Ever have those moments in life where you reflect on the past week, month, or year, and think “where has that time gone, I hardly remember doing anything with it?” Almost by accident, time is slipping by and you find yourself drifting through life.

When you drive along a country road, with no other cars in sight, it’s very easy to zone out. Before you know it, 20 minutes have passed and you think “I do not remember the last 20 minutes of this drive.” When you mentally check out, it’s easy to miss what’s going on around you, which in driving and in life, is dangerous.

There’s a key difference between people, though. If you’re genuinely happy with autopilot and drifting through life, where you’re able to amble through life without worry and you’re not bothered about going much further, then great. Being happy is the aim of the game.

But if you’re someone who’s begun to tell themselves “there’s more out there for me than this”, then you need to disengage your life autopilot so you can take control of the direction.

If you check any list of statements from people on their deathbed, you’ll find a common theme of regrets. “I should’ve chased my dreams” or “I should’ve done more with my time” are commonplace comments.

For all of us though, we find as we get older, the time does go quicker. You spend so long wanting to “grow up”, that when you do, we find that the next birthday seems to come round even quicker. Suddenly, months pass, years go, and then you’re already 30, after spending most of the time “waiting for something great to happen”.

It won’t just ‘happen’. Seize it. You’ve got to work towards it and pull the strings yourself. You’re the conductor of your life’s orchestra, but if you don’t signal intention, the band won’t play and you won’t hear the music.

If you’re drifting through life and complaining you’ve not achieved much, it’s time to recognise where you’re at. If you notice these signs and begin to fix the situation, you’ll start grabbing life by the horns and doing what you can to enjoy each moment.


Signs that you’re drifting through life on autopilot

1 – You don’t know what you want

A woman wearing a cap and looking over her shoulder.
Photo by Pete Nowicki on Unsplash

You have no idea or inkling about the future.

There’s no dreams or goals, no matter how big or small. If you don’t know where you’d like to get to, how do you know if you’re on the right path or not? There’s a feeling in the back of your mind that you’re meant to be doing ‘more’, but you can’t put your finger on it.


How to fix it:

Set yourself an afternoon aside to write down a few of your dreams.

Start with the ambitious, lofty dreams, and then a few other stretch goals. Start with what you love and like, whilst also backing it up by getting online and doing some research around it. Don’t be scared about what you write down, it’s for your eyes and it’s just a piece of paper. But as soon as you see these dreams and goals become physical, it begins a level of manifestation that’s hard to comprehend.

It’s the first step in creating direction.


2 – You’re bored and unfulfilled, doing the same thing each week

A bored office worker looking out the window.
Photo by Johnny Cohen on Unsplash

When you’re drifting through life, every day feels the same.

It’s life’s version of copy and paste. You work Monday to Friday, 9-5, to go out on Friday night and are then hungover for the rest of it. Rinse and repeat and before you know it, a year has gone by. It’s not exciting and it’s not doing it for you.

It’s a frustrating feeling, but you don’t know how to change it.


How to fix it:

Before you start looking too far into the future, inject a bit of excitement into your life.

Have a few trips to do something new, take up a new hobby to see if you enjoy it.

Break the monotony of the same old week.


3 – You’ve got no plan

A man unhappily sat on a wall, questioning his day.
Photo by whoislimos on Unsplash

Dreams and goals are great as a destination, but what’s your roadmap to get there?

If you’ve got no clue on what path to take, you can find yourself being a ‘dreamer’.

You find yourself pretty unhappy, as you’ve got these ambitions, but you don’t know how to reach them.


How to fix it:

You have to create your plan.

Reverse engineer what those who you admire have done. Is someone living the life that you want? Then see what they’ve done and what they’ve had to do to get there. Is there more education you can get, or experience to gain?

Again, get it written down so you can begin to make it happen.


4 – You don’t take action; life is happening to you

A man staring at his phone, bored.
Photo by Siavash Ghanbari on Unsplash

So you’ve got your dreams and goals matched with a plan.

But things are still going the same. The rinse and repeat week keeps happening, and if anything, you’re seeing more people living ‘the dream’ and it’s actually getting you down.

Everything is still plodding along’, with life going by.


How to fix it:


You have to begin the journey somewhere and take the first step. You know what you want and you know how to get there, so why aren’t you? Why are you still allowing those excuses to stop it? If life is happening to you, you’re expecting something to fall in your lap. You have to take some responsibility and actually surge forward yourself.

Everyone else has their own things going on, so you need to disengage the autopilot and move forward.


Once you start steering your life, you’ll find that a sense of optimism creeps in.

Little wins start adding up. Yes, you’ll encounter challenges, but it’s important to reflect often and practice mindfulness to appreciate how far you’ve come.

The last few years of drifting through life have happened. But if you disengage your autopilot today and start steering your ship, you’ll look back in a year and be thankful you did.


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