10 Most Common Deathbed Regrets

In the final hours or days, most people reflect on what they wish they had done differently. Some write it down, while others voice their regrets to loved ones, medical practitioners, or spiritual leaders. Saying your last goodbye must be terrifying, but so is realizing that you have had many chances to make your life richer. Hopefully, these deathbed regrets will help you improve your life while you still have the time. 

Honor your time 

We spend hours perfecting selfies and endlessly scoring on social media. But we are here for a limited time only, and it is our duty to spend as much time as possible doing what we love, surrounding ourselves with loved ones, and instead of chasing the perfect moment, being present. To avoid final regrets, appreciate the time you were given. 

Don’t let the work take over your life 

A nurse who worked with terminal patients shared that one of the most common regrets, among mainly men, was working too much. We need work to provide for ourselves and our families. But, while working hard to buy all the things we need and even more we don’t, we miss those small moments that make lives worth living, like watching your children grow up, spending time with your spouse, or joking around with your family and friends. Work is a necessity, but life happens outside the office walls. 

Stepping outside your comfort zone 

If you never step out of your comfort zone, you never challenge yourself. While this might not sound so bad, it deprives you of experiences, new skills, or new connections. There is a saying, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone,” so don’t wait until it is too late to push your limits and do something extraordinary for yourself. 

Live for yourself 

Speaking of comfort zones, following societal norms and rules is an easy way out. But, ask yourself whether these norms reflect your values and truth. Be honest about your dreams and desires, regardless of what some might say. People who love you will be happy to see you thriving, and you will set a good example for future generations. 

Take care of your body and mind 

We take our health for granted, believing there’s time to undo our mistakes or that nothing bad will happen to us. But too much alcohol, cigarettes, and fries will eventually catch you. So will your unhealed traumas and everyday stress that could have been avoided, like getting agitated over being stuck in traffic or having a nasty boss. Your body and mind constantly send you signals about when to slow down or move around, so pay attention; it will pay off. 

Do not hold grudges 

While people will leave your life and others will enter it, there is comfort in knowing that not all relationships were meant to last, and just because you are no longer close, it does not have to be a nasty goodbye. By choosing to forgive instead of holding grudges, you will feel better about your choices, and your heart and mind will be at peace. 

Building solid relationships

No one ever said, “I wish I made more money.” Instead, two professors of psychology, Mike Morrison of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Neal Roese of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Illinois, shared the most common retreat involves romance. Express your feelings, spend time with worthy people, and if you can’t find the love of your life, fall in love with life! 

Think about your legacy 

One could say it doesn’t matter what you left behind once you’re gone. But people on deathbeds had other ideas. Many talked about their legacy beyond children and family in general. Legacy can live on in lives that you changed or causes you supported, and you don’t have to be a world leader or a world-renowned artist to make your mark. 

Accept there’s so much to learn 

As adults, we were taught that we should have all the answers. We don’t. Just because your formal education is finished does not mean that you cannot teach another language or learn to play the piano. Some will whine, “But there’s not enough time.” Yet, dedicating only 20 or 30 minutes to furthering your knowledge will expand your horizons and inspire you to push yourself further. 

Travel whenever you can 

Even if it is a short trip to the nearby lake or the next town, it can be enough to remind you that there’s more to life than going from work to home and to work again. Many people wait for retirement to take a leap and see the world, but there are no guarantees, so take a chance, hop on a bus, and experience something new. 


Life is short, and there is no way you will leave without a single regret. However, these deathbed confessions are a good way to notice what truly matters and what doesn’t. Carrying about what others might think or worrying about things out of your control will get you nowhere. That’s why you should focus on what makes you uniquely happy. 

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