If you knew your life will end tomorrow, would you be satisfied with the way you lived? Have you done everything you wanted to do with your life or would you have some of the biggest regrets in life discussed below?

In the past year, since the COVID-19 pandemic started, we have witnessed just how fragile life is, and how quickly things can change. We have learned the importance of enjoying everything life has to offer because tomorrow is not guaranteed.

To avoid looking back later and wishing you had done things differently, it would be good if you learned to live your life to the fullest and appreciate every moment now. Recognizing some of the most common regrets people have later in life can help you avoid having the same ones. 

8 of the Biggest Regrets in Life and How to Avoid Them

  1. Wasted Time

Time wasted can never be recovered, and this one of the biggest regrets people have when they are older or dying. In this, we are not talking about the 1 or 2 hours you spent watching TV; we are talking several hours, days, months, or years wasted on things that didn’t make your life better but instead derailed it.

For instance, some people’s biggest regrets in life include remaining in careers they don’t love, staying in bad relationships, being a couch potato, making a fuss over trivialities, time spent holding grudges, and obsessing over past mistakes.

What makes us regret wasted time is not just because we can never get it back, it is because we wish we had spent it on more meaningful things. Learn to prioritize what is important to you and spend more time on it.

  1. Missed opportunities and unaccomplished goals

I wish I had more confidence to apply for my dream job when I had the chance. I wish I traveled the world when I had the opportunity. I wish I had quit my job and started a business when I had the money. I wish I talked to that boy/girl I liked. I wish!

Missed opportunities and unaccomplished goals can bug you and keep you from feeling fully satisfied with your life. You will keep imagining what could have happened if you had taken the chance to do something, and it can become one of your biggest regrets in life.

From today onward, start trusting your instincts and seize opportunities that come your way. Have the courage to say yes, take some risks and chase your dreams. After all, you can’t know what could have been if you don’t take any action.

READ ALSO: 7 Things You Can Do Now That Your Future Self Will Thank You For

  1. Words left unsaid

You regret words you didn’t say more than those you said. Is there something you wish you had said to someone? How often do you tell people what you actually think or feel? To avoid unsaid words becoming one of your biggest regrets in life, start telling people what you feel about them when you feel it. For instance, telling them I love you, I’m proud of you, and I’m sorry. 

Also, we often shy away from telling people when we are struggling with mental health issues or when feeling hurt and upset, only to wish we had told someone sooner to get the assistance we need or resolve an issue. For instance, one of your biggest regrets in life could be words that you wish you had said to a bully or when standing up to a boss.

The sands in your hourglass are running out. Your time here is limited, and you never know if you will have the opportunity to express your true feelings. So, have the courage to be open about your feelings when you still have the chance to prevent unsaid words becoming one of your life’s biggest regrets.

Additionally, making amends with those you could have wronged relieves you of some of the weight of guilt you might be carrying around. 

READ ALSO: 10 Things You Should Never Apologize for

  1. Working too much and not spending time with loved ones

With the fast pace of the modern world, many people are forced to work too much and have little time to spare for family and friends. Time passes quickly, and before you know it, your kids are all grown up and no longer need you, you have drifted away from friends, and your partner has grown resentful of you for having so little time for them. 

People make time for things that are important to them. To prevent working too much from becoming one of your biggest regrets in life, try to balance your work and personal life by scheduling time for family and friends the same way you would with work appointments.

Put the phone or other digital devices down and actually be present when spending time with your loved ones. If you can’t meet up with your friends, stay in touch via social media and other communication platforms to maintain your bond and be happier.

READ ALSO: How to Keep More Good Friends in Your Life

  1. Not being true to yourself

We live in a world that is constantly trying to tell us who we should be and what we should be doing. From society to our parents, they all try to change us or mold us into something we are not. To be acceptable, many people conform to these expectations and forget their individuality and uniqueness.

If you fall into this trap, some of your biggest regrets in life will be that you did not have the courage to be your true self, that you spent too much time worrying about what others thought of you, and changed yourself to please others.

It would be easier if you just accepted yourself the way you are and focused on what you feel and think about yourself, to avoid having this big regret later in life.

  1. Getting involved with the wrong people

The people you surround yourself with can shape your future. Spend more time with the wrong crowd, and you become just like them and do what they do. One of the biggest regrets of the dying and elderly is having spent their younger years with the wrong people.

For example, those who encourage you to make bad decisions such as abusing drugs, overindulging in alcohol, and being involved in immoral or unethical behaviors such as crime. They fill your life with negativity and make you feel bad about yourself if you don’t do things their way.

To avoid having this as your biggest regrets in life, choose friends and partners that influence your life positively. Have genuine ones that support you, encourage you to chase your dreams, and bring out the best in you.

READ ALSO: 11 Types of Toxic Friends You Don’t Need in Your Life

  1. Not taking care of yourself

Your physical and mental health should be a priority. Your future self will thank you if you take care of yourself when younger. If you do otherwise, however, this can become one of your biggest regrets in life. As you get older, you become more susceptible to diseases, keeping excess weight off becomes difficult, your skin becomes thinner and more fragile, and cognitive functioning declines.

When asked what they would advise their younger selves to do, most older people confess that they would request them to make healthier choices as this is one of their life’s biggest regrets.

For instance, eat healthy diets, exercise regularly, wear sunscreen to protect the skin, get enough sleep, and take self-care measures to protect your mental health such as journaling, taking mental health breaks, and practicing mindfulness meditation and yoga.

  1. Not allowing yourself to be happy

In the book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, author Bronnie Ware states that not allowing ourselves to be happy is among life’s biggest regrets. Even though our happiness is in our control, we often take life too seriously and forget to enjoy the journey. We put others first and ourselves last, we judge ourselves too harshly, work too much, constantly worry about the future, and are never content with who we are and what we have.

When things are going well in our lives, we don’t trust that they can be good and always find ways to sabotage our happiness.

To prevent this from becoming one of your biggest regrets in life, do more things that make you happy. Believe that you deserve to be happy, laugh and smile more often, be kinder to yourself, celebrate your small wins, and finally, let go and forgive yourself for past mistakes.

READ ALSO: You Are Good Enough: 5 Ways to Recognize Your Self Worth

Final Thoughts

Your future is shaped by what you do today. Sadly, many of us end up regretting things we did or those we failed to do, thereby making our lives unfulfilling. Lack of courage to do various activities is the most common reason for having the biggest regrets in life listed above. Start being more confident and brave.

Dare to live the life you’ve always wanted and do everything you want to do, so when you are old and grey lying on your death bed, you won’t have any regrets. Make decisions that positively impact your future, and thus avoid having these 8 biggest regrets in life.

Could you be doing any of the above activities? What will you do to avoid having these regrets?


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28 thoughts on “8 Biggest Regrets in Life and How to Avoid Them

  1. I’ve been thinking about this lately, how things could’ve turned out so differently if I would’ve done this instead of that. At the end of the day, life is too short to be regretful and we’re shaped by our experiences — we wouldn’t be the people we are today if we hadn’t gone through the ups and downs of life. What’s helped me is to think of missed opportunities as blessings of protection — if it wasn’t meant to be, then the universe is trying to protect me in some way.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I can’t take full credit for it as I adopted it from somebody else’s life advice, but it has helped me deal with regret and rejection.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And now you just shared with one more person or more who might read the comments. I think you can also use missed opportunities as learning opportunities so you never repeat the same actions that caused you to miss them the first time

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The past year has definitely given us time to reflect on what’s important and the priorities for our lives going forward. I have been living in fear for a lot of my life but I’m ready to take action now as there is so much more of the world I want to see and experience

    Liked by 2 people

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