Do you feel as though you’re sleepwalking through life? You don’t remember your drive home, what happened at work, or the last time you made a decision you’re passionate about. When we live on autopilot, we feel as though we’re no longer invested in making our lives happen; it’s as if we’re passengers in our life.
Part of being on autopilot is wired into our brains. Our brains naturally make unconscious decisions due to practiced habit. This is a helpful quality until we begin to disengage from enriching our lives. The things that get put on autopilot are also the most familiar. Our family and home lives easily become routine, which explains why we fail to have deep conversations, remember birthdays, or realize someone is feeling hurt or neglected. We no longer take time to cook healthy meals because fast food is easier and requires less intention.
Most of us are living our lives on autopilot at times. However, it’s important that you have self-awareness into how often it’s happening so you can live with more intention. Here are warning signs of living on autopilot:
You stop noticing your personal needs in order to please others.
Your schedule is full of predictable activities. You didn’t stop the routine to schedule in something unique or new.
You have intermittent times when you feel joyless but settle for routine because it’s easier. You may lack the energy to take over your life, so you submit to the routine.
You’re always “on” and can’t seem to put your phone down. You rarely take time to reflect on how you’re feeling or what you’re doing.
You feel as though time is passing fast, and your memory is impaired. You can’t believe how things have changed and feel as though your life has stayed the same. This contributes to a feeling of getting old and feeling worse about yourself because you haven’t done the things you wanted to do and see others living a fuller life than you.
If you identify with the items above, it’s time to stop autopilot and reclaim your life. Remember, patience is key.
Become more aware of your behavior. Are you living on autopilot because you want to or does it just happen? Are you making intentional choices about what you eat, what you watch, and what you listen to?
Consider your end goal in life. How do you want to be remembered? When you choose a life purpose, mission, or hobby, it should guide and inspire your choices. Having a purpose helps you avoid autopilot short cuts.
Try new things. Autopilot behavior is a lazy way to go through life; you need challenges and to be pushed out of your comfort zones to grow.
Use daily routines to practice mindfulness. Stay in the present and be especially mindful of your task and surroundings.
Stop and reflect. Ask yourself if you enjoy what you’re doing. Life happens to everyone, but not everyone is brave enough to not let their situation define their purpose in life.
Life is so precious and limited. The next time you’re walking outside, eating dinner, or stuck in traffic take note of what you see and appreciate the moment. Take your life off autopilot and enjoy the ride.