So I’d like to talk about what it feels like to KNOW that you are on the right track in life. No uncertainty. No worry. No doubt. No stress. Sounds amazing right? It is.
Reflecting over the past seven years of my existence I’ve realised a lot of things that I can categorise as none other than ‘Kelsey’s montage of stupid decisions’. I’m sure many of you can relate when I say that I had no idea about the consequences of my actions until much later in life (apparently there’s research that states we don’t fully understand the consequences of our actions until 25). I need not go into detail because it’s honestly embarrassing, but you get the picture. So these last seven years have been tough because not only did I feel lost, uncertain, overwhelmed, and devalued but I also made a lot of bad decisions. However, the last two years have been a completely different story.
It didn’t take me long to realise that life had been going well. Really well. Almost too well that I began to feel as though I didn’t deserve this new life that was being thrust upon me. I did not complain.
I came to the conclusion that my life had been going well not because of chance or fate, but because of two very important things.
- Positivity – Okay, that was an obvious one but I mean it. I was so negative and always found something to complain about: blaming my life situations on anyone but myself, comparing myself to other people and thinking that they were just lucky, playing the victim, and not taking responsibility for my actions. Whatever excuse I could think of, I would tell myself that everyday. It was a habit, a very bad one. It started with my decision to stop talking about anything negative that happened during my day. When people asked me how my day was or how I was feeling I’d reply with “good thanks” and moved on. Eventually I stopped (well mostly – because I’m still human) thinking about negative thoughts and we all know Buddha’s saying: What you think you become, what you feel you attract, what you imagine you create. But here’s the key: It’s okay to think negative thoughts, it’s your choice how much you engage with them.
- Making ONE good decision at a time – Sometimes it’s just way too hard to go ‘cold turkey’ on anything: drinking, partying, eating bad food, over-spending, the list goes on. I found that a lot of the behaviours and habits that I wanted to change would require time but it was like staring at Mount Everest from the base camp – it felt impossible.
Too often people think that changing their life means that they have to give up drinking, or drugs, or to ‘stop being lazy’. But it is much simpler than that! If you think that drinking is a problem, what good is it going to do if you decide that you are not going to drink anything on the weekend… then the weekend comes and before you know it you’ve changed your mind and you wake up Sunday morning with no faith in yourself and a little bit of self-hate.
I do not want this for you. Instead, you need to make one decision at a time. Some one offers you a drink, say no. Step one: Complete.
Whatever you chose to conquer, once you are on the road to bettering yourself it is important to realise that you are beginning to do one vital thing: you have opened yourself up and given yourself the opportunity to grow. And with growth comes direction, purpose, and meaning.
So below are just some key decisions I’ve made in my life that have provided me with those very things;
Decision One: Seize Every Opportunity
After I finished my last exam for my degree I made the decision to live my life to the full and do as much as I could before I became tied down with a full-time job. It was the best six months of my life!
Decision Two: Try New Things
I decided to try new hobbies to find out what I enjoyed and to keep me active. If you’ve read my previous posts you’ll know that these hobbies included surfing, yoga, power lifting, and hiking. Hobbies are great because they make you happy… and we all need more of that.
Decision Three: Socialise in Positive Environments Only
At the time, all of my close friends only wanted to hang out when there was drinking involved. This was a tough one for me because I thought that if I didn’t go out with them, I wouldn’t see them – and God forbid that I spend my nights alone. It started off that way actually. To stop a bad habit it helps to replace it with a good one. I quickly filled my time with friends who I felt better about myself after meeting with them – and even learnt how to be okay with being alone!
Decision Four: Listen to Yourself
One distinct thing I remember from my degree was that: If people view the positive consequences as being more rewarding than the negative consequences of an action, then that individual will execute the action. So basically, I no longer valued the idea of going out with certain friends when I knew what the negative consequences would be… I no longer ate that second slice of cake because I would feel a little bit of self-hate after… I no longer forced myself to do something that I wouldn’t enjoy just to please others… But to be able to do that, you need to listen to your own thoughts. Recognise what you truly want. Check if they are in line with your morals. And then, if so, green light!!
My point is that when you start to make decisions that better yourself, that make you happy, that bring you peace you begin to feel a sense of meaning. You start to think “what else is out there, what else could I be doing” – you begin to seek out direction in life. You’re ‘trial and error phase’. You’ll try new things here and there to see what you like and you might find one thing, you might find a couple of things that you are passionate about. This is your sense of purpose. The key here is passion. My old man once told me to find what I was passionate about and to pursue it. So I did.
Here comes the ‘knowing’ part…
Knowing that you are on the right track…
There is one thing that you should feel above all when it comes to making a decision…
You should feel at peace
You should feel content with the decision you’ve made. Yes, you can feel excited as well. But feeling at peace is important.
It’s only been these last few years that I have felt at peace with my decisions in life and I couldn’t be happier! I know that I am on the right career path, I know that I am exactly where I need to be in life, and I know the next steps I’m going to take – all because I feel at peace about it. There is no anxiety, no fear, no doubt… Just peace