By Cierra Savatgy-King
Do you wake up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to bed, and do it again the next day? Have you found yourself rinsing and repeating?
I know this story all too well. And I never thought I would. Somehow the day-to-day shuffle found roots in me and it was like an invasive plant. The nasty roots kept growing. My life was an auto-pilot, and I wasn’t taking notice of the beautiful, magnificent world around me.
After some ah-ha moments of realizing my patterns weren’t healthy, I acknowledged something had to change. I shook it up big time to try to loosen those nasty roots so I could put them back in a healthy place.
I put my life in a storage unit, started renting vacation rentals and moving every two weeks in my home town. Among the lost clothes and shoes, I somehow found myself because I wasn’t on auto-pilot anymore. I was forced to wake up and look around me (literally, I had to remember where I lived). My comfort zone had to be broken down just a bit.
Getting out of our comfort zone doesn’t necessarily have to mean jumping off of a cliff when you’re terrified of it, or quitting your job right now because it’s not perfect. Sometimes it’s the tiny things we do that allow us to see life just slightly differently: and then those big steps aren’t clouded with fog. Clarity emerges.
After more than a year of living in vacation rentals, I wanted to share the top 10 tiny things that contributed to a monumental change in my life by simply resetting daily patterns.
Here are 10 simple ways to reset your daily patterns to turn off auto-pilot and allow for self discovery:
1. Drive home a different way.
When living at 17 homes in Austin in a year, I literally had to remember where I lived. I had to be awake and aware. I started finding new streets with beautiful parks & creeks that I had always just driven by before.
2. Stop using the word “busy.”
When someone asked how I was, I used to always respond with, “busy.” I realized how often I was using this and how it provides no value to say it. We are all busy! It’s like answering, “I’m alive! And you?” I tried not allowing myself to use this word for a month, then realized how big of a change I felt. I now consider “busy” profanity in my house. Consider the question with a real response. It shifts the energy. “Today I’m excited because I just killed it in my presentation.” “Really? What was it about?” Boom. Authenticity unites.
3. Call your barista by their name.
It somehow feels awkward for me to do this. I don’t think it’s just me, because I noticed most of us don’t do it…even when the person is wearing a nametag. Test it out: you may be surprised at how it actually wakes up the person in front of you and they engage with you personally. It’s a fun experiment.
4. Do your daily walks/runs backwards.
Not literally backwards, though that would shake it up too. Go the opposite way you normally go. Or pick a different path altogether, even if you have to drive 3 minutes to get to another neighborhood. Houses, trees, and yards look different. You don’t know what’s right around the next corner.
5. Pick a restaurant or bar you’ve never been to.
The next time a friend suggests happy hour, look for a place you’ve never been before. I am prone to pick the places I know I can find parking at and I know the drinks will be a hit. But living in different neighborhoods in my town required me to take a look at restaurants and bars I wouldn’t have necessarily gone to. What better discovery than new places to share a cocktail!?
6. Dance like a complete fool with a ‘Morning Happy Dance’
This sounds totally silly & I may regret sharing this, but sometimes at my house we have “Morning Happy Dances.” They consist of about 30 seconds of throwing your hands around in the air, jumping with no rhythm whatsoever, making contorted movements…then going back to normal like it’s no biggie. If that doesn’t “wake me up” out of a funky pattern, I don’t know what would.
7. Switch your pantie or bra drawer.
With each house we live in, our clothes live in different closets. Our shoes go in different places. Our towels dry on different hooks. And my pantie drawer gets moved around. Instead of reaching in the exact same place each and every morning, I had to think one extra second where something was. Because it’s so minute, it doesn’t add additional stress of not finding something. It’s so incredibly tiny, but still wakes up your brain.
8. Try saying ‘yes’ to something you wouldn’t normally say ‘no’ to.
I have a friend who believes in saying ‘yes’ to almost every invite. It has led him to some incredible experiences that most of us would consider once-in-a-life. (It’s also led him to being taken by real pirates once, so there’s that). Point being, saying ‘yes’ to something wild can completely wake up every inch of your senses. A friend invited me to a trapeze class. “What? You want me to fly through the air, 40 feet up with no training?” I did it. My hands were shaking like I’ve never shaken before – and I’m not even afraid of heights. It was truly terrifying. But holy crap, it was amazing. I felt more free than I’d felt in years. I walked away like I was on top of the world.
9. Try saying ‘no’ to something you normally say ‘yes’ to.
Alternately, I’ve had some serious breakthroughs saying ‘no’ this year. I tend to pack my schedule completely full. The old me would think if my calendar wasn’t filled, I was doing something wrong. But what actually has happened with some empty slots, besides less stress and ‘me time’, is that open slots have allowed for spontaneity with things I truly care about. It never gets written in my calendar, it just happens.
10. Set a goal (with a deadline) and reach it.
This can be small and attainable. It’s so easy to say someday you’ll do this or that, but then we get filled with guilt for NOT doing it. We can’t always do everything we want, but something changes inside us when we reach a goal. This month for me was getting up on stage & singing karaoke at the neighborhood karaoke joint. I did it it, and I feel like I surpassed a big hump. For me, it isn’t just about pushing myself out of my comfort zone, but working towards something. Like finishing a painting, picking up the phone and calling an old friend, taking a dance class, or even having a “first date” with yourself to consider setting some big goals. Pick something small, put a short deadline on it, and just do it. I was surprised how this change in pattern made the BIG goals much less scary to conquer.
I’m a work in progress, like we all are. Some days I do the above magnificently well. Others I stumble and fall right back into my previous patterns. But, realizing that small changes in my pattern can wake me up gets me excited to try something different.
These experiences have inspired me to think differently, act differently, and see the world just at a slightly different angle. I still wake up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, and go to sleep, but I’m doing it awake. These tiny changes made a monumental impact in my life.
I hope one or two of these makes an impact in your life.