How Autopilot Works, and How It Can Work For You

The other day I read an article about how the autopilot feature works in an airplane. Knowing next to nothing about modern aviation (or any aviation really) I assumed that you just put in the coordinates of where you’re going, and the autopilot keeps the plane in a relatively straight line to get there.

In reality, the autopilot routinely calculates the trajectory on where it’s headed vs where it’s supposed to be right now and makes minor adjustments accordingly.  Sort of like driving a car, but on a bigger scale, it’s constantly making tiny corrections back and forth to keep headed in the general direction of the destination. It’s not a consistent straight line, and will veer off course for a time until the recalculations direct it back on track.

I realized that this is a fabulous metaphor to goal setting and life in general. You have an idea of where you want to go, you put in the coordinates (schedule, plans, tasks) to get there. And you cruise. Sometimes you look up and realize you’re off course, so you correct and continue on. The airplane doesn’t beat itself up for going off course, so why should I? The pack of cookies I ate before lunch, the wod I skipped the other day, the chores I blew off so I could lay around and read comic books with my kids, they are deviations from my goals to keep healthy and stay on top of my life stuff. But as long as I course correct back to my target coordinates, they do not distract me for long.

Today, take a few minutes to do an honest evaluation of your goals. Is what I’m doing making sense? Am I making progress? Do I even want to do the work to get to this goal? It’s okay if the answers are no, not really, and can’t even.

  • If you felt like last week was an off week, make a plan to change 1 or 2 things to get motivated again.
  • If you were spot on last week and feel pumped to do it all again, Yay! That’s awesome, and keep up the great work!
  • If you’re starting to feel a little burned out and need a break, be kind to yourself but make a plan for how you want to recharge and how to recommit as soon as you start feeling spunky again. Don’t just blindly throw yourself off of the wagon because you’re facing a case of the can’t-evens (speaking purely from experience here)! Be deliberate about what you need, make a plan, and go forward guilt-free and knowing you’re doing the best job you can for your health and goals.

Now go get ‘em, tiger.

That’s all for now, go make it a great day!    

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