In our lives and careers, we tend to settle for good enough. We complain about how much we hate our jobs, but then we follow it up with “oh well, it could be worse, at least I have a job.
I was just like this, drifting along and letting life and my career transpire “according to plan.” But there was one problem; I didn’t know who’s plan I was following. From the outside, everyone thought I had it all. A secure job with a six-figure income, a beautiful wife and family, a new house and more.
But inside, it was a different story. I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted and expected out of life. Over time, I found myself burned out and stuck in a job I hated. But without any real plan and direction, I just stayed put. The misery bled over into my personal life, impacting my health and relationships. You may be in danger of this, too.
Check out these warning signs to see if you’re stuck in autopilot, and how to retake control:
1. You’re unsure how to answer the question – what’s most important to you?
You’re constantly busy and don’t stop to think about what things in your life matter the most. Your life is filled with one unconscious choice after another. To retake control, you have to become self-aware and determine what’s most important to you. Decide what you want your life to be like, start prioritizing the steps you need to take to get there.
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela
2. You never have enough time to do the things you know you should do
Maybe you already know what’s important, but life gets in the way, and you never can find the time to focus on those things. To change your life, you have to change your actions. Retake control by spending less time on Facebook. Limit the hours you spend watching TV. Replace these activities by making time for what’s most important to you and by adding those activities to your calendar.
3. You can’t remember the last book you read
Read or listen to a book? Maybe you’d rather veg out watching you favorite show or playing a game on your smartphone. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. According to a recent study, only 14 percent of adults read one or more books per month. Even then, the most read books are mystery, thriller, crime and other fiction books. Reading of any type is good, but to retake control, make sure you’re also reading books that can help you improve yourself and your job performance. And after you’ve read these books, apply what you’ve learned.
4. You lack the motivation and ambition to make changes
You don’t love your job, but it pays well, and your life is comfortable, so you lack the motivation to change. Or maybe you want something different, but you’ve suppressed your goals and desires because of what you think others expect from you. Living your life this way, settling for less that you want and deserve, will only lead to unfulfilled dreams and a life of regret. Retake control by figuring out what motivates you. Rediscover the dreams and desires that you’ve been suppressing and make them a priority in your daily activities.
5. You don’t have a plan for how your life will be different in 3-5 years
If you don’t know where you want to be in a few years, don’t be surprised when you wake up one day and realize you’re living a life you never wanted. While you’re drifting along and letting life happen to you, you’re missing out on all that life has to offer. Without a plan, you can expect a lot of shoulda, woulda, coulda moments when you look back on your life. The first step to retaking control is to create a detailed vision of the life you want. Then, set goals and create a plan of action that will help you achieve the vision.
6. You start your day by checking emails and your social media accounts
What you do each morning to start your day is all about habits – the good and bad ones. If one of the first things you do is grab your phone and start checking emails and your favorite social media account, you’re immediately handing over control of the rest of your day. Instead, start your day with a morning routine that develops and exercises your mind and body. That’s what will put you in control of your day instead of the day controlling you.
“Either you run the day or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn
Each of these signs was once a direct reflection of my life and career. If you can relate and find yourself settling and wandering aimlessly through life, know that it doesn’t have to be that way.
Just as I did one year ago, make today be the day that you disengage autopilot and retake control of your life. Start by writing down your dreams and goals, and put together a plan that empowers you to start living the life you’ve imagined. You deserve it.
How will you retake control? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below?