In her book “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying”, Bronnie Ware warns us from her extensive experience of caring for them, that as terminally ill patients prepare to pass away, the most commonly cited remorse is:

‘I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.’ 

Take a second to consider that.

From childhood we’re socialised.  Parents, siblings, teachers, neighbours, bosses – everyone around us has a part to play in suggesting what is right and wrong, what is something noble to strive for and what is just a pipe dream that would never pay the bills. The key to regret-free decision making, is knowing what you really want in your life. Then believing you can have it.

So how do we know?  It can be overwhelming if we’ve never really asked these questions. It’s common to list out career objectives at the annual review or physical goals when we join the gym yet writing out our higher ‘life goals’ doesn’t seem to come naturally for many.  In Dr Gail Matthews’ work, it was proven that those who committed their goals to paper were far more likely to achieve them. What’s even more inspiring  is that when progress against these goals was shared with a supportive friend, the likelihood of achieving them became a staggering 76%.

As we approach a new year, and reflect on the successes and failures of this one, it’s perhaps a clichéd but very apt time to sit down and think about our goals in all areas of life.

Love, family & friends, career, health, spirituality and learning are all goals to be considered when designing the life we’ve dreamed of. We have to do everything possible to ensure we don’t leave this world wishing we’d given ourselves permission to be who we truly wanted to be.

Start like this:

  1. Consider each of the above areas of life and your level of satisfaction today.
  2. Write a description of how each area looks in your dreams – be specific, use the present tense and dream big.

When we can see the difference between our current reality and our wildest dreams, we create the blueprint for our own fulfillment and immediately start to move towards it. When we fail to declare what we want in life, we will continue to be controlled by others.