Do you ever feel like life is on Auto-Pilot sometimes?
There's a routine that feels safe, comfortable, and certain.
Is that safe and comfy routine keeping you from exploring what it is you can really achieve?
You may have heard the saying "Smooth sailing never built a skilled Sailor".
At times we can find ourselves so into the same routine that when something comes along to shake that up, it can feel like the world seems upside down.
Our minds fear change and uncertainty, they will try anything to keep you feeling safe.
For example, you leave work, drive home and you end up in your driveway all of a sudden without really paying attention to how you got there.
When we are so engrained into our own mundane routine when something does come along to shake things up we can go into freak-out mode aka "fight", "flight", or "freeze mode."
When things become less predictable and feel out of our control, we experience a strong state of threat. This threat can lead to decreases in motivation, focus, agility, cooperative behavior, self-control, sense of purpose and meaning, and simply our overall well-being.
This threat can also create significant impairments in your working memory: You simply can’t hold as many ideas in your mind to solve problems, nor can you pull as much information from your long-term memory when you need it.
Have you ever felt so overwhelmed with the unknown that when it's time to make a simple decision you simply cannot?
Threats of uncertainty literally make us less capable, because dealing with them is just not something our brains evolved to do.
I had such an experience this week, I am still looking for a place to rent with a deadline looming. There is uncertainty about where I am going to live, what that will mean for my business, and a work schedule end of an era that has been constant for the last 2 years.
If I'm honest life feels like a magic trick where the table cloth gets ripped out and the nice fine china on it will either survive or smash into pieces.
I had one simple decision of what juice did I feel like drinking on my walk and my brain freaked out, an internal meltdown that I could not decide and I simply walked away and made no decision at all. I'll just stick with my water bottle!
On my walk, I thought about how crazy that was! I felt so stupid.
Upon some further research, I realized what was going on and gave myself a stern talking to.
A day later I took a day trip to Shellharbour alone to support a friend's breath work event.
It was an amazing day flying solo, on a road trip, supporting friends, and getting out of my comfort zone. The little reset I needed indeed with the chaos of life right now.
On the way home, a road was closed. I had it set in my mind that I'd fill up my petrol at the one intersection I knew. With the detour, I never made it to that destination I had pre-planned in my head. Here I am alone at night driving down a different highway route home knowing I have 20kms more to get home than my petrol tank actually had. I started laughing to myself that the day prior I was so overwhelmed I couldn't decide on a damn juice!
But today my brain had had a shake-up.
A different driving route, meeting and conversing with new people, and exploring a different piece of scenery. My brain went into problem-solving mode on its own. I started doing the km math in my head and backup plans if I couldn't fill up in time. I was preparing for the worst as I had no idea where the hell I was or what I was near. But was glad my brain was coming up with plan B, C and D. Luckily as my car started shaking I saw a sign to an area of Sydney I knew - COMFORT. I pulled off the highway and literally rolled into a station. Aquadonis (yes I name my car, he's an Aqua Suzuki) had come through and all seemed ok in that moment as I laughed all the way home but with a sense of accomplishment that I got through it without me or my car breaking down!
This same routine may be hindering what you can actually achieve.
Looking to lose some weight but still eating the same as you always have...
Looking to build muscle but still doing the same program you always have...
Looking for adventures but always driving/walking in the same direction you always do...
Looking for better quality sleep but still doing the same evening routine...
Looking to feel more flexible but still doing the same stretches you always have...
Looking to grow or learn but never trying anything new...
We can give simple ways to challenge our brain and make it figure out some things in a gentle way.
What if you changed a route on your walk, drive, or commute to or from work?
What if you changed your morning beverage to something else for 1 day?
What if you moved the positions of your phone apps 1 space to the left?
What if you disrupted your morning routine by switching the order of two tasks around?
What if you put your shoes on the left foot first, and switched whether you put pants or your shirt on first?
Have a think about your own routine, what can you SHAKE UP to reset, rethink, or reframe a habit that is so ingrained?
What is ONE thing you can switch in your day to make your brain stop, think and recalibrate?
I'd love to know what you switch up this week!
Until next week,
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Stay curious and remember
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing” - George Bernard Shaw