We become what we believe. So, it makes good sense to live our lives in pursuit of a best-case vision of what we want the outcome to be. If you’ve studied personal development you’ve probably gone through the exercise of setting goals in different areas of your life.

Those goals are your end. They represent what you want your future to look like in those areas of your life.

Those of us who are goal setters set big goals and chase off after them. But I keep hearing stories of goal setters who have achieved their grand visions but found the realization of those goals to be empty.

I don’t want to get to the finish line of my life and regret the goals I spent my life chasing. I love learning from mentors that are further down the road than I am. I like to learn what they think were the best decisions they made and what are the worst.

People of a certain age have wisdom that is very hard to duplicate from reading. Those lessons are learned by living a life in the trenches. People who have faced death or who are approaching the end of their lives seem to know better than anyone what is most important in life.

That is why I was excited when I found the book, “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.” Bronnie Ware, a palliative care nurse, wrote the book to chronicle the lessons she learned from her patients in their last days. Below are the lessons I learned from the regrets Ware chronicled.

Chase Your Dreams: We often don’t have the courage or time to chase our dreams. The dying realize that they could have chased any dream they had but are now out of time.

Don’t Work Just for Money: Men suffered most from regrets about missing out on precious memories with their wives and their children. Men were the primary breadwinners in the generation Ware cared for. How could we simplify our lives to create more time for the most important things? 

True wealth is free time to spend on the things that matter most. How can we create more “time wealth”?

Have the Hard Conversation: Our relationships are healthier and so are we when we say the things that need to be said. The conversations are difficult but can be said in love. The hard conversations will be good for you and for the relationship. 

Nourish True Friendships: Our deepest relationships are the greatest assets we have, but we can let those friendships slip by in the business of life. In the end, the things that kept us busy will not matter, but the relationships will. 

How can you spend more time with the people who matter most to you?

Choose Happiness: Ware found that most of her patients didn’t realize that happiness is a choice until it was too late. Happiness can be a difficult choice to make, but we can get better at it if we persist. 

If we will focus our minds on the countless blessings in our lives, our mood and our lives will improve.

Writing this made me rethink how I am spending my days. What changes do you need to make to get to the end with fewer regrets?