Why didn’t I wake up earlier? Did I seriously just spend a whole hour distracted with the latest episode of Chopped when I needed to finish writing the next chapter in my book? What was I thinking, putting in so much overtime last week and missing the opportunity to build relationships, which are what really matter after all?
Do these sound like any of the thoughts that have floated around your head in the past month, or even the past week? We all have regrets, most of which are probably small and just niggle at you occasionally. When you are having a really bad day, though, they might make a pact with your stress and self-doubt and totally crush you. While I try to live my best life, every day, even I have regrets – I freely admit it! In fact, the regrets above are all pulled from the phrases swirling around my own brain. Today.
Wouldn’t it be nice to live without regrets? Without stressing because we might have made the wrong decision? Now, I can’t promise that I can show you how to live entirely without regrets. In fact, I don’t believe that anyone really can. We are all human, which means we all make mistakes. And mistakes are one of the biggest “creators” of regrets. The key is to make as few mistakes as possible, and when we do make a mistake to learn from it rather than feeling like a failure. You’re not a failure if you learn from your mistakes.
Would like to live with as few regrets as possible? Me too! So let’s look at a few tips and tricks to minimize regrets and maximize happiness in life.
Define What You Won’t Compromise On
We all have a few of these at least in our life already (aka, don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal…and other basic laws and courtesies). Those aren’t what I’m talking about though. Rather, I am referring to the slightly smaller, personal things in your daily life and your routine that you won’t compromise on. Or know you shouldn’t because if you do, you will have a bad day. Such as always waking up at or before 6 in the morning. Ensuring you have an hour of quiet before the hustle and bustle of the day kicks in. Going to the gym 3 or more times a week. Not working in bed. Always kissing your husband good morning….and goodnight.
Don’t feel like the list has to be super long. It’s better if it’s not! Stick with a few top actions that you absolutely have to have in your day. Keep it simple so you never forget and compromise.
Pair Down Your Life
We live in a consumer-driven society. Just pop on Facebook or Instagram for a moment and look at all the posts about new cars, new houses, vacations, glamorous new shoes… If you don’t see this on your social media accounts, then you are blessed with an amazing group of friends. It is all too easy, and too tempting, to play keeping-up-with-the-Joneses with friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. So next time you feel the urge, don’t go impulse buying! It is often those unplanned and unbudgeted purchases that we feel regrets over. Instead of getting the latest new gadget or toy, save the money and plan with your whole family on doing something really fun together! You will make more memories and less regrets. Try living a simpler life, with less things but more enjoyment.
Pair Down Your Day
Just like you don’t need more material things in your life (not many more, at least) you probably have a lot of busy work in your day that is not actually accomplishing much and that you could eliminate to free up space and to help yourself relax more. Or, if busy-work is not your pitfall, maybe just getting distracted and dancing between tasks is. For example, I will often find myself putting away dishes or cooking dinner and then being pulled into the living room by my daughter to play peekaboo. Or I will stop to talk to my husband because I’m trying to focus on our conversation. Granted, this is very natural since I do have a child who is under the age of one, but still. If I just completed one task at a time, such as putting away the dishes, then I would have more dedicated time to focus on my family. I have found multitasking, which I used to think I was quite good at it, to really be a huge pitfall for me. Because instead of getting more done in a day, I was really just filling up the day with more “busy” hours when I was stressed out and unhappy…while not getting any more actual work accomplished. When I focus on one task at a time, I actually get more tasks accomplished.
Besides paring down on distractions (such as multitasking and letting one task distract you from another), there are probably tasks that you could just cut out all together during the day. See if you can delete three things from your to do list today and watch what space that creates in tomorrow. I have written a whole post on pairing down here, if you would like to delve into this subject.
I am sure you noticed that I just mentioned one of the main ways to live mindfully above: cutting down on distractions. Better yet, eliminate as many as you possibly can! Eliminate extraneous task, too, while you’re at it. And tasks that cause you more stress than they are worth. If you can’t eliminate them, then outsource them! Your peace will be well worth the money you spend!
And while it is good, and necessary, to think about and plan for the future, and it is fun to reminisce about the past, (and the past can be an excellent resource for writerly inspiration – especially your own past) it is extremely important to live in the present. After all, if you constantly say you will be happy when such-and-such happens, or you would be happy if only you were still in a certain spot in your life, you will never actually be, well, happy! Which is, quite frankly, a miserable way to live. So live to the fullest in every moment you are given! Really smell the delicious concoction bubbling on the stove! Savor the songbirds in the morning with your 1st cup of coffee! Feel the caressing sun on your face in the middle of the afternoon. Notice every beauty, even the tiniest one, that comes your way. Every single day.
Did you know that we laugh less as we get older? Set a toddler in a room with an adult, and I guarantee that the toddler will be the one initiate all the laughter. I suppose this makes sense, since as we get older life gets more serious… Don’t believe me? Then when was the last time you popped out from under a table at someone and then fell flat on your back because you were laughing so hard? My daughter did that just this morning. About 10 times over.
One of the greatest joys in life, though, is getting to laugh. Plus, laughter helps put tough times into perspective and makes hard situations just a little bit easier. So find at least one thing to laugh at today. Even if it is just yourself! After all, being able to laugh at ourselves makes for much better interpersonal relationships. Which makes for a better life.
Are you really ready to live your best, most beautiful life starting today?! I certainly am! Start the journey with me, now.
I would love to know how these tips work for you! Please, please, please leave a comment below! I would love to start a conversation with you.