I should have kept up with strength training.
I should not have started that race.
I should have done a better job fueling my workouts.
I should have stayed more committed to my training.
I should have taken my recovery days seriously.
I should have listened to my coach.
I should have listened to my body.
I should not have completed (or started) that workout.
As a human being, it's perfectly normal to have a few "should have, would have, could have" moments in life. Regretting a decision that you made and wishing that you could go back in time for a different outcome is simply part of living and learning. As an athlete, you are constantly making decisions to help you gain fitness - some decisions work and some decisions, well, you learn from. You can't stretch your abilities from staying within your comfort zone - you have to take some risks. Although some decisions are just plain silly (ex. testing out a run even though you have been diagnosed with a stress fracture), often times, you simply do the best that you can do, with the knowledge that you have to make the best decision possible at the time, under your unique circumstances.
As it relates to a wake-up call, this is much different than a "should have" one-time decision.
A wake-up call can be an aha or scary moment that initiates a change in priority, behavior or action.
As an example, if your diet reflects the typical Western diet of processed food, fast food and overeating, your wake-up call may be extreme damage to your gut health, affecting everything from your immune system and energy levels to your physical and mental health. Your wake-up call gave you a fire in your belly (literally) to make some extreme changes in your diet to improve your gut health through a more real food diet, making an effort to cook more, eat out less and pay attention to everything that goes into your body. Certainly, this is just one of many different examples but I notice that many people don't change eating habits until things become "really bad."
Because wake-up calls occur all the time, here's a good chance that you have been inspired by the person who has had a serious wake-up call. Whether it's diet, illness, lifestyle, career, relationship, traveling abroad - one small (or big) thing can completely change the way that you go about living life....in an instant! Think about it - you live a life of monotony, making the same decisions over and over until suddenly, something major/bad happens which rattles your lifestyle and suddenly, you have the motivation and desire to make a major shift in how you go about living your life.
Is there something in your life that you think/know you should change?
What's keeping you from making that change?
Is something in your life affecting you in a negative way?
Why aren't you making a change to live a more positive life?
As an example, if your health, body composition, mindset, diet or exercise regime is failing you, don't wait for a the right time or a wake-up call to change the way that you go about your choices. Small, subtle changes can have positive cumulative effects on your quality of life. If your body is giving you a warning signal, don't ignore it. Take charge, make a change, take care of yourself and start living!
While you may look back on your life and wish that you would have done a few things differently (hey, we all make mistakes), don't live a life where you look back and wish you would have made better decisions/choices when you had the chance.