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  • Matthew Frank
    Matthew Frank

    Common Second-Thoughts and How to Beat Them

    Humans by nature are creatures of self-reflection and regret. We're constantly making decisions about how we live - both small, everyday judgments, and more permanent ones that set the course for life. Though it's impossible to predict our future regrets, examining common patterns and life choices can help put us on the path to a happier and more fulfilling life.

    It may be second-nature for us to dwell on the "what ifs" of our decisions. However, striving for a fulfilling, healthy life doesn't have to come with a litany of regrets. Here are 10 life choices that individuals often look back on with regret– and tips to help you avoid them.

    * Relationships: Ending a relationship prematurely solely based on fear of commitment or the unknown. Rather than letting fear lead, address it head-on and explore your gut feeling and why it’s there.

    * Career: Not taking the time to reflect and assess what will bring you long-term satisfaction as opposed to short-term reward. Focus on going after opportunities that will bring long-term fulfillment in addition to a greater salary if possible.

    * Money: Spending irresponsibly without - or just beyond - your means. Create a budget, track expenses, and ensure that you’re making sound financial moves which won’t cause regretful debt down the line.

    * Parenting: Relying too heavily on other people’s advice rather than trusting your own parental judgement. Every family and child is different, so listen to yourself and trust your intuition when raising your kids.

    * Family: Ignoring signs of problems within the family dynamic out of fear or avoidance. In this case, it's better to face those issues head-on rather than leave pitting in unexpressed emotions or tensions.

    * Dating: Trying to force yourself into the ‘traditional’ relationship timeline. Don’t compare your own relationship milestones to others – take it at your own pace and respect your boundaries.

    * Breaking Up: Not being honest with yourself or your partner when things decline. It's important to be truthful when you recognize it is time to move on.

    * Divorce: Going through a drawn-out divorce process due to constant bickering or lack of cooperation. Though divorce is hard, it’s important to bite the bullet and come to an amicable outcome if possible.

    * Marriage: Coming into marriage from a place of selfishness, rather than looking for a life of shared joy and mutual understanding. Commit fully to the concept of partnership and keep communication open for the most successful relationship.

    * Personal Growth: Putting too much focus on the end goal rather than the journey that getting there requires. Try to find joy in the small steps day-to-day, as these will lead to lasting satisfaction.

    Though regret comes with the human experience, thinking through potential pitfalls can help you make an informed decision when life presents you with a major choice. By doing so, you might find yourself saved from a boatload of second-thoughts in 10 years.

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