There’s a philosophy of “no regrets” meaning that everything you’ve done in life, every choice you made, happened exactly the way it was meant to.
Well, yes, in the sense that it happened. So clearly it was supposed to.
But no, in the sense that you could have made a different choice. And in hindsight you may have.
What’s actually important is how you use regret to change your future behavior, rather than define it. Which often means preventing future regrets.
Start by considering regrets you currently hold, both large and small, like:
- Worry over what someone thinks about what you said at the meeting
- That you let your health slide
- When you put work first a little too often
- Drinking too much the night before
- Not telling the truth
Recognizing regret is the first step. It’s in essence saying, “I don’t want to do that again!” But don’t let it mean more than that. Lamenting your past is like arguing with reality. Unhelpful and hurtful. It keeps you stuck, recreating a past you don’t want instead of a future you do.
Once you recognize regret, identify its usefulness. If you drank too much last night, consider the situation:
- How were you feeling and how do you want to behave the next time you feel that way?
- What made over-drinking possible and how can you set yourself up for a different outcome?
- How do you want to feel the next morning, and what will make that possible tonight?
You want to take responsibility and learn from it, but stop before it becomes blame. Cultivate the ability to have self-compassion and treat yourself well, and not wallow in self-indulgent behavior (you know, the very thing you regret!).
We’re approaching a time of year that for many people becomes a six-week habit-busting whirlwind that ends in regret, and feeling “behind” come January.
So how about changing that this year and set yourself up for a No Regrets January? I am starting an easy three-day challenge to walk you through how to enjoy the holidays without deprivation and still fit into your pants on January 1. Email me and say “I want in!” and I’ll make sure you’re among the first to be notified when it’s announced next week!