Has Your Routine Become A Rut?

Posted on Sep 5, 2012

imagesFor most of us, celebrating Labor Day has nothing to do with honoring the struggles and triumphs of the American worker. It has become a bittersweet holiday that commemorates the end of relaxed schedules, vacations and dining al fresco. The Labor Day barbecues can only temporarily distract us from the grim reality that the end of that summer is upon us.

Unfortunately, as summer ends many of us go back to routines that are actually dissatisfying ruts. Before your autopilot kicks in, be alert to a pattern which can foster that “stuck in a rut” feeling: designating a problem and declaring yourself powerless.  We designate a problem that allows us to focus on it, rather than the more intimidating underlying issue. By designating a problem that we assume is unchangeable we declare ourselves powerless.  Thus, our autopilot enables us to deny responsibility for our own happiness.

For example, here are two complaints from the “Department of Transportation” which illustrate the pattern:

1. “Between running errands and taking the kids to all their after-school activities, I feel like I spend my entire day in the car. I never have time to do what I want to do. ”
2. “My commute is so long that I never have time to do what I want to do. “Here the designated problem is time spent on the road. Notice the problem statement focuses on something that seems unchangeable.  After all, life in the suburbs necessitates time spent in the car. The declaration of powerlessness is the inability to pursue ones own interests. The real issue is that the autopilot is in the driver’s seat.Don’t let your autopilot take over and lead you into a rut. Rather than getting sidetracked by these autopilot statements, focus on generating a routine that really works for you.
Start by acknowledging that you are in charge of your own happiness.  Then, ask yourself these questions and answer from the most honest place you can:
1. What do I really want?
2. What am I willing to do to make that happen?