5 Signs You’re Living On Autopilot And How to Stop It

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Autopilot: The process of living your life constantly on the go, not being present in your day-to-day life, and doing things the same way that you’ve always done them.

We all go through “autopilot” phases when life gets busy, work gets stressful, or we don’t feel safe to make life changes. But when you’re living on autopilot, you miss out on so much fun. Life is temporary and our time on this Earth is not a guarantee, so we need to try to enjoy every single moment.

Here are some signs that you could be living your life on autopilot right now — and what you can do to change your life:

1. Your shopping cart looks identical every week.

It’s so easy to fall into the habit of buying and eating the same foods every week. When you’re in “autopilot mode,” you’re unlikely to think about trying new recipes, experimenting with different foods, or attempting to make anything that might make your kitchen messy.

When I’m living on autopilot, I fall into unhealthy habits, like buying “meal deals” for lunch or having weekly takeaways. Ordering meal boxes helped me feel inspired to cook better food over the winter months. It was so comforting to come home to fresh food parcels delivered to my door. I also enjoyed the fact that these boxes weren’t “ready meals” packed with salt and preservatives. Using meal kits encourage me to take time to prepare and cook my food. This helped take my mind off of everything and wind down.

2. You wear the same outfits on repeat.

Do you live in the same pair of jeans when you go out on the weekend? Do you wear the same smart black skirt and tights each day at work? So many of us get stuck in the habit of wearing clothes that we know suit us — to the point where we feel afraid to mix up our style.

Rather than wearing the same five work outfits on repeat, challenge yourself to pull out pieces that you don’t wear as often. You don’t need to buy a load of new outfits — instead, you could spend a weekend afternoon sorting out your wardrobe and trying on the clothes and outfits you already own. Try to lay out your outfit the night before work – this will help you avoid a last-minute scramble in the morning. If you wear a uniform to work, you can try wearing a different pair of shoes, sporting new accessories, or changing up your hairstyle.

3. You reject plans or ideas without really thinking them through.

When I’ve lived on autopilot in the past, I have woken up, gone to work, got home, eaten my dinner, done some housework, worked some more, and then gone to bed… every day.! If someone asked me to do anything that was remotely out of my comfort zone, my default response was to make up an excuse for why I shouldn’t do it. However, when I’ve tried to “feel the fear and do it anyway,” I always have fun!

Saying “no” to plans will leave you feeling flat and empty. When I was on autopilot in the past, I didn’t feel like me, but in all honesty, I forgot what being me really was all about. If you think that this describes you, challenge yourself to say “yes” to new experiences.

4. You’re constantly scrolling.

Do you ever check your weekly screen time and shock yourself with the amount of time you spend mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or watching YouTube videos? Perhaps you’re so busy watching snippets of other people living their lives that you forget to live your own.

Excessive social media use can be really unhealthy, and it won’t make you feel good about yourself. If you try to reduce your phone use, then you’ll have more time to try new hobbies and get in touch with the “real world.”

5. Every day blends together, so you can’t remember when anything happened.

When you live on autopilot, small details and memories become a blur. You often think only about the “bigger picture” and what’s coming up instead of living in the moment. Mindfulness — the process of taking time to be still and calm, and to take note of your senses — can help you tune back in. Making a few mindful moments each day will reset your brain to think about the “here and now” and (hopefully) stop you from rushing!

Acknowledging that you might be living your life on autopilot is the first step towards changing your behaviors and habits. Don’t beat yourself up for not being present — that will get you nowhere. Instead, make a plan for how you can get out of your “autopilot rut,” and embrace it. Three weeks in, you will have changed your habits and will likely live a happier, more adventurous life. Good luck!

Featured Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash.

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