10 Choices You Won’t Regret in 10 Years

10 Choices You Won’t Regret in 10 Years

I don’t regret the things I’ve done.
I regret the things I didn’t do when I had the chance.

In the end, more than anything else, we regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were too afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.

Think about it…

The big opportunity you procrastinated on.  That friend you never called.  Those important words you left unspoken.

You know what I’m talking about.

Every one of us has experienced feelings of regret.  But it’s not too late to set things straight.  We’re still here breathing.  Today we have an opportunity to change tomorrow.  Right now we can choose to erase regret from our later years.

It’s time to make the best of each and every day.  Here are some ideas to get you started – ten things you can start doing now that you won’t regret 10 years down the road:

  1. Explore what YOU love, and own it. – If you spend your life trying to define yourself by what someone else loves, you’re going to be miserable.  Try things – try everything.  Explore.  See what makes you hear music inside and what makes your heart swell, and then go do it.  Find out everything you can about it.  Find other people who love it too.  If you waste time pretending to like something just because other people you think are “cool” like it, you’re going to end up with the wrong people and circumstances in your life.  Love what you love and be yourself, and you will end up with a lifestyle and relationships that make you truly happy.
  2. Live YOUR idea of your life, every day. – As you’re working on point #1, you will inevitably meet people who want to steer you in a different direction – their direction.  Just remember, what’s right for them may be wrong for you, and vice versa.  The truth is that the world isn’t really as it is, but as we see it.  And we all see it differently.  If you end up living a boring, miserable life because you completely ignored yourself and instead listened to a parent, a peer, or some gal on TV telling you how to live your life, then you have no one but yourself to blame.  Honestly, the smartest and most courageous act is simply to think for yourself and listen to you own intuition.  It’s better to die your way, than live someone else’s idea of your life.  (Read Choose Yourself!)
  3. Wake up every morning and get the RIGHT things done. – The world does not owe you a living.  You owe the world a life.  So stop daydreaming and start DOING.  Develop a backbone, not a wishbone.  Take full responsibility for your life – take control.  You are important and you are needed.  It’s too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday.  Someday is now; the somebody the world needs is YOU.  Focus on being productive, not being busy.  Don’t just get things done; get the right things done (and this includes things in your personal life too).
  4. Put down your smartphone and be more present. – Is there anything worse than getting somewhere and not realizing how you got there?  Even worse is only realizing how great something is after it’s gone.  Living in the present is a basic notion, but as with most simple things, we often find a way to complicate it.  But there’s nothing complicated about learning to appreciate and notice life as it’s happening.  There’s nothing complicated about being present.  You won’t remember the cool Instagram photo you saw on your feed anyway.  You will, however, want to remember the conversations you had and the stories you lived through.  So put down the darn phone.
  5. Practice relentless kindness. – Kindness is always the best response to any situation.  When you grow older and you look back on your life, you will inevitably forget a lot of the stuff that seemed so important when you were young.  You probably won’t remember what your high school or college GPA was.  You will look at your old classmates on Facebook (or some other online social network) and wonder why you ever had a crush on that girl/guy.  And you will have the toughest time remembering why you let certain people from your past get the best of you.  But you will never forget the people who were genuinely kind – those who helped when you were hurt, and who loved you even when you felt unlovable.  Be that person to others as often as possible.  (And, as you know, what goes around comes around.)
  6. Love yourself, too. – More likely than not, the first person who caught your eye wasn’t “The One.”  And the second, third or fourth probably wasn’t either.  You know why?  It’s because YOU are the one.  Love isn’t something out there somewhere that someone else can give to you.  It’s already inside you.  It’s that sacred part of each of us that makes us human.  And some of the best moments in life are when you truly connect with someone else and share the love you already have inside with them.  But don’t ever forget to love yourself, first.  When you start by loving and respecting yourself, it makes giving that love to other people infinitely better.  You’re going to meet so many amazing people in your life, and I hope you do fall in love with someone else.  Just remember to fall in love with your own life too, because no one else can do that for you.
  7. Work a little less and spend a little more time smiling with people you love. – You’ve heard the saying, “The best things in life are free.”  Well spending quality time with family and friends, enjoying the antics of a pet, seeing your son smile, experiencing intimate and heart-felt moments with your significant other – these times are precious and priceless.  Don’t get so caught up in the rat race, working 60+ hours a week, to the point where you are too stressed and exhausted to enjoy your closest relationships.  By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to live on less, and thus work fewer hours and enjoy more of what truly matters.  (Read The Joy of Less.)
  8. Say what you need to say. – Speak up.  Don’t hide your thoughts and feelings, especially when you can make a difference.  Be brave.  Say what needs to be said.  Many people suppress their feelings in order to keep peace with others, or to shield themselves from potential rejection.  As a result, they settle for a mediocre existence and never become who they are capable of becoming.  Even worse, many of these people develop illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carry as a result.  Don’t be one of them.  Hearts are often broken by words left unspoken, and this includes your own heart.
  9. Leave toxic relationships behind. – You deserve respect.  You deserve it from your family, your friends, your coworkers – from everyone in your life.  The best way to receive respect from others is to begin by respecting yourself.  Speak clearly and keep your head up.  Stand up for what you believe.  Make choices that you feel good about.  And if someone in your life is being disrespectful‚ call them on it.  If things don’t change, you need to limit the amount of time and influence they have in your life.  We need people in our lives who challenge us and disagree with us, so we can see things from new perspectives.  We don’t need to be constantly torn down by toxic people who don’t respect us though.  It can be difficult to leave a long-term relationship, even when our inner-wisdom tells us it’s time to let go.  But make no mistake, all failed relationships hurt, but letting go of a toxic relationship is a gain, not a loss.
  10. Let go of those who are already gone. – You’re going to mingle with a lot of people in your lifetime.  You’re going to have first kisses you feel all the way down to your toes and think “Oh my gosh, I love him,” but really… you loved the kiss.  You’re going to meet a friend you think you will know forever, but then something will change and you two will go your separate ways.  You’re going to explore different parts of your life with different people who aren’t in it for the long haul, and that isn’t a bad thing.  Life is a series of stories, and the way our stories intersect is remarkable.  Sometimes people are in our lives for the whole story.  Sometimes they are just a short chapter or two.  It takes a brave person to know when that chapter is over, and then to turn the page.  Be brave.  Embrace your goodbyes, because every “goodbye” you receive in life sets you up for an even better “hello.”

