Is your forecast for tomorrow always clouded with a chance of regret? Fear not. The experts weigh in on some of our most common concerns.

I have a bad feeling. I'm never going to lose this weight.

You can't put all your emotional eggs in the weight loss basket. People say, "I'll be happy when I reach this size...," but that's a problem, because either you don't reach the goal, or you do—and you're no happier than you were 40 pounds ago. Then you ask yourself why you did all this work, you go back to the way you were before, and the lose-gain-lose cycle begins.

Instead of worrying about the future, work toward leading a fulfilled life today. That will naturally make you want to be healthy. Eating right and exercising are my two fields, but when I meet with a client, I ask her about the things that really hold the secret to her success—what the most important areas of her life are, and how she feels about each one.

So do a little self-discovery. Look at what brings you joy and what isn't going so well. Have a life plan as opposed to a weight plan. Next, figure out how active you're willing to be and how much time you can devote to exercise. Then balance the calories—but don't deprive yourself. I've never found anyone who should be eating fewer than 1,500 calories.

Finally, set realistic goals, or you're bound to fail. Adjust your thinking about what's healthy for you, given your genetics. Some of the healthiest people on the planet are heavier than what we claim is the ideal. Being realistic is not only important, it's empowering.

— Bob Greene, author of The Best Life Diet

 
I worry that my husband will cheat on me and I won't be able to forgive him. And I'm not even married yet!

You're probably worried that your spouse will have extramarital sex or an emotional affair. But there are many ways to cheat: neglect, indifference, spite, refusal of physical intimacy, lack of respect. "Cheating" fails to describe the multiple ways people let each other down.

Before thinking about whether you'd be able to forgive him, it's important to understand what violations of trust mean to a relationship. Forgiveness doesn't mean acceptance but rather understanding, the ability to come to terms with a certain reality, and a willingness to live with it while it finds its place in our lives.

I once worked with a couple who had been together since high school. The man had an affair after his father died because he wanted to break loose from the constrictions he felt had been imposed on him by his father, and to rebel against being dutiful and responsible. While the wife was no less hurt, understanding that the affair had very little to do with her gave it a different meaning. The couple also gained new insights into each other: This strong woman showed a vulnerable side her husband hadn't been aware of, and this bold man was not the husband she thought she knew.

The thought that a partner can leave is not a baseless worry; it's a fact of love. There is no love without the fear of loss. Rather than becoming anxious about the possibility of your spouse cheating on you, think of your concern as an awareness that is part of being in a relationship.

— Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity

 
The clock is ticking, but I'm not sure I want a child—yet I worry that if I don't have one, I'll regret it when it's too late.

There are parts of life where you can compromise, but not here: You either have a child or don't.

The fear of regretting that you didn't have a child is not the best reason to have one. That said, rarely have I seen a patient who regretted becoming a mother, because once the baby is in the world, the woman loves it. Usually, the woman wants to be a parent and it's her spouse who isn't sure; he goes along with it because he listens to her fear of regret. Yet when the baby is born, he doesn't regret it either; he loves it, too.

On the other hand, I have had patients who've regretted not having children. The good news is, there are so many ways you can rectify that, including adoption and IVF.

— Dr. Gail Saltz, psychiatrist and author of Anatomy of a Secret Life

 
Cancer runs in my family. Am I destined to get it, too?

Not necessarily. The top three things you can do to tip the odds in your favor are to maintain a waistline that's generally less than half your height in inches, eat low on the food chain, and not be a toxic dump—avoid exposure to cigarette smoke and asbestos, things like that. You can't control your genes, but they aren't as significant as how you affect them with risk factors you can control, such as smoking and obesity.

— Dr. Mehmet Oz, co-author of You: On a Diet

 
I don't think I'll ever swim out from under the pile of work I have at the office!

You're right. The reality is that you'll never get to the bottom of your to-do list. The way our work world has evolved, it isn't humanly possible anymore. It's not just information overload; it's opportunity overload—there are always a million things to do. And please, forget multitasking. It doesn't increase efficiency at all, and it taxes brain cells in the frontal cortex, which has a terrible impact on performance.

— Julie Morgenstern

 
I don't have enough money to travel! I'm afraid I'll never see French Polynesia, China, and other places I dream of.

Waiting to have enough money will keep you securely ensconced at home. Consider the wonders of America that can be yours for a weekend and the price of a tank of gas (expensive, yes, but still cheaper than plane tickets). Tourists come from all over the globe to see our national treasures, but how many New Yorkers don't personally know the beauty of the historic Hudson Valley? How many Seattleites have never visited the Walla Walla wine region? How many folks in Dallas have yet to two-step their way through the old-time dance halls of Texas's Hill Country?

If you're still hungry for something exotic, you can find that frisson of foreign travel right here in North America. You can hear Cajun spoken in southern Louisiana, and French in the historic neighborhoods of Old Montreal and Old Quebec. The past is very much alive in the Gaelic culture of Nova Scotia and in the Amish communities of Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

But don't give up your dream of a larger trip. Make a plan, and make it happen. Commit to a specific departure date, and put aside money regularly. Time passes quickly; better to spend it looking forward to your trip than allowing regrets to build.

— Patricia Schultz, author of 1,000 Places to See in the U.S. and Canada Before You Die

 
I'm so afraid of terrorism, I can't sleep. How unsafe are we?

Terrorism is violence calculated to create an atmosphere of fear and alarm. It often works.

Terrorist attacks are deadly, dramatic, and visual; how many times have we watched the World Trade Center's towers fall? And the terror is reinforced by a relentless message of fear in the form of Washington's color-coded alerts and announcements of imminent attack.

The terrorist threat is real, but we must distinguish between threats to our national security and danger to individual citizens—us. The threat we face as individuals is minuscule compared with the everyday risks we accept. Each year the average American has about a one in 7,000 chance of dying in a motor vehicle accident, and a one in 18,000 chance of being murdered, most likely by a relative or friend. Compare that to about a one in 600,000 chance of dying at the hands of terrorists. Yet, are we ready to toss the keys to the car? Avoid the family picnic? No.

As a nation, we will combat terrorism. As individuals, it is up to us to combat terror—our own—by putting terrorist fears in perspective.

— Brian Michael Jenkins, senior advisor on terror and homeland security for the RAND Corporation

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