Do you ever have days where you find yourself staring into space wondering, “What am I doing with my life?” You think about your current situation; how you got there and where you want to be. You sift through some alternate realities where you are happier: perhaps traveling, enjoying a new hobby, or making more time for yourself. Or maybe you want to be healthier: exercising, eating healthy meals, or spending more time looking inward in order to become more at peace with yourself and more mindful of the present moment.
If you are an INFJ personality type, you probably know what I’m talking about. In some shape or form, you find yourself living a life of assessing and reassessing. Reaching for more or better, always trying to be the best you can be. You seem to never escape that nagging feeling that you just need to improve yourself a little bit more.
Don’t get me wrong – self-improvement can be great! In fact, it’s made you who you are today. You may have used your nagging voice to your advantage, motivating you to live the life you’ve always dreamed of. You’ve probably accomplished many things and feel satisfied with a job well done, as you rightfully should.
But that perpetual need to improve can become a nuisance. The nagging voice may tell you that you’re never good enough and you need to achieve more. It can become an insatiable void that is never filled.
As an INFJ and a highly sensitive person (HSP), I understand what you’re going through. I can be intense and perfectionistic, and have high standards for myself and others. I am often looking to grow, evolve, and improve myself. At times, the amount of improvements I want to make can get overwhelming – which can lead to procrastination or avoidance. The double-edged sword of self-improvement can create anxiety and stress for INFJs if they are not careful.
To aid you in following through with your self-improvement endeavors and quieting that nagging voice, here are 5 ways to take control:
1. Start a list. This is my go-to tactic for most decisions. It helps me “get out of my head” and lay out my options on paper to feel in control. Try beginning with areas you want to improve and why you want to improve (reasons help motivate change). Or make a pros and cons list to help you decide where to start.
2. Create S.M.A.R.T. goals. I learned this lovely little technique during my child and youth care program. S stands for “specific,” M for “measurable,” A for “attainable,” R for “realistic,” and T for “time-lined.” It is important to use SMART goals to help you create achievable ones. Setting yourself up for failure is a sure fire way to avoid self-improvement. Break a big goal into mini goals to measure the progress you are making. Don’t forget to make a specific timeline of what you want to complete by when to help you measure your progress and stay on track.
3. Rewards, rewards, REWARDS! Dearest INFJs, you spend so much time working hard, helping others, and improving yourselves that you often forget to reward yourself. It is important to take a step back from our busy lives to replenish our energies and find some time for fun. So come up with a list (see step 1) of rewards that will motivate you. These don’t have to be expensive; in fact I encourage self-care rewards, whatever that might mean to you. This can be playing with pets, candlelit bubble baths, spending time in nature, taking time for yourself, etc. In fact, one of your goals may be making more time for self-care. This is very much needed to aid us in living a healthy and happy life.
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4. Make mistakes. Accept that you’re not perfect and that’s okay. Laugh off mistakes and give yourself permission to mess up. Don’t let your missteps bring you down or stop you from trying. Acknowledge that in order to become the best version of yourself, there are going to be occasional setbacks, mistakes, and moments when you feel like giving up. That’s okay, that’s life, do it anyway.
5. Have fun. This is your life — you are the one who is living it! Ensure that you choose goals that interest you, the ones that will help you be the happiest and most fulfilled version of yourself. Smile and thank yourself for taking this time to be open to the opportunity for self-improvement. At the very least, appreciate yourself for being willing to be open to new ideas. Not everyone is.
Feel like sharing? I would love to hear about your journey with self-improvement, be it your achievements, setbacks, or works in progress. They all make up who we are. What helps you? What hinders you? Leave me a comment below.
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