Afterthoughts

If you’re struggling with any of these points, know that you are not alone.  Many of us are right there with you, working hard to feel better, think more clearly, and live a life free of regrets.  This is precisely why Angel and I wrote our book, 1,000 Little Things Happy Successful People Do Differently”.  It’s filled with short, concise tips on how to do just that.  And believe it or not, Angel and I review a lot of our own material on a regular basis too, just to center our minds on these positive principles.

The bottom line is that it’s never too late to take a step in the right direction.  It’s never too late to become the person you are capable of being.  Things can change if you want them to, at any age.  Right now you have an opportunity to write yourself a future full of peace and free of regret.

Your turn…

What would you add to the list?

What have you done lately that you know you will NOT regret in 10 years?

Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and insights.

Photo by: Adam Lerner

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Comments

  1. says

    Very solid article Marc! Your article was shared to me by a friend, and I just wanted to tell you that it’s very well written and powerful!

    Cheers ans keep up the good work

  2. says

    You’ve given us yet another great post, and I thank you for that. I believe that you touched on many of the things that people struggle with. Number 10, for example, is a though one due to social media, and having to see these people, that left your life, everyday.

    There are ways to change that. Do whatever it takes to feel better and to give more attention to the people that ARE in your life right now.

    Regards,

    Claudiu

  3. says

    I re-read this post again because it has a lot of significance in my heart and mind today. Last night, I visited my ailing grandmother in the hospital. She was recently diagnosed with dimentia and was told yesterday she would not be returning home, rather she would be going to a special care home. When I approached her as I was leaving, she grabbed my hand and squeezed it tightly. She cried, and said many sad things about what she is going to miss. Then, she looked at me and said, “Don’t work too hard. Look where it got me. This is how I’m ending my days, without all the things I worked hard in life to get.” That stuck with me, and upon reading this post of yours, some things are so much more clear for me. Thank you, as always, for such insightful words.

  4. says

    It’s a great post! I loved that you acknowledge that it is a struggle for everyone, that’s encouraging! All my life I had to simplify things because of my cerebral palsy but one thing that has always been difficult to let go is proving myself to others and to me. I’m learning more and more to be self-compassionate and that it does not have to mean selfish.

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    J
    F

  5. Frank says

    Reading your blog has become a habit, to the extent that my reactions and thoughts have become instinctive driven by an intution that has gradualy been built in my thought process. Letting go has become the best process i have undergone in my transformation, by acknowledging the hurt and the possibilites that comes with it, i have managed to transcend. I find myself in the present, and my senses reawaken. I can feel again, i can taste again, i can hear again, I can see again… Thank you

  6. MaryAnn says

    Be gracious, kind and practice gratitude daily: If you live in a life of gratitude, no matter how bad your day is – you will never regret it. It changes your mind and your heart. It makes you, even forces you to look at the good and steer clear of the negatives of life. We see so much bad on TV but how ofter do we take the time to be truly grateful? I recently found out that I’m loosing my job but got 2 1/2 months notice. Yes the first week stunk but every day I’ve been forcing myself to find things to be thankful for. On top of my list is the fact I got 2 1/2 months notice. Seems hard at first, but believe me – it has made a huge difference in the way i feel and think.

  7. Fran says

    Boundaries. Boundaries. Boundaries – please take care of yourself. You will not regret that, ever, by your last breath here on Earth. Self preservation is not a selfish act.

  8. Fed up. says

    I regret going back to school and becoming a nurse. I let someone “talk me into it” because he thought it would be a more realistic way to make a living. I work in surgery, which, at first, I loved – because it is “so” interesting. But I’ve learned, that everyone working there, surgeon, surgical technicians and other nurses are only looking out for themselves. When push comes to shove, they will throw the nearest person under the bus to take the blame for their own inadequacy. I see self proclaimed expert techs scrubbing out when there is a patient to care for to check their text messages & show the surgeons the latest Facebook video – just to be “liked”. I see surgeons being rude & make condescending comments to staff who have busted their butts to try to get everything right. Never a simple “thank you” I’m tired of trying to be empathetic to new nurses who ignore tasks that need to be done to flirt with Dr.’s, fix their makeup, send text messages & yet demand help with their inadequate skills, and moreover, to criticize what you are trying to do to help them!!!! To Sara, the first post, think twice about going into nursing. It is a dog eat dog world in the health care industry & stay on your toes! I think I would like to be a Forest Ranger in my next life. May not make as much money, but would be a lot happier

  9. victor says

    great post. I am just from a toxic relationship recently and I don’t regret anything… in fact I wonder why I never left earlier.

  10. Debbie says

    I will never regret two things. The first one is….forgiving someone with an open heart….this is a healthy closure as it serves no good purpose to carry those pains around with you for the rest of your life….we are all human & make bad decisions from time to time.

    The second is….being brave and living my life fully and not letting fear cage me….I never want to look back on life in later years with the “I wish I should’ve or could’ve”….I believe in stepping out of my comfort zone which expands my mind and life.

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