Unchecked on Auto-Pilot

Why do we choose to make a change in our lives? Is it because we are fed up, tired of being tired, because we know innately that we could live more fully each day? We muster up the energy and the determination and decide to make a change. We try and push, pull and squeeze into a new goal without first examining what the costs and sometimes consequences are of making a change.  

Change is hard. Change takes time. Change affects those we live and work with. Sometimes we don’t entertain these thoughts when we set out to lose weight, change careers or improve our self-esteem.  Old thoughts and patterns do not leave us easily just because we have opened the door to usher them out. Now I know that this goes against some of the schools of thought that say we just have to think positively and envision what we want and “poof” we will have it. I too believe in positive thought and visualization but I believe they must be tempered with the fact that it takes time to rewire the pathways in our brain that have operated unchecked on auto-pilot for a long time.

Setting out with new intentions is healthy. If there is an aspect of your life that you would like to change or improve, defining your intention is a gentle way of doing that and an easy way to remember what it is you want for your life.  

For example if you wanted to quit smoking and start eating better your intention might be “to be strong and healthy this year”. From that intention you would set goals and action steps that fulfill that intention:

To quit smoking by the end of 2009

To eat more wholesome and nutritious foods

To discover ways to be more creative in my free time

After setting your goals the next step would be to brainstorm some actions steps and include some accountability that will help you reach your goals. Having a small notebook to record your intentions, goals and action steps is helpful.  

Action steps must be realistic to work. I know this sounds simple but most of us set ourselves up for failure by setting unrealistic goals. In the example above, one of the goals is to eat more wholesome and nutritious foods, so you may start with an action step of eating 2 pieces of fruit this week; and increase that to 3 the following week, and so on. Of course the idea behind this is to start small so that we set ourselves up for success not failure.  

The second piece to this is the accountability portion. Do you have a good network of support? A good friend that will not tell you what you want to hear, but rather someone who gently reminds you of what your goals are and checks in with you to see how well you are doing? You may also choose to work with a life coach or set up your own small group of like-minded friends or co-workers.

Remember positive thought and visualizations? Now is the time to incorporate them into your plan. See yourself healthy, happy and vibrant. Use positive affirmations daily to reinforce your intentions, goals and actions. See yourself successful and living more fully everyday.


Tucker Dinnes is a Life Wellness Coach who resides on Quadra Island.