Why do I lose interest in so many things?

Why do I lose interest in so many things?
October 11, 2017 Ann Weiser Cornell
Cycle of losing interest

Focusing Tip #580 – “Do you get energized about doing something for yourself and then lose interest? Over and over?”

Greg writes:

My question has to do with a frequent experience I have had in my life when doing pleasurable activities in which I eventually “burn out” or lose interest. It could be something like jogging, reading a book of any length, practicing the guitar and learning music, or attempting to maintain a healthy diet.

Often when I engage in these activities, I am very dedicated for a while, feeling energized and accomplished, and then I sort of burn-out, lose interest, and then stop the activity altogether.

I usually return to the activity after a period of time, and feel like I’m starting from scratch. But this “starting, stopping, starting again” cycle is frustrating to me and discouraging, and I often don’t know quite what to do when I notice the first signs that I’m not quite as gung-ho about an activity as I initially was. I’m wondering what your thoughts are about such a “cycle,” and how I may approach these activities with more of a Focusing attitude.


Dear Greg:

So interesting!

I hope you are interested and curious about what is happening here, because interested curiosity will be your most facilitative attitude as you explore the moment in the cycle when something changes.

At first it is fine, you do the activity, you feel energized and accomplished. And then… something happens.

That is the place to bring your interested curiosity, and do some Focusing right there.

You don’t have to catch the precise moment. You can still do Focusing on this later, after your interest has flagged. Even now, you could look into any of these – the jogging, the guitar, the healthy diet – with Focusing.

Here is what we know so far: something is you is losing interest in doing that. The way forward is to invite that part of you into awareness and connect with it, letting it know you’d like to get to know it better. Invite it, let it come as a body sense, describe it, spend time with it.

People often do not realize that they can get to know parts like this. We think we have to guess, “Maybe it’s this, maybe it’s that.” But actually, the part itself can tell you.

I could also guess. Maybe there is something hard about the switchover from early enthusiasm to the kind of steadiness it takes to sustain intention. Maybe an inner critic grabs the job of making you stay with it, and then an inner rebel hates being pushed like that. That’s what it might be for me!

But we won’t know what it really is until you turn toward and invite – with kindness and compassion – the one in you that knows because it is the one that does it.


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