Note: This is a guest post by Fabian and Veronika, founders of The Elementarist, a minimalist lifestyle magazine that covers minimalist living, design and technology celebrating simplicity. It is curated by a team of editors that live and apply minimalism differently. It does not promote one single idea of minimalism or blue blueprints for a minimalist life. The Elementarist is about discovery, inspiration and subjective advice.
As minimalists we constantly try to spend more time with what we love. However, we keep doing things we actually don’t want to do; each month, each week and each day. We’re not merely talking about big, life-changing decisions but about the small, daily choices we make. Strategy is the art to know what not to do and as a minimalist you have to learn to say no to make our life happier and more self-determined.
Realize that you have the choice
Before we do something, we take a decision. This gives us the opportunity to say yes and no. However, we often skip or simply not realize this important moment in the flow of our daily lives. We take many of our everyday decisions unconsciously and sometimes even forget that we actually have the choice.
Be more aware when making small decisions
Everybody takes a step back before taking a major decision with a tangible impact, like buying a car. But small decisions are often not treated with the same mindfulness.
We believe that you should take some time to think no matter how big the impact of the decision appears to you. Not hours or days but the time required to listen to your inner voice shortly.
While little decisions might not have an immediate or tangible impact, small bad decisions keep accumulating over time. Even if they don’t appear that harmful in the moment itself they bear a long-term risk of your happiness when your mind starts to feel uncomfortable with your way of living.
Decisions we take against our will
There are many decisions we take against our will everyday. We keep things that we actually don’t want like the jumper that your auntie gave you last Christmas. You go for lunch with people even if you don’t feel like it. You buy a bigger car because your friends did too. Or you got married because your parents expected you to.
In this article we would like to focus on the little choices that we make every day. The best way to achieve a minimalist life is to make baby steps and work on everyday traits instead of directly tackling major things. These little decisions accompany us day by day. They make us do things we don’t want to do for the sake of being polite or out of the fear to be alone or different.
5 situations where you should think twice to become happier
To ease your start, we have created a small compilation of 5 casual situations where people often forget to take a step back.
Some people go shopping just because they are bored and want to do something. Then most people are scared to exit a shop without buying something. They feel like they have betrayed the sales associate that was so nice and carrying. Some people even feel bad exiting a food store without buying something. Don’t buy something out of guilt or boredom, only buy if you really need it or it gives you joy. The cashier won’t bite you.
2) Have a beer
It’s beer o’clock and everybody is heading to the pub. But do you really feel like beer? Or would you rather go for something healthy. Many people feel uncomfortable toasting without liquor or being the only one without a pint. Dare to toast with mango juice if you feel like it – no one will actually care.
3) Going out
Or going out at all, do you really want it? In the past, we would often had wished to just stay home. But friends kept calling for another night out. We eventually hit the road but not because we wanted to. We hit the road because we thought that we disappoint other people. You don’t have to go out to make your friends happy. Friendship is unconditional.
4) Watching that new TV show
That fancy new TV show is out and all the office is already thrilled about it. You seem to be the only one not interested. But you also know that the buzz will be all about this show in the coming weeks. So you eventually watch it to be part of the buzz. Don’t, you don’t have you. There will always be someone happy to talk about other things who is just scared of being different just like you.
5) Celebrating events
Xmas, Mardy Gras, Halloween, Carnival. Many people can’t wait for these events to come. They wait for them all year long and get prepared months ago. But some people don’t, still they end up going. Why don’t you just go out in the nature or spend 2 days somewhere else? Out of fear to miss something out? Try to skip such an event the next time. You will have a great time and no one will be disappointed that you didn’t come.
Before you do something always take 3 seconds and ask yourself: “Do I really want to do this?”
When have you caught yourself taking wrong decisions?