Working on yourself is hard. There, I said it. As much as you might want to do the self-development work to make you happier, it’s important to understand that this work is not easy and that it will take time.
I often see clients sharing with me all the great things they are doing and I always offer that taking a break is also a good thing. When working on yourself is hard, it’s usually a sign that you’re doing too much and might be time for a reset.
There are a number of ways burnout from working on yourself can appear but here are some of the most common symptoms. Be aware of them as part of your self-development journey.
When you embark on a self-development journey, you may think that as long as you do the work, you’ll get to the goal of becoming a better person. You are right but just like setting any goal, you need to know why you’re doing this work and how you can do it. It’s important to know what your limitations are, how much time you can give and especially how you feel after you have actively worked on yourself.
Working on yourself is hard when you are doing too much or forcing yourself to do too much. Which in itself is counterproductive for self-development.
Keep it simple. You can do concentrated self-development work for an hour each week. That may include:
The rest of the self-development work are the actions you take so be mindful that you are leaving enough time for your boundaries to be adhered to. It can be easy to give too much of yourself away to work and loved ones because you’ve already done an hour of concentrated work on yourself. However, this has the opposite effect which is why you need to be aware of all of your actions.
When you’re working on yourself and it gets hard, it’s important to notice when you get exhausted or burnt out. This should not be happening if you are pacing out your self-development work. For those who are often ‘all or nothing’ thinkers, you may feel like you can do a lot more than you’re doing but then realise a few weeks later, that you can’t.
This is simply because in self-development work, you will face many challenges that require a lot of rewiring in your mind. This in itself is exhausting. If for example one of your self-development actions is setting clear boundaries with other people, whilst you may be able to say no, the after effects of this is what becomes exhausting. You may overthink about their reactions and how they now perceive you etc.
Being mindful of how you feel is self-love and self-development so never do more than you can handle.
Puja McClymont is a certified Life Coach supporting ambitious women in senior-level roles, entrepreneurs and high profile individuals to be empowered by who they are and what they want from love, life & work.