When you're old and grey, and looking back on the life you have lived, you will hopefully experience happy thoughts, with memories that bring you joy, satisfaction, and a myriad of personal rewards. You will hopefully breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that you have lived your life with few regrets and no wasted opportunities.
But to get to that point, you need to make conscious choices now to ensure you live life to the fullest without any wasted opportunities. So, where do you start?
Here is a list of things to do to ensure you don't one day live a life filled with regrets.
#1: Step out of your comfort zones
If there are things you want to achieve in life but are too scared to do what is needed to attain them, you will one day regret not taking action sooner if you fail to leave your comfort zones. It might be a change in career, for example, especially if you are currently stuck in a job role that offers you few rewards. Or it could be a vacation abroad to a faraway country that you are desperate to explore. But if you are worried about rocking the boat in your career, and if you are fearful about visiting new places, you might never achieve experiences such as these. And there could be other things that you hope for in life, but with excuses as to why you can't.
The easiest option might be for you to stay in your comfort zones, where you don't have to overcome your fears and where you don't have to make any hard decisions. But will you be happy? Or will you one day kick yourself for not pushing yourself a little to make your dreams happen? Think about it, and rather than living a life in fear and with indecision, take steps to overcome the obstacles ahead of you to ensure you don't look back with regret later in life.
#2: Make better money decisions
Money isn't the root to all happiness, but it certainly helps. If you want to enjoy the finer things in life, and if you want to retire gracefully within retirement villages like The Red House, you do need to make good decisions with the money in your possession. You need to get on top of your debts for starters, as you might never become financially free if you don't. You need to start putting money away into an emergency fund and retirement fund to ensure you don't run into financial difficulties later. And you need to do away with the ‘live for today' mentality, because if you spend frivolously, you might only regret your spending decisions tomorrow.
So, do what you can to become debt-free. Start to make more savings. And think about your financial needs in the future, as you will then have the incentive to stop spending money on the things that will do little to benefit and prosper your life now and later.
#3: Spend time with the people you love
Many of us live busy lives, but we should never be too busy for the people we are closest to in life. If we spend all of our days at work or engaged in activities away from our children, our partners, our ageing parents, and our dearest friends, we will one day regret the time we have wasted when our loved ones are far away or no longer with us.
So, never be too busy. Spend time with your kids, and enjoy evenings, weekends, and holidays away together. Spend quality time with your ageing parents, and involve them in the life you are currently living. Get in touch with old friends, and renew those acquaintances. And when you're with these people, let them know how much you love them. Forgive them quickly if you have any grudges against them, and tell them you are sorry for the ways in which you might have hurt them. And say anything else that needs to be said, because there might be a day when you won't be able to. By spending time with the people you love now, you won't live with the regret that you didn't have that quality time with them when they were near you.
#4: Practice kindness
Guilt is a terrible thing to live with. But you might have to live with it if you hurt people in your life. It might be a close friend or family member that you have intentionally wounded with your words. It could be a colleague at work whose life you made a misery. Or it could be a complete stranger that, when looking back, you remember the pained look on their face when you said or did something to retaliate against them. The guilt will eat you up inside because of your callous actions, your critical words, and your selfish attitude. You will regret what you did, and perhaps have no more time to tell them that you are sorry.
However, you can sidestep those feelings of guilt if you practice kindness daily. Each day, look for ways to lift people up rather than bring them down. If somebody does something that irritates or offends you, react with kindness and grace instead of harsh criticism. And reach out to those people who are struggling, as it could be your words and actions that change their lives for the better. By showing kindness, you will then have the ability to look back on your life and remember the happy faces of the people around you. You will remember the people whose lives you have potentially saved. And you will feel glad that you could play a positive role in their lives, with no regrets that you should have said or done something different.
#5: Enjoy life
Okay, so we know that life isn't always enjoyable. There are times when we have to face sadness, difficulty, and darkness. However, we are sometimes to blame for the lack of enjoyment in our lives. When we needlessly work overtime, we cut short our days. When we fail to lift ourselves from our sofas, we miss out on fun times with our hobbies and with others. And when we beat ourselves up for the mistakes we have made in the past, we ruin our chances of happiness when living in the present.
So, don't ruin the enjoyment you could be having in life now. You might one day regret your tendency to work too hard, your laziness at home, and the negativity that you create for yourself. Instead, think about what makes you happy, and pursue them. Make time for your hobbies and the people that add the fun factor to your life. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made, and rather than let them ruin your present, start to reflect on the positive things about your life. And tell yourself that it's okay to be happy. If anything is getting you down, try to get on top of it before it derails your day and your future. Life is to be enjoyed and not endured, so let your hair down a little, push aside those things that inhibit you, and have fun!
Life is short, so don't waste it. Don't fill it with things that hold no meaning for you. And don't live a life that you know you might one day regret. Start living a life that is free of regrets today, and your tomorrow will be a much happier one.