INFJs are known for our constant need for improvement. We have this amazing and powerful intuition that works in the background, constantly telling us how things could be better. We instantly see how a grocery store could be organized better to reduce the number of people standing in the way. We see 10 ways that traffic would move faster if the street was designed just a little bit different. We see how our friends could be happier if they would just make one small change and commit to it.
We also see how our own lives could change if we’d make some small and maybe even some big changes. I bet you even have a list, either in a notebook or in your head, of things you want to improve about yourself. I know I do. In fact, I’ve had the same list for years.
I just keep thinking, if I could change how I eat and how much money I spend, 90% of my problems would go away! I’d be so much happier!! But I just can’t seem to make those changes.
Instead, I get caught up in this cycle of guilt. I want to make the changes, but they seem so hard. So I feel guilty for not making them. When the guilt gets unbearable, I make a plan to make the changes. Then I feel guilty for having a perfect plan, but still not making the changes.
Finally, I put the plan into action. Of course, things don’t go as planned, and inevitably I stop trying. I see this as failure and feel guilty for failing. It’s a crazy and vicious cycle.
Still, no changes occur in my life and I’m the same person I’ve always been.
Does this sound familiar? Can you relate?
Get out of the cycle
Why are we in this cycle? And, better yet, how do we get out of it?
I watched this video by Mel Robbins a while ago and I was shocked by what she said. It’s so true.
Here’s what she says:
“I had two habits that, that were always a telltale sign for something’s wrong in Mel’s life. I would rearrange the furniture in the house and I would spend money that I didn’t have. It was almost like a way to pretend my problems weren’t real.”
My telltale habit is to make a plan. I do it every time. I make a plan and do lots of research. It’s usually a really ambitious plan, the more unbelievable the better.
“I’ve always wanted a six pack and I don’t have it. I’ve never had it. And when I finally stopped complaining about it, when I got honest about what it was going to require… With my affinity for alcohol and my love of carbs and my distaste for exercise… if I want a six pack.
“So if you were to go forward, right? And think, okay, well, if a year from now I had a six pack, what would that actually – what would my day-to-day life look like? And you can get very clear that you’re not committed to that. And then you can stop beating yourself up for the sh*t you never intend on doing.
“What I realized is I can spend four minutes a day in a hotel room or in my bedroom doing planks and my arms look great. And everybody else will think the rest of my body’s in shape. Works like a charm. So you might want to get honest with yourself.”
Did you catch what she said?
1 Be HONEST with yourself
2 Get CLEAR on how committed you actually are
3 STOP beating yourself up for the sh*t you NEVER intend on doing
I’m not very honest
Here’s my problem: I’m not very honest with myself. I’ve done some things in my life that people told me were impossible, so I tend to believe the impossible. When I see a diet plan that says I can lose 100 pounds in 100 days, I’m like “YES!!! This is what I’ve been looking for!! It’s effient and I can do 100 days. That’s the most effective band for my buck. I can do 100 days of torture… I mean diet. Idk if I can do a whole “change the way you eat for the rest of your life” thing. That feels like a lot to me. I’m so reasonable. I know.
Like Mel, I also believe that I need a six pack. But I can’t really decide how committed I really am, which is the second thing.
How bad do you want it?
One of the impossible things that I’ve done in my life was move across the country and get a job in an industry that’s really difficult to break into. I worked for a really terrible boss for about 6 months. He did some of the most ridiculous things that I’ve ever seen a person do.
On my way home every night I would call my dad and tell him all about it and how terrible it was. My dad would laugh and ask me the same question every day: “How bad do you want it?”
How committed are you to this thing you want? What are you willing to do to get it?
Is it just something that you thought you’d have or is it something you’re willing to sacrifice things for? Things that are really valuable to you like:
- Your alone time
- Your favorite TV show
- Your morning cup of sugar… I mean coffee. (Mine is 90% sugar)
- Comfort chocolate
- That nightly glass of wine
- The comfort of sitting on the couch instead of going to the gym
What are you willing to do to get that thing you want?
Sh*t or get off the pot
There comes a point where you really have to decide: do you want this thing so bad you’re going to put in the work or not?
I’m a lot like Mel in that I like to b*tch about things. I tell my friends that I’m not happy unless I have at least 5 things to complain about. If I wasn’t starting a new diet or planning one, what would I talk about? I’d have to start watching one of those ridiculous TV shows so I have something to chat with my friends about, like for real.
I’ve spent a good 20 years of my life *trying* to lose weight. It’s time to either do it or stp talking about it.
Let it go
This is the really hard part for me… if you decide you’re not going to do it, then you need to let it go. Stop complaining about it. Stop making plans. Stop talking about it. Stop thinking about it. Just let it go.
When I was in high school I decided that I was going to be an engineer. I told EVERYONE about it. I bragged more than a little bit about how smart I was and how I was going to change the world.
I felt like a million dollars when I got into school and started studying things like Dynamics and Physics for Mathematicians and Engineers, which is different, more difficult, than the physics that everyone else takes. I was so proud of myself that I was FINALLY proving to everyone how smart I was and how dedicated I was to my goal.
After 10 years of college (I took the scenic route) I realized that I really didn’t want to be an engineer after all. It was more difficult for me to tell my friends and family this news than it was for me to leave school. I didn’t want to disappoint them. But most of all I didn’t want to admit that I was wrong. I didn’t want to say I couldn’t do it. That would mean that I wasn’t smart at all. I was just average, just like everyone else.
I’ve never been like everyone else, so why would I want that now?
It took me years to realize that I was putting that pressure on myself. No one else was. No one else associated my intelligence with my college degrees or my job. No one disowned me for changing majors or leaving school. No one called me a failure, but me.
In fact, they all admired me for having the courage to say “this isn’t right for me” and quitting with just one year left. They told me that they wished they could have done something similar in their lives. Hopefully I inspired them to be able to make the right choice for them, even if it meant feeling like a disappointment.
Get aggressive with your list
The same is true for you. I know you have a list, whether it’s actual or just in your head. I always have a list of things I want to change or improve. It’s time to get really real about that list. Get really honest about the things on it. Are you REALLY committed to losing weight or are you just obsessing about something you’re never going to do? Are you REALLY going to write a book or is it something you thought you would do, but you’re not that interested in? Are you really going to start your own business or do you just like the idea of telling your boss to shove it?
Let me know in the comments.