Regret is a natural part of life. We all have regrets, but life is about having as few of them as possible.
For example, a whopping 74% of Americans have some sort of financial regret. But, like failure, there are lessons to be learned from regret.
If you’re determined to live a regret-free, guilt-free life, here are the things you should be saying “yes” to.
1) Go on that spontaneous trip
Travel is one of the greatest joys life has to offer. The world is so much bigger than your neighborhood.
As someone who’s made a life from travel (nearing 100 countries!), there’s never been one time where I’ve regretted saying yes to a spontaneous trip. Whether it’s Paris, a Namibian safari, or a helicopter trip around the Himalayan Mountains, these are the things you’ll remember forever.
So, get out there because there’s so much to explore. But regret-free doesn’t have to mean big things. Here’s what else you should be saying yes to more often.
2) Don’t be afraid of a little PDA
Don’t let what others think of you hold you back. Engaging in a little public display of affection is nothing to feel guilty about.
Let yourself run wild, whether it’s a hug or a quick peck on the cheek. Just don’t break any laws, like when Hugh Grant got caught engaging in a sexual act with a prostitute in a parking lot back in 1995.
3) Stop hiding from your mom
Moms have a way of getting under our skin sometimes or just calling at the worst possible time. But she’s full of good advice and guidance.
Plus, did you know that moms have healing powers? According to one study, hearing your mom’s voice produces extra oxytocin, a hormone your body uses to heal wounds.
And remember, our time with Mom is limited, so don’t miss out on a long conversation. You never know when the opportunity might vanish forever!
4) Head to that local event
When was the last time you engaged with your friends and neighbors? It’s easy to avoid festivals, county fairs, and farmer’s markets because of all the people. But what if you said “yes” instead?
Bump into old acquaintances, connect with the movers and shakers in your neck of the woods, and learn about local businesses.
There’s never been a better way of feeling more connected. And here’s something else you can do to increase your connectedness.
5) Talk to new people
“Stranger danger!” How many times did you hear some variation of this growing up?
After generations of being afraid of strangers, many of us are scared to talk to new people. This is why 12.1% of Americans have some sort of social anxiety disorder.
But avoiding people means missing out.
Counter that by expanding your social circle. Make new friends, build a professional network, or find your soulmate. It only happens when you say “yes” to reaching out.
6) Reconnect with old faces
Sometimes, we lose contact with those we appreciate the most. So, why not make it your mission to delve into your past?
No, we don’t mean sliding into your ex’s DMs. We mean reaching out online to old school friends and work acquaintances.
Just last year, two of my old school friends got back in touch with me, and we met again after 15 years of radio silence.
So, reach out because what do you have to lose?
7) Fill your home with flowers
You’ve heard the one about stopping to smell the roses. But this isn’t some hippie-dippie life coach platitude. Smelling the roses can indeed improve your life.
According to a study reported in Time Magazine, a broad range of flowers and plants can purify the air around you, protecting you from indoor and outdoor air pollution.
Starting your own garden allows you to start a new hobby that’s good for the body and soul. Also, here’s another habit you can pick up for a regret-free life.
8) Take that photo
Not looking so hot and don’t want to be in the group photo?
Chill out because nobody will care about those imperfections 20 years from now. All you’ll remember is the occasion and the people you spent it with.
Memories fall from our minds with every passing year. Don’t lose those precious moments because you were too vain to be in the photo.
9) Commit to making memories
Make memories with friends, family, or alone. Part of living a regret-free life means going out of your way to create memories.
Epic moments aren’t going to come to you without prompting. You’ve got to be willing to try new things and take some selfies along the way.
Living your life this way will ultimately leave you with nothing but smiles. Read on for some ways you can begin creating these new memories.
10) Go out instead of staying home
Too tired from adulting to go out on the town? News flash: We’re all tired, and it won’t get any better.
We all need time to decompress with a movie and some snacks. But if this is your go-to, you’re missing out.
Ignore how tired you are and say “yes” to that cocktail date. You never know what might happen!
11) Let your kids/spouse make dinner
The kitchen might be your domain, jealously guarded like a dragon sitting on his pile of gold, but sometimes there’s a time to open up.
Invite your kids or spouse to get their Masterchef on and make dinner. Whether it’s a bunch of overcooked pasta or some awkwardly shaped cookies, it’s a time to get messy and have a lot of laughs along the way.
12) Eat that chocolate
In a minefield of influencers, models, and fitness freaks, it’s easy to feel inadequate about how you look.
I, for one, stopped caring about my weight long ago because life’s too short for salads. Ultimately, the way I approach this issue is we all die ugly, so why worry?
If you’re worried about that extra slice of cake making it to your thighs, don’t. The cake will bring you far more joy than worrying about the reading on a digital scale.
13) Listen to your elders
Anyone who has lost a loved one laments that they didn’t ask them more questions about their pasts. Every time someone passes on, knowledge and experience is lost forever.
If Grandpa loves to bring up his past, listen to him. Stories and wise advice enable others’ legacies to live on while allowing you to avoid making the same mistakes they did.
Plus, this is something you can pass on to your future offspring.
14) Give back to your community
Pick up a stint volunteering for a cause you care about. There’s no better way to enrich the soul and do something new.
Whether it’s picking up trash or helping the homeless, knowing that you’re making a difference will make your heart sing.
If you haven’t given back lately, say “yes” to helping out.
15) Do that favor
Doing a favor is a fantastic way to feel good about yourself. Plus, it’s also an avenue for new memories and stronger relationships.
Of course, don’t say “yes” to every favor. That’ll only lead to you becoming Ned Flanders, with a neighbor’s garage filled with your belongings. Stand your ground and don’t get taken advantage of, but in a world of self-absorbed people, doing a favor can make the biggest difference.
On a side note, doing and asking for favors is a life hack for discovering who your real friends are.
16) Listen to your body
Anyone who has reached a certain age knows how the body can break down. Your body knows best, so listen to it.
If your teeth are in trouble, schedule an appointment with a dentist. If your body is tired, don’t force yourself to work overtime.
People who don’t listen to their bodies always find themselves in a world of hurt when they get older and discover how many health issues were entirely avoidable.
With that, here’s the main change you can make today to embark upon a regret-free life.
17) Push yourself out of your comfort zone
It’s called the comfort zone for a reason. Pushing yourself out of it is bound to make you squirm, but if you only do what’s comfortable, you’ll never learn, grow, or experience.
Fear is good. Fear is healthy. Fear keeps us from dying. But it doesn’t help us when it comes to living a regret-free life.
So, make a point of finding something that makes you uncomfortable, and go after it.
Regret-free living begins now
Living a life free of regret means changing your perspective and altering how you go about your day.
You don’t need a fast-paced jet-set lifestyle to live your best life. Change begins at home, whether you work on Wall Street or Walmart.
What are you doing to live a regret-free life?