“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.” –Mahatma Gandhi
The self-improvement industry is highly successful in the United States, estimated to be worth approximately $11 billion dollars. Companies and self-improvement gurus are able to make their market across a number of different market segments including books and audio books, seminars, websites, personal coaching, motivational speaking, and so much more. Continuing to grow daily at a rate of approximately 5.5% each year, the industry isn’t going anywhere anytime soon!
The industry provides an opportunity for each and every American to take hold of their future – discovering their strengths, improving upon their weaknesses and working to cultivate a better, stronger version of themselves. Experts share their tips and tricks to change your life starting by changing yourself. As Stephen Richards, author of ‘Think Your Way to Success: Let Your Dreams Run Free’ states, “You are essentially who you create yourself to be and all that occurs in your life is the result of your own making.”
They encourage all who follow their teaching to stick with their efforts, pushing through life’s challenges and the times that they question themselves. Admitting that it will be difficult, they speak of perseverance and hard work.
Is there, however, the chance that you could be pushing yourself too hard? For those that are devoted to their own self-improvement and development, the real challenge lies in finding the fine line between pushing yourself too hard and persevering in your efforts to discover a better sense of self. While you are never ‘done’ with self-improvement, there is nothing wrong with taking a necessary break when required. In fact, allowing yourself to recharge and refocus may even serve to help you in your efforts – improving your focus, rekindling your motivation and providing you with the necessary energy to keep pushing forward.
How do you know if you are experiencing self-development burnout? Watch for these 7 signs:
1. You are extremely hard on yourself.
Part of the spiritual journey is to realize that we need to let go of our need to pass judgment, keeping our minds and our hearts open. This isn’t only a skill to be practiced on others – We need to learn the value of accepting and embracing ourselves with all our flaws and quirks. It is only when we do this that we can truly begin to move forward growing and evolving into a better version of ourselves.
2. You want too much, too soon, without putting the effort in.
Early in your journey, you were so motivated to earn work hard in order to move towards your self-improvement goals. However, as you reach a point of feeling worn down or burnt out, you no longer have the motivation and drive to keep pushing forward. You become impatient, wanting all the benefits today without first putting in the necessary work. You lose sight of the fact that self-improvement is a continually ongoing journey with no end in sight.
3. You notice that you are bordering on perfectionist in your expectations.
While you can go to lengths to improve upon yourself and your own actions in life, it is important to remember that you can’t control everything. Situations will change, new challenges will arise and individuals may not always act in the way that we hope or predict. Setting perfectionist expectations on areas of life, like your relationships, is setting yourself up for failure. The time and energy required to always work towards achieving the high bar that you have set is bound to wear you out!
4. You begin to isolate yourself, giving up everything and everyone in your self-improvement efforts.
There are going to be negative and toxic people that you will need to let go of and distance yourself from during your journey, however, if you find that you are isolating yourself from everyone including your closest friends and family then this is a red flag. While your journey to a new and improved self is definitely an important one, and shouldn’t be taken lightly, don’t allow it to take over everything in your life. You don’t want to look back down the road and realize all that you have lost due to tunnel vision.
5. You become so caught up in the information that you forget to act upon it.
It is important to obtain the necessary information to direct yourself on the right path, but there does come a time when there is too much information and not enough action. If you spend all your time browsing the internet in search of information about how to work towards your goals, but aren’t trying anything out then you are stuck in a rut and not actually accomplishing anything. This will never result in a positive mood forward until you break free from the research and get hands on.
6. You ignore your doubts or questions, blindly pushing forward.
Early in your journey of self-improvement you were likely skeptical and questioning every technique and expert in order to better understand how they know that this will, indeed, work. Over time, as you start to run low on energy and motivation, many of us start to ignore these feelings of doubt in favor of simply following the path laid out before us. We stop questioning as the answers may make the journey more challenging, or bring up something to make you second guess your current efforts. Never stop questioning in life! If you find that you are slipping into this habit, take some time to step back and refocus so that you can view your decisions through an unbiased lens.
7. You allow your ego to take control.
One of the biggest keys to being successful in your journey of self-improvement is maintaining a humble mind, open to the fact that you have much to learn and accepting of the advice of others. There are some people who head down this journey only to find that the success they experience goes immediately to their head. Able to see the growth they have experienced from when they began, they see their current state as proof that they are somehow better, more capable or superior to those that are just starting their journey. The second you allow your ego to take control of your journey all growth will grind to a halt.