At the close of last year many of us began to list the projects that we didn’t accomplish with regret or disappointment. This year we are suggesting you do something different before summer begins. Allow yourself to be fully present and close out this year satisfied with your successes. This process may take a couple of hours or may be a thinking stream over your morning coffee. Give yourself permission and take the time that feels right for you.

Start by making a list of all the efforts or relationships you began, whether 90% completed or fully completed. You can put them into categories such as, increasing your phone call frequency with relatives, personal lifestyle changes, enriching your career with new skills, make good on that movie night with the kids, joining fresh professional affiliations, or even increasing your routine to walk the dog more. For each of your projects, evaluate the following elements:

  • What was your mood when you began the project, excited, eager, and apprehensive?
  • Was there a tangible financial gain by pursuing your efforts such as, less ATM fees for your bank account or reduced expenditures for gasoline by consolidating car trips?
  • As you made progress then, did you feel bold, confident, self-assured, or gutsy?
  • Did each step, even if you stumbled or made a mistake, re-enforce your belief of how small successes can give you cause to celebrate?
  • What emotions kept you going, determination, conviction, courageousness, brazenness, perhaps defiance?
  • Last, did your endeavors change your outlook from struggling to be successful to “I can be successful at anything”?

With the results from the questions above, you will be channeling your energies into positive processes instead of dwelling on what could have gone wrong. Positive beliefs affect both your conscious and unconscious thought activity and feelings of self respect. Additionally, when others are involved in your efforts you can celebrate your satisfaction together, often cementing relationships for years. Don’t forget to celebrate! Select some reward mechanism for yourself to celebrate when you have achieved even the smallest step. Plan celebrations and appreciation awards to spotlight others who have supported you in your efforts. Our life’s journey is about what matters to us and who we care about along the way.

How to End Regret