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May 16, 2015 12:01 AM EDT
Barker is the author of Barking Up The Wrong Tree

1) We regret things we should have done but didn’t do. The areas that top the list are education, career and romance. Not spending enough time with friends and family is up there too. The dying had these regrets:

2) Setting ambitious goals instead of conservative ones leads to more satisfaction later.

3) We’re more likely to regret purchasing things. We’re more likely to regret not purchasing experiences.

4) You can reduce regret by comparing yourself to those less fortunate rather those more accomplished than yourself.

5) Studies show we consistently overestimate how regret affects us. We anticipate regret will be much more painful than it actually is.

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This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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