12 Things You Might Regret 10 Years from Now About Today

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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!

How can we live with no regrets?

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: How to Fight Back Against Anxiety

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.

3.  Stop taking life so seriously

Why are you taking life so seriously anyway? Really? Find humor in something every day, 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. 

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.

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.

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 cannot 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.

This article was originally featured and published on LifeHack.

Featured photo credit:  Mariano Moreyra

 

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Comments

  1. says

    A very rewarding reminder of how to manage one’s life to happiness…..We must remember that God gave us the ingredients of a happy and peaceful existence….from the scriptures…to live simply and honestly. Living following the law God will lead us to not an ample wealth but to great happiness in life…..As long as we don”t lost the universal feeling given to us by OUR FATHER GOD AND HANDED AS WELL BY JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF……then we can find eternal happiness….and this is forever…..:-)

  2. adil zahid says

    Yes its really great but the only thing i am not with is to work less,in this actual life situation

    poverty and crisis we need to work more and more and more.

    Thank you.

    • says

      Sometimes it sure seems that way doesn’t it! I think we can try to live with these things in my but of course first and foremost comes our survival, it takes precedent over everything else.

  3. adil zahid says

    You are talking about the ideal life others have no daily food to eat,this life is work and sacrifice life its only trial life temporary life,the complete permanent life is the one coming after the adjustment day witch it should be done to back justice for every one.how can the destiny of the one who was kill the millions of Innocents be the same destiny of the one who never kill even a insect.
    Talking about God father its complicated matter because the father still human who can mistaken the real God he is the creator of the father and son of all other creatures,no one can be same him
    and he never can be compere by us he is the GREAT THE SUPREME.and if we said that God was choice to have a son from human males he will be first unfair to the human female and if we said he choice to have son from human creature we will be unfair to the other creature God if was like to have kids he was choice it to be from Angel who forever follow and never desopay.THINK OVER

  4. Celestino Siglos says

    Miss Tina Williamson, I am grateful to have read your lines… your practical and realistic approaches towards human survival and happiness. I am sharing your material through my Facebook account for public consumption… from my workplace in Libya – to my homeland Philippines, and around the world. Once again, THANK YOU.

  5. roida corrales says

    What a wonderful & practical insights about life. thank you for sharing. i love to share them too to my fb friends so that they too will pick up these useful reminders of what matters most in life.

  6. says

    Thanks for that article – it came at I time when I needed reminding a few of those points.

    From heart to heart – receive my gratitude.

  7. says

    Dear Tina,
    Let me check on your che cklist;

    1. Take care of your health-I am now 60 years old, but I started taking maintenance medicines ever since I was 21 years old. Lucky for me I am I wife who always remind me of what I should eat and prepare all my medicines daily.

    2. Make time to do the things you love, work less, laugh and play- In 2007 of Sept. -my doctor told me, if you like to live more, you should resign from your work. During that time I belong to a team who is consolidating the distribution system of Cosmos Bottling Corp & Coca-Cola Bottlers, Phils. Its too toxic, so I opted to be separated from both companies. Now I am doing some consultancy works where I can choose. If some consultancy job is available and it will need an 8 hours job a day, I can decline it. Right now I am only working 5 hours a day for 3 days a week.

    3. Say what you need to say- If it will hurt the person, even how true, I prefer not to say it. I only say positive things to other person.

    4. Practice mindfulness-Everyday of my life, I am always concern on family, friends and sometimes not even friends. Will you believe if I tell you, one time we visited a friend, this friend of ours has a pregnant visitor. When we are about to leave, our friend asked if we can bring his friend to the hospital which is on the way to our house, we consented. On our way to the hospital, the woman shouted that she is about to give birth. Luckily we where able to arrived at the hospital and she was brought to the delivery room. When the nurse questioned her, she has no money, we have to guarantee payment, so the doctors will attend to her. We waited until she gave birth. When she was transferred to the room, her son arrived. They told us that they does not have the money for the hospital bill. My wife & I begun to wonder, what are we doing there. We really do not know this woman. Finally, we decided to help the woman leave the hospital with-out paying the bill.

    5.Change your perspective-My perspective in life is to help, even if my money is just enough for my family. I know that is wrong. My father told me that you will end up having problems financially if you will not change that kind of attitude.Over the years we had financial problems, but years past and we were able to fix some. Although some were not still paid, luckily we have very good and considerable friends, who are not strict on the settlement of what we owe them. On my side I have also money out on loan bigger than what I owe.

    6. Let go of the past-For me there is no negative things in the past, so when I think of the past I cherries and feel good at it.

    7. Accept the things you cannot change-Yes, this is true and I practice this. My children are also different to each other, one way or the other. I have 4 kids, 2 are in-order in things and 2- are not. 2-are spendful and 2-are not.

    8. Stop thinking happiness is a future event. Everyday I am happy, just waking up in the morning makes me happy. and when my wife calls me that breakfast is ready, the more I feel happy.

    9. Stop chasing money and material wealth. I don’t chase money we spend it, whatever we love and we have money we buy it. Daily if we have extra money we go and eat out to my wife’s preferred restaurant, but most of the time when we do not have extra money, my wife will cook the best tasting food. My wife is a good cook.

    10. Live authentically-Everybody know what is our status in life, although we look wealthy and our style of living is above average, we don’t do anything below our capabilities.

    11. Take off the mask-same as item#10.

    12. Follow your instincts-Well this is normal.

    13. Practice gratitude-We should be thankful everyday for this life. thankful to others for their positive participation to our life.

    14. Don’t make your decisions based on fear-Sometimes we cannot avoid this.

    15. Love, love love!-Everyday we should feel this love, not only to our relatives,but to others.

    Thank You for reminding us. God Bless You. If you know TENDO you will know what I believe.

    Rodner

  8. says

    What a lovely article! I only stumbled across it because of LinkedIn. And I see I’m a little late you the party since it was published back in February. Nonetheless, thank you. Well said and a much needed reminder to truly live. None of us get outta this life alive. So live we must!

  9. says

    Fantastic post!! I think we all need to take a step back once in a while, realise what is important in life and have more fun!!

    I don’t ever remember how much fun it used to be doing an extra day at work, but I certainly DO remember those days when I said ‘sod it, Im going to the beach’. :-)

    Craig

  10. says

    Fantastic post!! I think we all need to take a step back once in a while, realise what is important in life and have more fun!!
    I don’t ever remember how much fun it used to be doing an extra day at work, but I certainly DO remember those days when I said ‘sod it, Im going to the beach’. :-)
    Craig

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