How To Never Regret Your Decisions

I have no regrets. That's not a brag, it's just the truth. And honestly, it's not even because of me. No regrets doesn't come from having a poor memory, although I tend to forget lots of things, like my keys and where I'm at in a sentence. No regrets come from knowing what I'm going for and why.

Remember that question you used to ask all the time as a preschooler? It may be time to pick back up that old habit. Asking why clarifies and hones your thoughts. If you're not sure why you're doing something, stop for a moment and ask yourself.

The most common responses when someone doesn't have a strong why are:

  1. Because I have to

  2. Because it needs to get done (kinda the same thing)

  3. It's my job

  4. Because I want to (we'll come back to this one)

  5. No one else will do it if I don't

The first three are basically the same. Responsibility, perceived or real, can be a huge motivator. Maybe you get up everyday at 6am to walk the dog because you have to. But why do you HAVE to? "Because I have to" masquerades like responsibility but really it's linked to comfort. See, if you didn't take the dog out, there would be consequences. If you didn't do it, the dog would whine and keep you awake anyway or might even pee on the floor. Simply put, the real reason behind waking up that early is that the inconvenience of NOT doing it is worse than just getting up.

We all gravitate toward being comfortable. Don't believe me? What would you do with a whole day to yourself? Would you go door-knocking? Maybe you'd schedule a little dentist work, or sign up for some public speaking. No, you'd choose the activities that bring you th most joy and fulfillment.

If the main reason you go to work, do the chores around the house, drive your kids all over, or read your Bible is because you need to, have to or it's your job, you might benefit from digging deep and learning your why. Let's take reading the Bible as an example.

I've felt I had to read my Bible because it was my job as a Christian to do it, or because it needs to get done (maybe I know what I'll be like if I go without it for a while and slip into total flesh-living tendencies, aka SIN). And I know there's been times I've felt I had to read my Bible or I'd feel guilty, almost as if God was standing at the gate of heaven with a potty training chart and stickers for each time I'd read my Bible and I was afraid if I didn't make it all the way across I'd be in big trouble.

Keeping lists and being responsible aren't bad things. Checking off the to-do list thrills my heart, and yes I know it hits my brain with a bit of dopamine as well (I love that stuff!). Trouble is, there's always a job that needs doing so if I'm not careful, I'll always be working on something instead of resting well.

So what can I do if I find I'm stuck in those three mentalities that lead to guilt or over-commitment? Well that's where regret comes in. Many people, especially women will pine over the past and think about what they could have done, should have done or would have done if such an such hadn't changed, or if something external didn't happen.

All of that is a recipe for guilt and regret. But what if you thought about it differently? What if you looked at what you are spending your time doing and saw what needed to change? What if you knew exactly what fit into your life and what you should get rid of? What if you had a list of all your values and each time you made a decision that list was part of your process?

Welcome to how to never regret your decisions again. If you consistently consult your values when making decisions, you'll know that you acted in alignment with what you believe to be best and most important. That way, if things don't work out like you think, or if you have a tough time you'll be able to push through those moments instead of waste time regretting them. This is what makes the difference between a Knee-Jerk mindset and someone who makes intentional decisions: Value Discovery Process.


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Lana Leigh Wilkens is an author and speaker who helps women discover their authentic family values and challenges them to ask the right questions so they can decide with confidence and conviction.