Three Regrets to Get Rid of in the New Year

By Marc Muchnick

Are regrets weighing you down? As we move into the new year, it’s the perfect time to shed some of the psychological baggage we’ve been accumulating and carrying around with us. Here are three common regrets that are well worth getting rid of:

Regret #1: Getting caught up in the rat race.

Most of us feel over-extended, over-scheduled, or over-worked. The fast pace we’re on takes a lot of energy and there never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done. As a result, it’s easy to start regretting how we’ve spread ourselves too thin and are constantly running around with no end in sight. With the dawn of a new year upon us, give yourself permission to take some time out, even if it’s just a few hours catching up with a friend you haven’t seen for awhile, watching a movie, or doing absolutely nothing. Resist the urge to jam up your schedule and run a million errands when you are finally able to secure some free time. Even if a true vacation is out of the question, make sure you take at least a little time to yourself to decompress – you’ll feel rejuvenated, more relaxed, and reenergized for the new year.

Regret #2: Losing touch with the people you love most.

Relationships have to be nourished, and in the absence of love and attention they can begin to fade away. As we move into the new year, think of a special person in your life from whom you’ve grown apart. What got in the way? What created the distance? If we’re really honest with ourselves, at times our preoccupation with what’s going on in our daily lives becomes prioritized over everything – and everyone – else. We get so concerned about our own needs that we forget about what others need from us as well. In turn, others may see us as selfish, self-absorbed, and self-indulgent. The result is inevitably regret: the loss of a friendship, the breakup of a relationship, or the disintegration of family ties. In this new year, make a concerted effort to stay connected to the people you love most. Take the initiative to reach out to someone you miss spending time with and prioritize that person’s needs – not just your own. Put past arguments or disagreements aside and make a renewed commitment to rebuild. While it may take some time to get back the closeness that you lost, your efforts to repair the relationship will help ensure you don’t lose it again.

Regret #3: Falling short of your personal and professional goals.

Okay, so you didn’t get everything done this past year that you had hoped to accomplish. Whether it was the amount of money you wanted to make, the number of pounds you wanted to lose, the quality time you wanted to spend with your family and friends, the progress you wanted to make in your career, or the projects you wanted to complete, what’s happened has happened and there’s nothing that you can do about it. Bottom line: the last 12-month chapter of your life is officially over. However, you can do something about the next 12 months. What new personal and professional goals will you set for yourself? What mistakes will you try not to make again? What are some of your strengths that you can leverage a bit more? How will you know if you’ve succeeded? With the advent of 2011, leave 2010 behind and let bygones be bygones. Wipe the slate clean and begin anew. Give yourself a fresh start and put your focus on the future.

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