Do you have days (or weeks, or even months) when you feel like you’re a zombie, trudging through life, following directions, and merely existing instead of really living? If a general feeling of boredom or disinterest is your default setting, you may be one of the countless people living life on autopilot.
A survey of 3,000 Britons found that 96% of them acted on certain things or made certain decisions unconsciously and automatically. Some of these “decisions” included what to wear, which route to take to work, how to answer emails, what do on weekends, and what to have for lunch or dinner. When questioned about these decisions, the general response was “I don’t really remember deciding anything specifically. It’s all kind of a blur.”
This is your brain on autopilot. It’s not all negative though: autopilot actually helps us cope at times. According to the study, the average adult makes around 35,000 decisions each day, so it’s a good thing many are second nature; in this way, they help us to automatically manage routine tasks and keep our brain from overloading. But when this automatic feature starts slipping into other areas of life, it comes at an emotional cost.
Living on autopilot can leave you sleepwalking through some of life’s most precious moments, making it difficult to make intentional decisions about how you want to work and live your life. Before you know it, you’re living your life by default, not by design. Over time, these small mindless decisions can prevent you from reaching your goals or attaining happiness.
3 Signs You’re Living on Autopilot:
- You dread each coming day. You wake up and feel utterly bored before you even start because there’s nothing you’re really looking forward to. You aren’t motivated as you already know almost everything that’s going to happen, pretty much every day.
- You feel like you’re not making progress. Weeks and months pass, but your goals seem as unattainable as ever. Perhaps you’ve gotten too comfortable and prefer to avoid stepping outside of your comfort zone. Maybe you’re afraid to take the risks necessary to move forward.
- You know your life could be better. You’re certain that you could be happier and that your life could be more fulfilling, but you feel stuck in your current situation. You daydream about having taken a different path.
3 Ways to Stop Living Your Life on Autopilot:
- Begin by making tiny changes. Some simple alterations to your daily routine can get the ball rolling. Try taking a different commute, eating at a restaurant you’ve never tried, scheduling your work tasks in a different order: any or all of these can light a spark and break the boredom cycle.
- Choose one meaningful goal and go for it. Think of a goal, do one thing to get started on the road to accomplishing it, and tell three people about it to make it more of a commitment. This will not only motivate you, but give you more control over your life’s direction and satisfaction when you achieve it.
- Be more intentional in all you do. Make time for more conscious thinking; make time for friends, family, and community. Never stop questioning your routines and habits so you can clearly understand whether they truly bring reward and happiness. And your daydream? Remember that you’re just as good as anyone who’s living the dream life you wish was yours. The only difference is determination. Because having an amazing life starts with consciously deciding to make your dream come true.