Uh oh. You thought you were making the right move, but it backfired and now you regret your actions. These feelings of regret can well up and leave us drained and frustrated. There’s no way to change the past, so here are eight ways to move on from regret and focus on the future.
- Accept that you’re human. Humans make mistakes. It’s in our nature. We will make many more mistakes, both big and small, in our lives so we must accept that they happen to everyone and that’s okay.
- Focus on the end goal. Looking at where you want to go and what you want to achieve will help you realize that regrets won’t help you get there.
- Catch the negative self-talk red-handed. Listen to your internal monologue and catch yourself when you’re manifesting negative messaging. If you hear yourself thinking: “That was so dumb, how could I have done that?” switch the message to: “Whoa, that didn’t work, so next time I will try something different.”
- Find the source of negative thoughts. Do certain people, environments, or actions trigger your negative self-talk? If so, avoid these situations or, if you have to face them, prepare yourself with powerful affirmations beforehand.
- Link your feelings and your behaviors. Thoughts are powerful actors. They’re invisible, but they can keep us up at night, cause us to lash out, and even ruin our day. Notice how your thoughts influence your behaviors, and work to change your thinking patterns to promote positive behaviors. Maybe this looks like journaling in the morning, so you start your day optimistically or meditating in the afternoons so you’re mindful when you get home from work.
- Focus on gratitude. Gratitude is a seriously powerful tool. Focusing on all the good can make you happier and ease stress. Try writing down three things a day you’re grateful for!
- How did I get here and where am I going? Look at all the successes that got you to where you are. Don’t let one failure drag you down; we’ve all accomplished so much. What are you most proud of? What are your best qualities? Look at your wins and how they can lead you to even further happiness.
- Genuinely apologize and forgive yourself. Sometimes the deepest grudges we hold are against ourselves. Apologize to those affected by your mistakes and forgive yourself. Once you do, you can move forward with a clear conscience, and let the mistake you made teach you about the best course of action in future situations.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” Mistakes are some of our biggest teachers, so when they happen, don’t let regret hold you back. Acknowledge your action, what you learned, and move forward confidently.