Cruise control is a setting in a car where it maintains the same speed, it’s often used on a freeway or highway and ultimately makes driving easier because it gives you one less thing to think about. Similarly we have certain decisions, behaviors, and patterns in our lives that put us in our own personal cruise control, opening up attention to focus on other things. That could be great in certain situations, and bad in others. How do you know which is which?
Cruise control is also known as "autopilot", and psychologically what that means is you’re engaging in behaviors with little effort. More technically, it means that your behavior is being driven by your subconscious. When you put in the work to train your subconscious and your habits to perform a certain task, and you know it’s beneficial for you, then cruise control is a great thing because you can do more of what you want to do without having to put in the effort. This is where creating a plan to build systems around a positive habit can be scalable and effective for you in the long term.
On the other hand, cruise control can be a bad thing. In areas where you want things to be dynamic, where you’re actively pushing for improvement, cruise control can be limiting. The first step to behavior change in any capacity is awareness, and by the nature of it cruise control operates without your awareness. Once you gain an awareness of the habit you can determine how it is currently serving you, and create a plan to help it best serve you.
The summary here: There’s a lot of opportunity to improve your life by recognizing the subconscious “cruise control” habits you have. Design more of the good and become aware of more of the bad so you can do something different, if needed.