Want to live a life with no regrets? Then take some advice from a new book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, by Bronnie Ware. It’s based on her experiences in health care, working with critically ill patients who were in the final weeks of life. So, what were their top regrets?

  • Regret #1: Wishing they had the courage to pursue their OWN dreams, instead of the ones OTHERS expected of them. Ware says most people on their deathbed say they never got around to honoring even half of their dreams. 
  • The 2nd regret of the dying: Wishing they didn’t work so hard. Ware says that’s an especially common regret among men, who say they missed seeing their children grow up, or feeling the companionship of their partner, because they were too busy working! So, their message is to simplify your lifestyle as much as possible. Because when you’re not buried in bills, then you can work less, and spend more time with the people you love.
  • Another regret of the dying: Wishing they had the courage to express their TRUE feelings. It turns out, a lot of us hide our feelings as a way of “keeping the peace” with others. But when you do that, Ware says you set yourself up for a lifetime of “settling,” where you never live the way you truly want to. Plus, research shows that when you carry pent up stress, you’re more likely to develop serious illnesses! The lesson? Speak honestly at all times. Ware says you may lose some unhealthy relationships along the way, but you’ll raise the remaining relationships in your life to a whole new level!
  • One more regret of the dying: Wishing they’d kept in touch with their friends. Our expert says when she talks to people who know they only have a few weeks to live, almost all of them say they’d rather spend their final days surrounded by good friends than spend it alone.

Bottom line: Ware says life is a choice. So choose wisely.