Goals: Programming The Autopilot

Flying is something I don’t presume to know everything about. In fact, although I enjoy travelling, I’m not terribly fond of placing my fate in the balance in a giant metal tube that will ascend to 30,000 feet above the ground. Nonetheless, I do it. One of the things about flying that bothers me is the autopilot feature. Putting my faith in the giant flying machine, and it’s pilots, feels risky enough; but trusting a machine to keep me safe, as I am thrust through the air at a high rate of speed is a bit much for me.

So, when I fly, I choose to think about the things that are in my control, the fact that thousands of people fly, safely, every day, that I am certain that the pilots are well-rested, attentive, and in great moods to ensure my safety, and that the autopilot feature, should it be used, is even more precise than a human pilot, as it has been well-programmed.

When I take a look around at my life, and the lives of others, I notice that it’s easy to be demanding of excellence from the airplane autopilot, but I may not be so attuned to the high-quality programming of other autopilot features that I encounter. The bigger problem is that we’re not often aware of when we turn on the autopilot feature, or that it even exists in many areas of life.

For example …

• A young couple becomes engaged to be married. They are consumed with planning the wedding, securing a home, and establishing their life together. But do they prepare for marriage? Do they prepare for a life that will be shared together until death do they part? Do they program their autopilot?

• Expecting parents prepare for the birth of their first baby. They go to doctor’s appointments, read books, take classes on childbirth, and prepare a nursery. But do they prepare to be parents? Do they study up on effective parenting skills and ways to manage their personal stresses? Do they prepare themselves for challenges that they may face? Do they ask for advice from others and find parenting mentors to help them succeed in this new endeavor? Do they program their autopilot?

• A seasoned manager is proud of his success and comfortable in his position. He’s good at his job and well-liked among his peers. Does he think about the future? Does he plan for what may or may not happen in his career? Does he plan for his own financial security outside of the paycheck he brings home every two weeks? Does he program his autopilot?

In reality, we usually aren’t aware that we are putting our lives, our families, or our futures on autopilot. But, have you ever had days, weeks, months, or even seasons, when it seemed as if you just existed? Have you ever had times when it felt like things “worked,” but they didn’t necessarily thrive? Or, have you had times when it felt like nothing worked, but you had no idea of what to do about it?

We need to program the autopilot! We need to plan in advance. We need to talk about how we are going to aim our lives and what we hope to accomplish. We need to establish boundaries and limits and goals so that we know where we are headed, what we’re working toward, and within what parameters we are comfortable.

We can do this by setting goals; by talking to our spouse about what boundaries, rules, or expectations we want to set for our marriage so that we honor one another; by finding mentors to help us to grow and advance in areas where we are still learning; by attending seminars or reading books; or by working with a trusted friend or trained professional to examine where we’re at in life, how we’re doing, and what we need to do to make sure that we are aimed toward where we want to end up.

We need to program the autopilot!

Article by Travis L Jones

Travis is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Sociology from Dallas Baptist University and a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Counseling degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Travis was called to the field of counseling at a young age. With a passion for building strong families, he seeks to accomplish this mission by helping others grow personally and in their relationships with others. As a husband and father, he recognizes the challenges that we all face, and hopes to be a resource to help you in whatever ways that you are seeking to grow.

For more information, please visit http://www.aspirefamilycounseling.net

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