Are Your Habits Leading You to Blocked Roads?

Driving back home from work, taking my usual route, I turned on a street only to find it completely blocked because of construction work the city was doing in that area. After a detour, I was back on track to get home.

As I was following the detour signs, trying to avoid the potholes on those alternative roads, I said to myself, “I must remember not to turn on that street tomorrow.”

On my way back from work the next day, guess what I did? Yes, I turned on that same street and was blocked again. And I said to myself, “Oh, yes, the street is blocked. I must not pass by here tomorrow.”

The next day? Yes, I turned there again, at which point, I was laughing at myself. Despite knowing that it’s blocked, I turn on that street every day, Every. Single. Day.

Why? Because when I hop in my car to drive back home from work, my mind goes on autopilot, and I do exactly what I’ve done for the past few years: I turn on that blocked road.

See, that’s the power of habits. We do things and don’t always realize that we’re doing them. Our minds go on autopilot and before we know it, we’re scrolling randomly on Facebook instead of working our term paper; or we’re eating a bag of salty nachos when we had promised ourselves to cut back on the high-sodium snacks; or we’re buying yet another pair of shoes to add to our already overcrowded shoe rack, spending money we don’t have.

I wonder how many actions you do on autopilot and that bring you to a blocked road.

Perhaps, every day, you spent hours slouching in front of the TV set because that’s what you’ve done for the past years, but it’s a blocked road preventing you from reaching your goals.

Perhaps, you consume an unreasonable amount of junk food and candy and coffee and whatever, and this is a blocked road to your health.

Perhaps, you spend your money on baubles, and this is a blocked road to financial independence.

Are your habits leading you to blocked roads?

If an area of your life is “blocked”, your habits may be at cause.

Today, I finally got it: I didn’t turn. That’s right, I didn’t turn. Finally.

It helps that I wasn’t the one driving today because my wife picked me up from work.  But to my credit, I at least said to her, “Do not turn here; the street is blocked.”

Foregoing the fact that she wasn’t going turn anyways (she remembered that the road was blocked), I was proud of myself…

To change your habits, you must be intentional. You must make a conscious effort to break your automatic response. Without that intentionality, you’ll naturally default to autopilot mode. And once on autopilot, you’re sure to turn on the same blocked road.