Can you believe it?
We are just days away from welcoming a brand new year – 2017!
There’s no doubt that for some of you 2016 may have been a great one.
And for some others, you may be staying up on New Years Eve just so you can flip 2016 the bird as she sails into history.
But before you kick 2016 to the curb, don’t let her leave without getting some answers!
You see, as helpful as it can be to look forward, I believe that you can reap huge benefits by looking backward and thoughtfully examining your regrets.
I truly believe that our regrets can offer up key insights about the kinds of changes we can make, in the year ahead, that will have the biggest impact on our overall happiness and peace of mind.
In today’s post, I’m sharing 3 questions that I hope will help you put your regrets to good use so you can get clear about the changes you want to make in the new year.
Before you dive in, I have to be straight up with you and let you know that there are no quick fixes here.
Behind any change that you want to make in your life or any regret that you want to reverse, there’s a whole hell of a lot of work, effort and time that you got to put in to see results.
But the good news is that right now you’re standing at the edge of a brand new year. And right now is the perfect time for you to set in motion any changes you want to make.
Whether it’s an estranged relationship with an alcoholic someone you want to heal, a self-care practice you want to create, staying sober, or any other regret that’s weighing you down, now is your time.
Once you’ve had a chance to read, don’t leave without letting me know:
- What’s your biggest regret from 2016?
- What’s the biggest lesson you can take away from this regret?
- How can you create a different outcome in 2017?
Share your answers in the comment section.
Remember your voice, experiences and insights are vital to this community. And what you have to share is not only unique but it may be exactly what someone else needs to read. And that someone could be you.
As always, thank you for everything you’ve contributed to this community in 2016 and for saving a space for me in your inbox. GUC would be nothing without you:)
Stay safe and Happy New Year!
See you in 2017,
#1 So, What Is Your Biggest Regret Of 2016?
It may take you a few minutes or you could have one sitting right on the tip of your tongue. Either way, write down your biggest regret of 2016.
This could be anything from that trip you didn’t take, to that conversation you didn’t have or something bigger.
Before you begin, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Identifying a regret (or two) is not an invitation to beat yourself up or obsess. Remember you’re not using your regrets to dwell on whatever went wrong in 2016. But what you’re trying to do instead is use your regrets as data or information to make healthy changes in the new year ahead.
You also want to make sure you keep your focus on you. Sure, your regret may involve another person but the only person you can change, at the end of day, is you. So make sure you keep your focus there.
Now, don’t spend too much time thinking about this or putting pressure on yourself to come up with a perfect answer. There’s no such thing as right or wrong here.
After some thought, you may discover that you don’t have any regrets heavy enough to put down on paper and that’s totally fine.
But if you know you’ve got something and you’re just having difficulty expressing it – then try this approach.
Ask yourself – if there was one moment, conversation or scenario that you could magically do over from 2016, what would it be?
Write it down.
#2 What Are The Lessons You Learned?
John Powell once said,
The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.
And since we’re talking about regrets in this post I’d revise that to say,
The only real regret is the one from which we learn nothing.
So now that you’ve identified your biggest regret from 2016, think about and write down the lessons that you learned from that regret.
So instead of dwelling on what you did do, what you didn’t do and what you can’t do now, give yourself the chance to sort out what that regret has taught you.
Are there any lessons at all that you can take away?
For example, my biggest regret of 2016 involves all the time I wasted indulging the loop of negativity that rolls around in my head.
I regret all of the opportunities I either passed on or gave up on in 2016 because I let that negative loop talk me out of something I was more than capable of doing.
Now, I can’t go back in time and bring those opportunities back to life but if I want to give myself a chance in 2017, I’ve got to find the lesson and focus on what I can learn from it.
What does this regret reveal about my habits or patterns? What can it teach me about what I need to change going forward?
Here’s another example, let’s say you’re an Adult Child of an Alcoholic (ACOA). And your biggest regret from this past year has everything to do with relationships. Maybe you have difficulty trusting people and that has left you full of regret and feeling unhappy and alone.
Well maybe the lesson here for you is that you need to start learning more about what it means to be an ACOA. Maybe it’s time you seek out a community of ACOAs that you can connect with and learn from.
If this sounds like you, you may want to consider enrolling in my course ACOA 101. It’s the first ever of it’s kind – online, group study course exclusively for Adult Children of Alcoholics. In ACOA 101 not only will you learn everything you need to know about being an ACOA but you’ll also have the opportunity to connect with other ACOAs who understand exactly what you’re going through.
If you want to be notified when enrollment opens for the next session, CLICK HERE and leave your details.
#3 What Are Your Can Do’s And Willing To’s?
Okay, now that you’ve identified your biggest regret from 2016 and you’ve explored the lessons you learned from it, it’s time to think about what you can do to adjust your course in the year ahead.
It’s time to flush out your can do’s and willing to’s.
What can you do about your regret and what are you realistically willing to do.
When you’re considering your regrets and the changes you want to make – you’ve got to get real with yourself about what you’re honestly willing to do to change.
I’ve learned this lesson after years of setting myself up for failure because I never really thought through what I was actually willing to do to make the changes I thought I wanted to make.
So now that you have your biggest regret in focus, make a list of all that you can do to change it. But make sure also consider what you’re honestly willing to do to make that change happen.
If you skip this step, you could end up at the end of 2017 holding the same regrets you had back in 2016.
Speaking of regrets, I want to wrap this up by sharing a quote from author Anne Lamott. I hope it will inspire you too.
Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.
Repent just means to change direction — and NOT to be said by someone who is waggling their forefinger at you. Repentance is a blessing. Pick a new direction, one you wouldn’t mind ending up at, and aim for that. Shoot the moon.