5 Reasons You Need to Take Action Today (and Live Without Regret)

5 Reasons You Need to Take Action Today (and Live Without Regret)

Next month, 9 years ago, I noticed my first MS symptom.  I was on vacation in West Palm Beach, Fl and noticed a small numb spot on the bottom of my right foot.  I cannot believe it has been NINE years!  Time sure seems to be jetting past me these days.  One thing I have been thinking about is how different I am now compared to that time in my life.  The memories appear in my mind, but feel as though they are from another lifetime.

I encourage you to take time and evaluate your place in life compared to your life 8-10 years ago.  Many times we relate to a specific event or a city we lived in to recall memories.  Or maybe a song or a movie sparks the emotion of a certain time.  So I want you to stop and think about the person you were 5, 8, 10 years ago.  Where did you live?  Where were you working?  Who were your friends?  What was your income?  Take a full inventory and then compare to your life today.  Are you better off now?  Relatively the same?   Are there things you need to accomplish that have been avoided?

Contemplation/Simon David Photography

Time is an interesting topic and can serve as the catalyst for many amazing philosophical conversations.  But when all is said and done, time keeps on a tickin’.   Don’t be that person that looks back and says “I wish I had done _______.”   Do your future self a favor and become a person of action and avoid the regret syndrome.

I was reading about a nurse named Bronnie Ware on Huffington Post.  She is a nurse that worked with patients that were in their last days/moments of life.  She wrote a book titled The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing and here are the five regrets with excerpts from the book:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

“Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. – Bronnie Ware



58 thoughts on “5 Reasons You Need to Take Action Today (and Live Without Regret)

  1. Danny, thanks for sharing this. It is so true. I was talking to a friend today who just lost her husband. She said he just found out in October that he had cancer and we thought we would have more time. I started pushing myself a little to get out and do things even when I am not at my best because if I don’t I will end up not being able to do anything. My chronic pain and emotional issues will always be there but life won’t.

    1. Yes we should. I woke up in the middle of the night last night and experienced a recurring reality of death. I am going to write a post about it for next Wednesday. It is such a strange recurring reality.

  2. Reblogged this on The Richness of a Simple Life and commented:
    As you know, I am all about embracing the moment and learning to let go of the things we don’t really need in order to live a more fulfilled life. This post couldn’t sum it up any better. Change isn’t easy, but it is worth it in the pursuit of a happier life. Make the changes that you can today to live a life that you will be proud of and satisfied with at the end of your race. Thanks Danny for reminding me of this great read!

  3. Can’t agree more with this. I think too often we get caught up in things that in the grand scheme of life are quite insignificant. Taking a moment to appreciate everything we do have, rather than bemoan the things we don’t, will certainly lead to a happier existence.

  4. I read this book. I think it is such a great read and something everyone should think about. I don’t want to be that person….. full of regrets. Life is too short. It makes you prioritize who’s in your life and what you spend your time on. Great post!

    1. I am not so sure I could spend that much time around people that are dying. I have always had a lot of respect for people that work for Hospice and the like.

  5. Great advice and lessons for us all. Thanks. When I had a health scare on my 44th birthday, I was hooked up to wires in the ER awaiting my wife to show up. I can assure you, as you have above, I did not think of work. I thought of things like missing my daughter walk down the aisle and seeing my boys become men. and living out my life with my bride walking beaches and canoing lakes. Thanks for sharing, Keith

    1. I am always appreciative when folk share comments like the one you have shared Keith. It adds deeply to the conversation. It is comments like yours that can help change lives by waking someone up and realizing anything can happen at any moment!

  6. Brilliant post! I’m pleased to have found your blog. My life changers were two shocking deaths of close family and my own redundancy from my ‘dream’ job. We now live our dreams and have a lifestyle that at first view seems extravagant but is in fact built on compromise, enjoying the place we live rather than doing so in grand style. When we run out of money or health we shall have a wealth of good memories to look back on. X

    1. For some reason we wait until tragedy opens our eyes. I have experienced it and seen it happen time and time again. I think it speaks in part to the power of routine and habit in human beings.

  7. These kinds of posts are always good reminders of what life is about.

    I spent my first forty years with the belief that I have to take care of what others want first, before it’s my turn to do what I want.

    When I noticed that my turn never came, I turned on the priorities.

    Today I will of course still helping others, but I see to that I have more time for my interests before spending all time on what others will. That decision has changed a lot for my way of thinking and creating, for me, meaningful content in life.

  8. So true.
    I think there’s a lot to be said for prioritizing out time in all different ways to live a fuller life. I am a cancer survivor and spend a lot less time socializing because I cut the negative, unsupportive acquaintances from my life. I am so much happier without those boat anchors!

    1. Funny you would mention unsupportive people because that fact is on my list of 4 things to eliminate to find more fulfillment post for this Wednesday. I wasted many years of my life dragging around anchors. lol

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