Here are a number of tips to deal with regret and start living life in a positive way.
1. You only act on what information you have at the time
Sometimes circumstances change, so when you look back on things you feel like you should have made a different decision. But how would you have known this at the time?
You need to stop being so hard on yourself. At the time, you felt that you were picking the best choice. Even in the next few days you will make choices that will affect your future, so try to look forward instead of back.
2. Stay in the present
People like to daydream about the future. When they’re at work they think about being at home and when they’re at home they start worrying about work the next day.
Later we end up wishing we had spent more time doing things that were more productive.
So instead of thinking about things that could happen in the future, we should really focus on the present and enjoy the moment we are in.
3. Realise the consequences of your actions
Saying “yes’ to one thing could mean you have to say “no” to others. We all want good relationships, fun, recognition and money. Unfortunately there’s only so much time in the day, so you will have to make sacrifices.
If you look back on things and think you should have enjoyed parts of your life a bit more, this could mean you said “no” to fun and “yes” to money. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – just think if you said “yes” to having more fun and “no” to having more money, would you swap it?
4. Recognise your current priorities
At certain periods of your life you typically want to focus on different things. They include fun, career, money, family etc.
Looking back and wishing your past self spent time doing something else isn’t productive. You need to recognise that imposing your current values on your past self just doesn’t make sense.
Our values change as we get older. Even now you might be focusing on something that your future self wouldn’t do. It’s fine – what’s important is that your current values align with what you are doing.