If you take on too many things, it can be very easy to get burned out. When you get burned out, the temptation to go back to your comfort zone can be overwhelming. Sometimes the last thing you want to do is to fulfill your commitments to others, be it a work contract or a promise to another person.
However, failing to fulfill your requirements will not leave you in the best standing with potential or current employers or acquaintances. Here’s how I’ve dealt with burnout and motivated myself to fulfill my commitments to others.
Reward Yourself At Regular Intervals
I used to think that treating yourself at regular intervals was something that I used to think was excessive and unnecessary. However, since I arrived in Taiwan, I was immediately hit with a major issue that was almost enough to abandon my commitments in the country and go home.
Rewarding yourself in any way that you prefer, whether that is buying your favorite food at the end of the week or better yet, buying yourself an experience can be the proverbial carrot you hang in front of your face to help you get through a hard time.
Before I left to come to Taiwan last year, I discovered that an international figure skating competition was taking place in January of this year. At the time, I had no idea when the tickets would go on sale or how I would even get them. Once I arrived in Taiwan, I regularly looked into online resources to find out when tickets would go on sale and how to get ahold of them.
I knew that if I left the country and left my commitment in Taiwan unfulfilled, I would never get the chance to see some of my favorite athletes compete during the Olympic season. Those tickets gave me the motivation to fulfill my commitment and reward myself with an unforgettable experience in Taipei watching my favorite athletes and my favorite sport.
Sometimes fulfilling your commitments can be difficult and sometimes you can run out of steam midway through. Rewarding yourself regularly can motivate you to fulfill the end of your commitment because those rewards give you something that you can enjoy and look forward to in the midst of difficulty.
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Direct Your Energy Toward Something Productive
If you are in the middle of a difficult time in the middle of your commitment, rather than blowing off steam by complaining, use that energy to do something productive with your time.
Let’s say that you are in the midst of a job that you don’t particularly like; rather than venting about how awful your job is to your friends during Happy Hour, you could spend a little extra time looking for a new position or asking experts or people with your dream career for informational interviews. Laying the foundation for your next step in life can give you a little comfort because you can end the day knowing that you are not only using your energy productively, but it can also give you something to look forward to.
Regardless of what you are going through, laying the foundation for your next step rather than worrying and venting is a far more productive use of your time. One of my favorite quotes says that “Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” Nothing could be more true.
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Weigh The Pros and Cons
Weighing the pros and cons of staying and leaving a commitment can help tremendously in making a decision like sticking to a commitment or backing out of it. For me personally, writing things out is especially important. Writing things down helps me see what I’m thinking and makes things clearer.
Of course, everything has different pros and cons, and something that may seem like a bad thing to someone may seem like a positive one to someone entirely different. Everyone makes decisions differently, so I’m not at a liberty to tell you how to make a decision regarding the commitments you have or have not made. You know yourself best. Make a decision in the way that feels the most comfortable for you.
For me, fast-forwarding helps to make decisions. During the difficult time in my contract, I often fast forwarded. I knew that after working pretty persistently to get my position that if I left my position now, I would regret it for the rest of my life for various reasons, not the least of which was the figure skating competition.
I knew that this contract would give me valuable international experience; I also knew that completing a 1-year contract would show a future employer that I was trustworthy and reliable. Moreover, I knew that this job could be the stepping stone to other things.
On the flip side, I also knew that if I left Taiwan midway through my contract, I knew that I would regret it and that I knew that completing a one-year contract would go a long way in helping me with my self-confidence. After weighing the pros and cons out and talking with people I trusted, I ultimately made the decision to stay.
Fulfilling your commitments can be difficult at times, but ultimately, motivating yourself to see your commitments through (or deciding to back out gracefully) will serve you well in the long run.