Nov 212010
Smiling Young Woman by Mdavidwole

Regrets can haunt and torment us long after the incidents have occurred. They can shackle us to the past and affect us at the worst possible moments. I am not fond of having regrets in my life because I know the pain it can cause. As far as I am able to, I make it a point to reduce the “what ifs” and “should haves” from my life. I live each moment as fully as I can and act decisively when I must. While my style of doing things may not appeal to all, it has helped me to live a life without regrets. I hope that what I share will do the same for you too.

Take Responsibility

Taking responsibility is the first step to living a life without regrets. We alone are responsible for the lives that we lead. Therefore, it is up to us to create the life that we want. Yet this is not easy because we will receive well-meaning advice from people about what we should or should not do. It is well and good to be open to advice. But we must decide the course of action to take for ourselves. By taking charge of our lives in this manner, we will live by our own terms and not by the terms of others.

Managing Doubts and Fears

Our self-doubts and fears can cause us to have regrets. Some of us may fear change and the unknown. Others may fear failure. But doubts and fears are natural. They instill caution in us so that we do not endanger ourselves recklessly. Yet these very doubts and fears can hold us back and cause us to miss opportunities if we allow them to overwhelm us. We cannot rid ourselves of our doubts and fears fully, but we can learn to manage them well. To this end, it pays to focus on the solution and not the problem when we have doubts. It also helps to see failure as a stepping-stone to success. When we control our doubts and fears, we will have the ability to avoid regrets.

Happy Family by Star Mama


Being aware of your priorities and goals in life is important to avoid regrets. If we are not clear about these things, we will miss many vital opportunities that come our way. Some questions to bear in mind are as follows. Will your action or inaction cause you to look back in regret many years down the road? Would what you do or don’t do have a significant impact on your life? Having clarity about these matters helps you to plan your next move.


Small matters do not require that much thought or planning. But life changing matters with much at stake require more prudence. Seizing the moment or opportunity is not the same as being reckless especially when we have much to lose. In this case, we need to be aware of the possibilities and the consequences of our actions in the long term. This will help us to take calculated risks that are likelier to succeed. At the same time, we can also avoid making hasty decisions that lead to regret.

Seize the Moment

Opportunity does not always come knocking. If we miss the moment, we may never have another chance again. This is why it is better to act instead of procrastinating. For the little things, this is perfectly fine as long as we are clear about our goals and the big picture. But for life changing events, we may have to break down the situation into small and manageable pieces that we can handle. As long as we do something to further our goals today, even if it is just taking small steps, we will avoid having regrets in the future.


Prevention is always better than cure. If we can prevent or minimize the regrets in our lives, we would be happier. Not appreciating the people and things that we have can lead to regrets. It could be that we take our loved ones for granted. Or it could be that we do not value our possessions until we lose them. Thankfully, it is within our power to avoid having regrets in these areas. All it takes is for us to treasure and give thanks for what we have. By doing so, we become more aware of what is important in our lives. When we cherish each moment to the fullest, there is no room for regret.


There are certain moments in life that can never return once we miss them. There are certain failures that we cannot remedy no matter how hard we try. To have regrets here would not do us any good. Yet we cannot let go if we do not change our perception. Here, it helps to view these events as lessons that we need to learn so that we can grow. It is these lessons that have made us who we are today. The price may be heavy, but let us not make the mistake of paying for this regret repeatedly.

Taking Action

Regrets and the pain it causes have no place or useful purpose in our lives. There is no need to carry a burden on our shoulders or shackle ourselves to the past. By taking measures to avoid and to deal with regrets, we can all lead healthier and happier lives.

How do you avoid having regrets in life? What are the ways that you use to manage the regrets you have? Do share your thoughts and comments below.

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  20 Responses to “How to Live Without Regrets”

  1. I think one of the best ways to avoid regrets in life is to read… to read as much as you can!

    The more we can learn from the mistakes of others, the less we have to make those same mistakes.

    The more we can attain the knowledge of others… that may have taken them years if not decades to amass, the better off we will be in living the most fruitful life possible.

    I think the best way to manage a regret is simply to let it go.

    True, we may always regret a poor decision in the past. But we should never allow that to overshadow the opportunity we have now.

    In short: We must make the most of our lives now, regardless of the past.

    • Hi Bamboo Forest,

      Reading to learn from the mistakes of others is a good way to avoid having regrets. I mean I have always read to learn from the mistakes of others, but I never linked it to avoiding regrets. Thank you for raising this point.

      I fully agree with you. We must always make the most of our lives now, since the now is all we have.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  2. Love the gratitude idea….it’s so easy to focus on the negatives without honoring all the greatness that infuses your life.

    And I agree about the best way to manage regret – let it go and forbid it from burdening you. Just learn from it instead.
    Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach recently posted..Easily Turn Your Site Downtime Into Profitable Business In With These 3 Simple StepsMy Profile

    • Hi Barbara,

      Yes, letting go is one of the best ways to manage regrets. Of course we can’t just let go like that. But if we can reframe it in a positive way, we will be able to let go of regrets naturally.

