I have one word you need to ditch from your vocabulary once and for all. REGRET. Because the truth is, if you spend all your time mourning all the things you “should have” said or done, it’ll distract you from all the great stuff you’re doing now, or could be doing. So, here’s a take charge plan for letting go of any regrets you have and moving on – for good. This comes from Real Simple magazine and life coach Gail Blanke.
- Take inventory of your “incompletions.” Look at various aspects of your life and determine the gaps between where you are now, and where you’d like to be. Consider the things you want to learn, but haven’t; what you want to change, but haven’t; what you’d like to do, but haven’t; and what you’d like to say, but haven’t. This doesn’t mean looking back – it’s looking forward.
- Then: Assign completion dates. Look at your list, and assign deadlines. Mark each task with either an “N” for NOW, an “L” for LATER, or “NTL” for NOT IN THIS LIFETIME! If you mark something with an “N”, that really means now. Pick up the phone and DO IT. Schedule that lunch with your college buddy, or tell your cousin how sorry you were you didn’t make it to her wedding, so you can stop avoiding family functions. If you’ve marked a task with an “L” for LATER, you have to say when – so put down a date. It shouldn’t make you feel pressured, but it shouldn’t be too far off, either. You want to be motivated to at least start to take action. As for the NTL’s – if one of your incompletions is, say, being a contestant on American Idol, and you’ve decided to focus on other things you now feel are more important – that’s where this category comes in.
- Start crossing things off! Blanke says you’re in charge of the list, it’s not in charge of you. So, cross off the NTLs – you’ll be surprised how much lighter you’ll feel instantly. Get to work on crossing off the N’s and check in with the others at least once a week. Remember, your list is a work in progress, just like you are. By simply creating it, you’ve made that crucial step of moving past regret, and looking to the future.