Unlock the Automatic Pilot
Is there a switch or internal mechanism that clicks on when we engage in our usual activities? Or rather, does it click us off? At that moment we know what we are doing but part of our awareness is disconnected. Have you ever driven a car without recalling how you got to where you were? What about your morning routine – do you check your phone, shower and caffeinate semiconsciously as you prepare for when your day actually begins? I would guess the same defaults are happening with work, personal habits, or even family matters. If you tally an entire day, I would predict the ‘checking-out’ phase occupies a significant portion of it. Most of us accept this condition as normal and complacently slog our way through. Yet we complain that we remain stuck and powerless to change these patterns. Perhaps all we need to do is wake up!
It begins with self-questioning. An internal dialogue can have a profound effect on our course of action. When we pause and put thought to what is going on, the pattern shifts, even if we do not convince ourselves to change course. The pause alone interrupts the habitual flow and kicks us out of automation. In that space a seed is planted. With nourishment and time that seed will sprout new growth, however that simple pause allows for us to pivot and spring forth.
As you continue to break the automation habit, your environment must change to allow for greater gain. This could mean altering your schedule, reorganizing your settings, choosing better company, or doing new out-of-the-ordinary activities. Find out what works for you and go with it! It’s a phase of self-discovery. You can pace yourself with incremental shifts or allow for big leaps of faith if you are ready. There is no wrong way, just so long as you continue to feed your growth.
As you progress further, you may come across massive emotional obstacles. Don’t take flight out of fear, which will be a natural tendency. Instead of running-for-cover (a reaction that tends to keep us where we’ve always been), acknowledge that you are breaking some major ground here and, in so doing, anticipate some Earth-shaking responses. It will be important at this stage to get a tribe behind you. Nurture a trusted circle - reach out to a professional, communicate to loved ones, and build a greater support system to help reinforce your efforts. To be vulnerable takes courage, yet the personal rewards will also be greater, and the checking-out phase will become less frequent. In essence, you will be taking control by letting go of the old you.
The challenges will be plenty. So, forgive yourself for any missteps. This experience is about self-discovery. Stay positive about your personal breakthroughs, keep moving further, and continue to be open to this new you. If you can fill your time positively, those actions will be the building blocks to a healthier life. And your efforts to continue to re-write your life’s script will help keep that automatic pilot off.