We are often told that we get into the way of our own happiness, but what does that actually mean? I recently saw excerpts from a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware. Ware is an Australian nurse with years of experience in helping terminally ill patients in the months before they pass away. The book is about the one question that always came up: the biggest regrets people near the end of their lives have.  

One of the most listed regrets in the book is that people often lead the lives they think others expect of them, instead of remaining true to themselves. When we are young, we don’t think that this would end up being one of our greatest regrets. After all, most of us don’t mind making a sacrifice here and there to support the other people in our lives. It is only as we grow older that we realize we could have looked after everyone in our lives while staying true to ourselves, and this is when the regret sets in.  

Fortunately, it is entirely possible to continue to be nice to others and help them as much as you can, without giving up on your dreams. All we need to do is to commit to revisiting our own life goals from time to time, instead of letting our daily chores drown out the parts of ourselves that are capable of achieving so much more. And doing this takes a lot less time and effort than we think. But in this cluttered life, I think it is good to have a system in place.  

Below are some ways in which you can live a life of deep meaning.

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  1. Set goals 

Even if you are content with your life, you may still regret not doing more. That is because we do so much on autopilot, we get up, we go to work, we spend some time with friends or family, and we go to bed. By leading our lives in this way, we often lose sight of the great things we are able to achieve. I always like to write down a few short-term and a few long-term goals that I revisit from time to time. Whenever I feel down in the dumps or uninspired, I have a look at my goals, and I think of one thing I can do on that day that will bring me closer to it. Doing this really helps me to get back on track, both in the short and long term.  

2. Be specific 

If you want to achieve your goals, it helps to be strong on the detail. If your goal is to own your dream house, write down how many bedrooms it has, or which location you want it to be in. If you want to lose weight, write down the exact amount of pounds you want to lose. By doing this, you set yourself a target that keeps you honest.  

3. Also focus on the soft stuff 

Looking after ourselves and doing things we can be proud of are sure to contribute to a fulfilling life, but be sure to not just focus on your physical and financial wellbeing. Those who report contentment late in their lives often spent much time during their youths contemplating what their core values are and what kind of person they would like to be. By working towards this goal every day, your future self will always be an improvement on your current self.