by Coach Casey
Ah, regret. A feeling many of us know all too well. Those harsh words we wish we could take back, those hours wasted on Facebook the night before a school assignment due date, those cookies you baked and thought you could “only eat one”. We spend so much time wondering how life would be if only we had done this instead of that, sometimes it seems we will drown ourselves in it. But never fear – I once thought the cycle of fear and regret was inescapable, but there is a way out, a way to create a life that you would be happy with if today was your last day.
Less than a year ago, my life was very different than it is today. I had an impressive resume, a well paying corporate job, and a bustling social calendar, but I never felt fulfilled or truly happy. One day I came across a quote that read, “If we don’t change directions soon, we will end up where we are going.” I realized that the longer I stayed in my daily routine just because it was comfortable and familiar, the further I was moving away from living a life that made me happy. Making changes is usually uncomfortable because as human beings we don’t like uncertainty, but I knew that if I didn’t step out of my comfort zone and tumble into the unknown, I would eventually regret it. To be sure, there were hiccups and days of doubt along the journey, but I am grateful for those moments because they’ve given me the chance to live the life of my dreams. These are a few of the guidelines I put into practice to create a life of no regrets, hopefully they can help you too!
If you’re saying ‘what if,’ stop it! Just stop! You can’t change your past; Not only is it impossible (science is not there yet, Doctor Who fans), it is also counterproductive. As far as I’m concerned, “dwelling on the past” is nothing more than a euphemism for beating yourself up over things you can no longer control. Our thoughts are everything; whether they are constructive or destructive, they determine our destiny. Instead of allowing negative thought patterns to take over by self punishment, channel that energy into going forward. If you keep looking behind you, you can’t see what’s in front of you.
Recognize what is, rather than what could be. When we use a map to determine directions to get somewhere, the starting point is just as important as the destination. The same applies to the journeys of our lives; we have to know where we are coming from in order to get to where we want to be. Identify where you are exactly, and own it. Make peace with that place, know that there is no such thing as failure if you learn something from it. Instead of looking at something as a regrettable mistake, celebrate it as a lesson learned, a tool that you can forever use.
Appreciate the present. The best way to release yourself from the agony of what might be is to open your mind to the beauty and wonder of the world around you. What is life but a series of little chances for happiness? There is joy to be found in every ordinary moment, look for it.
Get clear on what you want and prioritize it. If your mind is full of random, scattered wishes, that feeling of fulfillment and accomplishment will forever elude your grasp. Take the time to sit down and think about exactly what you want. Be specific, write it down, and put it in a place where you will see it every day.
Take action! Stop postponing the life you want; if you don’t start right now, then when will you? Always remember that every moment in life is a choice, choose the path that will bring you more into alignment with your goals. Don’t be afraid to fail, everything you could ever want is waiting on the opposite side of fear. Today is the first day of the rest of your life, take control and create your own destiny!