175. What will your future be? More of the same? Or will you turn off the autopilot?

With 2023 finally here, it is time to start looking forward to the future and improve our health, relationships, and life. But sometimes it might be a good idea to look inwards as well and see if we intend to succeed in those goals passively, or actively. Kickstart the year by turning off the autopilot and living life intentionally.

Products recommended here may include referral links to Amazon. If you click through and buy something I may earn a commission, at no cost to you. 


In this episode I discuss: 

  • Taking charge of your own future 
  • Advice to live life intentionally
  • How our past affects our future, and how to use that in the present
  • The compound effect of our habits 
  • Three things you can do to help shape your future


All the fun links you might enjoy 

Sign up for Simple Saturdays email (a fun email, twice a month)


Woman on couch with coffee and text overlay "turning off the autopilot and living life intentionally"


Hello friends, happy 2023 Welcome back to the simple on purpose podcast. I am Shawna, your nerdy girlfriend and counselor, here to walk with you through all things about simplifying your home, your heart, your life, and living it on purpose. For us here in Canada, in my house, we celebrated Christmas over the holiday. My husband had time off, I had time off, like for real time off. And in the like, 11 years of motherhood. This was one of the few Christmases where I felt like I had a truly great time. So weird. I mean, of course, plans got cancelled. I got sick kids complained siblings thought the house was a mess. There was tears, there was feelings, mine included. But I don’t know, maybe it’s because I was really trying to have eyes for those really great moments. And you know, maybe because we also spent so much time with friends. I think that was really important. We spent a lot of time with our friends and our kids friends. We played games as a family mostly throw throw burrito, have you played that it’s a card game. But then you like stopped to take these dodgeball battles. And I have a friend who said they eventually gave that game away because it was traumatic for her household. And I get it because just last night, I had a tantrum. I think all of us have rotated, taking turns having tantrums playing Throw, throw burrito. But it is so fun. I’ll link that in the show notes. So for me, as a mom, this Christmas had a lot of just simple, great memories, time that we spent together time we spent with friends. And this is a Christmas I’m going to definitely write about in my memory book. So I have a memory book I keep where I write down the really great things that I want to kind of make up my experience of motherhood. I’ll link an episode I’ve done on that in the past two years, about making memories and motherhood if you want to check that out. So we’re coming into the new year, maybe you celebrated Christmas maybe celebrated something else, maybe you didn’t don’t celebrate anything over the winter break. But you probably aren’t free from the new year new me culture that seems to seep into most continents, I think, to some extent, in the simple Saturday’s email that I shared. winter holiday is often a time where we try to do three things we try to rest, we try to reflect on the year past. And we try to set intention for the new year ahead. And I really want to encourage you that you can do all three of those without making them feel like a chore and obligation or a performance. And you can do them in simple and really gentle ways. In the simple Saturdays email, I also shared that I think we are edging into a new approach as a society with how we approach resolutions and change. And I think it’s a little bit more humane, a little bit more gentle. If you saw my little rant in there, it’s probably not written from the perspective of a white middle to upper class and men who don’t have the same life demands or life dreams that many of us do. I think, for us, especially a stay at home moms, we really try to smash our life and who we should be and how we should be living into this checklist of productivity hacks that have been sold to us over the years by such prominent men, and they worked for them, but I don’t think they work for everyone. And so I do see this shift that takes into account that we as a person, if we’re wanting to pursue change, and or even the change, we want to be like who we want to become that we don’t have to be this perfected checklist of an ideal, ideal human that we don’t have to be, nor can we be it. I’m going to link the heart and awesome episode. And that’s more on embracing your heart and not letting your ego trick you into thinking that we need to be perceived as awesome all the time. So those links will be in the show notes. There’s going to be a lot of links in the show notes as we go along. I have like many pages of notes for this episode. So you’re on a bit of a ride with me, I might try to break it up into smaller episodes. So come along for the journey. See what happens. I don’t even know. Ultimately, you can also sign up for the simple Sadler Saturday’s email in the show notes as well. That is our original coffee date. It goes out twice a month. And it’s a place where I give a lot of prompts a lot of thoughts, a lot of ideas, and a lot of links of things that I’ve just written over like the decade where I’ve been blogging and podcasting and sharing all of this stuff. So I definitely recommend it. It is a it’s a fun email.

