In order to become a better and happier version of yourself, you first have to identify the areas of your life that you are not satisfied with – where you have succumbed to “living on automatic.” Let me illustrate with a story.

My husband and I enjoy kayaking together on the ocean near our home in the Pacific Northwest. There is nothing more beautiful than being out on the water on a warm summer evening as the sunlight shimmers on the ocean while making its descent. It is easy to get mesmerized by the beauty of the ocean and forget to watch the tides. On more than one occasion when I’ve stopped paying attention to where I was going, the pulling tides have grabbed the kayak and started carrying me out to sea. When that happens, I suddenly find that I am much further offshore than I ever planned to be.

You Get Caught Up in All of the ‘To-Do’s’.

Your life can be like this kayak experience. You get caught up in the busyness of life – running a company, raising a family, being involved in your community, and all the demands this puts on you, that you stop really paying your full attention to where you’re going. Sometimes it happens quickly, but more often gradually, and then you wake up one day in a place you never intended to be. You didn’t mean to gain the 30 pounds; it came through habits that formed automatically over many years. You never intended to end up in an estranged relationship or divorce. You wanted to be there for all the growing up moments of your kids, but work got in the way and now they are graduating. In many areas of your life, you were just cruising along automatically, and after a period of time, found yourself in completely different places than you ever wanted to be.

How Do You Stop Living on Automatic?

Living on automatic may not seem like a big deal, but when you see where it can take you it grabs your attention. Becoming aware of it and realizing how easy it is to get off course will make you more attentive to your actions going forward. Fixing an automatic life requires you to be fully aware and intentional so that you don’t drift.

There are seven main areas of life that you need to focus on and bring together in order to live intentionally and grow and reach your maximum potential.

As you review each of these areas, identify where you have been living on automatic and need to make changes.

  1. Physical
  2. Mental
  3. Spiritual
  4. Family & Friends
  5. Career/Business
  6. Financial
  7. Fun & Recreation

In order to transition to intentional living, and achieve the full and abundant life you desire, you need to first understand where in your life the unconscious, automatic living is hurting you. Then you can learn how to break the pattern and wake up, if you will. Once you’re awake, you can decide to live intentionally.


  • Janelle Bruland

    Entrepreneur, Leadership Coach, Author, Speaker, Podcast Host, & Co-Founder of Legacy Leader

    Janelle Bruland is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and high-performance coach who inspires others to live impactful and successful lives. She is Founder and CEO of Management Services Northwest, a company she started in her living room in 1995 and has grown into an industry leading company, named one of the Fastest Growing Private Companies by Inc. magazine. The CPO of Microsoft, Mike Simms, describes her as a true pioneer in her field. Janelle is also the Co-Founder of Legacy Leader, a leadership development company that teaches business professionals how to build a legacy, transform their leadership, and love their life. She is the author of The Success Lie: 5 Simple Truths to Overcome Overwhelm and Achieve Peace of Mind.
    Janelle is a lifelong resident of Whatcom County, Washington and is married with five children. In her leisure time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, golf, as well as keeping fit through various sports and activities.