We all slip into autopilot from time to time – it’s inevitable as we do the same things over and over every day.
But what if you’re constantly switched off and running on automatic mode?
It can make you feel like you’re missing out on life, and rightly so!
In this article, I’m going to cover 12 red flags you’re living on autopilot, but also what to do to break out of this cycle.
Without further ado…
1) You start the day with dread
When your alarm goes off in the morning, do you spring out of bed, excited for the day ahead?
Or do you let out a moan, force yourself up, and brace yourself for another day of “the same old”?
If it’s the second option, it could be a red flag you’re living on autopilot.
This is likely because you’ve got nothing to look forward to.
Before the day has even started, you’ve written it off because you know it’ll be the same as every other day. One reason for this could be because…
2) Your routine never changes
If your routine is the same as it was last year and you know deep down it’ll be the same next year, it’s another red flag to look out for.
Of course, having some form of routine can be good for us – some people thrive better with consistency – but it can also be a trap if there’s never any variation.
You’ll fall into autopilot mode because there’s nothing different to stimulate you or for you to be excited about.
And when a routine goes on for too long, you may find that life passes you by without you even noticing it…
3) You struggle to remember things
We’ve all done it – you’re driving home from work, you pull into the driveway, and suddenly realize you don’t remember the last 20 minutes of your journey.
But somehow you made it home in one piece.
If this happens constantly, to the point you don’t remember what you did this morning, or the conversation you had with your colleague yesterday, it’s another red flag you’re living on autopilot.
Your body is functioning, it’s surviving, but your brain? It’s not engaged.
4) You always feel tired and frustrated
Now, if you’ve experienced the above, it’s likely you often feel tired and frustrated.
Tired, because when life feels repetitive and boring, it can actually cause your body to feel sleepy. This is due to the lack of stimulation, which makes sense, especially if your routine never changes!
Well, people who live on autopilot have a sense that something isn’t right – there’s more to life than the lives they’re living. If you’ve felt this way, it’s probably because you’re not truly engaging with your surroundings or living in the moment, and deep down you wish you could.
5) You find yourself constantly working
Another red flag of living on autopilot is constantly working, even when you don’t need to.
Put simply, you’re always “on”!
This could be because you’re so focused on just getting things done, that you don’t stop to take breaks, slow down, spend time with loved ones, or even quality time with yourself!
6) You tend to say “yes” to everything
As a result of the previous point, you may also find yourself saying “yes” even when you want to say “no”.
Let me give you an example:
Your boss asks you to take on a project, and without a second’s thought, you’ve already said yes. As soon as she walks out of the room, you instantly regret your decision and wish you’d given it more thought before answering.
You may find that this happens in many areas of your life, and I’ll explain why in my next point…
7) You’re a people pleaser
Another red flag that you’re living on autopilot is you’ve become a people pleaser.
This means that you allow others to influence your decisions and you avoid saying no because you don’t want to let them down.
Whether it’s a friend asking for a favor or a colleague asking you to take on some shifts at work for them, you can’t bear the thought of disappointing them.
But you’re forgetting one thing:
You’re sacrificing yourself and your happiness in the process! Living on autopilot and pleasing everyone else around you is a vicious cycle – the more it goes on, the more tired out and hopeless you’ll become.
8) You don’t think about what you’re doing
And if you’re a people pleaser and someone who always says “yes”, it’s probably because you’re not thinking deeply about what you’re doing.
Even when you’re making dinner or doing the shopping, you’re not actively engaged with the ingredients and objects around you.
So, when it comes to other people?
You react without thinking about yourself or what you’d really like.
Put simply, you’re going through the motions, never questioning what you’re doing, or more importantly, why you’re doing those things.
9) You’re constantly scrolling through your phone
Another red flag you’re living on autopilot is constantly scrolling through your phone…
You may find yourself checking the same apps over and over again, refreshing the feed and potentially even re-reading/watching things you’ve already seen.
Again, this comes down to letting life pass you by – you’re not thinking about what you’re doing, you’re bored, and you’ve got nothing to look forward to.
And unfortunately, the phone doesn’t make any of this better!
If anything, it’s pushing you down further, giving you a false feel-good buzz that never quite quenches your thirst.
10) Time flies but little is achieved
Does it ever get to the end of the day, and you feel like it’s whizzed by but without you having done much?
If so, it’s another red flag you could be living on autopilot.
You may spend a lot of the day working, but a large part may also be spent wasting time and being unproductive…then you feel guilty when you realize all the things you could have done in that time.
It’s another vicious cycle that can make you feel trapped and frustrated, which leads me to my next point:
11) You’re often lost in deep thought
As well as procrastinating, you might struggle to get things done because you’re so lost in your thoughts.
Especially if you are living on autopilot…
You see, if you’re mentally checked out from what you’re doing, your mind is naturally going to wander…
So much so, you’ll often snap back to reality and wonder how you ended up thinking about something that happened seven years ago and is insignificant to your life right now.
12) You feel like there should be more to life
And finally, if you feel like there should be more to life, it’s another red flag of living on autopilot.
The truth is, you know deep down that something isn’t right. You want to make a change, enjoy life, and look forward to waking up each morning…but it’s hard to break out of your current state.
Don’t worry, we’re now going to look at how to break free from living on autopilot:
How to stop living on autopilot
Although the above might have been pretty depressing to read, it’s important to remember that you absolutely can break out of this cycle of hopelessness and monotonous routine.
And here’s how:
- Start by reflecting on your life – what are you happy with? What are you frustrated or sad about? What matters most to you? Write down your values and what changes you’d like to see in your life.
- Then, start making small changes. You’re not going to change overnight, so begin with one thing at a time. It could be as simple as going out to buy your morning coffee rather than making it at home. An even better one would be to spend a few hours away each day from work/phones/gadgets.
- Next, focus on your connections with others – whether it’s family, friends, or your partner, it’s important to spend quality time with those you love. Try to focus on them and avoid switching off by watching TV or looking at your phone.
- Finally, trying meditation could help you. It allows you to focus on nothing but yourself and your body, bringing you into the present moment which is exactly what being on autopilot takes away from you. Meditation might seem tough at the beginning, but if you do even 5 minutes a day, it’s a good start.
And for any of the above to be effective, you’ve got to be looking after yourself.
Sleep, eat, and exercise well. Spend time with yourself rediscovering who you are and what you enjoy doing!
Because ultimately, only you can snap yourself out of autopilot mode. Take back control of your life and find real meaning and purpose!