So today I want to talk about what your future will be. What do you want your future to be? What do you if you imagine does it feel different? Does it feel slightly different? If you imagine your future do you maybe have no clue? Or maybe you just kind of say I’ll just see I’ll wait and see and that’s what it will be. What it is is what it will be

I don’t know it yet. And they shared a little bit in the November episode about how decluttering led me to see my complacency, just complacent in so many areas of my life, not just how I was managing and feeling in my home, my health was struggling, I was really out of touch with my body, especially what childbirth had done to it. I was eating protein bars, drinking coffee, and wine, of course, had my emotional support waffles, all the waffles all of the time. My motherhood was really on a reactive autopilot mode, I wasn’t intentional at all, I felt overwhelmed. That turned me into a mom, martyr, I really had a story that I wasn’t a capable mom. And if my kids were unhappy, or they were upset about something, I really made it mean that I was doing things wrong. As a mom, you can see how I really set myself up for a lot of suffering a lot of sense of failure, which you can imagine had an impact on my marriage, because every marriage has a dance. And at that time, ours was me being anxious, which made me controlling, and him withdrawing. So it really created a very unproductive atmosphere of resentment. Ultimately, my world felt small, it felt stuck. And like I said, as I was decluttering, and seeing where I was complacent, it led me to this realization that I wasn’t in charge of my life. This was me. I wasn’t in the driver’s seat, I wasn’t going anywhere I wanted to go. And that sense that like, Oh, this is this is me, like, I’m doing this. I felt like I was stepping into this strange and scary and exciting place of ownership over my, over my life. And so off, I went to wander through the wilderness desert of intentional living.

Here we go, living life on purpose.

I recently had a conversation with a woman who I think is older than me. And she relayed to me her recent awareness that we are, in fact, in charge of our own futures. And I was kind of taken aback at how floored she was to realize this. And then I remember, like I was there, I was just there not too long ago. And I wanted to tell everyone, hence simple on purpose coming into existence.

I was watching love his blind before Christmas. And if you haven’t seen it, it’s on Netflix. It is where a set of women and a set of men live in this compound for 10 solid days, they go on blind dates with one another, with the whole goal of finding someone to marry. And it is blind in the sense that they are separated by a wall. So they can only talk to one another, they cannot see each other.

So they spend hours just talking to each other. And the days go on, they spend more and more time with that one or two people they feel really connected with because their whole job is to find a spouse. So they’re going to start talking about really deep conversations around compatibility, marriage, all of those things. And at the end of these 10 days, they decide have I found my soulmate? Do I want to get engaged. And if they say, yes, they want to get engaged, they meet for the first time, and they go live together for four weeks and plan their wedding. And then they decide at the altar, if they will marry this person, if they will follow through on this marriage. You can imagine this show has a lot of flaws with it, but the relationship dynamics really fascinate me. And it fascinates me even more to contrast, this US version of the show, with the Brazil version and the Japanese version. They’re all on opposite ends of this social and cultural spectrum. Okay, but stick with me, we’re not going to stay on love is blind. There were two little nuggets that I heard on the season of love is blind that I thought were just so fascinating, so interesting. The first one was, don’t let roommate issues become marriage issues. And you got to get to the reunion episode to earn that one, I’m giving it to you for free. The other one is a woman, a mom telling her potential future daughter in law, life is about the goals you set. This is kind of her summing up of what she learned in her life and the message she wanted to give younger generations, life is about the goals you set. I think maybe we heard that when we were younger. But to really hear it, I imagine really hearing that when you’re young, and kind of accepting that you get to shape your whole experience in a bigger way than you give yourself credit for. I mean, we don’t always need goals in our life. Sometimes we have goals, sometimes we don’t. But what I do believe is that we need to know where we want to be going, what direction we want our life to take. We need intention, we need visions, and sometimes that comes in the form of goals. Sometimes it’s in the form of habits. Sometimes it’s in the form of setting intentions or vision and values. So what will your future life be? If you ask yourself that? I’m going to tell you what the answer is, for all of us, for most of us, because for most of us, unless something major happens, we can often assume our future will be more of the same. The status quo

Whatever you are doing with your days in your life right now, whatever habits and routines you have, how you eat, how you move, how you approach people how you cope, you will likely keep this cycle going. So we can often look at where we are now and assume things will carry on as they are. When I heard this, it felt like a light switch had switched on, I think I lived with this notion that things will work out how I want them to. But it kept me in this kind of proverbial waiting room of life, where I just had to endure the dissatisfaction, and live with the illusion that I’m going to stumble into everything I want in life. I think many of us have this hope this, this hope that our future self is going to figure it out for us.

