5 Ways to Regret-Proof Your Life May 08, 2018 / Unstoppable Church
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit our web page! As a thank-you, we have put together this page as a resource to you. We know we don’t have all the answers, but we have discovered a few things that have helped us over the years and we think they might help you, too.
We get to have a lot of conversations with a lot of different people. During those conversations one of the themes that rise to the surface over and over is regret. Another word that often comes up in those conversations is the word ‘decisions’.
In so many ways life comes down to that one word… decisions. Right now, your quality of life is a by-product of decisions. Some of those decisions were made by you, some decisions were made for you, and some decisions were made by others and have had a profound impact on you.
Chances are you’ve already made many decisions that will pay off in your future. Some decisions will pay off in a good way, while others will come back in the future with negative payoff and cause feelings of regret. You can’t change the past. So, in that sense, you can’t regret-proof your future. You can, however, start right now making better decisions that will have a better payoff in the future. We are confident you can set yourself up for a better future with fewer regrets.
There is another word that bubbles to the surface time and again in our conversations with people… it is the word ‘happy’. Everybody wants to be happy. It would seem regret and happiness (more specifically the lack of happiness) are inextricably connected.
Maybe you need to say this next phrase out loud… regret is the enemy of future happiness.
We don’t think many people would argue with that statement. Here is another statement that is practically impossible to argue with; People who consistently make intentional healthy life choices have significantly fewer regrets than those who just do what feels good at any given moment.
Here’s an interesting idea - Researchers think that roughly 40 – 50% of our happiness is under our own control; the rest is determined by genetics and external factors. That means there's a lot we can do to control our own happiness. We happen to think much of it starts with decisions.
With that in mind, here are five ways you can begin to regret-proof your future and maybe find some of that elusive happiness you’ve been looking for:
1. Be intentional.
People who succeed are usually the people who make a few key decisions and then manage those decisions daily. We like to say it this way – live with intentionality. It is impossible to make definitive plans for all of your life because there are so many twists, turns, and unavoidable circumstances. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t live with intentionality. Be intentional about the things that matter most to you. If you would say your family is the most important thing in your life, then your calendar and resources should reflect that. If you say your spouse is a priority then live a life that reflects that. Most people settle for living their lives, not leading their lives. Think about that last sentence… you really do have a choice.
Here are a couple of tips to live intentionally and begin to lead your life in a healthy direction:
- Write it down – Think about what is really most important to you. Now, take a moment and write it down. There is a lot of interesting research that points to a strong correlation between writing things down and actually achieving them.
- Make a plan - A bad plan is better than no plan! What you will discover is this; taking steps towards a preferred vision of the future often leads to a clearer picture of what your future should be. Quit hoping for a better future. Start planning for a better future.
- Take action - Take immediate action towards what you wrote down. You can’t finish today, but you can start. Example: you can’t lose 40 lbs. today, but you can start logging your calories and keeping track of an important component of what will bring you success in that endeavor.
2. Build the Right Relationships.
A major study that followed hundreds of men for more than 70 years found that the happiest (and healthiest) were those who cultivated strong relationships with people they trusted to support them. There is a saying ‘show me your five closest friends, and I’ll show you your future’. Being successful in life has a lot to do with the people you surround yourself with. I don’t know about you, but most of my ‘I got in big trouble’ stories from my childhood start with the phrase ‘me and (insert a friends name)’. We rarely get in trouble alone. We rarely succeed alone. Just a little something to think about.
3. Realize Gratitude Matters.
People who slow down to reflect on good things in their lives report being more satisfied. People often make bad decisions that negatively impact their future because they are discontent in the present. Living with gratitude in the present fosters contentment. A good life exercise for you might be to actually write down one thing a day that you are grateful for. Maybe it’s hard for you to think of one thing. We can almost guarantee that if you start looking for things to be grateful for you will begin to see things to be grateful for.
4. Serve Others.
Did you know that acts of kindness towards other people can boost your mood? Give your friends a ride to the airport or spend an afternoon volunteering. Mow an elderly neighbors yard or help them with a project. Research has shown that people who perform such acts report being happier. There is actually an area of study labeled ‘the science of generosity’.
5. Get a DeLorean
Be optimistic… Easier said than done, right? It is hard to be optimistic if your life is bogged down with setbacks or the baggage of past decisions. Stay encouraged, your future can be better than your past.
One 16th century writer penned these words; “Optimism starts with what may be the most extraordinary of human talents: mental time travel. That is, the ability to move back and forth through time and space in one’s mind. To think positively about our prospects, it helps to be able to imagine ourselves in the future. Although most of us take this ability for granted, our capacity to envision a different time and place is critical for our survival. It allows us to plan ahead, to save food and resources for times of scarcity, and to endure hard work in anticipation of a future reward.”
Maybe this is why being intentional matters… it helps us envision a future better than our present. Having a preferred vision of the future can help you endure present obstacles and the pain of change it will take for you to get to that preferred future. By the way, buying a DeLorean is bad advice (unless you also have a Doc Brown), it was a horrible car. But, being a mental time traveler can get you over the hurdles that tend to pop up as you move towards your preferred vision of the future.
We know those five tips won’t cure all your problems, but we do believe they can help you take some next steps towards a better future with fewer regrets. We sincerely thank you for taking the time to visit our website and click on this page - we hope it helps.
But wait, there’s more! Sounds like an infomercial, doesn’t it? Preach on it, Billy Mays…
We honestly do feel like there is a lot more to say, but if you just want those five tips, and don’t care to get into the ‘church’ or ‘Jesus’ side of things then simply stop reading now and click out of this page. However, If you desire to explore these ideas a little further then here is what might surprise you; Jesus and scripture have a lot to say about all of the things listed above.
Here is something you might find even more interesting. A majority of the people we personally surveyed said that happiness was the most important thing to them. They also correlated happiness with a better life. Would you be interested to know that what you say you want for you, is actually the same thing Jesus said He came to give you? Jesus said that He came to give you life, and life more abundantly. Think about that, not just life, but a full life.
Scripture has a lot to say about wise choices. We believe the people who follow Jesus the closest are not only the happiest people but also the ones with the fewest regrets. On the fun side of things, did you know that statistically Christians live longer on average and are statistically happier… you basically become an X-man! We wish…
We know people have lots of reasons for not being involved with a church. We get it. But, our hope is to be a great church for people who, for whatever reason, don’t do church. What we mean by that is that we want to be a place where you can belong before you believe. It’s okay to have questions, it’s also okay to be curious about spiritual things. And, if you are the least bit curious and want a safe place to explore what Jesus, the Bible, and the church have to say about life, then Unstoppable Church may be a good place for you to start.
We really do hope we see you soon… we feel like you belong here!