Regret Reduction Goal Setting

Regrets Uninstalling

As all of the New Year Resolutions have expired for 2016, I am embarrassed that I’m just getting around to setting my 2016 goals. I normally set these at the end of December but my grandson, Kasen, spent all of his school break with me. That is no excuse because I wouldn’t swap those two weeks for anything. I was with him when he shot his first deer. There was a lot of bonding and we had a great time.

In December of 2014, I started something I call, Regret Reduction Goal Setting. In addition to the normal health, finance and family goals, I included a few things from my “As Soon As” list.

One item was to visit our friends, Roy and Della and climb their mountain in the Texas Hill Country. I checked that off in May. An unscheduled surgery in early April would have given me a great excuse to not climb the mountain. I’ve always heard you can have excuses or results, not both. I had quite a few rest stops on the way to the top but as you can see below, the view was wonderful. Results, not excuses.

Roys mountain

Years ago, I had a program titled Regret Reduction 101. It was about being intentional in taking action to prevents regrets in our life. During that time, I closed a blog with a regret.


Posted January 22, 2008

Before we close and speaking of regrets, I want to share a recent experience. Later last year I heard a high school classmate of mine, Coach Tommy Miller, Hallsville, TX had lung cancer and was very sick. No, Coach Miller was not a smoker and was in excellent health before his illness. I had the best intentions of calling or going to see him even though I had not seen or talked to him in years.

We ran around with the same group in high school. His mother was a nurse and had patched me up a few times when my Honda 160 Scrambler scrambled out from under me.

Well, I did go to see Tommy in January. It was at visitation, the night before his funeral.

I want to describe visitation for a Brother in Christ that had touched many lives in 31 years of coaching. First I had to park two blocks away. As I neared the funeral home I saw a line that stretched out the door and down the block. I waited in line 90 minutes to pay my respects to his wife and parents. The line was filled with young adults whose lives were touched by Coach Miller. By the time I had reached the front of the line and had visited with many people, there was no doubt that he was a Godly husband, father and son. What a legacy this man had left behind.

As I drove back to Texarkana that night there were two thoughts that weighed heavy on my mind.

Number 1: Last year I said someday I was going to call him or drive down. Friends, the road called someday leads to nowhere. I regret (there’s that word) that I didn’t get to visit with Tommy but I have no one to blame but myself. “As soon as” are some of the most regret producing words we have. Quit putting things off!

Number 2: What a servant’s heart Coach Miller must’ve had. What a legacy! What could I have learned from him if we had the opportunity to visit? I’ll never know. I honestly believe we would have spent very little time talking about the past. As my speaking mentor, Willie Jolley says; the past truly is a place of reference; not a place of residence. That’s why the windshield is big and wide and the rear view mirror is small and narrow.

Even after not talking to Coach Miller in many years; after visiting with many people that night, I am very, very certain that Tommy heard these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant”. Will we?


Little did I know when I wrote that blog about Coach Miller in 2008, my company would be named Greg Gilbert Coaching years later. The origin of the word coach began in the 1500’s. It came from a town in Hungary  that made carriages. The carriages were built to get you from where you are, to where you need to be. Do you get it? StageCOACH, MotorCOACH, flying COACH. The word wasn’t used in an athletic sense until the early 1800’s. Although Coach Miller and I were in two different coaching businesses, our goals in coaching were the same; to get a person from where they are to where they need to be.

I believe it is impossible to get where we want to be or even get close to our potential without goals. Goals help us coach the easiest person to influence, ourselves. 

In my presentations, I ask the audience to quickly write two things that are better today than a year ago as a direct result of your actions. Very few pens hit paper. Friends, we don’t wake up every morning to decline or keep things the same. We are here to make things better. Goals help us achieve that.

Now that our resolutions have lapsed, join me in setting some measurable goals for the remainder of 2016. While we are at it, let’s sprinkle a few Regret Reduction items in there also. You won’t regret it.

What will you do this year to reduce regrets?

Greg Gilbert

Greg Gilbert conducts keynotes and the Leadership Development Reality Show, “Leader-Owner Mindset vs. Undercover Boss” On-Site and at locations around the country.  He is the author of “The Power Of Better Series – Volume I – Leading Like You Own It! Why We Never Wax A Rental Car.”  and his PDF (Personal Development Fiction) book 50 Days Of Hay – A Life Changing Summer. He is committed to assisting the willing to “Become Better” through increased Education, Engagement and Accountability.

He is also the creator and founder of The New Leader Advantage for managers and supervisors promoted within the last two years.

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