Looking back on your life so far, do you have any regrets? Are there things you did and wish you hadn’t—or things you didn’t do and wish you had? Any relationships that are strained? Opportunities missed? Bridges burned?
Although these are some of life’s most important questions, too many people wait until the end to ask them—and by then, it’s too late. We’ll all have regrets from time to time. However, you can minimize big ones (or avoid them altogether) if you periodically ask yourself the regret question (and then actually do something about it!). New Year’s is a great time to start!
When it comes to considering our regrets, there is wisdom to be gained from older citizens who are in a naturally more reflective stage of life. If you ask them about their life regrets, you’ll likely hear the following:
- I didn’t spend enough time with my loved ones
- I didn’t tell my family and friends that I loved them often enough
- I was too stubborn or proud to admit my mistakes and apologize
- I chose bitterness over reconciliation
- I allowed my life to be consumed by work
- I was too hesitant to take risks and try new things
- I wasted too much time
- I didn’t appreciate the little things in life
- I valued things over relationships
- I worried too much
Do any of these apply to you? Be honest! Although regrets run the gamut, did you notice that most involve relationships and priorities? This is why it’s so important that your life is balanced and your priorities are right.
This discipline is a great one for all ages. Consider sharing it with the young people in your life. It will help you—and them—make needed midcourse corrections and “relationship repairs” along the way.
Be forewarned, though: it’s not easy, and it takes a strong dose of courage, humility, and determination. Wouldn’t it be great, though, to get to the end of the New Year—and even to the end of life—and be able to say, “NO (or few) REGRETS!”
What have YOU done to minimize regrets in your life–and to help young people minimize theirs? Share your ideas with our online community of parents, grandparents, educators, and youth mentors!