In all the blog posts about the intensity push, I stress that this is a time of extra effort, a turbo-charged period of giving it your all.
However, there are many threats to the realization of your new life goal, and one of the greatest is burnout.
First, let’s make it clear we’re not talking about the casual way people say they feel “burned out” at the end of the week, something that can be cured with a nice weekend off. We’re talking about a state of physical and mental exhaustion that can become truly debilitating. This is the sort of state that makes peoples abandon careers, leave relationships, and, in short, realize they can’t continue.
And for those who truly reach burnout, a life change is not an indulgence; it’s a necessity for survival.
So, in the course of implementing your new life plans, we’re not concerned about how to recover from burnout, but about how to avoid it completely.
You are at your greatest threat of burnout during an intensity push, so you must take all precautions to come through that push just as committed to your goals as ever.
Know Your Limits
The early steps and planning of your life plan call for a great deal of self-reflection. Use that to learn your limits, and in particular to know your early warnings that you’re reaching the point of burnout.
You should know at this point that certain of your behaviors are warning signs not to be ignored. These might include:
- Insomnia or oversleeping
- Losing your appetite or overeating
- Avoiding all drama, decisions, and confrontations
- Losing interest in your game rewards
We’ve talked at length about freeing up mental and physical effort to channel your energy into your goals, but at the first signs of burnout, you need to respond with sensible concern.
One key predictor of burnout is your personality. At DisciplineStrategy.com, you will find the MyPersonality® test. This test measures six personality dimensions and generates a report of how they may influence parts of the Discipline Strategy® process. Treat all signs of burnout with respect.
Moreover, don’t start this process with the idea that burnout is some disaster waiting to happen (or a weird problem that only happens to others). Make sure you have your resources ready and waiting for you as you need them. Whether it’s time, people, money, cognitive ability, or something only you can know, have it ready.
And if you don’t have it ready, stop before burnout occurs and get it ready.
What does this mean? Let’s say you have been paying someone to watch your two children three nights a week while you take classes. You realize you’re out of money and start wheeling and dealing with friends and family to get your kids watched. You become physically exhausted from running around with the kids, and the guilt is killing you.
Stop. Take a semester off to build your savings (resources) back up. Make sure you’re prepared to pay for child care for the full term next time, and then resume.