I will have no regrets

 photo: Dr Bill Webster

In the song My Way, Frank Sinatra makes the bold statement: “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention.”

Most of us would like to say the same when we think of our lives, but if we are honest, many would probably admit we have more regrets than we care to mention.

Maybe it is when people realise their mortality that they become aware of the things that are unfinished, unaccomplished or unrealised.

I have noticed a pattern in listening to the stories of people who are dying or have lost a loved one. Their regrets are more over things they haven’t done than things they have – unhappy that they did not do things when they had the time and opportunity. Let me suggest six things you will never regret:

1. Set goals and go for them

One of the things people regret most when they get old is that they did not go for what they really wanted in life. Everyone has a dream, but many do nothing to make it come true.

Whether you want to travel the world, start your own business, or just spend more time with family, there is a simple formula: plan, prioritise and be passionate.

One of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Successful People is to “begin with the goal in mind”. In other words, at the end of life, what would you like to be able to say “I’m so glad I did that” about? Then ask yourself: “What have I done today to invest in that goal?”

2. Invest more time in people than in things

Another common regret as people grow older is how they invested their time. At the end of life, many more people say: “I wish I had spent more time with the people I care about,” than those who lament: “Gee, I wish I had spent more time at the office.”

If you love someone, tell them now. Don’t wait until it is too late. Say thank you to friends you appreciate and tell them how much you care.

3. Express yourself more constructively

Transparency is crucial in good relationships, whether it is with your soulmate or with family or colleagues.

You should tell them how you feel. However, when it comes to anger or resentment, you should confront your own feelings first and then express them in a constructive and positive way. People cannot grow their relationships, personal or professional, if they hide their feelings from each other.

4. Learn and explore more

Do you ever have the urge to learn something new, such as another language or how to play guitar? Plan, prioritise and follow your passions. Learn the new skills and discover something different.

As they say, “it’s not the moments in your life, but the life in your moments” that really count. So do more of things you love.

What gets you excited? If nothing seems to any more, check your pulse. If you feel a heartbeat, it is not too late to get enthusiastic about something.

Don’t wait until you regret that you didn’t do it, because the time will inevitably come when it will be too late.

5. Choose to be happy

Did you know that happiness is a choice?

You just need to direct your thoughts and emotions. Even in situations when life is difficult, we can find something that is good and makes us happy.

Life is short, and we have to try to find and experience the joy and thrill that is hidden in every day.

6. Live to the fullest and never waste time

Bruce Lee once said: “If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made of.” Start making every minute count. When you play, enjoy it to the fullest. When you work, create a masterpiece out of the job you do that day.

Decide today you are going to live your life with passion, pursue your dreams, spend more time with people you love, and enjoy every moment you have right now.

And then maybe at the end of life, you will join Shirley Bassey in proclaiming: “No – no regrets!”

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