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How to deal with regret (15 simple tips)

We can’t undo or redo the past, but we can certainly make the future better

Image by Trương Hoàng Huy Ngân from Pixabay

Regret is something we can all relate to. I mean, who doesn’t have them? And of course, we are always wishing we could deal with regret and move on. How many of us feel bad about missed opportunities? How often do we wish we could take back the things we’ve said and done?

Regrets pile up over the years. Most of them relate to not doing something we should have. And often, fear is the greatest cause of regret. The fear of failure, fear of looking stupid.

We can’t undo or redo the past, but we can certainly make the future better.

It is not difficult to prevent or overcome regret when we are ready to take full responsibility for our lives.

Here are 15 tips to deal with regret and move on with life

1. Practice gratitude

Regret basically involves looking back and feeling bad over what we did or did not do. Practicing gratitude helps with recognizing the good things in life. And it can be a good remedy for regret.

2. Stay away from toxic people

Some people, you just have to sign the zero-tolerance contract because all they want to do is make you feel bad. Fill you with regrets. Always leave you with a sense of being inadequate. You’ll have fewer regrets if you surround yourself with kind, loving people. Avoid those who make you miserable.

3. Focus on the present

Regret can fill our minds and our time. The result? We end up just wallowing in the past and the “could’ve been” and “should’ve been”. Instead, focus your attention on the present — on today and what you can accomplish. Make the most of the present moment.

4. Apologize

Did you say or do something you regret? Rather than wondering how to deal with regret, speak up and tell them you are sorry. Maybe that’s all you need to do to resolve the issue.

5. Seek to improve yourself

Regrets are usually a sign that there’s room for improvement in your life. Take stock of yourself and introspect. What things can you change that will make you feel less regretful in the future? There’s always scope for making life better, right?

6. Be bolder

Who does not regret taking more chances in the past? If you said yes, then maybe you can prevent it from happening in the future by being more courageous, starting right now. If you regret not speaking up in the past, then it is time to change that. Sure, it is not always easy to say what’s on your mind, but neither is it easy to live with the regret of not saying it. So, be bold.

7. Plan to succeed

The past has but one purpose = to teach us life lessons. Learn from it and move on. Rather than dwell in the past, focus on building a life you enjoy and respect. Set goals. Creating a great life is an effective way to deal with regret.

8. Accept where you are

When you decide to accept where you are, you will find it easier to move forward and create the life you want. You can choose between being stuck or moving ahead.

9. Take responsibility

Remember that it is okay to make mistakes. Accept that fact and take responsibility for your regret. And thereby, take responsibility for your future as well.

We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.
― Steve Maraboli

10. Make the most of each day

Sure, life is short. But even though we know that, we still don’t make the most of our time. If we think back, imagine the amount of time we have wasted over, say, the last ten years. Imagine what we could have accomplished with just 30 minutes a day during this time. Better late than never, though. Take a few moments at the end of the day to reflect on what you have accomplished today. What could you finish? How much time did you waste? How did you waste it?

11. Take risks

We tend to regret the things we didn’t do more than the thing we did. How to deal with it? Be courageous and take calculated risks. Try new things. Open yourself up to new people. What’s that thing you keep wanting to do? Do it. Less worrying. More living.

12. Be true to yourself

What are your values and goals? Are you doing things even though you know in your heart that they aren’t right? Trust your intuition. If you stop to think, you’ll find that most of the things you regret doing in life — were usually things that you knew you should not be doing. Am I right? So, make a list of your values. Be aware of them. Before you do something that seems not quite right, pause and remember your values.

One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.
― Shannon L. Alder

13. Go easy on impulse

The direct result of most impulsive actions is regret. We say something we shouldn’t have, do something we wish we hadn’t — and the next thing we know — we’re dealing with regret. Emotional distress follows. And that’s usually a state where good decision-making is difficult. So, think before you act impulsively.

14. Grow

When we’re stuck in a rut, we are usually filled with regret over what might have been. As we grow older, we also experience personal growth. Just look back over the past ten years. Are you the same person now as you were back then? If you said yes, it is time to get on the path to personal growth. Rather than deal with regret, Invest time in yourself to grow, to reach your full potential. And that means taking action.

15. Be honest

What a big word — honesty! It is not just about being truthful in words but also with opinions and beliefs. It is about living your own truth. When you are open and honest, people trust you, understand you and your interactions with others are much better. You enjoy happier relationships and spend less time having to deal with regret.

Look, nobody can escape life without regret. While we cannot predict how long we will live, we can definitely make the most of our time. Invariably, regrets come from making poor decisions. But then, being over-cautious also does not help. Live boldly. Minimize regrets.

Here is something to reflect on, to deal with regret

  • What will you regret the most as you grow older?
  • What do you regret right now?
  • How will you deal with regret?
  • What are you willing to do to ensure you have fewer regrets in the future?

Originally published at Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles ❤ Did you smile today

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Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles

Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles


Writing about Self Improvement, Mindfulness, Meditation, Parenting, Health, Travel, Life, Books. Showing my diabetes who’s boss. Visit: