Ten Commandments for Living a Life Free of Regrets
“There’s only us. There’s only this. Forget regrets or life is yours to miss. No other hope. No other way. NO DAY BUT TODAY!”
– Jonathon Larson
Living without regrets is living with intention, moving your dreams forward and in the direction that you desire. This idea is a mantra for the ages. Despite this, it’s too easy to live by the status quo and try to fix your mistakes as you go through life.
Some of those nasty things that cause regret are beyond your control, and they vary from person to person. But if you find yourself trying to patch up your life, chances are you’ll find yourself regretting more and more of the things you didn’t do. You have to understand that you are the creator of your present and your future, and you decide whether it will be filled with living your dreams or living regrets.
So read and work on these ten commandments and live your life as you envision it – daily living for an envy-inspiring life.
I. You shall make a list of aspirations.
Did you ever notice that it’s easier to focus on something tangible? That’s because the more concrete an idea is, the harder it is to forget. So get very clear about your goals. Is it to have a house of your own, or to buy a big sailboat, or to have the dream career, with fame and success? Each goal is personal and can look different. And once you write them down, post the list somewhere visible or somewhere you can review them often. This way, your future goals will become ingrained in your mind, and you’ll stay focused on completing them.
II. You shall build yourself up.
As you enjoy some of the success from your smaller long-term goals, remind yourself of what you’ve done and what you’re capable of in the future. Celebrate accomplishments. And as you see yourself accomplishing your own goals, you’ll be motivated to tackle even more. When you do something that causes problems or slips, treat yourself as you’d treat an employee at work; with sensitivity and constructive criticism. Remember that you’re only human, but you can accomplish great things with your life.
III. You shall anchor yourself.
Create a vision story, what your dream and vision look like, feel like, and sound like. Include all of the details: who, what, why, where, when, and how. And keep little reminders of what you want all around you. They don’t need to be embarrassingly obvious, but they do need to remind you of your priorities. Life is lived in the everyday, so use your anchors to help you aim high in all that you do.
IV. You shall remember that you are considerably lucky.
The most important thing to remember is that someone else may be in a much worse situation, and, statistically at least; you are considerably lucky. So live in gratitude. Be thankful for the life you have, the things you are doing, your successes, your accomplishments.
V. You shall start the forgiving and healing process.
Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing unhealed wounds. So start the forgiving and healing process by visualizing the wronged person and yourself saying to them, “I forgive you” – even if you were the one who wronged them. You may then complete this healing circle by visualizing the wronged person replying to you, “And I forgive you also.” Even a visualization of forgiveness can bring peace, and replace the idea of who was “right” and who was “wrong.”
VI. You shall keep in touch with those important to you.
It may not seem like a big deal now, but in your later years, the dissolution of personal relationships may be a really big regret. Keeping in touch with the people in your life, whether you communicate with them daily or only occasionally, is one of the keys to a successful and fulfilling life. Devote a morning or an evening each week to make that one visit, meet for a coffee with that one friend or make that long-overdue phone call. And each time you touch base, you’ll be working toward the further goal of maintaining friendships.
VII. You shall keep an eye on your future self.
Keep one eye on what you’re doing, and the other on your future self. It’s really easy to get caught up in the moment and do things you’ll wish you hadn’t. Occasionally, we all suffer from a bad temper, impulse buying or other actions of passion, but try your best to keep these moments of weakness to a minimum. When you get excited about buying something, what you’re imagining is the day you get it or the moment you give it to someone, but a year later, the Porsche is just your car, the same car you drove yesterday. Then the next time, you buy something even more expensive, hoping it’ll make you happier for longer. It’s a hedonic treadmill.
VIII. You shall break it down.
Sometimes a dream seems overwhelming but by making a plan and taking small steps each day or week, you begin moving the dream plan forward. So as you pin down each long-term goal, break it down into smaller units. Big tasks are often daunting and may leave you without enough motivation to tackle them. You’re more likely to fail and wear yourself down if you leave a big task on the shelf for an extended period of time. Stop this cycle by breaking it down into more manageable units for the shorter-term.
IX. You shall treasure your time.
To live the life of your dreams you have to realize that achieving your goals should be rewarding every step of the way and not just at the end. So make sure that as you’re mapping out your future, you’re also relishing in the present. There’s nothing that causes more regret than letting the good times slip by.
X. You shall study up.
There is a lesson in everything. That is why each experience should teach you something as both accomplishments and failures carry their own lessons. Pay attention, look around, and learn from what you see. Each time you do something great, pat yourself on the back and remember what got you there. Better still; learn not only from your experiences, but from those of others around you.
As you move forward with your dream you’ll build momentum using these simple commandments to inspire and motivate yourself, and keep yourself on track. Dreams don’t just happen, they take action. Living the life you want, with intention is living the dream life.
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