Regrets? I’ve had a few, but too few to mention!
As a life and motivation coach, I work with clients who have reached a crossroad in their lives and experience feelings of regret and wasted opportunity. The British Heart Foundation recently commissioned a survey asking people to reflect on any major regrets they felt about their lives. I knew a man who worked so hard building up a career, and was very successful in creating a very pleasant standard of living for his wife and children. He was a member of a golf club, but rarely played. He talked about all the things that he would do when he retired and the places to visit and the hobbies to develop. He mentioned that cruise, the visit to China and taking his grandson to the football. Everything was based on the idea that, one day he would do all these things. Of course he never did. The Who talked about, ‘I hope I die before I get old’, regretfully he did.
It is never too late to make that positive change.
So what are the most common regrets?
Not travelling more and seeing more of the world.
Not spending more time with loved ones, especially watching the children grow and develop. 15% of those over 55 mentioned this.
Not keeping in touch with more friends
Not looking after your body by eating unhealthily, starting to smoke, taking little exercise and of course drinking too much.
Not asking parents and grandparents more about their lives before they died.
Not working harder at school and a poor choice of career.
How do you feel about this list? I believe that life is for living and it can start anytime, even today! Make up your own list of regrets and reflect on it. Make a commitment today to do something about it. You need to make big plans which can then be broken down into smaller action points. Life is for living. Rather than think about all the things you want to do, make a positive change and start to think about the things that you have done. Take control and learn how to have more fun, less work and fulfilling relationships.
So who’s to blame?
34% of those surveyed said that a lack of money had scuppered their dreams, and 24% blamed ‘loved ones’ including parents, partners and family for holding them back.
But of course it is not about blame. A friend regrets giving up a house that she and her husband built from a bare plot. They put all their energy and money into it, ending up physically exhausted and hating the house because of the stresses associated with it. After one month in their dream house they sold it. She regrets that decision some 40 years later. ‘If only I had….’
With mindfulness, instead of re running the past, you can accept that there is sadness but you can change away from that way of operating. Neuroscience research indicates that Mindfulness, a form of meditation now accepted within the NHS, Mental Health and by motivational therapists like myself, shows that you can change the physiology of how your brain works. There can be real life changing events to set you on a new path.