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6 Simple Tricks to Stay Out of “Autopilot” Mode

How to Live a More Purposeful, Mindful Life

Have you ever felt like you're living your life on autopilot, simply “going through the motions” to get through each day?

I think we've all been in this place at some point, and it's a frustrating cycle to break. Life can be unpredictable and scary; coasting through without making big, meaningful changes is one way to feel a bit safer.

That's no way to live, though! If you're tired of putting your brain on autopilot, here are 6 small changes you can make to lead a happier, more fulfilling life that's full of purpose and mindfulness. Making these changes might seem scary, or even pointless, at first. But, I promise it's an effort worth making.

1. Identify what's important to you

What are the most important things in your life? For this exercise, write down your top 10 priorities in life. These could be related to family, career, hobbies, and anything else that you value.

Don't skip this step, because it's an important part of living a more purposeful life.

2. Track how you spend your time

Next, you're going to keep track of how you spend your days. Keep a pen and paper handy or use a note taking app on your phone to record what you do and when. You can also use a simple time tracking app like Toggl to make things easier.

Again, it might be tempting to skip this or make estimates, but it's an important step.

3. Compare your two lists

Now it's time for the fun part: Compare your list of priorities with how you spend your time on a daily basis. Do you spend a lot of time doing things that aren't aligned with the things that are most important to you?

For many people, maybe even most people, the answer is yes. Don't let that get you down, though, because this newfound self awareness will provide the motivation you need to make changes and develop new habits.

4. Start with small changes

Armed with your list of priorities, it can be tempting to attempt a total life overhaul. However, it's much more effective to start small. With that in mind, choose one or two things from your list of priorities.

For example, you may have written down, “Spending time with my family” on your first list, only to realize that you spend hours scrubbing the house clean each day. To change that habit you might hire someone to help clean the house, make a chore chart for the kids, or focus on letting go of the desire to have a spotless home.

5. Put down your phone

Smartphones sure make it easy to go into autopilot, don't they? If you've realized that this is a problem for you, consider learning how to get smarter about your smartphone usage .

You'll be amazed at the amount of time this simple switch frees up for living your best life.

6. Never stop playing

How often does a child live their life on autopilot? Hardly ever! Kids have an innate desire to explore, discover, and play. It's a biological urge that helps them learn about the world while discovering their strengths and weakness.

Sadly, it's all too easy to quit playing and exploring as we get older. Luckily, to rekindle that childlike sense of wonder, all you have to do is focus on having fun more often. Play outside, learn a new instrument, pick up a new skill, toss a baseball around… the options are limitless. It might seem like a simple suggestion, but having fun in a new way is bound to get you out of autopilot.

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