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  • Writer's pictureMathilde Fongen

On Conscious Decisions and Happiness

Life is made up of decisions. Some are big, like choosing a career, and some are small, like whether to have tea or coffee this morning (I chose coffee today). The choices we make define us. They make up our personality, our lifestyle, our timeline. From what I've learned through the people in my life and my experiences, I'll be bold enough to say that making conscious decisions are the key to happiness.

I was taught from a young age to always be making conscious decisions. If you're always making conscious decisions, you can never be surprised by where you end up. Actually, you'll never just "end up" somewhere, because the choices you have made are what led you there. If you're in a good place, it's because of you and no one can take that away from you. If you're not in a good place, you can trace it back to the choices you've made, and you can now make different ones to get yourself out of that place. These things can take time, and life is often more complicated than this simplification, but what it boils down to, is mindfulness. Being aware of where you are in life, what you do and the decisions you make are key. It's about living consciously.

Making conscious decisions is not the same as making the right decisions. Sometimes we don't know what the right decision is until we've made the wrong one and sometimes it isn't that black and white. Sometimes there isn't a right path to choose. Choosing the wrong path can be the only way to discover that it is the wrong one and then, it's only by making the wrong decision that you've learned an important lesson. This is a big part of self discovery. We figure out how to deal with the mistakes we make, and we learn invaluable lessons from them. In this way, we can be grateful for our mistakes, rather than regretful.

From a walk up Scolty Hill in Banchory, Aberdeenshire. We chose the right path that day.

We can't be in control all the time, and sometimes we actively make the wrong decision, because it feels right. It can be daunting to think about everything we can't control, but I think that if we live consciously most of the time, in those instances where we can't be, or aren't capable of living that way, it feels okay to let go of control. For me, the decision to focus on "most days" rather than "every day", was a key turning point in keeping up with good habits and making my goals more manageable. This goes for things like yoga, meditation, editing, reading and getting up early. It doesn't matter if I choose to take it easy for a day or two, because there are other days to stay on top of the things I want to achieve.

Recently, I have become more and more aware of what makes me happy. I've become aware of the sort of day to day habits I need in order to live my life the best way I know how. Reflecting on periods of being unhappy, making poor lifestyle choices and being a version of myself I don't want to be has led me to knowing myself better than ever. So now, I focus on making decisions in my day to day life that contribute to the lifestyle I want. It's clearer what sort of choices I need to make in order to get to where I want to be, because I'm more aware of the things that don't work for me. What I've learned from the mistakes I've made has led to a much greater understanding of who I really am. I can honestly say that I've never been happier and my decisions, good and bad, right and wrong, are what brought me here.

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