Do You Know What You'll Regret in the Future?

Sometimes, you live your life so focused on your daily duties that you forget to enjoy yourself. If you don't want to come to regret it in the future, you must change your perspective.
Do You Know What You'll Regret in the Future?
Elena Sanz

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

You usually live from day to day. In fact, you just try and cover your immediate needs and don’t reflect too much on the direction your life is taking. However, have you ever wondered what you might regret in the future? Do you believe that you’re experiencing the life you really want?

Research has been conducted in order to clarify the issues that people tend to regret later in life. The results are interesting. In fact, they may even make you rethink your own goals and priorities.

What will you regret in the future?

Your job

You’re often forced to work at something that’s not your true vocation. Indeed, financial need can mean you accept a job that isn’t fulfilling and might even make you unhappy. This is one of the biggest factors that people often regret when they look back over their life.

However, it’s not always possible to work in a field that you’re passionate about, but you must try. Furthermore, giving it a go will lessen any possible future regret. You could also try and integrate your passion into your life in another way if it doesn’t involve your job.

The really important thing is to use your time (or at least part of it) in those activities that enrich you and are naturally appealing to you. In addition, developing your talents will make you live a much fuller life.

Your emotions

You might often feel self-conscious about expressing and sharing your emotions. This can have long-term repercussions. In fact, in the future, you may well regret not having been clearer, firmer, or more sincere.

For instance, you may regret that you didn’t set boundaries for certain people who hurt you. Or, that you didn’t express your affection to those you loved. Because what you don’t express eventually becomes a lump in your throat and a weight in your heart.

Start to connect with your emotional side and let it guide you. Try to work on your assertiveness and your emotional management. Get used to feeling and expressing. Stop repressing your emotions and allow yourself to completely feel.

Your personal life

Sometimes, your routine and daily chores consume all your physical and mental energy. Indeed, when you’re focused on fulfilling your daily duties, you tend not to leave time for leisure and taking care of your social relationships. Nevertheless, it’s important to find a balance if you don’t want to feel, in the future, that you didn’t really take advantage of your life.

At the end of your days, what you’ll treasure most will be your memories, shared moments, and experiences that made you enjoy the moment. Therefore, ensure you make room for those periods of time that aren’t productive, economically speaking, but are extremely valuable on a personal level.

Your identity

A study was conducted in this respect. The results were extremely revealing. They claimed that people often regret having prioritized duty over desire. That, although in their day-to-day routines, they tend to be more concerned with fulfilling their duties and responsibilities, after a certain age, they regret not having taken care of their genuine desires and aspirations instead.

For this reason, you should stop being guided by what society tells you that you should be. Forget what’s expected of you and start asking yourself what you expect of youself.

You’ll regret not daring to live

It seems that what people really regret is not what they did, but what they never dared to do. In other words, you’ll regret if you allow yourself to be limited by fear, shame, or guilt. Ultimately, it’ll leave you with the endless doubt of what would’ve happened if you’d said yes.

You tend to focus on avoiding immediate pain or discomfort. This means you also forgo opportunities and only think about the immediate consequences. However, when making decisions, you must broaden your vision and try to listen to your inner voice. The one who has no doubts.

As a matter of fact, it’s often preferable to jump straight in and try and overcome your uncertainty. Stop being afraid of failure, accept error as an intrinsic part of your life, and make the decision to learn from each experience. Because, sometimes, it’s riskier not to take a risk. Finally, you must live today, so you don’t find yourself with regrets tomorrow.

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  • Davidai, S., & Gilovich, T. (2018). The ideal road not taken: The self-discrepancies involved in people’s most enduring regrets. Emotion18(3), 439.

  • González, M., Ibáñez, I., Rovella, A., López, M., & Padilla, L. (2013). Perfeccionismo e intolerancia a la incertidumbre: relaciones con variables psicopatológicas. Psicologia Conductual21(1), 81.


The contents of Exploring Your Mind are for informational and educational purposes only. They don't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment of a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.