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  As the year draws to a close, a familiar feeling often creeps in regret. What if I had taken that chance? Why didn’t I speak up? The past can loom large, casting a shadow on the promise of a fresh start. But dwelling on it only stunts our growth. Instead, we should use regret as stepping stones to a future filled with purpose and excitement. Here, I share how you can deal with regrets and plan for the new year. Let’s begin!
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  • Acknowledge, Understand, and Reframe

Before burying regrets under a rug, acknowledge them head-on. Write them down, name them, and understand the emotions they evoke. Was it fear that held you back? Anger that clouded your judgment? Once you recognize the root cause, you can reframe the narrative. Instead of “I failed,” say “I learned a valuable lesson.” This shift in perspective empowers you to move forward without dragging regret’s baggage.
  • Celebrate Wins, Big and Small

Don’t let regrets eclipse your victories. Take time to acknowledge and celebrate, not just grand achievements, but also the seemingly mundane triumphs. Did you have the courage to say no to something that no longer served you? These wins, however small, are proof of your growth and resilience. Celebrating them bolsters your confidence and provides a positive foundation for the coming year.
  • Forgive Yourself and Others

Holding onto grudges, towards yourself or others, is like carrying a heavy weight. Forgive yourself for the missteps and learn from them. Forgive others for their transgressions, not for them, but for your inner peace. Forgiveness doesn’t condone actions, it liberates you from the emotional burden they carry. With a lighter heart, you’re better equipped to get into the new year with clarity and self-compassion.
  • Focus on Values, Not Regrets

Regrets often stem from straying from our core values. Take time to introspect and re-affirm what truly matters to you. Is it integrity, creativity, or connection? Align your goals and intentions with these values, and use them as your guiding compass. When you pursue a path that resonates with your deepest desires, regrets fade, replaced by a sense of purpose and direction.
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  • Embrace Imperfection

Aiming for perfection is a recipe for disappointment. Instead, embrace the beauty of imperfection. Accept that setbacks are inevitable, and view them as stepping stones to growth. Learn from your mistakes, adjust your course, and keep moving forward. Celebrate the messy, sometimes awkward journey, knowing that it’s this very journey that shapes who you become.
  • Prioritize Progress Over Perfection

Don’t wait for the “perfect” time to start. Progress, not perfection, is the key to unlocking your potential. Set small, achievable goals and celebrate incremental victories. Remember, it’s the consistent chipping away at your dreams that leads to success, not a single, monumental leap. Focus on continuous progress, and watch your regrets transform into stepping stones of triumph.
  • Design Your Dream Year

The new year is a blank canvas. Instead of letting anxiety fill it with “what ifs,” actively design your dream year. Visualize your goals, write them down, and create a concrete plan to achieve them. Break down larger goals into smaller, actionable steps, and schedule milestones to track your progress. This proactive approach replaces fear with excitement, turning your aspirations into attainable realities.
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Final Thoughts

Leaving regrets behind and embracing the new year doesn’t mean forgetting the past; it means learning from it and using it as fuel for growth. With a little introspection, self-compassion, and a dash of proactive planning, you can transform your regrets into stepping stones to a future filled with possibilities. So, let go of the baggage, step into the light, and make the new year your masterpiece. I am rooting for you!
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This article was first published on 19th December 2023 and updated on January 5th, 2024 at 1:20 pm


Chidiogo Shalom Akaelu holds a degree in English and Literary Studies, from the University of Nigeria. She is a freelance writer, editor and founder of Loana Press, a budding online publishing outlet.

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