One Simple Question That Can Move You From Regret to Relief

Change is an issue you actually face daily.

I don’t mean to imply that you’re actually changing everyday, I just mean you’re facing change.

You’re either

leading change

resisting change

avoiding change

fearing change

mishandling change (don’t like this one either, but it happens)

As a leader, I’m gripped by this thought:

Change is not neutral. And whether you change always triggers relief or regret. 


When you look back over your life, you will realize the changes you’ve made or didn’t make always resulted in relief or regret. Here are the kind of things you’ll say:

I’m so glad we worked through our differences and got counselling (relief)

I never should have taken the job for the money (regret)

I’m so thankful we started this church (relief)

I never should have gotten behind the wheel when I was that tired (regret)

I’m so glad we didn’t buy that house that was just out of our price range (relief)

One of my biggest mistakes was asking him to be my business partner (regret)

Inviting my best friend to be my son’s mentor was one of the best parenting decisions we ever made (relief)

Standing between the status quo and the outcome was one simple thing: change.

Either a change they needed to make (deciding to work on their marriage  or to start the church) or a change they needed to avoid (not buying that house, or saying no to the prospective business partner).

And often, leaders are simply confused about whether to make the change or not.

Asking yourself a simple question can help cut through the confusion around change.

Here’s the question:

Five years from now, will the change I’m considering today result in relief or regret?

Stated another way:

Am I going to regret doing this/not doing this?

Am I going to be so relieved I did this/didn’t do this?

You won’t always know the answer for sure, but you will probably know more of it than you think. Asking that simple question can clarify so much.

Five years from now, all you’re going to have is relief or regret about the change you’re staring down today.

Because whether or not you change always triggers relief or regret.

So what are you staring down today?

Will the change bring relief or regret?

Once you know, go do something about it.

One Simple Question That Can Move You From Regret to Relief


  1. Stacey on February 8, 2015 at 10:23 am

    The simplicity of this article enabled me to see the forrest through the trees so to speak. Do I want regret? Do I want relief? What will the consequences be for making this decision? Long term will it produce relief? Or will it produce regret? What a great way to simplify what I so often complicate. Thank you. Im sure I’ll read it again.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on February 8, 2015 at 6:59 pm

      Stacey…so glad to hear this! Thanks for sharing it.

  2. […] One Simple Question That Can Move You From Regret to Relief, by Carey Neiuwhof […]

  3. Jeff on February 2, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    I often find myself putting my foot in my mouth. One of the things I realized about that is this: Christ invented that situation in one way or another by His sovereignty. It’s so much deeper than face value. He’s not just trying to poke fun at me – though He would entirely have the right to. No, it’s like that alarm in the broadcasting industry that goes off when a DJ falls asleep during the night-shift and there’s dead silence on the radio. Crises happen in life and we have a path we can take and that’s like that alarm going off reminding us to trust in Christ. Literally acknowledging Him in prayer and asking Him what to do and being willing to follow. That’s all, Lord willing, from me this week. LOL I’m going to try to go find some Kingdom work to do.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on February 3, 2015 at 7:26 am

      That is a GREAT idea Jeff. We need more people doing Kingdom work. 🙂

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