But we don’t see that our future self only has what we start to give them now. So how do you change your future, you change what you are doing right now. And that will change the results you have later today. Tomorrow down the road. It sounds simple. But here’s the thing, it’s not simple. Because we need to understand that by default, our past determines our future, our past determines our future. Because our past has taught us what works and what doesn’t. Often without us knowing we’re operating from these deep, deep associations we have made on how to keep ourselves safe and acceptable. Just like we learn a language as a child, and we inherently use it. We also spend our lives learning from our world, how to act and think and feel, we use all of this information we’ve acquired, we use it subconsciously, automatically. So we’re conditioned. We’re conditioned over time by our culture, our experiences, our communities, and our own interpretations. So we formed these beliefs around who we are and who we’re not. There’s an episode I’m going to link on limiting beliefs on how we live and to what we are told we are we grow into that, and how we also make assumptions about who we are. And we start to align with that. So over the years, we have learned how to act in order to stay safe and be accepted. We learn who is safe, who’s a safe person who to avoid, we learn to stick with what feels good, we learn to avoid what’s uncomfortable, and we create this structure of rules on what is success, what is failure, we lock into those and we live by those, maybe we have rules on what it means to be a good mom, or a good wife. Maybe we avoid certain types of people because we felt ostracized by them in the past, maybe we avoid a task or hobby or a project because it was hard in the past. Or we told ourselves we failed in the past. And we let that mean, we’re not good enough. We’re not creative enough, we’re not disciplined enough. And now to give it another go, it would come with doubt and probably shame to things that definitely don’t feel safe or good to our brain. So they’re probably not even real options. When we get down to it. Everything we’ve been through. Everything we’ve been taught has informed how we show up. Now this is the programming, we have been programmed. And it’s not a bad thing. It’s a it’s a purposeful thing. This is how our brain stays efficient by learning the environment, learning the input and the output, and creating a program that runs in the environment. We’re, we’re amazingly adaptable, like this is an adaptation strategy, to conserve energy to operate on habits in these learned conditioning. But because this is how we operate on this habit based autopilot, when we think about our future, when we’re kind of living into our future, we’re going to look to the past to dictate what we’re capable of what works, what doesn’t work. And every day we act from those beliefs, thought programming that we’ve picked up over time, we look to our past to decide what’s possible in our future. It’s like an AI like an artificial intelligence in a computer. If you were playing a game against a computer, the computer is going to compute its next move, based on what’s happening in the game right now, what were the past moves and what it’s learned about how to play the game. So our brain programming is the same. It’s built on our past experiences. It uses our past to inform how to operate in the present. Maybe this isn’t really a new concept. Maybe it’s one that you’ve heard over the years. But I just really want you to stop and kind of think about how it applies to your life. Because unless we’re prompted by unique circumstances, to really change how we think and act and feel in the world. We’re going to keep operating from that same programming and get more and more of the same results, which is fine. If you like what’s happening if you like your current results, but think about how you’re showing up right now. How do you show up in relationships if we keep showing up the same in our relationships, maybe with a spouse, a friend, a parent, sibling, our kids, if we keep showing up the same way, things keep staying the same? Actually, they probably worsen right because of the compound effect. If we keep treating our body in the same way, maybe we’re not sleeping, moving, not drinking water, then we don’t actively improve our health. If we keep paying

