Living Without Regret

Living Without Regret

by Thomas L. Hardin, CMT, CFP, Managing Director, Canterbury Group and David Oeschger, PhD Clinical Psychologist


When athletes talk about preparing for their events or competitions, they rarely use the word exercise. They don't say, "I'm exercising to run a marathon,"or "I'm working out to climb Mt. Everest." They train to run a marathon, they train to compete in the Olympics, they train for the Super Bowl. Baseball players don't go to "spring exercising," they go to spring training!


In the same way, you can train for successful longevity. Just as an athlete does, you train for longevity by setting goals and creating a training routine - a plan - for making your second 50 years the best years yet. Being healthy, wealthy, and wise at a ripe old age requires training for every area of your life: exercise, nutrition, discovering your purpose, reducing stress, maintaining great relationships, and achieving financial independence.


If you're going to look back on your life without regret, you must do something with your life today. Longevity is not just something to plan for, it's something to train for. Most people conceptualize being older as a time when they stop accomplishing things. Training for longevity serves to expand the opportunities for accomplishing things even in the twilight of life. Until the last moment of life, there is something to accomplish.


You would do well to stop and consider an organizing principle for your life. Just as businesses and organizations have mission statements to govern the choices they make and the way they function, individuals can have mission statements, too. Here are some guidelines for developing your mission statement or organizing principle:

  • Your mission statement or organizing principle is something you should write out - in 25 words or less - and review regularly.
  • Every role in which you find yourself, as well as every activity, should be in keeping with your organizing principle.
  • Your life purpose is the crowning achievement of your existence. Your mission statement is what drives you toward that end.

Every day, you're on a mission. It's a never-ending struggle, because contrary winds try to blow you off course. Staying on course requires that you organize your life around a principle that governs the choices you make and how you function. Without a mission statement, you're never off course but you aren't going anywhere, either.


Life is a journey. It has a beginning and an end. While there are some things about life that you can't control, there are many things that you can. If you plan your life appropriately by setting goals and identifying your organizing principle, you can look back when you reach the end (hopefully beyond a normal life expectancy) and feel satisfied that you accomplished something significant. Take time to know what you're about, and devote yourself to living each moment as if it was your last. That's the true secret to living a life with no regrets.