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There Are No Do-Overs…But There Are Second Chances

There Are No Do-Overs…But There Are Second Chances


    What’s done is done.

    We can’t turn back the clock of time. Good or bad, right or wrong, it is done. It’s over!

    • Once the ingredients are mixed, we can not separate them apart.
    • Once a word goes from our mouth, we can not take it back.
    • Once we do an action, we can not choose another one in its place.
    • Once wood is reduced to sawdust, you can’t make it back into a board
    • Once Humpty Dumpty fell, all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again
    • Once today arrives, it becomes too late to live in yesterday

    Despite the fact that no one can not refute the obvious statements above, it is not uncommon for many of us still finding ourselves reworking yesterday.  As a psychotherapist, I am struck by how many of my clients can not seem to leave the land of “if onlys” and “woulda coulda shouldas.”  

    For those clients, yesterday prevents them from living fully in today as guilt, regret and hindsight makes them so much wiser. They cannot forgive themselves for not “knowing better” at the time.

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    If only we knew everything when we were four!

    The good news is that there is an alternative to the emotional paralysis of, “I should have known better-itis.”  Instead of wishing you had known better and kicking yourself that you didn’t, how about giving yourself a second chance?

    Give Yourself a “Second Chance Checklist”

    1. Turn unproductive regrets into productive regrets.  

    Regrets are important in our life to help us self-correct.  The key is to recover from and build on the sharp sting of regrets to look for the lessons learned and take comfort in the fact that these lessons make us wiser.

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    2. Take comfort in the fact that regrets help us develop empathy for others.

    How would we ever develop real empathy if we never made a mistake or a wrong turn? It is regrets that keep us in check from being judgmental and arrogant. Thus, we become better people who, in turn, have more compassion and empathy for others. Empathy is considered to be one of the cornerstones of emotional intelligence.

    3. The more wrong turns you made in retrospect, you increase the odds that your future choices will be more informed.

    With so many lessons from mistakes or regrets, you will be in better shape moving forward. It can actually make it easier for us to be happier by living in today instead of yesterday.

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    4. Ask yourself – Did I do the best I could at the time?  Undoubtedly, the answer will be “yes!” 

    In my 35 years as a psychotherapist, I have never heard otherwise.  I have never met anyone who tried to be toxic or dysfunctional. People generally try their best, even if their best is not objectively healthy. Unhealthy people make unhealthy decisions and behave in an unhealthy way. People do not intentionally make self- defeating decisions. So consider it a noble effort to try your best, even if your best felt short and was misguided.

    5. Moving from regrets is a ripe opportunity to work on the ability to forgive.  

    A lack of forgiveness for oneself or others is one of the most common reasons for depression, anxiety and interpersonal conflict. Thankfully, regrets give you the opportunity  self-correct, and to develop the ability to forgive – it brings them right to the surface to work on. Strive to be thankful for this golden opportunity to release yourself of bitterness and negativity for good!

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    6. Use the broken pieces of unrealized dreams and disappointments as stepping stones towards a better future. 

    If you see shattered pieces of your life’s dreams as stepping stones or as parts of a beautiful life mosaic, you can appreciate those broken remnants. All your disappointments, no matter  how small or how large,  can be part of something so beautiful that it can be hard to imagine and can pave the way for building a better tomorrow!

    Conclusion

    You cannot change what happened to you, but you can change what you do with what happened to you.

    So what are you waiting for? Give yourself a second chance. You deserve it!

    What can you do to give yourself a second chance today? Let me know in the comments below.

    (Photo credit: Second Chance Avenue via Shutterstock)

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    Judy Belmont

    Mental health author, motivational speaker and psychotherapist

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    Last Updated on October 15, 2019

    How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them in 7 Simple Steps

    How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them in 7 Simple Steps

    Where do you want to be 5 years from now, 10 years from now, or even this time next year? These places are your goal destinations and although you might know that you don’t want to be standing still in the same place as you are now, it’s not always easy to identify what your real goals are.

    Many people think that setting a goal destination is having a dream that is there in the far distant future but will never be attained. This proves to be a self-fulfilling prophesy because of two things:

    Firstly, that the goal isn’t specifically defined enough in the first place; and secondly, it remains a remote dream waiting for action which is never taken.

    Defining your goal destination is something that you need to take some time to think carefully about. The following steps on how to plan your life goals should get you started on a journey to your destination:

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    1. Make a list of your goal destinations

    Goal destinations are the things that are important to you. Another word for them would be ambitions, but ambitions sound like something which outside of your grasp, whereas goal destinations are certainly achievable if you are willing to put in the effort working towards them.

    So what do you really want to do with your life? What are the main things that you would like to accomplish with your life? What is it that you would really regret not doing if you suddenly found you had a limited amount of time left on the earth?

    Each of these things is a goal. Define each goal destination in one sentence.

    If any of these goals is a stepping stone to another one of the goals, take it off this list as it isn’t a goal destination.

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    2. Think about the time frame to have the goal accomplished

    This is where the 5 year, 10 year, next year plan comes into it.

    Some goals will have a “shelf life” because of age, health, finance, etc, whereas others will be up to you as to when you would like to achieve them by.

    3. Write down your goals clearly

    Write each goal destination at the top of a new piece of paper.

    For each goal, write down what is it that you need and don’t have now that will allow you achieve that goal. This could be some kind of education, career change, finance, a new skill, etc. Any “stepping stone” goals you removed will fit into this exercise. If any of these smaller “goals” have sub-goals, go through the same process with these so that you have precise action points to work with.

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    4. Write down what you need to do for each goal

    Under each item listed, write down the things that you will need to do in order to complete each of the steps required to complete the goal. 

    These items will become a check-list. They are a tangible way of checking how you are progressing towards reaching your goal destinations. A record of your success!

    5. Write down your timeframe with specific and realistic dates

    Using the time frames you created, on each goal destination sheet write down the year in which you will complete the goal by.

    For any goal which has no fixed completion date, think about when you would like to have accomplished it by and use that as your destination date.

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    Work within the time frames for each goal destination, make a note of realistic dates by which you will complete each of the small steps.

    6. Schedule your to-dos

    Now take an overview of all your goal destinations and make a schedule of what you need to do this week, this month, this year – in order to progress along the road towards your goal destinations.

    Write these action points on a schedule so that you have definite dates on which to do things.

    7. Review your progress

    At the end of the year, review what you have done this year, mark things off the check-lists for each goal destination and write up the schedule with the action points you need for the next year.

    Although it may take you several years to, for example, get the promotion you desire because you first need to get the MBA which means getting a job with more money to allow you to finance a part-time degree course, you will ultimately be successful in achieving your goal destination because you have planned out not only what you want, but how to get it, and have been pro-active towards achieving it.

    Featured photo credit: Debby Hudson via unsplash.com

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