How do you know you’re on autopilot?
Go on a trip.
It’s the quickest way to disrupt your schedule, scramble your iCal and take a step out of life-as-usual to see what you’ve stopped noticing.
I experienced this recently on a trip to India to visit my parents.
A plane took me 13.5 hours ahead, dropped me in the middle of 1.4 billion people, and had me sleeping in my parent’s house, and my routine was more shaken up than at any point in the last 4 years. At first, I was bummed out – it takes so much work to build a daily life that leads to long-term progress, so it felt like I was abandoning ship on all the habits, work-outs, and priorities I had.
But what choice did I have?
It was a forced break I had to lean into and that I chose to ask questions about.
- What can this environment teach me about what I need more of back home?
- What does being around my parents 24/7 show me about the kind of relationships I need more of?
- What about this new schedule actually feels better than what I’ve normally been doing?
Once I got curious, I reaped so many benefits.
- I’m now a ‘morning’ person after being life-long convinced that I’m a complete night owl. I take early morning walks at 6:45 a.m. and I love them. I’m in bed at 9 p.m. and it shocks me.
- What used to be a tough task to call my parents once a week has now turned into calling my mom 2-3 times a week and messaging her more frequently.
- I’ve cultivated more patience with what’s outside of my control and relaxed my tight grip on a more me-focused existence.
Travel cracks us open to what we’ve gotten too comfortable in and gives us a chance to change shape, head in new directions and question if our way is the most optimal way. It takes our horse blinders off and helps us see things anew.
So, as we head into a big time of travel for so many of us over the holidays, think about how the break in routine can shift things for you. Think about what you have on autopilot and what you notice while you’re away from the usual.
See if the disruption isn’t an inconvenience, but an opportunity.