If you looked at my last post, you may think that there is a contradiction between the title of that post and this one. 🙂
It’s just that in writing that one, I had a few other thoughts that take regret in a bit of a different direction. So, I guess this post is kind of a partner post (if that’s a thing) to the last one. 🙂
As you may recall, the previous post talked about regret in the context of things that have happened in the past.
This post talks about avoiding the regret in the first place.
Really, it’s quite simple: Don’t do anything you will wish you didn’t do and do everything you will wish you had.
Ta daaaaaaaaaaa!! That’s solved.
“Then,” you might ask, “why are there still more words on this page, Lucy???”
Well, naturally, nothing is ever really that simple, is it? I mean, in a way it really does come down to that, but there’s a bit more involved.
When I was 18, I was at university and having a lot of fun. There was a party one night (well, lots of nights, actually… 🙂 ) and I had to work. I really wanted to go out with my friends so I called work and quit. Obviously, at that point in my life, I thought I’d regret missing that party more than I’d regret quitting that job.
Now, I can’t even conceive of doing such a thing!
What I would regret now is considerably different than what I would have regretted then.
That said, there are some general suggestions we can follow that can help us avoid some potential down-the-road moments of “I wish I had….”
In fact, if you ask Mr. Google for advice on how to prevent future regret, you’ll get a LOT of advice. There are all kinds of lists, with 5, 10 or even 15 tips in them.
Here are just a few of them, if you’d like to check them out:
- Living With No Regrets
- 5 Common Regrets and How to Avoid Them
- 5 Ways to Prevent Regrets
- 10 Ways To Avoid Living With Regret In The Future
- 15 Ways to Avoid Regret at the End of Your Life
There are things common to most of the lists I’ve read, such as spending time with loved ones or not living the life other people expect us to live. But there is some variety in there, too – something for everyone, I would say.
None of it is rocket science (unless, perhaps you might regret one day not having learned rocket science 😉 ), but they are still good reminders.
Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we forget to do the things that are important to us and need those reminders every now and then.
In some time management stuff I read years ago, I learned something that has stuck with me to this day: We put our time into what is important to us.
I didn’t (and don’t) intend this to be a time-management post, but I think it is relevant to touch on it a tiny bit. It can be a useful exercise to sit and look at what we spend our time doing and compare that list to a list of the things that are important to us.
I would suggest that the things we say are important to us and that we don’t spend our time on are probably the things we will regret.
By bringing those lists into alignment with each other we can in that way create our own customized list of ways to prevent our personal regrets down the road.
We probably can’t completely avoid “I wish I had…” statements, but doing that one thing can help us avoid some of the biggest regrets that we might otherwise have had.
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