A nurse that specializes in caring for patients at the end of their life shared the top five regrets of the terminally ill:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I didn’t work so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
They are referred to as regrets, but they look more like wishes to me. And unless you are at the end of your life, as these patients were, you still have time to do something about it.
When I “googled” the phrase I Wish there are more than 2 BILLION responses. Two billion references to a phrase of something as light as the words we think to ourselves when we blow out our birthday candles and yet as painful as the regrets these patients have.
So what will it take to make your wishes come true?
Change isn’t easy. We can read this list and nod our heads and say, ‘how true’ but changing the habits of a life time takes dedication, commitment and a strong desire to make things different.
There was once a Weight Watchers leader who told the story of gaining 78 pounds by starting each day with a cup of fiber cereal and skim milk. She started her day with the right intentions but what followed went against her purpose.
If you reread that list at the top of the article, which one stands out the most to you. Which one would be such an ache in your heart if you ended your life with that wish on your lips? Is it being happier? Staying in touch with family? Working too hard?
As I reflect on the list, there are some small things we can do to make a difference. Something as simple as texting a friend you have lost touch with. Taking time out to enjoy a board game with your family. Leaving at 5pm from your job instead of staying long past supper time.
But it will take effort on your part. Knowing you should quit smoking and then actually quitting are two different things.
The American Psychological Association offers five tips to help you make lasting, positive lifestyle and behavior changes. Here is just one of them:
Change one behavior at a time. Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time, so replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Many people run into problems when they try to change too much too fast. To improve your success, focus on one goal or change at a time. As new healthy behaviors become a habit, try to add another goal that works toward the overall change you’re striving for.
So consider selecting one of the wishes at the top of the page as your new focus for creating a more purposeful life. And remember, there are others out there that want to help, that feel the same way and that are there to encourage you along the way. Reach out, share and make your wishes come true.