How to Fire Up a Fading Passion - Goodlife Zen

How to Fire Up a Fading Passion


By Mary Jaksch

There are times when we start something new – and we love every moment of it. We’re so excited, we’d love to spend most of our time doing whatever it is we enjoy so much. And then, one day, the gloss is off.

Suddenly the ‘best thing ever’ has turns into a chore.

Has that ever happened to you? I bet it has. It’s as if we fall out of love with something. Maybe your got a fantastic job, but after a year or two it becomes a drag. Or maybe you started a consuming new hobby – and then suddenly lose interest. It can be distressing when you suddenly notice that you’re not enjoying your special job or special activity anymore.

Here’s what happened to me:
When I did my Masters in Religious Studies a few years ago, I was totally fired up to begin with. I loved researching and writing papers, finding out new things – especially about Zen history, and really tuning up my brain. The first of the three years was great! The second got harder and harder, and the last year was a grind. However, I managed to throw the switch towards the end and got happily absorbed with writing my thesis.

The good news is that there are ways of firing up a fading passion. It’s like being in a long relationship. After the honeymoon period comes a kind of disenchantment. And then the real work of building a happy and lasting relationship begins.

How to regain your enthusiasm

There are five simple ways to fire up your enthusiasm.

1. Keep a gratitude diary.
Remember how it was when you first started? You could see what a wonderful opportunity it was for you. And how it would make you grow and develop. A gratitude journal can bring back that initial passion back to life again. A good way to use it is to write in your journal for 10 minutes each day. Focus on the area in which you want to rekindle your passion and write down everything about the activity that you can be grateful for.

2. Find out what irks you.
If you look carefully at what it is about the activity that triggers negative thoughts, you can set some changes into motion. Are you stressed out? Do you need people to help you? Is there somebody you are in conflict with? All these things can erode passion.

3. Ask for help.
Do you feel that burdened with too much responsibility? If that gets you down, ask for help. Maybe you can share a task with a colleague, or spread the load of responsibility so that others share it.

4. Let go of negative thoughts.
Negative self-talk can erode passion. Whenever you notice that you’re indulging in negative thoughts, pull yourself up. Say to yourself, “I let go.” You’ll notice that this becomes easier, the more you practice letting go of negative thoughts. I find it useful to think of difficulties as ‘challenges’.

5. Talk with a friend.
The temptation when talking with a friend is to complain. A better way is to start of with all the things that you cherish about the activity, and everything about it that you are grateful for. After you’ve done that, list the challenges.

6. Remember the 90/10 rule.
When I was struggling to complete my Masters in Religious Studies a couple of years ago, my Head Tutor said to me:
” Mary, try to be one of the 10% that finish. In my experience, 90% do the first 10% of any given task. But when it gets to the last 10% of a task, only 10% actually complete it.” Afterwards I was determined to be one of the few who finish.

7. Become absorbed.
The way I managed to rekindle my passion for my Masters program was by allowing myself to become absorbed. Try doing the reverse from what you’re doing at the moment. The more you distance yourself from your activity, the more it will feel like a chore. The more energy you put into it, the more energized and passionate you will feel.

Most importantly – don’t beat yourself up when you feel your passion waning. It’s entirely natural. All natural systems ebb and flow. Nothing stays constant. When our first burst of passion wanes, we have the chance of developing a deeper and more fulfilling way of relating.

What’s your experience of rekindling passion? I’d love to hear your special tips!

Note to my readers:
I’d like to thank Arvind Devalia and the his crew of guest poster for looking after Goodlife Zen while I was away. It was great to know that you, my readers, were in good hands. It’s been a joy for me to return to Goodlife Zen and read all your comments. I know that many big blogs, such as Zen Habits, have stopped accepting comments. But personally, I love reading your comments, and your responses make Goodlife Zen the special place it is!

I do hope you enjoy the new look. I know that it can be quite a shock to suddenly see a new design. I’ve decluttered the blog, and have tried to make your experience more peaceful and more pleasurable.

Now – what are your tips for rekindling passion? I’d love to know!

About the author

Mary Jaksch

Mary is passionate about helping people create a happy, purposeful, and fulfilling life. She is the founder of GoodlifeZEN and also the brains behind, one of the biggest blogs for writers on the Net. Mary is also a Zen Master, a mother, and a 5th Degree Black Belt.


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