I’m a huge creature of habit. I think a lot of us are. And while it can be helpful at times to have the ability to function on autopilot, it can also spell disaster.
In my case, I’ve been “doing what I usually do” for quite some time now. I have my little routine and when I stick to it life feels do-able. Everything feels manageable and A-OK. So when I’m presented with a choice to deviate outside of that routine, I usually decline. “No thanks,” I’d say. “I’ll just stick with what I usually do because, well, I’m used to it. And it feels good. And it’s easy. And comfortable…” The problem with all of this is that “what I usually do” is obviously not working out for me too well. I won’t go into all the details, but suffice it to say that I know with certainty that I am not functioning at my optimum potential. I still struggle mightily with anxiety and depression, and I can’t quite seem to shake this shit head of an eating disorder. While I wouldn’t exactly say I’m unhappy, I’m not exactly happy either. I feel like I’m out in some deep blue ocean treading water. It’s better than sinking, sure, but I’d like to have a damned boat. With a propeller and a freaking rudder. As it is, I’m just floating along. And I realized this morning that this is largely due to my tendency to just “do what I usually do.”
Well. ENOUGH. Today is the day I stand up and say “NO.” Because what I usually do is clearly not taking me where I want to go. It’s keeping me stuck, and quite frankly, being stuck SUCKS. Big time. So today is the day I shake things up a bit. Today, I am a REBEL. Granted, people on the outside probably will have no idea I’m bucking the trend, but in my experience, huge and sudden changes don’t work too well, so I’ll be going more for the slow and steady approach, but even small changes add up to be big ones. So okay, maybe not exactly a rebel, but rebel-lite. Regardless, let me just go on record and say that today is the day I start asking myself some questions before I act instead of deferring to autopilot mode. So without further ado, here is my version of the ever popular top 5 list (except it’s only 4, because I couldn’t think of a 5th…:
“4 Questions to ask yourself before you act.”
1. WHAT? What am I doing? Is it what I usually do?
2. WHY? Why am I doing this? Is it helping me get to where I want to go? If not, why do it?
3. HOW? How can I do this differently to align more closely with the kind of life I want to lead?
4. HOW? (part 2) How will doing this make me feel afterwards? It may feel right in the moment, but will I still be glad I did it when it’s done?
So there you go. Try it out today. Be a rebel. (or rebel-lite) Do something differently in your life and see how it makes you feel.