A few weeks ago after I started using the 5 Prompts, I came across the above video of a social experiment college kids did in New York City. They placed a large chalkboard on a sidewalk and wrote “Write Your Biggest Regret:” at the top. As people walked by they stopped, picked up a piece of chalk, and shared from a deep place in their hearts. Take three minutes to watch it now.
They wrote and spoke their regrets:
- Time wasted. Not saying yes to things.
- Time spent away. . .Probably the worst thing in the world, right?
- Not saying “I love you.”
- Not making the most of every day.
- All the self-hatred I put my body through.
- Not getting my MBA.
- Never going after my dreams.
- Not following my artistic passions.
- I wanted to do so many things but I could never seem to find the time.
- I did all the things that were Plan B.
- Staying in my comfort zone.
- Not having kids before my dad passed away.
Next on the video they erased all the regrets and wrote “Clean Slate.” The next slide read, “Every day is a clean slate. Do all the things you’ll regret not doing.”
This video made me think, “What will I regret not doing?” It made me think about not only the big dreams for my life, but also about the daily regrets.
I decided to start my own social experiment and start my day by answering this question, “What will I regret not doing today?” I write this question in my little notebook every morning. I look ahead to my day and predict where I will have regrets in the day. By answering the prompt—“This is something I would have done differently today”—the evening before, I see where I fall short consistently. This information helps me predict where I may have trouble in the upcoming day.
“What will I regret not doing today?”
- Not taking time to really write.
- Not trusting God with my to-do list.
- Not being thankful (doesn’t mean I’m ungrateful, but that I’m not intentionally saying thanks to God for individual blessings).
- Not being in the moment with people.
- Not doing at least one thing I’m tempted to put off.
- Not staying faithful to my healthy eating/exercise plan.
I am also thinking and praying about what God wants me to do next. He has given me a few things to do. I will regret not doing what He has shown me. Even though I have no idea of how they will turn out or if they will have any positive effect on anyone, it is my responsibility to follow through. I will regret not knowing what might have happened because I didn’t do the next thing. As one participant in the video wrote her regret of “Staying in my comfort zone”, I will have the same regret if I don’t act on what I know to do next.
Reflecting on what I will regret not doing even before my day starts has made me more mindful throughout my day. Instead of starting my day with good intentions only, I am more careful how I live each day. I try to live as I feel God has directed me–becoming more of the person He made me to be and fulfilling the purpose He gave me for my life.
The how-to for this blog is simple. First thing in the morning in the little notebook you are using for your 5 Prompts write the day’s date and the question, “What will I regret not doing today?” Then answer it. You may write one thing or six things. Ask God for His help in living today mindful of Him and how He wants you to live.
Then when the opportunity arises to do the thing you will regret, the Holy Spirit will give you a nudge to remind you of what you don’t want to regret today. This is your opportunity to choose wisely. Do what you won’t regret. It will take more effort. It will probably be uncomfortable. It will be a stretch. But afterwards you will feel the reward of making a better choice and of becoming more of who you were meant to be. This good first choice will make the next choice a little easier.
Through this simple discipline of:
~Every evening answer your 5 Prompts.
~Every morning answer “What Will I Regret Today?”
You will see yourself and your life change.
I would love to know how God works in you through these times of reflection and prayer.
Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.