Are We There Yet? How to Avoid Burnout on the Way to Your Dreams
If you are a creative type, someone who likes to write, draw, record music, or has dreams of creating your own whatever, chances are at some point you may feel a little burned out. Dreams take a long time to achieve, at least that’s what I tell myself.
When I recently found myself feeling burned out, I wondered how I could keep myself from losing steam. So here are a few questions to ask yourself if you’re passion is starting to flicker.
Do you remember what you are trying to accomplish? Is it still relevant?Do you need to revise your dream? Do you have a set of goals for achieving it? Do they need revising?
What exactly are you trying to accomplish? Has it changed? Did you start out with one dream and has it merged into something else. Maybe you originally interested in a certain type of writing, but now find yourself interested in something different. If your desires have changed, have your goals for achieving them changed? If not, maybe it’s time to think of some new steps to get to your new goal.
Are you still having fun? Are you pushing too hard? Do you need a break?
Are you still passionate about what you thought you were passionate about? As with the above, this question is designed to help you fine-tune your dream. If you used to really enjoy yourself, but now you find yourself slogging along toward your goal, you might need to refine what it is you are working toward or how you are working at it. If you thought you really wanted to be a poet, but find that it isn’t resonating with you, you could try a different type of writing and see if you like it better.
Sometimes you just need to relax. I find myself pushing too hard sometimes where I become too serious. It starts to seem as if everything in my life depends on writing, submitting, and being published. But when I try so hard, it isn’t fun anymore. This is where I find myself now. Here is a list of some ways I’ve thought about taking a break from writing and submitting:
- Make a collage
- Color or draw
- Read a magazine
- Read my old writing for ideas
- Write longhand instead of on the computer
- Read a book
- Organize and declutter
- Take a walk
- Go to a museum
- Listen to classical music or music in another language
- Play music
- See Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way for ideas on the Artist Date
Are you not doing enough? Do you need to do more? What can you do differently?
Conversely, you may feel like you’re not accomplishing anything because you’re not going anywhere. If you have taken a break for too long, make a list of ways you can get energized by your dream again. Think about questions 1 and 2, to see if there are new ways or new directions to take.
Have you noted your successes?
One way to avoid burnout is to notice the signposts and successes along the way of your journey. These don’t have to be all external. Reward yourself for trying new things, putting yourself out there, and for the confidence you’ve gained. You can also reward yourself at the beginning of a month for keeping on your way toward your goal.
Notice the signposts and successes along the way of your journey. These don’t have to be all external. Reward yourself for trying new things, putting yourself out there, and for the confidence you’ve gained. Click To Tweet
Rethink rejection and letdowns
If you put yourself out there with your dream, there are bound to be some letdowns. Things won’t go as quickly as you thought and people won’t always react as you expected. Allow yourself to feel down, but don’t stay there. Think of each of these disappointments as part of the journey. Try not to take it personally as being a criticism of you, but as something you can learn and grow from so that you can get better and get closer to your goal.
Map it out — but enjoy the journey
Finally, remember why you wanted to pursue your dream in the first place. It was something that made you happy and that challenged you. Map it out so you can reach your goal, but don’t forget to enjoy yourself along the way.
I hope you find these questions helpful to help you reignite your passion as it ebbs and flows. But I want to hear from you. Let me know in the comments. What do you do when you find yourself feeling frustrated or burned out? How do you keep yourself on track for the long haul?
Originally published at catherinelanser.com on November 3, 2018.