You’re trying to write an important paper, but you just can’t seem to get started. You need to create an innovative business plan, but you can’t come up with anything original. You feel discouraged by the quality of work you’re producing, and you’re starting to doubt your worth and capabilities. When you’re lacking inspiration, it can feel like the only option is to give in and give up. Inspiration is fickle–it comes and goes unexpectedly, and getting it back can feel impossible. Allow me to share some ideas for how to find inspiration when you feel like giving up.

Distract Yourself

Sitting down and trying to find inspiration is often fruitless. Sometimes, the best way to find inspiration is to stop looking for it. Take a mental break and spend time enjoying a hobby. Bake something, read a book, do a craft, exercise, whatever activity you find enjoyable and relaxing. You’ll feel like you accomplished something with your time, you’ll have a break from staring at that blank computer screen, and who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired by something unexpected!

Forget Comparison

Everyone works at their own pace, so avoid comparing yourself to others. The fact that another person finishes a project before the due date has no bearing on your success or achievements. If looking at the accomplishments of others is discouraging you, then remind yourself that everyone has their own priorities and goals and you need only focus on yourself. Comparison won’t breed inspiration, so don’t let it consume your valuable time and energy.

Focus on Small Goals

When you look at the entirety of a project you need to complete, it can be overwhelming. Remember that you don’t have to do everything at once–a series of small steps will eventually lead to the bigger picture. You don’t always need to know exactly where you’re going to get started. Allow yourself not to have a perfect plan, just set small goals to get the inspiration flowing. Start with just one word or one idea and let that build to the next. The rest can fall into place after that, and you can always go back and revise those first steps later. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part, and just completing a small goal creates a manageable amount of motivation that allows space for creativity to blossom.

Try Something New

If you feel stuck in a rut, it might be time to change things up. New experiences and new perspectives can help expand your thinking and get the inspiration flowing. Read a new book, go to new places, pick up a new hobby, or even just listen to new music. Sometimes a change from your regular routine can pull you out of a rut and get you feeling inspired again. Not sure where to start? Ask friends or colleagues what they enjoy; maybe you can connect with them in new ways and find new things to enjoy in the process.

It can feel impossible to push forward when you’re feeling uninspired, but these tips can help you get out of the spiral of self-doubt and spark inspiration. Taking time to invest in yourself and change your routine can make a huge difference in your motivation and creativity. Next time you feel overwhelmed and uninspired, take a deep breath and try these ideas to get back on track. I’m confident these steps will lead you toward feeling proud of yourself, your work and your original ideas.