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Are You Trapped by the Autopilot Dilemma?
(from Motivation123 Newsletter; Wednesday, March 28, 2007)
An epidemic is occurring all around you, and there is a good chance it has already found its way into your life. It begins slowly at first, nearly imperceptible. But it grows. In time it can take over your entire life.
I have seen it happen too many times, and if you don't act now, it may happen to you. It's easy to fall into the trap. Well-intentioned individuals of all ages don't mean for it to happen, but that doesn't matter. It takes much more than good intentions to steer clear of this problem. If all it took was good intentions the world would be packed with people living their dreams and accomplishing their goals. But that's not how it works, and this trap is one of the most common reasons why it has happened too often in the past, and will continue to happen in the future.
What exactly are we dealing with here? What is so deadly to the goals and hopes you have stored away in your head? -- ROUTINE.
The Results of an Amazing Experiment --
A very unusual experiment was conducted by John Fabre, the French naturalist, consisting of processionary caterpillars, a type of caterpillar that blindly follows the one in front of it (This explains the name processionary caterpillar). The experiment consisted of several of these caterpillars, a flowerpot filled to the rim with dirt, and pine needles. The caterpillars formed a complete circle around the rim of the flowerpot, with the first one touching the back of the last one. The pine needles, the food of the processionary caterpillar, were placed in the center of the circle. The caterpillars began their procession around the flowerpot, one following the other in a circle. This went on hour after hour, day after day, for an entire week. In the end, every one of the caterpillars dropped dead of starvation. The one thing that could have saved them was only six inches away, but without purposeful thought or action, the caterpillars continued with a habitual routine that eventually proved too much to endure.
This is happening to people you know, maybe even you, although not to this degree. Get stuck doing the same old thing every single day and your goals, sitting only inches away, are as good as gone. Plain and simple. You might think it's a little too simple, but falling into a routine can destroy your life. I have very strong beliefs about this because I have seen it happen to people close to me, as I'm sure you have as well.
Good friends and family start off with bright hopes for the future, but their routine begins to take their place. 'No time, no time,' is a common excuse. After seventy years of having no time to do the things you have always wanted to do you'll end up with nothing but a good excuse in the end. This is your life we are talking about here. It's worth taking the time to break the pattern of habit and creating the changes you wish to make.
There is little more that is as important as the life you create and the good you leave behind. Recognize if you are in a routine and break free. Sometimes it's a matter of an attribute we all seek in life - confidence. Permanent change requires courage and a strong belief in your ability to succeed, something that we all doubt from time to time.
What Are You Talking About???
The routines I'm referring to are much deeper than a morning process of a shower and shave. I'm talking about turning off your brain and letting autopilot kick in. Doing the same things you did the day before with no plans to change the pattern any time soon. You know the drill - wake up, shower, work, home, sleep, repeat. This is no way to live, and you know that. But it's still hard to break free once the routine has gotten hold of you. All hope is not lost. If you want to turn off the autopilot and start taking control of your life it takes only one moment to make the decision. And then everything changes.
You've heard it a thousands times, and it's a good thing, because it's true. If you keep doing what you have always done in the past you will keep getting the exact same results. People experience a partial insanity when it comes to routine. Perfectly logical creatures believe that doing the same thing again and again will get different results. That's crazy! If you want to lose weight but continue with the same eating habits, you won't lose weight. If you want to have more energy but stay up until four and get up at six it won't happen. You have goals, just like everyone else. If you are stuck in a routine you won't accomplish them. Be honest with yourself about this one. It's the only way you'll realize the need for a change before you can enjoy improvement.
What does it take? It takes a decision. A choice of what you really want to do with your life and the corresponding actions to make it happen. I want you to create a plan for your future and the goals you want to accomplish. If you know where you are going and how to get there you will not be disappointed in the end.
[In other words -- “plan your work, then work your plan.” Create a vision of the desired outcome for your life (put it in writing). Convert this to a set of goals (make a picture board depicting each), and your goals to plans (which will be comprised of tasks). Then schedule each task and DO them at their appointed times!]
Routines/Habits can be good and serve us well … see Habit.