Ten years might seem so far away that you can’t imagine starting to think about it right now. But deep down, I suspect you know that to create the future you want, you have to start building it from this very moment.
The first step in this process is to evaluate your behavior, ensuring that you don’t unconsciously sabotage your chance at happiness. To help you on the path, I’ve outlined seven of the choices people most commonly regret. Ask yourself if you’re guilty of any of these things, and if so, start working to remedy those issues/change those habits as efficiently as possible:
1. Spending more time online than offline.
We love our devices, which is fine. But it’s important to balance the time we spend with them with time spent connecting IRL. It’s easy to get so caught up with our mobiles, tablets, and laptops that we forget to enjoy nature and feel the breeze on our faces. Our productivity can also suffer if we waste time online that we could be using to get our work done offline.
2. Following someone else’s dream.
Whether we want to please our parents, a partner, or a mentor, it’s easy to convince ourselves that we’re doing something we want to do when it’s really just that we want to give other people what they want. We can’t blame anyone else for this, though. It’s always our own choice: to define ourselves based on what we do for the others and not for ourselves.
There’s nothing wrong with being generous and kind, but a lack of self-respect or boundaries isn’t something you’ll find in happy and successful people.
3. Ignoring your feelings.
This goes both ways. You will regret all the times you didn’t say, “I love you” and all the anger and frustration that you didn’t express when you felt it.
No matter what the circumstance, you might not have a second chance to make things right, to apologize, to express gratitude, or to make sense of the past. But the scars will remain with you. So, speak your truth when you have the chance.
4. Working too much.
We all need to work to live, and it gives us a feeling of usefulness, purpose. We want to be economically free, able to provide for our loved ones, and to have enough money left that we can enjoy ourselves.
And yet, when we are overworked, we stop appreciating it—we see it as a burden, and that robs us of the enjoyment we should get from it, as well as communicating to those around us that to be an adult is an arduous, painful task that should be avoided. It also suggests to our children that money is more important than spending time with the ones you love, doing what you love. I’m willing to bet that isn’t what you want.
5. Neglecting your health.
You get only one body. Give it the attention it deserves. It requires proper maintenance, including a balanced diet and exercise.
Many of us realize we are mortal only when our bodies start to fall apart. Then we regret what we have done and desperately try to fix it with extreme measures—but it’s infinitely more difficult to clean up a mess than to avoid making one in the first place.
6. Keeping toxic relationships.
The same way that bad food can ruin your body, toxic relationships can destroy your mental and emotional health. They can be of any nature: a romantic partner, a schoolmate, a boss, your parents, even your neighbor.
How do you know if a relationship is toxic? Analyze how your interactions with these people affect your life. How much better would you feel if you didn’t have to deal with them? If imagining your life without (or with less of) this person looks good to you, take a step back and, without making a fuss about it, move on with your life.
7. Not saving for a rainy day.
Unexpected expenses are bound to come up. You should be ready for them. Saving money for an unforeseen illness, a job loss, or a death in the family is something that will inevitably lessen the stress of a given situation that will inherently be stressful already.
We don’t want to think about the possibility of any tragedy happening in our lives, but not planning for these life struggles is always a regrettable financial choice.
Despite the fact that we don’t know all the variables we’ll be dealing with in 10 years, we know that what we do now is an important part of how life pans out down the line.
I invite you to evaluate your choices and to root out the habits that are planting bad seeds in your life.