Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying

Today’s blog is sort of fitness related.  Related  in a sense that from years and years of seeing people one on one I hear a lot of excuses as to why people aren’t as healthy as they would like to be.  And excuses cause regret.  Let me tell you something about excuses :

An excuse or a reason is just a story that YOU make up to justify why you did or didn’t do something.

Think about it.  When you want to sleep in instead of going for that run, you’ll come up with all sorts of stories to make yourself feel better about not going running.  And that story makes you feel better in the short term.  Its called avoiding responsibility.  But when you haven’t reached your health related goal at the end of the month, you’ll regret not going running and wish you did better on your body fat scores.

Regret is a bitch.  The most powerful forms of regret i could find to reinforce this point is from Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse who spent years in palliative care looking after people in the last 12 weeks of their life.  She documented the 5 biggest regrets people shared in common when granted the immense clarity of vision upon their deathbed.

Now What you’ll notice is none of these are physique related so this blog serves as a two fold piece that highlights what really matters in life but also that regret may just come back to haunt you one day..

Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”

Do you have a dream you’re not chasing?  Does your dream take second place to sentences like: “I don’t have time”, “oh that’s just silly” or “people will laugh if I try?”  Maybe, like a lot of people, deep down inside you actually don’t believe you DESERVE to succeed?

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

Fellas, (and ladies) stop working so hard and spend some time with your family or doing the things you want to do, like getting healthy!  Its amazing how you can get to work late with no repercussion because of  a sick child, but not for your own fitness?

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

A great coach once told me: “Brad you’re being reasonable, and people who are reasonable… lead reasonable lives.  Let it out!  If you’re not happy, do something about it”.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

“Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”

Effort.  Make the effort.  Leave work early and meet up with your friend like you said you would.  “Sorry babe, gotta work late” shouldn’t cut it…

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”

Says it all really….Get out of your comfort zone and go and get the things you want!

And stop making excuses, you’ll regret it  🙂

See you in the gym!

Brad Stocks
Personal Trainer
Bondi Junction

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