Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

A couple of weeks ago I had a bad day. Actually, it was a terrible day. Every piece of news I got was disappointing. Did it affect me? I still have bruises from the rock I tried to hide under.

Guess what? In the coming weeks you will have a bad day, too. Whether you are an entrepreneur launching a new product, an employee aiming for a promotion, or simply someone going after a big goal in your other 8 hours, you will experience disappointment and setback. How you respond to disappointment could determine your eventual success or failure. Why? A really bad day can, at best, cause you to lose momentum, and at worst, cause you to lose your will to continue.

Here are five tips to survive a bad day:

  1. Don’t add more pressure. Forget about turning lemons into lemonade. The first rule to follow when trying to turn around a bad day is to not try to turn around a bad day — that’s nearly impossible and puts way too much pressure on you. Your goal should be to survive the day and minimize the long-term damage by agreeing not to make any decisions. After a barrage of bad news, your decision making ability will be all messed up. Take a break and, if possible, escape…
  2. Escape. It’s easy to get too analytical and try to think your way out of a bad day, but often this can just cause you to dwell on the problem. Sometimes it makes sense to escape. Go see a movie. Go dancing. Play with your kids. Do whatever it takes to distract yourself and stop obsessing about your bad day. Your “problems” will still be there when you return, but you’ll come at them with a fresh mind.
  3. Insulate yourself. One of the best ways to shield yourself from negativity is by wrapping yourself in a “positivity condom.” Wake up 10 minutes early and write about those things for which you are grateful on a daily basis. About a week after I started doing this, I got some really bad news. The very first thing I thought was “this sucks!” I was shocked and angry. After about 20 seconds of this, I immediately thought back to what I had written earlier in the day. It instantly changed my perspective.
  4. Eliminate overgeneralization. What happens when you’ve been doing great on your diet but suddenly find yourself with an empty bag of Doritos in your lap and an unnaturally orange substance covering your hands? Usually generalization. This is where you turn a single negative event into a never-ending pattern of defeat, and it’s this kind of thinking that can cause you to give up after a bad day. The solution? Attack the belief. Write down all the reasons why this bad day is really just that — a bad day — and not a sentence to a life of failure.
  5. Avoid personalization. Personalization is another cognitive distortion. It is when you take credit for an event for which you didn’t have any control. Many of the negative events you will face will be beyond your control, but you might blame yourself. Got laid off? It might not have anything to do with you and everything to do with the company, but if you personalize this you’ll beat yourself up over it. Again, the solution here is to attack the belief. For each negative event, ask yourself, “Am I responsible for this or was this outside of my control?”

When you throw down the gauntlet and commit yourself to improving your life, you will face challenges. If you can follow these bad day tips, you’ll keep your motivation and you’ll spend a lot less time under rocks.

I’d love to hear what you do when you’re having a bad day. Post your bad day tips in the comments section.

(Sad Phone image by Ron BennetsCC 2.0)

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54 comments

Olivia Dawson
Olivia Dawson4 years ago

''Positivity condom" is a great phrase

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Bea Pujatti
Bea P5 years ago

Thanks for the article, it really hits some things which happen to me on bad days.

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Melissa M.
Melissa M5 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W5 years ago

Motivation to learn foreign languages. LOL! At least that's what I do research on. :-)

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Emma S.
Emma S7 years ago

I'm going to try these out next time! I've been keeping a gratitude journal for just over a week now, and it does seem to help. Just breaking the routine and doing something different can help when things get tricky.

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Dia J.
Dia J.7 years ago

I've found that exercising (preferably in the form of dancing and singing a preppy song at the same time, however bad you are at it) and then relaxing with a bit of your favourite chocolate call a close friend/watch your fave movie or TV show/with soothing instrumental music is a great way to cure a bad day :) It works every time

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Tom Mccurry
Tom McCurry7 years ago

What great ideas! I plan to try some of these in the future.

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Roger Garin-michaud
Roger G7 years ago

noted, thanks !

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Treii W.
Treii H7 years ago

Good ideas. Thanks.

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KARLOLINA G.
KARLOLINA G7 years ago

Ever had a day when you wondered whether is was
worth getting out of bed?

Maybe you can't know for sure what animals are
feeling. But do you believe that little brown birds
get up in the morning and think about how
depressingly grey the sky is?

Do you think they wonder about how much prettier
all the other birds are, and how their voice is
kind of small? And do they maybe decide that they
just won't sing that day because they are so sad
about all of this?

No, they get up and belt out their songs, day
after day.

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