Getting our job going into it with a chip on our shoulder. We don’t ever get career satisfaction. This whole idea of creating my own future really hit home for me when I thought about like these little habits, this, these ways I’m showing up every day in my life, I’m going to also link to Episode 78 on that small things can change your whole life. And this is the concept of compound effect by Darren Hardy. That is, what we are doing every day consistently adds up one way or another, it could add up into a positive outcome, if it’s habits we really like. And it could add up to a negative income, outcome if they are habits we that are not really helping us. So consider where you are right now, staying where you are right now doing the same, talking to people in the same way talking to yourself in the same way, taking care of your home or your health the same way, as time goes on. What will the compound effect of that be? You can even look on a short scale think of yesterday, what were the habits you had yesterday? What were the things that you do that you probably always do? What do you think the compound effects of those habits would be? So we’ve got the compound effects of our habits, we’ve got our past programming that has taught us how to show up in the world in order to stay safe. But I think for many of us, we eventually start to feel stuck. We feel stuck by this programming that we’ve lived by, we feel stuck with the habits that we have. And so we often with that stuckness, we start to feel frustrated by ourselves by our lives, or maybe we externalize it to the people around us, we don’t often stop and give ourselves permission to pursue another way. But here is where our brain is even more amazing. Because our brain allows us to pause and assess and decide we want something different. When we turn off the autopilot, living, thinking, acting feeling, we tap into a really logical long term planning, thinking part of our brain that gets to decide another way. Sometimes our frustration brings us to this fork in the road where we decide like I was, you know, years ago in my basement, oh my gosh, everything I’ve done brought me here. And I actually want something different. I don’t want to keep doing what I’m doing. So what is that different? Where do I want to go? You can have agency over your life. We have the ability to rewire our programming our brain can be rewired. This is called neuroplasticity. You have the ability to practice new stories you believe new thoughts you want to go into something with. This allows you to practice also new emotions and develop new emotional habits. And when you change how you feel, and you think you naturally change how you act. And it doesn’t have to be drastic, it can be sustainable and intentional. But it doesn’t mean turning off that autopilot you you’re living by today. And of course, as we’re making changes, we need to have a why we need to have a vision we need to have a goal. This prompted me years ago to develop the life on purpose workbook. And that’s been on Amazon for a number of years. Many of you have used the paper copy or the digital copy. I’ll link them in the show notes. There’s also the live your vision and values worksheets that are just like a little snippet of that, that I’ve talked about before, I’ll link those in the show notes as well. But we can’t just start taking action without intention, our productivity needs purpose. Otherwise, it’s busy work. It’s busy work that eventually feels unfulfilling and causes us to taper out, which only causes us to criticize our shortcomings. And not really acknowledge the fact that we were probably we’re being intentional with how we spent our energy and time, we probably weren’t steering the ship to the destination, we really want it to go. And we need to move towards something that feels like a very worthy destination, something that is actually worthy of all of this time and energy. We really need to tap into our inner desires for our life, we need to start taking ownership seeing where we have agency, letting go of that past programming. To me, this work has changed my life. I feel like I have changed who I am as a mum, as a friend, definitely as a partner, as a wife. And most importantly, in a way I didn’t realize it was going to impact me at the time. It changed how I feel as a woman living in my body in my life and finding passion in all of it. Which I think is why I’m still here almost a decade later. Still you’re talking about it and coaching on in counseling on it. So let’s wrap this up with three simple things you can do if you want to take some action from this notion that you have the power to create a future life that you really love that you want. First thing where we always start, before we decide where we want to go. Let’s understand where we are now. What’s happening for you right now. What is your autopilot? Where is this autopilot taking you day after day after day. Like I mentioned consider your daily habits your daily thoughts your daily emotions, and ask where they get you in the long run. What do you predict the compound effect will be of these? Maybe even consider a part of your life

doesn’t feel that great. And take a minute, a moment of humility to ask how am I responsible, even in a small way? How do I contribute to this circumstance. And the next thing is to have some compassion for yourself. Remember, you are just living from the programming. And even if you are frustrated by how you show up, understand that it comes from a very deep conditioned place that has served a purpose for you over the years. And then we can jump to the fun part. And I encourage you to just open up the idea that you can imagine a different future for yourself than the one that’s going to happen on autopilot. Ask yourself one question, what do I want, even if it doesn’t feel possible right now? And I encourage you to just live with that question for a while. When you give yourself permission to not look to the past anymore to decide your future. You get to imagine things you might not even know you want. Those are the three steps I would recommend as a starting point. And if you have questions along the way, insights along the way, feel free to reach out to me message me on Instagram, email me from the newsletter or stop by the Facebook group and share a post in there. I would love to see where this episode landed for you so that I know kind of what to talk about in the future because I have lots of ideas, but I really want to talk about the next thing to move forward. That will really help meet you where you’re at. Alright friends, Happy 2023 Happy January. Let’s do simple on purpose together this year. Have a great week.


Leave a comment