What do successful, motivated, energetic people do to turn a bad day into a good one? Here are seven ways to improve your day – today.
Procrastination is illogical from every viewpoint. It is like the man who wanted to cross the stream, so he sat on the bank to wait for all the water to run by.
—There Is a Way Out, Vernon Howard
Everyone has bad days sometimes, right? However, when life seems to be full of days that are lacklustre, unproductive, and defeating, it’s time to do something about it. Small actions (such as being grateful every day and the seven actions below) can make a big difference. It’s all about taking these actions and creating new habits that work better for you. I read a newspaper headline some time ago in the Irish Times that really resonated with me: ‘Exercise is a wonder drug, but you have to get off the couch to Benefit.’[i] It’s about deciding what you’ll change in your life, setting goals, and taking whatever action is necessary—adding gratitude, exercise, meditation or something that benefits you, to your day.
Even if you’re not feeling down, the suggestions below are good practices. You can choose one or two and build up to seven. Or do all seven right now and start big!
The List of 7
1. Right now, say ‘thank you’
List three to five things in your life that you really appreciate. Write them down. If you’re truly in the doldrums, you may be grateful for nothing more than the fact that you’re now enjoying a rich cup of coffee or a lovely view. Or simply that you made it to work on time. Be specific and be thankful for something that is meaningful to you. The act of switching your brain to something positive—anything positive—on a regular basis has been proven to improve your days. Here’s another benefit. When your brain is switched to positive, you’re more productive.[ii]
2. Exercise today
Start with an exercise option that’s easiest for you and build from there. If you’re absolutely so short on time that you can’t fit in 20–40 minutes, get up from your desk, and walk up and down a flight of stairs 10 times, or go outside and walk around the block. Then start your day again.
3. Eat well today
Make your next meal or snack a healthy, tasty, energy-giving one. Find a couple of healthy, delicious options that you enjoy and make sure you have the ingredients or snacks at home, when you’re out running errands, or at work, so you don’t reach for crisps or chocolate instead. It’s no fun at all eating a healthy meal or snack just because it’s good for you. Savouring/treating yourself to something tasty that you love will improve your day and your life in general.
4. Be Kind today
Smile at a colleague and say something nice – text or call if you’re like most, working remotely at the moment. We all love to receive a genuine compliment or bit of praise. Try saying something nice to someone now and see how it feels. Perhaps make an effort to speak to someone you don’t normally talk to, someone who may be new in your workplace or you know deep down may feel a little left out and would welcome an acknowledgement of their existence.
5. Get your least favourite piece of work out of the way, off your list, right now
With the task you’re dreading out of the way, then you can spend the rest of your day doing stuff you like. You’ve just created a better day! If you can’t make yourself tackle that least favourite piece of work right now, leave your desk, go for a walk around the office or outside the office, somewhere away from the task, then come back and get that piece of work done.
6. Repeat Gratitude – and write it down to embed your thankful thoughts in your mind and immediately feel better
In the evening, write down Five Thank You’s for good things in your life. Once more, be specific. This one is worth repeating at least twice a day.
7. Meditate – Be Calm
Even for a few minutes. Companies such as Google, Target, Apple, Nike, and so many more, are all investing in mindfulness and meditation for employees and seeing wellbeing benefits for everyone, including boosts in creativity and productivity. Meditation doesn’t mean sitting still for a long time. Find a place where you can find some calm – sit, walk, focus on your breathing. Allow yourself to just ‘be’.
Life goes by quickly. If the bad days are adding up, even if you only have one off-day every month, that’s 3.3 percent of your year.
One off-day every week is a staggering 14.3 percent of your time. If your company’s manufacturing department, sales, marketing, or other division at work could close a productivity gap by 14 percent by implementing a few small changes, these changes would (and should) be implemented. Whether your off day happens during work or away from work, get out that gratitude journal or notebook and use it as your key to mindset change. If you’re feeling uninspired more than 5 percent of the time, measure the time you’re feeling meh, and, take action on one or all of the seven steps above. You and those around you will benefit.
If you’d like to find out more about how journaling can help your day a lot – for a little effort, check out this and more articles in our blog at https://waywordsjournals.com/how-to-start-a-gratitude-journal-and-why-its-a-good-idea/
[i] Padraig O’Morain, “Exercise Is a Wonder Drug, but You Have to Get off the Couch to Benefit,” The Irish Times, February 21, 2017, https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/exercise-is-a-wonder-drug-but-you-have-to-get-off-the-couch-to-benefit-1.2976420.
[ii] Phil Drazewski,”Benefits of a Happy Brain: Positive Employees Are More Productive Employees,” The Predictive Index, March 4, 2020, https://www.predictiveindex.com/blog/benefits-of-a-happy-brain-positive-employees-are-more-productive-employees/