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:
- 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.
- 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 critic, a peer, or some guy on YouTube 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 struggle in your way, than live someone else’s idea of your life. (Read Choose Yourself!)
- 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 firm backbone, not a flimsy 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).
- 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!
- 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 Instagram (or some other 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.)
- 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.
- 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 More of Less.)
- 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.
- Leave toxic relationships at a distance. – 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 distancing yourself from a toxic relationship is a gain, not a loss.
- 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.”
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…
2023 is YOUR year!
What would you add to the list? What point in this post resonated the most?
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 with us.
Photo by: Adam Lerner
Hub City Girl says
I randomly came into mu email inbox and read this post, and 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.
When my mother was dying, she squeezed my hand and said many things to me including “don’t work yourself to death like I did.” It has been nearly 10 years and when I find myself becoming overwhelmed, I hear her voice reminding me to slow down and enjoy life.
I know I won’t regret what I’ve been learning from you, Marc and Angel. Reading your emails, books, and blog has become a daily habit, to the extent that my reactions and thoughts have become instinctive driven by an intuition that has gradually 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 possibilities 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.
Olajumoke M says
I am glad I read this article today and I have also subscribed.
Learning to let go is tough, but it’s a journey I intend to take in 2023.
#9 was an eye opener. For the longest time I’d been dwelling on the failed relationship i’ve had with a guy a dated for about four years. It was a relationship that never respected my worth as a person. As hard break ups are, just know that not everyone we lose, is a loss. Somehow there is still sadness when I realize how things turned out, but deep inside I know I am truly happy. And as usual, this is another impressive and needed article for me to reflect on.
I resonate with you Gaby.
Joyce Segers says
Somehow God always brings me back to you when I stray off the path. I soooo needed this post, and was feeling, before I read it, so many regrets. I need to focus on today and what I am doing “right” (for me) now and right now. Made a decision to go back to school and some say…”At your age?” Age is just a number and I am planning on being here for many years to come. Even now, I have stepped up following your advice (#8) and saying what I need to say. 😉 I sure hope my thoughts encourage someone out there!
Wakenia H. says
Thank you for this post, I have been following you since 2010 and each form of wisdom has been instrumental to my growth and development throughout the years. Reading your post on regrets encourages me to look within my own life to make a personal decision to live purposefully and intentionally to prevent a future of guilt that could lead to heartache. My mission and desire are to move forward toward a future filled with love, peace, and no regrets!
Letting go of toxic relationship and loving myself……I am learning to take care of myself and loving myself for who I am and not what other people think of me.. It’s a lovely journey yet difficult at times.
Thank you Marc and Angel for the reminders
Kathy Kovell says
Excellent article. I always learn from you and it has helped me move forward. Thank you for all you do for so many.
B Olus says
Wonderful message. Marc and Angel thank you for this needed and timely reminder on important choices that we need to make in life. Especially, people trying derail our journey in life, and trying to mode you to the way they want your life to be and not what you want in your life! Please please let us remember that when toxic people leave our lives, it is not a loss but a gain of peace of mind that money cannot buy. Once again, thank you Marc and Angel.
Marin D. K says
Hi. Thank you for the article, your insights are positive and encouraging. I found the first paragraph especially interesting when you talked about regrets and then went on to talk about all the things to seemingly “fix” a regret by fixing yourself. You can’t, imo, fix a regret unless you unweave the fabric of now and change the regret into something that you attain and don’t regret in the future. You can also work on loving yourself. every day- a process that we all attempt and probably never succeed enough, but we try. But why not just go back to a regret and change the future of that feeling? Maybe everyone is still alive to do it, so be bold and take destiny into your hands.. which would be great because a time machine might make things a little difficult.
Anyway, my humble thoughts. I hope they make sense.
Arlene Head says
Absolutely love Marc and Angel, and have been very proud to be under their blanket of care and love for many years.
I found myself completely isolated for many years, with no family at all, no friends, and after loosing my job, my home, becoming homeless and attempting to end my life, I was sectioned, I really had come to the end of any hope that my life would ever change, but it did, I concentrated on one thing that I love, singing and country music, I remember my mom once said to me that she had given me something? she said a voice, and that one day it would all fit into place, I didn’t really understand at the time, but now realise if saved my life.
My life isn’t perfect, I still have my bad days, but through my music have found places to perform, I work a lot with charities, singing for old folk, people with mental health issues, and a lot of people don’t realise the singer has probably more issues than themselves! I recorded my first video! got a like on you tube by the one and only James Taylor!
I remember oh so well my first performance, my legs and hands were shaking, I couldn’t even plug in my I pad I felt physically sick, but I did it! I did this with no support, no friends, no help, I was absolutely petrified, someone actually said this can’t be good for your mental health! they were amazed I was doing it for that reason! I have a gig this Friday I’m a little anxious, but 1000% better than I was! I would like to send a link to one of my songs, but don’t know how? my techno skills are abominable! Lol.
But without music and the guidance of Marcandangels threads, I truly don’t think I would of made it….so thankyou so much for your blanket of love
Andy (and his mom)
Sonia Turner says
Thank you for the article. It was a blessing. I have learned in life that things will happen tragic things, they will change your life. Seeing the good and the positive in all the negative things have helped me. I realize now that one way or another the mind the body and the soul needs to rest to heal. Making money going to work, making extra money is not everything. We must keep our perspective on the true meaning of life or else God will allow us to go through harsh lessons because he loves us. I have been off from work for almost 2 months due to my son my adult son having mental illness due to drug addiction. My daughter lost her baby my granddaughter. Everything happened at once I was so tired. I love my children so I try to help them the best I could. I have been resting for about a week. I don’t know how I made it through those dark days but I know God had his hand on me. The main idea is that I was forced to rest and I did. God bless you all and may you prosper through your hard times.
Thank you! Great way to start my morning and the rest of New Year 2023.
One thought, I cannot write as well as you. Still, there is something I can do for someone else today. Or at least this week. Thank people, give compliments, and talk to your neighbors who live alone. Pick up a few stray pieces of trash. I take pictures I may give away. I write a blog that lets people know they are not alone as they struggle. Do reach out for help as you need it. Remember our whole government and society are based on the fact that all people have intrinsic worth. Do your best and stop the habits that hurt you. Be happy, for everyone’s sake.
And thank you for the good advice. I have cancer and sometimes forget to live on well instead of just surviving.
Denis Brunen says
The part about leaving toxic relationships definitely applies to me. Including the one that I’m in now that I should leave
Rita Williams says
Always put God first.
Instead of using your money to buy more junk, use it to make a difference in someone’s life. I helped my church build a school and church in Uganda. It feels amazing. I give my grandson $20 every Sunday to give to his Sunday school teacher to sponsor a child in Uganda.
Do what makes your heart soar. I’m on my seventh novel. I love writing so much and it may not ever make me money but it makes me happy 🙂
Love myself. By loving myself and seeing my worth, it becomes easier to walk away from toxic relationships, respect myself, give love to others, prioritise the most important in life amidst all the distractions, accept what is there now, and forgive myself.