If I want to evaluate how important something is, I ask myself, will this matter in 10 years? If it will, then I put it in the important list and look for ways to work on it. There are habits you could be engaging in today and they are among the things you will regret in ten years.
If you knew for sure that you’ll regret something in the future, then your focus should be on working on it so you don’t regret. Here are some things that if you don’t take good care, you could end up regretting later in life.
You will regret time wasted
You will regret the time you waste on all the wrong things. We all have 24 hour days and what you choose to do with them determines the kind of future you will have.
If you waste time on partying, watching TV, not going for what you want, you might end up regretting this time in 10 years. The spare time you have today should be spent on activities that grow you.
Does this mean that you should be all work and no play? No, rest is important. Relaxation and entertainment are important, but too much pleasure without work makes you lose direction.
A lot of people regret the time they have wasted especially if they did in their twenties. They regret the days they were blacked out or hangovered from too much partying, regret the time they spend just idling while they should have been working on something constructive.
They also regret the time they wasted with the wrong people as I discuss on my next point.
You will regret staying in the wrong relationships
You will regret all the time you wasted staying in the wrong relationships. Whether it is romantic or friendships, you will regret the time you spent with people who drain you as opposed to people who build you up.
People who stay in the wrong relationships usually base their stay on sunk costs such as ‘but we have been together for so long!’ or ‘but I have invested so much (emotions/money) in this relationship I can’t simply just walk away!’.
The longer you think of the time you have spent on the relationship, the longer you stay and if it is wrong for you, it doesn’t get any better.
I talked to a friend who recently walked out of an almost decade-long relationship. While she was so proud of herself for finally managing to walk away, she expressed her regret for having stayed for so long while she knew in the early years that the relationship was not good for her.
She regrets the years of her life she will never get back. Persisting and trying to work on your relationship is important, but the moment you realize that your efforts are not making any progress and improving your situation, you need to know when it is time to walk away.
I read about this in Originals and discussed it in an article, should you stay or should you leave? Read this article to see your options if you are in such a situation and see the options you have before deciding whether to stay or leave.
You will regret giving in to your fears and self-doubt
We all feel fear. Our fears are especially heightened when we want to do something that challenges us and our identity. Fear has kept us from doing a lot of things we know we should be doing.
If you let fear take the best of you, there is a high likelihood that you will regret this in 10 years. In his book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Mark Manson discusses that the more something threatens our identity, the more we avoid it.
If something is scary, we don’t want to confront it because it will shake us to the core. Manson suggests that the more fear you feel, the more reason to do what you need to do.
This is further discussed by Adam Grant in Originals. He says that non-conformists don’t achieve because they are not afraid, they achieve it in spite of the fear.
Another author that addresses this is Stephen Pressfield who in his book, The War of Art, says that fear is good. Fear is an indicator that tells us that we have to do this. The more we fear something, the more reason to do it.
If there’s something that has been calling you for a long time, and fear is keeping you from doing it, I can bet you will regret not having done it in 10 years. Think of this quote, what would you do if you were not afraid?
You will regret not taking care of your body
“If I knew I was going to walk this long, I would have taken better care of myself” – Mickey Mantle
Everything you are putting your body through today will show in a few years. All the wrong kinds of food will eventually show. You will suffer for not exercising your body and not taking care of it.
If you want to avoid regret in the future, take care of your body. Eat the right kind of food and exercise as well. Your physical being will thank you in the future for doing this.
This is the same way your mind will thank you for taking care of it. I read this interesting book, The Body Keeps Score, in which, the author who is a psychiatrist, shows how our past traumas affect us today.
Going through some form of abuse, for example, has the potential to affect how you live in the future and the decisions you make. We don’t have much control over most of what happens to us. However, for the little that we can control, let’s do that.
You will regret not investing in your improvement
You are a work in progress, and the moment that you think you have learned all that there is to learn, then you get stuck. You stop growing. You develop a fixed mindset.
Not investing in your improvement will be something that you regret in the future. This means investing in self-education to learn more knowledge and skills that will put you in a better position in life. This means reading, watching and listening to the right kind of material.
While you are still young, invest in growing the different areas that could improve the value of your life. Learn a new skill and work on your personal development.
You will regret having a fixed mindset
A fixed mindset is when you believe that your abilities determine your future. This means if you are smart or talented, you believe solely on your intelligence and talent, and you don’t work hard since well, you are already good as it is.
This fixed mindset leads to a lot of wasted talents. The other end of the spectrum is when you believe that your ability is fixed, such that if you are not good at something, you will never get better at it so, why try?
This kind of mindset hinders you from taking up opportunities and working hard since you tend to believe that you are not good enough and working hard will not make any difference.
A fixed mindset is something you can regret in the next 10 years. This is because if you believe the first kind of mindset, that you are smart and talented and you don’t have to work as hard, you will have wasted your so-called talent and intelligence since they alone will not take you anywhere.
You won’t have developed a good work ethic and this can hinder your chances of progress. Getting stuck on this kind of mindset also makes you afraid of failure.
You tend to see failure in an event or a person as a failure of you as a person. You believe that you have failed and you are probably not as intelligent or as talented as you thought.
Having a fixed mindset can also hinder you from learning and improving yourself. A fixed mindset makes you think what you know is sufficient and you don’t want to learn more. Imagine a life without learning! That is sure a life you will regret!
You will regret not taking enough actions
Our problem is not ignorance, its inaction – Dale Carnegie
Many of us have something we know we need to do, career-wise, relationships wise, and in other areas, but somehow we still don’t take action. We procrastinate. We wait until we are ready. We give in to our fears and doubts. We wait until we are motivated or we are confident enough to take on a challenge.
In all the waiting, time passes. And before we know it, 10 years have gone by and we are not any closer to our dreams. If you don’t take action, you will regret this in 10 years because you will have wasted so much time, so many chances and opportunities and you will not be a step closer to your goals.
Are you guilty of any of the above habits? Work on changing from toxic habits that are making you unhappy and take charge of your life. It’s your job to create the life that you want.