How to motivate yourself to keep going

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Have you ever started a new job or project with so much excitement that you thought, "This is it! This is what I'm meant to do." Was that mountain-top experience followed by exhaustion and questions about your life choices?

The possibility of hitting a wall exists, even when we're doing meaningful work that initially lights us up inside. Have you seen a version of this popular concept?

 
(image by  Austin Kleon )

(image by Austin Kleon)

 

These thoughts and feelings can cause fear in the INFJ who thought they had a clear vision in their mind of what they wanted. You may start to wonder if you can trust yourself. You may wonder if you've wasted your time, and you may feel guilty for having second thoughts.

The first thing to remember when this happens is that doubts aren't unusual when you’re in the middle of a big creative project or what you thought was your dream job. The questions swirling in your mind aren’t a positive indicator that you’ve made the wrong decision and it’s time to quit.

What do you do if you find yourself in the “dark night of the soul” when it comes to a project or job? How can you keep going? Don’t worry, dear INFJ. I’ve been there, too, and I have you covered. Let’s take a look.

1. Consciously choose how you think and speak about your work.

Are you using words like needhave tomustcan’t, or should? Those words indicate you’re giving away your power. These seemingly innocuous words reveal that you feel you have no choices. Instead of using these power-draining words, start turning things around by speaking about your project using these alternatives:

  • want to... (instead of need)

  • get tochoose to, or want to... (instead of have to or must)

  • could... (instead of should)

2. Get away from it.

This may seem counterintuitive, but it works. You might have a tendency to push harder or force yourself to sit at your desk, working on the same piece of the project, when you really don’t want to. You may feel guilty for questioning your choices, and this can cause you to feel like you need to work longer and harder. This pressure doesn't create a fertile ground for productivity for an INFJ.

Instead, get away from it. Literally get up and walk away. When I’m writing articles for The INFJ Life, for example, I sometimes find myself staring at my screen with my fingers frozen while hovering above the keyboard. Giving myself permission to switch tasks, or go for a walk, removes the immediate pressure to be creative and produce something. I’ve experienced this enough times in my creative life to know that I'll be able to write again at some point in the future. I also know that this is the nature of the creative process, and I’m not the only person in the world to struggle writing. You’re not alone, either!

3. Consider if your why is still a motivating force.

Knowing the why behind your big-picture vision is such an important piece of making your vision a reality. Think about why you started this job or project. Ask yourself if your initial why is still true and motivating for you. Do you still believe in this why? If you can answer yes, remind yourself of your why each time doubts creep in. Post it where you can see it, or set a reminder on your phone to remind you each day.

If you’re not sure of your why, this is a great time to develop one. Look inside to identify your core motivations. If you discover that your initial why is no longer a motivating force, this might be an indicator that it’s time to consider alternative directions.

4. Ask yourself if this is the only way.

When you’re struggling in a particular part of a project, ask yourself if there’s another way. What other options do you have? How can you get help with this aspect of the work? What other approaches could you use? Would temporarily switching up your location help? Could you try new “tools” to do your work?

As an INFJ, you enjoy innovation and doing things differently. Don’t forget to apply that to your own working style and approach to creative projects. Simply asking yourself, “How else can I do this?” can open up your mind to see new possibilities.


Learning to work through the valleys of a creative vision allows you to keep moving forward. You're not the only person to doubt something that once seemed so sure. These doubts don't mean you're broken or that you've made the wrong choice. You may just need a break. Be kind to yourself, even if you decide that your original why no longer fits.

How else do you motivate yourself to keep going? Comment below to share.