As 2016 wraps up, it’s hard not to glance back over my shoulder at the year without carrying regrets into the new. While I can certainly count some victories won over the past 12 months, there have been many losses as well. Some of these are friends and loved ones who are no longer with us and this alone carries regret over lost time, missed opportunities, and memories not made. However, I also have regrets tied solely to my lack of discipline and resolve. Things I set out to accomplish in 2016 and I simply did not follow through. These can become a stumbling block or even a monkey on my back as I try to walk forward into a new year.
Regret is powerful because it plays the game of ‘What if?” This question that can never truly, honestly be answered, but can haunt and play havoc with our hearts and minds. Regret preys on our hidden insecurities. It lays blame and pours on guilt without any true resolution, because we can never go back and replay time.
So as we move from one year to another and evaluate our wins and losses, how do we avoid this paralysis from the guilt of regret? How do we move into a new year with hope and resolution? While we don’t get to relive 2016 again, we do have the power to make 2017 different. This is the incredible thing about January 1st. We begin again. We have the opportunity to use the wisdom we have gained from the past 365 days and put it to good use in the next 365.
We can take our regrets and redeem them when we refuse to be paralyzed by what DIDN’T happen and instead become empowered by what CAN happen. The lessons learned and bruised places of 2016 can become the keys to great achievement in 2017.
What do you wish you had done differently last year? Now DO it this year! Take some time for reflection and true evaluation of your past year. Why did you not reach that goal? What caused the struggle in that particular area of your life? Make the changes necessary to do things differently. Many people consider the opposite of regret to be courage because that is what it takes to look the fear of failure in the eye and say, “Not this year. Things WILL be different.”
Regret maintains its power when we choose apathy instead of empowerment. The new year yearns for us to take back the ground in our lives that we lost to regret. We simply must press forward and refuse to maintain the status quo. As Albert Einstein is given credit for saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” What do you need to do differently this year so you can walk into 2018 without the same regret?