21 Tips For Living Life Without Regret

Film RestlessA life threatening illness can have you reassessing your life and the choices you made, just like in award-winning director Gus Van Sant’s film Restless. It follows Annabel Cotton, a beautiful and charming terminal cancer patient with a deep felt love of life and the natural world. Enoch Brae is a young man who has dropped out of the business of living, after an accident claimed the life of his parents. When these two outsiders chance to meet at a funeral, they find an unexpected common ground in their unique experiences of the world.

Hilbre JohnsonLife coach Hilbre Johnson of Transform Life Coaching recently lost a close friend to cancer and knows how something as devastating and confronting as that can have you rethinking your own life.

‘When someone dies you realise just how fragile life really is,’ she says. ‘There isn’t time or energy to waste on negative thoughts or destructive patterns of behaviour. It is about waking up every morning and being grateful for the gift of that day and making a conscious effort to live it to the full.

‘My friend battled colon cancer for three and a half years, always believing it was life shortening, not life threatening. His main goal was to see his children finish school – he never even got to see his youngest start school. He was brave and had a positive attitude right until the end, despite being in such debilitative pain

‘I remember so clearly him telling me that he felt like one of the lucky ones as he now sees beauty in everything around him, and he doesn’t rush anymore. He makes an occasion out of even the simplest of things like having a cup of tea. The biggest effect his death has had on me is that I hug my husband that much tighter now never knowing quite how long I have him for. My friend was only married for 10 years and he thought it would be forever – which it was for him but not for her… Nothing in life is forever and nothing in life is guaranteed. All we know is what stands before us right now and it is up to us to make the most of it.

There is a lot you can learn from someone who face death without the heart wrenching emotions of having to go through it yourself, we can learn from their outlook and what they choose to see and discover in life.

‘This doesn’t mean everyday will be without its frustrations and let-downs but it does mean that we approach everything we see and do with gratitude and the attitude that we are lucky,’ Hilbre says. ‘And no matter what life throws at us there is a lesson in there for us to grow stronger and wiser. I believe that when we reach our final day it is about saying “I lived without regret and I am at peace now”.

Here Hilbre gives us her top tips for living without regret:

1. Be proactive. Go after life, don’t wait for it to come and find you – it never will.

2. Start and finish each day by saying ‘thank you’. Many people didn’t make it through your day – life is a precious gift.

3. Show compassion. Kindness is free and it makes the world a better place. Always do for others as you would like them to do for you.

4. Set your intention for the day and know what you want to get out of it. If you don’t have any idea of where you are going, how can you get there?

5. Keep active and eat healthily. A flexible and strong body is a young body.

6. Keep learning. A stimulated mind is a young mind.

7. Challenge yourself. Always keep moving out of your comfort zone – it is the only way we grow.

8. Practice mindfulness. It makes each moment a far richer experience when your senses are fully alert.

9. Forget worrying about the future, just plan for it so you can enjoy it when you get there

10. Make time for those you care about.

11. Always tell those you love how you feel about them. You never want to say ‘if only I had told them…’

12. Make an occasion out of even the smallest and most simple things.

13. It really doesn’t matter what others think. We only realise this as we get older having wasted so much energy on trying to impress them. Who cares!

14. Slow down. We all rush along blindly heading where ever it is we are going and miss all the scenery along the way. Life isn’t just about getting to your destination, it is also about enjoying the journey.

15. Spend more time with nature – we can learn so much by quietly observing how perfectly she goes about her daily activities.

16. When it comes down to it, life is all about the simple things.

17. Make conscious changes, if you don’t life has a way of making them for you and they won’t always be what you want.

18Find your life purpose.

19. Love unconditionally


20. Travel more. See more.

21. Life is short and you want to say at the end of it – I lived and loved like there were no tomorrows…

DVD of Restless, starring Mia Wasikowska (Jane EyreAlice in Wonderland) and newcomer Henry Hopper (Dennis Hopper’s son), is out now.

Miss B

Miss B

Miss B is a Belle About Town who likes to bring a little bit of style into every aspect of her life. An experienced journalist with over a decade in the industry she turned to the web to fill a gap for tech-savvy stylish women who want the best life has to offer at their fingertips. She loves a decadent cocktail bar, a beautifully cut dress, the perfect pair of heels, quality over quantity and is partial to Asian-fusion food, enjoys holidaying in the sun and shopping breaks to New York. But her first love is of course London!


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8 Comments on 21 Tips For Living Life Without Regret

  1. So much of this resonates for me, especially as I’m dealing with both delayed (very) grief after losing someone very close to me, and the realisation that I’ve been living my life “on hold” rather than immersing myself in it. Thank you Hilbre, for giving me a few common sense, but timely, points to focus on during a what I can only describe as a growth process.

  2. I think Hilbre is so right. After I lost a loved one he made me react in the way of wanting to get more out of life. It is so easy to get bogged down in the day to day drudgery whereby we feel like we are literally just existing. But taking Hilbre’s tips and putting them on the fridge door helps to remind you that each day us a new day and a blank page to be filled. Life should not be a race, where everything passes in a blur but a Sunday afternoon stroll where things can be seen and touched and memories made. these days we are all in a race but we’re not sure where to, Hilbre reminds us to slow down and enjoy ourselves more – we are allowed

  3. You have so much wisdom inside of you Hilbs. Loved your tips, you are always an inspiration.

  4. Thank you, Hilbre. Your beautifully expressed words of wisdom were just what I needed to hear at this point of my busy day, in the midst of a hectic week. It often amazes me how much energy we focus on client meetings, deadlines, KPAs, performance reviews etc – and yet not on the people we love and the things we enjoy. Taking a few minutes to read your wonderful list has inspired me to make a cup of tea and call a friend to let her know I’m thinking about her!

  5. Thanks for these inspiring tips.

  6. Inspirational words from a wise person! You have the ability to inspire others which is a wonderful quality. And I think you have found your life purpose! I hope we hear more from you…..

  7. Ingrida Schaefer // February 22, 2012 at 10:11 pm //

    Dear Hilbre,

    I am very sorry for the loss of your friend, I deeply feel with you….

    Your blog about fragility of life reached my mail box on the 20th of January, just minutes after I have received the message from my sister that her father-in-law has past away in the morning. He lost his fight against cancer. I immediately stopped everything I was supposed doing that morning. This was a very obvious reminder, a meaningful coincidence, to contemplate and to reflect life right now. I remember our last conversation in June 2011. He did not know that he had cancer at that time. I never thought that this would be our last good-by.

    I look at my hand right now! I am not “old” but I can see that I am growing old. I know that age is not an indicator or a guaranty for the remaining lifetime. I just know that wonderful people such as your friend or my sister’s father-in-law are little warnings to remind us that we are not immortal. Now, I am enjoying my moments with loved ones even more, but how easily do we forget that life is fragile…

    Thank you Hilbre for reminding me!



  8. Hilbre, It takes a momentous loss, even an inevitable one, to make you reassess priorities and it takes a strong and thoughtful person to put a list like this together at a time of great pain. so, thank you for making me think. It has certainly given me plenty to challenge myself with. I try to wake up grateful each day and live each day to the fullest. I hug my children and my husband that bit tighter and take the time to tell them that I love them.

    I read a great quote the other day, I think it was a line from a John Lennon song, it says “life is what happens while you are busy making plans”. I realised just how true it is. If we are not careful, life passes us by as we focus so much on planning for the future we don’t enjoy each day as it passes. Today, on such a glorious day, I took the time to listen to the birds, feel the sun on my face and just sit on the patio for 5 minutes enjoying the moment. Wonderful.

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