Spring is finally here! The snow is gone, the days are longer, and the first buds of green are finally coming to life. With the dark and snowy days behind us, it is the perfect time of year to take control of our lives and focus on living on the life we want - now.
This month’s Act Now Challenge was inspired by Bronnie Ware’s “Regrets of the Dying.” Drawing from her experience working in palliative care, Bronnie identifies the five most common regrets she hears from those who are living their final days. This month, I am challenging you to reflect on these regrets and take concrete steps NOW to help you live a more fulfilling life with fewer regrets.
As always, I will be on hand to help you out - and motivate you with prizes! For every concrete action you take to address one of the five regrets identified by Bronnie, you will earn a point. For every week where you address all five, Bonus Points! Hashtag your progress #AIMtoactnow and I will throw in an extra point.
Five Opportunities to Live Without Regret
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
Suggested activities: Take an audit of your life decisions, do they emerge from your needs? Are you doing what you are passionate about?
JOURNAL: Take five minutes at the end of every day to write down three things that got you excited during the day. What do they have in common? How can you incorporate more of them into your life?
HOBBIES: What did you LOVE doing as a kid that you miss? Playing on the swings at the playground? Jumping rope with your girlfriends? Colouring? Take this opportunity to do them! Sign up for that painting class, set a playdate to a meet a friend at the park - do what you love.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
BOUNDARIES: What kind of hours do you work and is it necessary to continue? Are you setting professional boundaries or do you stay yes to everything? Maybe you set aside an hour a day of “you time” for a week. Go for a run and don’t bring your phone, or meet a friend for a coffee and leave your phone at home.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
COMMUNICATE: Have you told your loved one(s) what makes you really happy or what is upsetting you? Maybe you call a good friend or family member just to say you love them. If that sounds too intimidating, maybe start with a text or an email. It is always nice to hear someone say I love you.
WRITE A LETTER: Are you holding on to some resentment? Maybe you are still mad at your sister for missing your wedding or are angry with your partner for forgetting your birthday last year. Take the time to write a letter to the person who hurt you - even if you never send it, taking the time to identify and work through those feelings is important.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
REFLECT: Take the time to reflect back on some of the people who you may have lost touch with, but who at one point in time meant the world to you. Maybe it’s your college roommate, your old babysitter, or your best friend from elementary school. Look back through old photo albums and make a list of all the wonderful people who have come into your life.
REACH OUT: Maybe it’s a phone call, an email, or just a quick facebook message. It might feel a little weird sending a message to someone you haven’t spoken with in a decade, but take a moment to flip the situation around. How would you feel if you received a quick message from an old friend? I bet you would feel pretty special.
MAKE A DATE: Set a time to meet face-to-face or over Skype with someone special to you. Maybe it’s your best friend who you see every day anyway or an old colleague you haven’t seen in years - now that the snow has melted there is no excuse not to meet for a quick coffee or a walk down by the water.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
REFLECT: When was the last time you felt truly happy? Were you out for drinks with your friends, running with your dog, cuddling with your partner on the couch? Deliberately block off time in the coming weeks to do those things.
SCHEDULE HAPPY TIME: If you enjoy painting, sign up for a class. If finding alone time to read in the park makes you happy, get outside this month! Take the time to set a meeting with yourself and honour it. You deserve to be happy and you are in charge of your own happiness. This month, let’s be deliberate about it.
Take a few minutes to read through Bronnie’s article and reflect. Send me a list of how you plan to Act Now and take control of your life. I will be sharing my actions throughout the month on social media and will be there to hold you accountable to your Action Plan for the month. Good luck and remember - you deserve to be happy and you deserve a life without regret. Let’s Act Now to make it happen!