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving your comments! :)

  3. I love this post. I’ve been burdened with carrying my regrets. I walked around with a very heavy load. You’re right about perceptions. When I started to change the way I percieved things I was able to gradually let go. I’ve paid for my mistakes. I don’t want to relive them over and over again in my head. I know I’m not alone in this and that’s why this post is important. It will help people who are burdened. Great work!

    Dandy recently posted..Accept and be freeMy Profile

    • Hi Dandy,

      I am glad you enjoyed this post! :D

      A lot of the pain and suffering that we feel are caused by our perceptions. If we can learn to manage our perceptions in more effective ways, we will be less burdened by our experiences in life.

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing! :D

  4. Your writing is divine – it’s flawless, clear, beautiful and articulates such intangibles so well that I am left speechless but I wanted to leave a note and say THANK YOU for writing about this and for clearly distinguishing between the extremes that pull us back and forth (recklessness vs taking a chance, prevention vs the cure…) You are indeed the Vizier with the Words!
    Farnoosh recently posted..Why Relationships MatterMy Profile

    • Hi Farnoosh,

      As I was writing the article, I found that I had to include the extremes because it would not give the whole picture otherwise. Although I knew instinctively the things that I wrote about, it was in the writing that made me aware of how complex regrets can be.

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comments! I am glad that you enjoyed my article. :D

  5. Hi The Vizier,

    ‘Regrets. I’ve had a few but, then again, too few to mention’.

    With all the opportunities that come our way over the course of a lifetime, there’s bound to be some we miss. But, equally, there will be many others that we did act upon.

    The best way to deal with regret, as you suggest, is to think that “There are certain moments in life that can never return once we miss them.”. It’s healthier when we accept (and it can be difficult) that there’s little point in looking back in life – unless it’s to learn lessons for the future.
    Scott McIntyre recently posted..7 Slow and Steady Steps to Turn Your Passion Into Your JobMy Profile

    • Hi Scott,

      Acceptance of the regrets we have is not easy. Even if we reframe it as a lesson to learn, it does not mean that we can let go at once. But With time, if we keep trying in this direction, it can be done. We need only remember that when it comes to regrets, we are never alone. All of us have them. It is how we deal with regrets that matter.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  6. Great post – I love how you condensed every step toward living without regret into a simple point – it really can be that easy if we just recognise the power of choice we have in how we see the past. :)
    Emily Jane recently posted..BodiesMy Profile

    • Hi Emily,

      Simplicity is usually the best way to get your points across. I used to be very long-winded in my speech and writing until I realized that it is better to keep things simple.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  7. Irving,

    Awesome article. You articulate very well the importance of living a life free of regrets. Mistakes happen, but mistakes need not be feared. The biggest thing that people often regret are the things that they do not take the chance to do. Taking action trying (and sometimes failing) is the best way to live life in my opinion.

    You may not always make the “right” decisions but when you live a life of taking action, you will learn things and rarely “regret” your action.
    Steve recently posted..How to Manage Your Home-Based Online BusinessMy Profile

    • Hi Steve,

      You’re absolutely right. One of the worst regrets is not trying at all and missing the opportunity. It is better to take action and try. Even if you fail, you come out wiser because of it. Life after all is about learning and growth.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  8. Hi Irving,
    This was an excellent post. I am learning to live with out regret – as much as humanly possible. We can’t spend our days lamenting the road not taken – we must forge on and make the road we’ve taken the best one! Thank you so much for this terrific post!
    Angela Artemis recently posted..The Amazing Grace of Thanksgiving DayMy Profile

    • Hi Angela,

      As long as we try our best to live a life without regrets and keep on pressing forward, it is already a commendable effort on our parts.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  9. The worst period in my life was when I regretted and complained the most. I regretted because I did not have this or that. I regretted because of my actions, reactions, desires, thoughts, and everything else… It did not last a few days. It took me years until I read somewhere: “Do not pay attention to the past.” It was a liberating thought. I think it was a historical and spiritual text, and I felt as someone has given permission to enjoy the life without regrets.

    Regret is pointless. You can not go back in time. From the past we learn, but at present we act!

    I totally agree with the points in your post. Especially with acceptance.

    • Hi Marko,

      I think learning to manage regrets is one of the most important lessons in life. I too have gone through the stage you have where I had regrets and lamented my actions. It too took me many years before I learned to accept it and let go. Interestingly, this understanding I had also came from some spiritual texts that I read. So our experiences are somewhat similar indeed!

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  10. Nicely written post. I live by the phrase “carpe diem” when I adopt this attitude towards life, everything else just seems to fall into place where it may, no regrets just living for the now with the best of my ability being me. Keep up the amazing writing!

    • Hi Baker,

      “Carpe Diem” is a good attitude to adopt towards life. Many people love to procrastinate and put off till tomorrow what they can do today. But when we live for the now and seize each moment, we live richer, fuller and more productive lives.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

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