Reset your Regret: 5 Steps




What I did, didn’t do, said, didn’t say.

How long are you going to sit in that for? How long will you let this play in your head, over and over again?

Eventually you will create a lovely cycle as you may regret spending all your years in regret

A secondary disturbance indeed! Why have one when you can have 2, right?


Note: Regret can take on a few definitions and this article will use “regret” to define feeling sad or disappointed in something you have or haven’t done.


The feeling of regret is not pleasant but can be functional, as long as you do not stew in it for too long, do nothing about it, and then repeat the behaviour that led you to regret in the first place.


So how can you turn the feeling of regret into a positive, productive step forward?


I thought I’d share with you 5 STEPS to help cope with and prevent future regret


1. What exactly do you regret (label, define, be specific)? This often goes into 2 categories: doing or not doing.


2. What is the core VALUE behind the regret? What value of yours did you cross?

i.e., I regret treating someone poorly (goes against the value of treating someone kindly?)

i.e I regret working all those years without once taking a vacation (goes against having balance…?)


3. Explore the why behind your action/in action: What was going on for you? What were your thoughts and emotions at the time? Your situation?


4.Accept that you cannot change the past, but you can:


a. Reframe how you look at and perceive the past; Are you learning from experiencing this unpleasant state? Is it contributing to a positive change going forward? What is regret’s purpose in your life right now? What is it telling you?


b. Make peace with the past-and yourself. You need to:

·         Ask for forgiveness: If you feel an action/inaction requires an apology or for you to “make it right”, then go ahead and express a genuine, heart-felt apology. Have someone forgive you and/or accept your apology may help reduce or get rid of your feelings of regret. You may or may nor be forgiven however, so the next point is important:


·         Forgive yourself. Your unforgiven self will otherwise always cast its shadow, leading to further decisions and actions that feed the regret.


·         Show self-compassion: Give yourself a break. If a close friend was struggling regretting something they did/didn’t do, how would you respond? Treat yourself with the same compassion.


c. Take action so that going forward you do not do/don’t do something you regret again. What will you do or not do differently next time?

i.e., from now on I will treat others with kindness.

i.e From now on I am scheduling my 2 week vacation every year.


5. Talk to someone (like a Coach!): Sometimes talking to someone about your regret, what emotions and thoughts come up for you, and coming up with a plan going forward can help alleviate the deep complexity of this feeling. This will also help you do all the above steps and create a strategy going forward to minimize the occurrences of regret in your future life and cope with regret when this feeling comes up for you.



We all have regrets, or at least I have yet to hear someone say they have never experienced regret. However unpleasant this feeling can be, we can reduce the chances that we experience it by making sure that our actions align with our values and our true selves. Reducing the occurrences of regret is actually easier than coping with regret once it has set in

Every minute you have ahead of you is a decisive moment…one where you make decisions and then take actions. The best way to ease and prevent future regret is by making a decision to act in a way that resembles the person you want to be!


A life in regret is not a life lived. Reset it. Don’t regret it.


Fanie Zis