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How to Avoid a Life of Regret

https://lifehacker.com/how-to-avoid-a-life-of-regret-1826928609

lifehacker.com

How to Avoid a Life of Regret
What is it you'll regret most about your life when your time is up? Failure to fulfill your duty and obligations? Or the failure to follow your dreams? New research from Cornell University suggests our biggest regrets have nothing to do with our responsibilities in life.

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What we regret

What we regret

The regrets that bother us the most involve failing to live up to our “ideal selves.” 

We’re not as bothered by the mistakes we’ve made or the things we ought to have done as we are bothered by never becoming the person we truly wanted to be.

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The theory of the 3 selves

  • The actual self is what a person believes to be now, based on current attributes and abilities. 
  • The ideal self is comprised of the attributes and abilities a person would like to possess one day— goals, hopes, and aspirations. 
  • The ought self is who someone believes they should have been according to their obligations and responsibilities.

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Regretting what we don't do

People regret their inactions more than their actions in the long term.

  • A mistake makes you feel a great deal of regret, but you get over it quickly because you most likely can fix it.
  • You can’t fix what was never done in the first place. Inaction, the utter lack of trying, is what will truly haunt you. 

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Experiencing regret

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Learning from Your Regrets

Regret can be seen as a mistake that we haven't learned the proper lesson from yet. If we learn from it, that mistake becomes helpful and makes us better.

The way to move on is to take responsibility for your mistakes. Understand what happened and integrate that experience into your understanding of who you are today.

Questioning Your Narratives

Our narratives are the way our minds construct events to explain our feelings and experiences

They are seldom accurate and often unhelpful, but we need them to hold our sense of self in place.

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Treat tasks individually

What seems like a tangled cloud of open-ended old to-dos is actually a series of independent happenings, which are best treated individually.

Once you’re treating each obligation as s...

The end of anxiety

The moment you start acting on something, you are at the beginning of the end of the anxiety associated with that thing.

Many procrastinators are pessimists and overestimate the difficulty of the task they are avoiding. They think doing it is the hard part. But not doing it is much harder.

Avoiding action

The moment you start avoiding action again, due to fear or aversion, you are re-entering a nonproductive phase. 

Physical action ceases, and pointless overthinking begins.

Not Asking for Help

There are a handful of reasons we don’t ask for help, but it’s usually because we’re too proud or scared, and that’s a huge waste of time, because it keeps you from moving forward.

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Trying to Make Bad Relationships Work

Reasons people usually use:

  • Thinking you have more in common with the person you're dating than you actually do;
  • Being in a relationship just to avoid loneliness;
  • Staying in a relationship only out of fear of losing the person.

Bad relationships cloud your judgment, prolong your unhappiness, and distract you from things that matter to you most. 

Dwelling on Your Mistakes

Learning from your mistakes is one thing. Dwelling on them wastes your time, diminishes your confidence, and keeps you from getting on with your life.

Dwelling makes you feel like a failure. When you feel like a failure, it’s easy to tell yourself there’s no point in trying, because you already suck.