motivate people around them. Even though they often drive their team crazy with their stubbornness and perfectionism, people quickly follow under the spell of their enthusiasm and greater vision.

Learn these 10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively.

5. They Set Clear Goals

The term “overachiever” itself implies that they know how to achieve goals. That is kind of hard to do if your goals are vague, unclear and lack specific deadline, which is why overachievers educate themselves, read goal-setting books, and think about the best way to approach a new task.

Although, it’s worth mentioning that overachievers usually use their time management and goal-setting skills towards competitive, “I want to kick butt” type of goals rather than self-improvement, mastery goals.

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Take a look at these tips to help you set clearer goals: What Are SMART Goals (And How to Use Them to Become Successful)

6. They Are Organized

It’s hard to imagine a disorganized overachiever, isn’t it? Their great organizational and planning skills usually serve three main purposes: keeping track of time, keeping track of progress and keeping track of achievements.

This hasn’t been confirmed by scientific research yet, but overachievers might actually get a “runner’s high” from crossing tasks off their to-do lists, and making new to-do lists.

Here’s How to Organize Your Life: 10 Habits of Really Organized People

7. They Try to Avoid Failure at All Costs

Some psychologists believe that overachievers place their self-worth on their competence, driven by an underlying fear of failure. Rather than setting and striving for goals based on a pure desire to achieve, their core motivation becomes avoiding failure. This may explain the fact that overachiever beat themselves up for even little setbacks and seemingly-insignificant mistakes.

But be aware that having a strong fear of failure can wrek havoc your productivity. So the best thing to do? Learn to conquer the fear: Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It)

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8. They Love Awards

Who doesn’t love them, right? True enough, but unlike most people who like to feel acknowledged and appreciated for their efforts, overachievers are bent on collecting ‘awards’, be it university degrees, spelling bee prizes or unusual destinations.

While loving awares isn’t bad, it’s even better if you’re driven by internal motivation instead of external ones which could be quite uncontrolable or unstable: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It).

9. They Don’t Understand the Concept of Work Hours

Don’t get surprised if you receive a work-related email anywhere between 8 p.m. and midnight. It’s something overachievers usually do and you weren’t the only one. At least 20 more emails have been sent during these hours to other people. The concepts of over-achieving and working overtime usually go hand in hand.

The downside of this is an imbalnced life, which may need to problems in other aspects of life including health and relationships. A better way is to Achieve a Realistic Work Life Balance.

10. They Rest

Overachievers might often be labeled as “workaholics”, because they often ignore bodily signs of hunger, fatigue and even a full bladder, hoping to finish just one last little part. This doesn’t mean that overachievers don’t know how to disconnect and relax.

True that they tend to work in the highest gear, but they also have enough sense to give themselves time to rest and recharge. Of course, they do it in their own overachieving way, preferring climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or hiking through the Amazon jungle to lazing on the beach.

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11. Overachievers Continuously Educate Themselves

A great quality that most overachievers have is the hunger for knowledge. They surround themselves with bright people. They know how to listen, and most importantly, they get tons of mentoring.

Despite the fact that overachievers want to excel at everything they set their minds on, they are humble enough to admit that to get on top of their game, they need help. And they are willing to pay someone to push, coach and guide them.

You too can learn How to Create a Habit of Continuous Learning for a Better You.

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Featured photo credit: Nghia Le via unsplash.com

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