Think back over your life. What are the things you regret the most?

For me, I regret not pursuing a job that was presented to me in my early 20’s because it required a few too many things I thought I couldn’t do. I regret not moving to Phoenix when we were given the opportunity. I regret passing up an opportunity to travel to Europe because of a business commitment here at home.

And of course I could continue this list well down the page.

Can you relate?

If you’ve never taken a serious look at your regrets, take a few minutes and write them down now.

Now look at them and look for the commonality between them.

I bet you’ll notice the same thing I did. All of your regrets center around things you haven’t done or passed up. Very rarely do your regrets focus in on things you have done.

Because whenever you are brave enough to try something new, even if it doesn’t go quite as anticipated, chances are you learned something from it. Even in the worst of situations, you can always learn from it IF you take the time to focus in on what happened and why it happened.

Developing a lifestyle without regret

Two Kinds Of Regret

In some cases, you may have something on your list that was because you did something.

“I regret meeting this person because it led to this bad situation.” This is a common situation. But in most cases, even this provided a learning curve. Maybe you discovered something about yourself you have corrected through therapy or self-awareness. Or maybe you learned to choose relationships in a wiser fashion.

“I regret taking this path.” Even in the most stressful situations, it still provided a learning curve that made you a stronger, wiser person today. For example, if you pursued a business opportunity that caused you to go bankrupt, you still could learn from it. It taught you about business in the best and worst of times. It taught you the skills of going through a bankruptcy. It even created a stronger sense of risk and how to watch for the good and bad in situations.

When you regret something because you did it, you learned from it. It made you into the person you are today. It gave you the skills to be self-aware of who you are today and what you truly want out of your future.

But when you have regret because you didn’t do something, there is no turning back. There is no correcting it. There is no changing it because usually you can’t go back and repeat the actions necessary to put it into place.

For example, you’ll hear a lot of 60 or 70 year olds say “I regret not having more children” or “I regret working as much as I did and not developing a strong relationship with my children”. Those regrets can never be rectified.

The same applies to things that apply directly to who you are as a person. “I wish I would have traveled more.” “I wish I would have started a business with that idea I had.” Time quickly passes by, and before long you simply can’t go back and do the things you once dreamt about. It’s simply too late.

Creating A Game Plan

You can see it. You know it happens. You can probably think about one thing in your life that has occurred in your short past that you wish you could change right now.

What’s stopping you? Are they excuses? Or are they really reality?

Most of our excuses, no matter how big we build them up to be, are just excuses. We let fear take over, and we give life to the side that rejects change.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. You simply have to give more weight to what you truly want to do, make it a priority, and get it done. Without any thing or any one stopping you.

Fill in the blank.

Right now, I really want to _________________________________________.

Now list the reasons why you can’t do it.

___________________________________________________

___________________________________________________

___________________________________________________

Are they valid reasons or are they just excuses getting in the way of what you truly want to do?

Lets look at an example.

Right now, I really want to write a book and start a coaching practice around it.

And the reasons why it can’t be done are:

I don’t have the money.
I need my job.
I don’t have the time.
I have a husband and 2 kids and I’m already running 20 hours a day.

Yep, you guessed it, all excuses.

I don’t have the money. How much money does it take to write a book? Zero. Next.

I need my job. Back to the money issue. If you have to work 40 hours a week to sustain your lifestyle, that’s normal. Everyone has to start somewhere; it doesn’t mean you can’t work at your dreams too.

I don’t have the time. Okay, this is probably one of the biggest reasons people think they can’t do something. Even the money holdbacks ultimately come down to time. This is where priorities come in to play. Even if you work 40 hours, you probably have a lunch hour you could work through writing your book. Even if you have kids, you could probably get up an hour earlier in the morning to have some time to yourself. You could probably give up a night of television to spend at the coffee shop writing your book. It’s all about priorities. Which priority are you giving significance?

And of course, the husband and kids scenario also link back to time as well.

Take a look once again at your answer to:

Right now, I really want to _________________________________________.

What’s holding you back? What can you change right now? Your ideas are waiting.