Last year, I came across a very interesting and thought provoking video called “what’s your biggest regret” created by the organisation A Plus, a digital media company co-founded by Ashton Kutcher, which features stories that create social change and make a difference.
I was reminded of the clip just week, when I heard how the majority of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions by the middle of January and it got me thinking. Why do we do this? How does it affect us?
Unfortunately most people fail, because they don’t think their pledges through. They don't set realistic goals and plan out how they are going to reach them. So how do they feel when this happens?
In the video, the film crew set up a large blackboard in the heart of New York City with the words “What’s your biggest regret” written across the top of the board. Members of the public walking by were asked to write their biggest regrets on the board.
Interesting enough, the participants were made up of a mixture of all ages and various backgrounds. So it would have been fair to assume everyone would have very different regrets.
Many of the reservations cited, included examples such as they regretted not keeping in touch, applying for a particular college course, saying yes to things, moving out of their comfort zones, speaking up, in pursing their dreams or when they burnt bridges and wasted time.
Whilst they were all very different, one common thread began to emerge. They all regretted NOT taking a chance and in following their dreams. When asked why this may have happened, they talked about how they took plan B, how they were afraid of failing and how they took the safe option instead of taking that chance.
After cleaning the blackboard, everyone was feeling quite reflective. What began as sad, remorseful stories turned into something very positive. People felt encouraged, empowered and hopeful for a brighter future.
What I realised most from watching the video is that it is never too late to make things happen. Sometimes, opportunities come along and can change our lives in a positive way. Yet, we don’t always take them. If something doesn’t happen the first time, we should not beat ourselves up and think we are a failure. Maybe the timing was not right or we just need a different plan.
So, next time we are feeling unsure as we weigh up our options, we need to stop and ask ourselves “will I regret this if I don’t do it?” If the answer is yes, we know what we have to do.
We need to give ourselves a chance and set achievable goals and work out a realistic plan to help us get there. We may be living with a feeling or remorse over something we never did or perhaps temporarily slipped up on. So, as we come to the end of January, maybe we should be thinking, its not too late and start again.
So, go on, pick up that phone and get back in touch, sign up for that course, go and visit a long-lost friend, apply for that job, climb that mountain, give up smoking, get fit or learn whatever skill or language you always dreamed about doing. Don’t wait until next January, do it now.