Elephant Bathing in Laos – Live Life Without Regrets
In an article I read some years back, an Australian nurse was interviewed about the counseling she had done with the dying during their last few days.
She decided to compile a list with the top five regrets of the dying.
It turns out the number 1 regret that they all shared was ‘Having the courage to live a life true to themselves, not the life others expected of them’. She said this was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look clearly back on it, it’s easy to see how many dreams went unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to the choice they made, or didn’t make. She said, “Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”
Live Life Without Regrets
Reading that article many years ago had impacted me so significantly that I decided to hold on to the article so I could keep it as a periodic reminder as I carried on with my life, hoping to never fall victim to this type of regret at the end of my life. And what I hope to do here in this post is to put this at the forefront of your mind as well.
How would I do this? By persuading you to create a list… A list of all the things you want to do, see, and experience in life before you kick the proverbial ‘bucket’. Some of you may know it as ‘bucket list’. In fact, the two word term ‘bucket list’ has become a bit cliche, a heavily overused expression that has been popping up too frequently over the past 5 years. But is that any reason not to have one? Call it what you want, I think everyone should have one!
So to ask you directly, do you have an actual bucket list where you have written out all the things you want to do in life? And of those, are you planning to take some action and do a few of those things on that list this year?
Although I’ve had a list of the things I want to do, see and experience throughout life with me for many years now, I’d strongly encourage you to create one as well. It’s the best way to live life without regrets. After all, this is your list of the things you would in fact regret if not done right?!? So keep it updated, and at the start of every year, pick at least two things on there that you will make happen in that year. It will keep you motivated, excited and at the end of the year, you can look back on new memories created as well as the fulfillment of having realized at least a few of your dreams, no matter what they were.
To Live Life without regrets, Make it simple; Take 3 basic steps on creating a list:
1. Write it down
The best way to create and keep a list is to find yourself a small book that is dedicated to nothing but your dreams and aspirations in life. Something you can easily find, reference, grow and update as the years past. Write out a list and get it to 100. And it is so much easier to do this with pen and paper than digitally. Don’t ask why but sub-consciously, it will have a greater impact to put it to paper than a computer. If you’re struggling getting to 100, check out the amazing website, BucketList.org It compiles the dreams and aspirations of others and is a great way to generate ideas and share your own along with putting a deadline to each item on your list… the most crucial factor in making it happen.
2. Prioritize your list
Next, after you have gone through and compiled your list, read back through it and identify the things that truly are important to you vs. the ones that just sound like a good idea. To test each one, simply ask yourself if you would truly regret not having done that ‘something’ when on your death bed. If you think, ‘Nah, not really, I don’t care’ then you can take it off your list. It’s the very opposite for the things that need to be on there… those things that will leave you with a heavy heart having not done them. You may already have some regrets like this. It may not be too late for them and don’t make more of them!
3. Translate your list into Reality
Make a plan each year to fulfill some things on that list. Pick 2 or 3 things. Start with small steps towards each one. It could be a simple phone call, making an appointment, checking that flight or sending an email. Schedule them in for a date and time. Whatever it is that will move you in the direction of making that dream happen.
Sunset in Vang Vieng, Laos – Live Life without regrets
“Someday is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you”
He couldn’t be more correct… This quote is a reflection of how important it is not put things off and those are words I try to live by. Live life without regrets because the last thing you want is get to the end of your life and look back on things left undone. After all, it’s not the mistakes that we make in life, it’s the opportunities we missed that we regret the most.
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