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Regret is a powerful and painful emotion that everyone will experience at least once in their life. Sadly, the more lessons we have to learn the hard way, the more regret we will ultimately feel.

When you begin to compare your current self to your younger self, it can be a really strange experience. I remember long ago, thinking about life in one way, and now, I approach life in an entirely different way. I guess the more experiences we endure, and the more lessons we learn, the more we apply this knowledge and grow.

Unfortunately, though, when we learn a lesson too late, it can be a really painful experience. There are many things I wish I had realized long before it was too late. Sadly, for many of us, we just don’t learn until it is too late. If you are reading these, and have yet to experience this life lesson, please take it from me, and keep it in mind.

1. Don’t take people for granted.

The people in your life are worth far more than anything else. When you hold grudges or completely ignore the people you love, you are going to eventually regret it. When you lose them, there is no getting them back, and if you wait until then to stop taking people for granted, it’s going to be a hard lesson.

2. The way you spend your time, is ultimately how you will spend your life.

You can have the best intentions in the world, and still, never get anywhere. Why? Because intentions are merely thoughts. If you think one way and act in another, what is going to make an impact is your actions. Because of that, if you spend your days watching television or procrastinating, that is what your life’s summary will end up being.

3. Time passes by much more quickly than you realize.

When you are young, time seems to go by so slowly. However, the older you get, the more quickly it seems to go by. When I was a child, I was told this all the time by people who were older than me, and I thought they were crazy. Now, I swear I look away for a minute, and a year has gone by. It’s crazy, and it’s really sad.

4. If you don’t take care of your body- it won’t take care of you.

If you fill your body with junk food, barely move, and let health issues go unchecked, it will eventually catch up with you. I am not saying that anyone should strive to be perfect in their diet or their health, but if you don’t pay attention to your health habits, no one else will.

5. No one is coming to save you from yourself.

When bad things happen, it can be hard to maintain control over yourself and even your life. However, the more you spiral into infinity, the harder it is to pick yourself back up. And at the end of the day, no one is coming to save you. If you want a better life, you have to make it for yourself. No one else will do that.

6. You reap what you sew.

When you make good decisions and engage in good habits, you will have a far better outcome than when you do the opposite. In short, actions have consequences. And even small bad decisions will eventually catch up with you.

7. Take the chances.

When you are presented with a chance to take, but brush it off until later, you are only robbing yourself. Yes, changes can be scary. The risk seems intimidating. But, some chances don’t come around twice. And if you retreat to fear you are going to regret not leaping.

8. Your future self is a mash-up of your current habits.

Life is all about choices, and our daily habits are what ultimately shape our lives. If your daily habits are bad for your mind, your body, and your spirit, you are going to go in a bad direction. Conversely, when you make better choices and actively do good for yourself, your outcome will be exponentially improved.

9. The outcome is never as good as the journey.

It’s easy to get caught up in focusing on your destination. But, when you get so focused on the destination that you miss out on the journey, you are robbing yourself of the experience of the reality show. The point in life isn’t just to achieve but to enjoy the journey of getting there.

10. Stay present at the moment, or it will pass you by.

When life gets stressful, it’s tempting to go on autopilot. But, the more you zone out, the more you will continue to zone out. And the more zoned out you become, the less likely you are to enjoy all of the beautiful moments that make life great.

11. Money is not a measure of real success.

We live in a world where many people value money and material wealth over morality and goodness. While that might be the way that some people work, when it comes down to it, when you are dead, the only thing that will matter is how you treated others and how you lived your life.

12. Trust your instincts.

When we are younger, it can be easy to overlook those gut feelings we get. However, the older you get, the more you will realize that those gut feelings are your instincts. We have instincts for a reason, to protect us and to protect the people we love. Our instincts are for our survival. When you shut them out, you are driving blind.