Are You Happy With Your Life's Achievements?
I keep coming across articles talking about people’s biggest regrets at the end of their lives. Most of the articles are by people who work in nursing homes or hospices and therefore, they have access to endless amounts of regret. What they’ve found is that people regret not doing the things they loved to do in their work instead of the things they felt they should do. They also regret not leading more active and healthy lives. However, what they most regret is not spending enough time with family.
I suppose, on your dying bed, the thing you regret most is the thing that was most important to you except for the fact that you didn’t treat it as such.
I have to be honest with you, I don’t want to come to the end of my life to end up spilling my guts about my life’s regrets with some stranger. I’d rather come to the end of my life and have stories to share with my grandchildren of their legacy, of my accomplishments, in hopes that it inspires them to wholeheartedly go after their own goals.
That led me to ask myself, and you, “are you happy with your life achievements so far?” It’s OK if you’re not because you’re young enough to change the course of your life. And if you are then you’re doing something right and are well on your way maintaining that fulfillment.
So, back to those of you who aren’t. I looked up some of the biggest life areas where people feel the least fulfilled and it comes out to work, health, goals and love life (we’ll address your love life at another time). However, I came across some facts regarding the first three areas and here they are:
Roughly 70% of people are unhappy at their jobs. That’s for numerous reasons. Either they don’t feel challenged, have tyrannical bosses who are unqualified for the job, feel disrespected, and/or are underpaid and overworked.
A person will change their careers roughly 7 times in their lifetime.
Most college-educated people feel like their degrees are useless.
According to body statistic images research by Statistic Brain, 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting. 80% of women say the images in the media make them feel insecure. 40% of women say they would consider cosmetic surgery in the future.
Most people don’t stick with their diet, health or fitness plans (I think we all knew this).
92% of people who set New Year’s Eve goals don’t achieve them.
People who set goals are more successful.
Writing down your goals increases your odds of achieving them.
What do these facts mean for your life’s achievements? I feel like if you know what the problem is, you can begin to focus on solutions. Every problem can be solved. Now, I don’t want you to confuse problems with “facts of life.” In the book, Me, Inc., the author, Scott W. Ventrella, shares a theory one of his advisers gave him regarding problems versus facts of life. His adviser had a hand that wasn’t fully grown. Basically, he could do nothing about it and that was his fact of life, not his problem. Similarly, I’m 5’5” and although I wish to be about 2 inches taller, the fact is that I’m not. A problem would be that you keep overspending on your budget (if you have one). Problems almost always have solutions; spend less or work to make more.
I believe there are four solutions to ensure you don’t live a life of regrets. I’ll explain.
Be grateful but do something about it.
I know it’s easier said than done to be grateful about having a job, even for a job you hate. But still, be grateful. It’s much better than being broke and unemployed. Being grateful is about focusing on all of the things you have so that you can have more of them. If you have a job, you can always get a better job. If you have your health, you can always get healthier. But better jobs and better health aren’t just dropped into our laps. You have to create a plan to get both. Nobody is coming to save you from yourself.
Set new and challenging goals.
Having goals of any kind makes life worth living but having challenging goals makes it interesting. Most of us are motivated by a challenge. Hell, when someone tells us we can’t do something, we’re more likely to do it because they challenged us. Michelle Obama is quoted as saying, “The one way to get me to work my hardest was to doubt me.”
I challenge you to take just one goal that you have and amp it up. Then add a deadline to it and take steps to achieve it.
Make plans to achieve goals.
If a goal can’t be measured (with specificity, a deadline, and milestones), then it’s not a real goal. It’s that simple. It’s not enough to say:
I want to follow my passions
I want to lose weight
I want to make more money
To make it a real goal, I ask “What are your passions? (specificity) When are you going to achieve them? (deadline) and What steps will you take to accomplish them? (milestones).” If you want to lose weight, I ask “How much weight? (specificity) By when? (deadline) What workout and meal plans will you use? (specificity).” If you want to make more money, I ask “How much more money? (specificity) “When will you get a new job making more? (deadline) When will you update your resume and LinkedIn so you can begin applying for positions? (milestones).” You see where I’m going here.
Celebrate your goals when you achieve them.
I love celebrations and I don’t think people celebrate themselves enough. Celebrations don’t require big parties or 20-person dinners. They could be you, alone with your dog and a glass of champagne, acknowledging the fact that you put in the hard work to accomplish a goal. It’s hard to be full of regret when you know how hard you’ve worked towards what you’ve wanted.
So, I ask again, “Are you happy with your life achievements?”