It’s hard to imagine a life without regrets – we all experience them and look back to moments in life when we wish we’d acted differently or made a different choice.
However, rather than fading into memory and becoming less meaningful as we age, author and family counsellor, Suzie Hayman has discovered our regrets multiply and become more entrenched in our minds the older we become.
Additionally, regrets are most commonly results of things people haven’t done, particularly through lethargy, lack of confidence and/or fear of embarrassment, rather than things they have done and mistakes they’ve made.
In order to help people learn to live their lives now, and break the pattern of past decisions influencing on future ones, Hayman believes we should all learn to make changes and never consider things over and done with.
Below is a guide to helping you to avoid the top five regrets:
Following dreams and ambitions
Many people look back on their lives and wish they had taken a leap of faith and pursued their dreams. This is often a way of saying they wish they hadn’t settled for second best in life, but the important thing is to tell yourself it is never too late. While some dreams may be bigger than others, nothing is strictly unachievable. You should start by doing modest things you have always wanted to do, like running a marathon or visiting the Loch Ness in Scotland, and then move on to accomplishing bigger dreams – which will seem more in reach once the smaller ones have been achieved.
Staying connected to a partner
Relationships are hard work, and while some couples can work through their troubles, life and other obstacles eventually become too much and push others apart. Re-connecting and re-discovering the love that once was, however, can be possible. Couples need to get back in the habit of acknowledging each other more – saying nice things to each other every day, giving praise and thanks more often and showing more respect for one another. This will help to re-build connections and respect for one another.
Spending more time with your family
This is the number one regret among men who are dying, and with more women now working this could become gender mutual. Prioritising is key to ensuring this regret does not surface, and making sure you set aside some down-time with your partner and kids after work and at weekends is the best way forward. This means no phones, mobiles or other technological distractions until later in the evening, and making sure family dinners are always eaten at the table where everyone can chat.
Keeping in touch with friends
Lack of time is considered the reason why many of us struggle to keep in touch with friends, as well as the fact that families and work become a greater priority. Seeing friends gives you a sense of independence away from your roles in the family and at work, as well as providing a source of happiness and comfort – yet maintaining friendships involves upkeep. Try and set time aside each week to call or see a friend, and avoid relying on social networks to source your primary contact.
Making the most of life
Looking forward and planning ahead is a common mind-set, yet this behaviour can make you forget to enjoy the small pleasures in life as they happen. Living in the moment is hard as the grass is always greener, but happiness is a choice and not necessarily something that you will achieve by doing something or by gaining something in the future. The trick is to always make note of when something good happens, and then keeping it in a jar or special box, so that when you feel down you can return to it and read the contents. This will function as a reminder of all the little things that make life enjoyable.