In last month’s article, we spoke about the book called ‘The Top Five Regrets of Dying’, written by Bronnie Ware. If you haven’t read last month’s article, you might want to skip back a month and give that a read first! You can find it here:

Bronnie Ware listed the top five regrets as follows:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live my life the way I wanted to, and not the way that others expected me to!
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
  4. I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends
  5. I wish that I’d let myself be happier, I feel so depressed now

In this month’s article, we’ll take another look at the top five regrets of dying, but let’s spin them around and give ourselves a little manifesto of the top five ways to do ‘living!’

Number one: ‘I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself and not the life expected of me’.

This regret is going to become – “Live your life in a way that is true to yourself.” You need to decide what is true to you, what does that mean to you? If you were living a life that was true to who you are, what would you be doing? Where would you be doing it? Who would you be doing it with? You need to figure that out – and then go do it now. Are other people going to question your decision? Probably, yes. Are other people going to tell you that you’re crazy? Probably, yes. But, you’re going to do what you want to do anyway because we have a manifesto on how to enjoy our lives whilst we are here, and this is part of it. IN NLP we use a set of questions called ‘keys to achievable outcomes.’ They are particularly helpful when goal setting. I think they could be helpful here too.

Number two: ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.’

Let’s change this one to – ‘Work hard when it is appropriate to do so and make fun a priority.’ We all need to make fun and happiness, as high, if not higher, a priority than working hard. And, only work really hard if you actually like doing it. If you don’t like doing it, then work, but don’t overdo it. If you are managing teams of others who work hard for you, NLP Metaprogrammes can be a good way to get to know the personalities and preferences of others so that you can make sure you hit the right buttons when making work a fun place for others.

Number three: ‘I wish I’d have the courage to express my feelings.’

We’ve already got a solution to that one. We’re going to be honest with our feelings. That may mean that we need to be brave, but the most important thing is that we are offering those around us, the opportunity to hear the truth about how we feel. We’re going to do that because if nothing else, we want to show respect towards these people that are around us.

Number four: ‘I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends.’

Firstly, make plans with your friends! Contact a friend today that you haven’t been in touch with for a while – and make a plan to do something. Maybe it’s a friend that you see a lot, in which case make another plan if you don’t have a plan in place. If there is a friend that you haven’t been in touch with for a while, make a plan – and when you’ve got together and you’ve done the thing that you plan to do, make another plan for next time. This means that you will end up on a rolling contract with this friend and you don’t lose touch with each other again.

Number five: ‘I wish that I had let myself be happier.’

We had two challenges – one of them is around not having the skills needed, so we are going to learn the skills that we need – and we’re not going to stop searching until we find the methodology that works for us. That could mean being more in control of our emotions to feel happier. That might mean that you end up doing an NLP practitioner course. It might also mean that you start learning something about psychology. It might mean that you take up an activity that fills you with joy. Whatever it is you pick, keep searching until you find the thing that allows you to be happy.

We said the other half of the issue, is that sometimes people don’t allow themselves to be happy because they’re being a martyr. We say things like, ‘Oh, I can’t possibly put myself first because I’ve got all of this other stuff to think about.’ Firstly, we will need to apply some balance so that we don’t completely drop all of our priorities unless we really want to, but we are going to ensure that we invest time into ourselves. Time to allow us to do the things that make us happy, so that might mean that you write yourself a routine and that within your routine you say, ‘Saturday mornings are mine! I don’t care what the hell else is going on, Saturday mornings are mine and that is where I take back some of my time, to be able to do the things that will make me happy.’

It might also mean that some of the stuff you currently do, you outsource – and you find other people to take over some of those responsibilities. Maybe that’s part of the solution here – start to distribute some responsibilities to other people, so then they can feel empowered and you can claim back a little bit of time and energy to work on our own happiness.

We now have a plan for how we’re going to take power over the end of our days – and look back on it and say, ‘I did a fine job there, I enjoyed that life and I’m ready to let that life go now.’ We are going to make sure that we do not come to the end of our days with the top five regrets, that other people have had once they reach the end when it is too late. Right now, it’s not too late to put that plan into place. Go for it – and let me know what you think about my manifesto for life!

By Gemma Bailey