If I look back at my life to ten years ago, I see such a different person from the one I am now. I was definitely going down a self-destructive path. Despite my good intentions towards taking care of my health, I was all about quick fixes, going to extremes, and living for the moment without any concern for consequences.
I sure am glad I snapped out of that destructive lifestyle — though the change didn’t happen overnight.
Now, ten years later, I find myself focusing more on long-term plans and balance. I’m still living for the moment but now with complete concern for the consequences. It’s this last part that has been at the forefront of my attention for the past two years.
I have come to accept that I will always be a work in progress. I may reach several of my goals in the process, but I will always have something more to work on and strive for. Looking at my life in a more holistic manner, in which each choice I make informs the next, has had a positive effect on me. This is what led to me developing a Whole Life Resolution and not just new year’s resolutions. I now strive to keep the bigger picture in mind. I want to be happy and I want to make a positive contribution to society and to the lives of people around me. Teaching/coaching plays well into my desire to make a positive contribution. However, striving for personal happiness is one that needs more time and attention.
A starting point for me has been to develop one fundamental daily goal: to end each day without feeling regret. I don’t always accomplish this, but it’s what I strive to do. I don’t want to end the day thinking: I regret not speaking to my family today, I regret not texting my best friend, I regret not taking the time to prepare my food for tomorrow; I regret not adding just a bit more weight to my lift; I regret not sparring one more round; I regret not getting to bed earlier …
By having the target of not feeling regret at the end of the day, I am much more conscious of my decisions.
There have been a couple of days when I thought – man, I really wasn’t feeling well, I shouldn’t have done that workout. I feel worse than before.
There have been days when after eating a gourmet burger I thought – man, I don’t regret that at all!
The measuring scale of regret is not constant. It depends on your circumstances. The weight of the regret also differs. For example, I still regret not putting on an extra 2 kg of weight during a CrossFit WOD 3 weeks ago — It still bugs me. However, instead of letting that thought of regret derail me, I’m going to remember that the next time I have the opportunity to challenge myself.
That’s the trick — aiming for a day/life of no regrets, but being strong enough to restart and move on should any regrets happen.
Now if I feel regret, I use it as a lesson, as a way to reevaluate my choices the next time I am put in that same situation.What can I do differently next time? Is the regret I’m feeling a serious regret or temporary disappointment?
Although I take some time to analyze what happened, I’ve found that it’s important not to dwell on my mistakes. Rather, I assess, reevaluate, and come up with an action plan of how to move forward.
Having ‘No Regrets’ as my general daily/life goal has been helpful in all areas of my life – from interacting with friends and family to tackling my research to working with my clients to focusing on my own health and fitness. It makes me aware of the words I choose to speak, the people I choose to interact with, the things on which I want to spend time. It’s still tricky to find balance, but I’m working on it and I’m happy with the results so far.