Our unconscious routines are making us or breaking us.
As I woke up before the sunrise I walked over to the couch and turned on a small lamp, then started my coffee and grabbed my phone. After mindlessly scrolling Facebook and Twitter which seemed like five minutes, my son woke up and came out to join me on the couch. How was the morning gone already? How did an hour and a half go by?
As I was reflecting on my life, I was reminded of a recent trip on an old back road. This unmaintained road had heavy tire ruts where you could literally take your hands off the wheel because years of the same travel with no deviation had formed these pathways for a vehicle. There is no difference with our unconscious routines as this road.
Over time we form such patterns in which we unconsciously do things that are moving us towards our dreams or away from our dreams. Most of our habits are away from our dreams due to something called the path of least resistance. What do you do when you realize that you aren’t where you want to be, but you are still mindlessly binging on Facebook while you’re half asleep?
These 4 things turned me from a mindless zombie to an alive dream chaser!
What do YOU want?
I’ve dropped out of college 3 times. That should be some kind of world record. I have succumbed to the expectations and desires of others too often and enrolled in school only to remember where I want to go does not require a degree. I think if you are honest with yourself, you do a lot of things just because someone you respect tells you to. The first thing you need to do in order to break out of mindless zombie is to really look at what you want. Not what you think you should want or others tell you that you should, however, what you personally care about.
Are your actions getting you there?
Once you decide what you really desire in life, you need to look at what aspects get you there and what don’t. I don’t have a problem with Facebook, in fact, Facebook has let me interact with people. I love that Facebook connection, it just needs to be in the context of our goals and dreams. You have just as much time in your day as the great people in history that you admire. The question is: Are your actions getting you towards the goals you desire? If not, cut them.
What do you need to replace?
I know I said cut them, but really replacing the habit is easier. For example, I am cutting back on alcohol because I want to be in the best shape possible. Instead of just abstaining from alcohol, I’m replacing the habit with drinking more water. What bad habit that does not move you toward your goal can you replace with a new habit? It helps you to break the old habit, and that’s a win! Also, it helps to add a new momentum causing habit; a double win! Anchoring a new habit where an old habit used to be is the ultimate win, win.
Where do you need to remain?
If you feel like you suck at life, you don’t. You actually are most likely doing a lot right. What do you need to keep doing? It’s often not drastic changes to get out of the ruts. As for myself, I was rising early and just needed to use that time differently. I needed to remain in my wake-up time. What do you need to keep doing that gets you closer to your goal?
We need to maximize our habits to move us closer to our dreams. Rather than being a mind-sucking zombie, we will become the masters of our future. After all, you were made to dream; just make sure to bring your family with you!
Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.