Have you ever stopped in the middle of the day, looked up, and realised that you’ve been living your life more or less on autopilot — perhaps for a long stretch of time? Well, maybe it is time to stop living on autopilot!

For most of us, as kids, we looked at life as an adventure and as a continuously unfolding and exciting experience.

Whether in the context of meaningful life rituals and events such as First Communion, and the accompanying Holy Communion dresses, or in the context of going on vacation to a new place for the first time, there’s just so much to see, do and experience.

As we get older, though, too many of us find ourselves living on autopilot. We go through the same underwhelming routines, day after day, with each day seeming to blur into the next. 

This also leads to a lack of productivity and energy!

Getting out of this state of autopilot can do a lot of good when it comes to improving our overall sense of zest for life.

Here are just a few tips to help you stop living on autopilot.

Shape how you feel about different behaviours by reinforcing (or questioning) your beliefs

One of the things that most consistently causes people to “operate on autopilot” is the simple fact that they find it difficult to work up the motivation to do things differently — and so are stuck within their own patterns of assumption and habit.

Shaping how you feel about different behaviours — by reinforcing those you want to do more of, and questioning those you want to do less of — can powerfully change your entire routine.

If you always procrastinate with your work, for example, and this costs you time and opportunities to spend on other things, you could undermine the negative perceptions that cause you to procrastinate by asking yourself the following kinds of questions:

“Is this work really so unpleasant? Do I ever find it fulfilling? 

Doesn’t this work actually usually seem easier once I’ve got started on it?

What are the negative consequences of me procrastinating all the time?”

Get in touch with your preferences and set yourself some motivating goals

On the one hand, the idea of “going with the flow” can often sound kind of nice. It implies being relaxed and spontaneous, and letting opportunities come your way.

Going with the flow is often presented as the opposite of goal setting, and there is certainly a good argument about being totally absorbed in your goals at all times.

In reality, though, going with the flow often just means pursuing low level goals on a day to day basis, and letting other people’s decisions — and basic inertia — shape the course of your life going forward.

“Going with the flow” often means doing the same thing over and over, and staying stuck in a rut forever.

Setting yourself some motivating goals to work towards, and getting in touch with your preferences in life, can radically help you to stop living on autopilot.

Take stock of what you’ve done each day, before going to bed

Taking a bit of time to reflect on what you’ve done each day, before going to bed (don’t forget the importance of good pillows and a comfy mattress for your bed), can have various benefits.

For one thing, it can make it harder for you to consistently stay in the same rut without noticing it.

For another thing, it can help you to consider — and remember — where you could have done certain things better.

This simple practice can help to give you a much needed jolt into action and change.

Photo by magnetme on Pixabay.