5 ways to live life with no regrets
By Anne Bachrach
A.M. Enterprises (The Accountability Coach)
If you really think about it, life is pretty short. You are born; you go to school; you move out; then comes a career and you sell the business to head into your retirement years. Soon, you find that you're reminiscing about the beginning and the journey that followed — but what will you say? Will you be happy with your decisions through life, or will you feel like you missed the boat on what you could have really accomplished? Will you feel good about the choices you made?
As a successful business owner, you have obviously made some good decisions, but when you retire, will you look back and think to yourself, "I did everything that I wanted to do," or will you look back and think you could have done so much more?
In light of this question, here are five tips for living a life with no regrets. Being the person you really want to be might be scary or difficult at times, but these tips will help you to see the logical side of such a notion.
1. Have a big goal and work towards it.
Not having a big goal in mind can really cause you to move slowly to some foggy, undermined outcome. If you don’t have a real, concise goal in mind, you might go through life feeling like you have no purpose. When you look back years later, you might think to yourself: "Wow, I could have done so much. I just didn’t have any real game plan to move me in the right direction." Having a large goal to work toward gives your life a direction and a purpose.
A lot of people have passions and desires, but rarely are these feelings ever channeled into a specific purpose. A lot of people look back and are disappointed that they never got to do certain things, and they also fail to realize that the passions and desires that are not coupled with a goal to work towards almost never amount to much of anything.
"If you don't know where you are going, you will end up somewhere else." - Yogi Berra
2. Be a positive person.
Going through life as a grumpy, negative individual is not going to make you feel very good as you reach the end. Positive people have a way of making others feel good about themselves. They help people around them to see the good within themselves in all situations. Being this type of person is going to reward you much more in life than being a negative type of person. In fact, a lot of very negative and unfriendly people end up regretting the way that they treated subordinates, colleagues, clients, friends and family members. Years later, what are people going to say about you? Are they going to say that you were a jerk, or are they going to say that you were a great person to work with? Being the latter is going to land you a lot more positive feelings about your life than the former.
See also: Why positive thinking is like crack cocaine and how you can get hooked
"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." – Maya Angelou 3. Chase your aspirations.
One of the number one regrets of individuals who are on their death bed was that they did not chase their dreams, goals and aspirations. Being an already successful businessperson, you have probably already done quite a bit of dream chasing — and this is not the time to stop. If you have already achieved success, then you can now move on to the next level. Never stop chasing your dreams. It is a decision that you will not regret.
"You'll seldom experience regret for anything that you've done. It is what you haven't done that will torment you. The message, therefore, is clear. Do it! Develop an appreciation for the present moment. Seize every second of your life and savor it. Value your present moments. Using them up in any self-defeating ways means you've lost them forever." – Wayne Dyer
4. Make time for friends and family.
While success and a career are important, it is essential to note that another very common death bed regret is not spending enough time with friends and family. Since you have already achieved a good measure of success, you probably know better than most how your work life can quickly overcome your time with friends and family. Your spouse, children and friends are important, too, so never make the mistake of thinking that you don’t have enough time for them. Making time for them now is going to be something that you will never regret, especially once you get older and start thinking about how to spend retirement.
5. Remember that happiness is a choice.
When you are busy making yourself successful, it can be hard to remember that happiness is a choice. You can be happy no matter where you are. Whether you are a multi-millionaire or an on-your-way business owner, you can still feel happiness — even if you haven't quite reached all your goals yet. We should never stop growing and improving, but it is important to remember that happiness and contentment are not going to come from having more money or more success. They are going to come from you doing what you enjoy, and from your choosing to embrace them.
“Happiness is not an accident. Nor is it something you wish for. Happiness is something you design." – Jim Rohn
See also: Aging into happiness
What can you do?
Today, you can start living with no regrets by looking over these tips and taking them to heart. Just remember that happiness and contentment starts and ends with you. Only you have the power to make your life what you want it to be, so make sure that you focus on that and that you don’t get distracted by what other people want you to do.