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Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation - CBS MoneyWatch.com

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moneywatch.com / Human Capital / Your Other 8 Hours

Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

By Robert Pagliarini | Mar 1, 2010 | 22 Comments

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.

For a limited time, you can download several free resources (assessment, poster, audio interview, video, and more) at www.other8hours.com and learn more about my new book, The Other 8 Hours: Maximize Your Free Time to Create New Wealth & Purpose.

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  •  
    1

    leadershipfreak

    03/01/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

    Robert,

    Love this post. It's filled with wisdom.

    I think #4 really helps. We tend to believe that one bad
    apple spoils the whole bunch.

    I'll add that focusing on vision fuels motivation. Vision keeps
    me going when I'm tired or discouraged. I'm not talking about
    the big picture but the small clear target I'm shooting at.

    Setbacks and feeling stuck demotivate but making progress
    motivates me.

    Thanks again

    Leadership Freak
    Dan Rockwell
    Recent Blog: The Power of Progress
    http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/motivation-
    progress/

  •  
    2

    MoneyMama

    03/01/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

    I agree that #4 is huge. I am a big sucker for overgeneralization and it is never accurate! Thanks for these great tips and reminders.

  •  
    3

    jeorgekant

    03/01/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

    I totally agree with you that its very embracing when it happen with us.some days became our life bad days.mostly when i face that kind of situation i doing mediation for some time and i feel relax.

    http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/celebrity-white-teeth-review-does-celebrity-teeth-whitening-work-1854997.html

  •  
    4

    Robert Pagliarini

    03/01/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

    @leadershipfreak Progress is motivating! Loved your bit about list-makers on your blog. Nothing feels better than checking something off the list...

  •  
    5

    Robert Pagliarini

    03/01/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

    @MoneyMama Thanks! I'm a sucker for #4 as well. Any tips on what you do when you're having a bad day?

  •  
    6

    Robert Pagliarini

    03/01/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

    @jeorgekant Thanks for sharing Jeorge. One of my goals this year is to learn how to meditate...

  •  
    7

    navin2010

    03/01/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

    I like this tips. Thanks bnet.

  •  
    8

    leadershipfreak

    03/02/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

    Robert,

    It means a lot to me that you dropped into my Leadership Freak
    blog. Thanks man.

    Dan

  •  
    9

    serpentine17

    03/02/10 | Report as spam

    Cheryl Roberts

    Just yesterday I was faced with a bad day that slowly grew into terrible. If it had not been for my brief escape...which happens to be #2 on your list, I might have accomplished nothing on my large checklist.

    As the owner of a growing technology services company, I face a variety of challenges each day. I like your suggestion about writing down the things we are grateful for and would like to try that soon!

    Thanks for the tips!

    http://serpentinewebsolutions.com/

  •  
    10

    Robert Pagliarini

    03/02/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

    @leadershipfreak Absolutely!

    @serpentine17 I think you'll really benefit from the gratitude journal exercise. There are very few things that have been proven (through scientific research) to increase satisfaction and happiness, but writing in a gratitude journal happens to be one of them.

    By the way, where did you escape to?

  •  
    11

    soundscout

    03/02/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

    I had an extremely stressful job for seven years where basically every day was a real bad day! It became very damaging to my health, and I had to find a way to unwind and still be productive. I was lucky enough to be in a tall building with quite a stairwell. I started "running the stairs" to work off some of the stress and take my mind "somewhere else" for a while. It was my way to escape, since I couldn't just up and leave the office. It started as more of a quiet walk up two or three flights, and eventually led to a sort of "running" up and then down as many as twelve flights per "escape". The obvious health benfits that evolved out of my destressor eventually came to make my heart doctor jealous, but the important thing to me at the time was just to make it through the day. As I became able to take more stairs, I noticed that I didn't have as many bad days, but still felt a need to continue hitting the stairs two or three times a day, almost as an obsession. When I did actually have a really difficult morning, I knew I had to run before lunch to keep from suffering terrible indigestion, and generally ran at least once every afternoon until I finally left that job. Apparent ly, there's somthing to what they say about what exercise does to the brain and the dopamine generated, because I find that I actually miss the stairs now that I'm away from there. I don;t have very many "bad" days now, but when I do, I go home and bang on my guitar until I feel better.

  •  
    12

    indiansawaali

    03/03/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

    well this post would help everyone. I loved point 3 and would implement from today itself..thanks man ..this helped..

    indiansawaal

  •  
    13

    Robert Pagliarini

    03/03/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

    @soundscout That's actually a very important tip. Research shows exercise is more effective than Prozac at treating depression. Thanks for the advice and the story!

  •  
    14

    Robert Pagliarini

    03/03/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

    @indiansawaali Fantastic! It will change your life...

  •  
    15

    Richard Eisenberg

    03/03/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

    Would love to see your advice for parents on how to help their kids who have bad days.

  •  
    16

    ah12

    03/07/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

    Robert,thanks for the great advice. I generally tend to try hard to trun bad day to a good one and end up being more frustated (point no 1). I will use ur advice from now on & implement it

  •  
    17

    RAYT721

    03/07/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

    What a timely blog post for me! I have actually had a bad week. I was diagnosed with diabetes. I missed two days of work because I was sick. That also meant that I missed two days of working out. I had to move all our furniture out of the way for the carpeting cleaning appointment that had to be rescheduled for a whole week. Need I go on? But, you know, today is turning out to be a good day. The sun is shining. I feel good. Sometimes the best thing you can do with a bad day (or week) is realize that things will return to normal. As Annie sang, "the sun will come out tomorrow" and it has. I so often think of the biblical passage of the man who cried because he had no shoes until he met the man without any feet. I'm not going to waste today dwelling on yesterday. I am going to make the most of my other 8 hours... starting now!

  •  
    18

    Robert Pagliarini

    03/07/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

    @Richard Eisenberg Great question. I have a 4 year old, so typically a bowl of ice cream does the trick. I would think that the same principles above would apply to kids. I'd add talk to friends. I think kids--especially teenagers--think they are alone in their problems. That nobody understands them. It might be healthy for them to talk to other peers who have experienced what they are going through so they don't feel alone.

  •  
    19

    Robert Pagliarini

    03/07/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

    @ah12 No more lemonade!

    As always, thanks for always joining the conversation. I appreciate your feedback.

  •  
    20

    Robert Pagliarini

    03/07/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

    @RAYT721 Wow! That does sound like a bad week. Sorry to hear about the diabetes. Hang in there. And thanks for the Biblical message. I'd actually never heard that before, but will repeat it every chance I get!

  •  
    21

    Textextextex

    03/08/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

    You haven't heard it before because it isn't in the Bible.

    The message is often misused by those taking advantage of
    others.

    For example, they rip off a person, then say that someone else
    has been ripped off even more, so why is the victim
    complaining?

  •  
    22

    RAYT721

    03/09/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Bad Day? 5 Tips to Keep Your Motivation

    Textextextex: thanks for the correction. Upon research it was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I must be getting my apostles and disciples confused.

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Robert Pagliarini

Robert Pagliarini is a man on a mission. He is obsessed with improvement and making the most of the “other 8 hours” -- the 8 hours not spent sleeping or working. He’s also obsessed with empowering others to live life to the fullest by radically changing the way they spend their other 8 hours.
Robert is the author of The Other 8 Hours: Maximize Your Free Time to Create New Wealth & Purpose and the No. 1 bestseller Six-Day Financial Makeover. He has appeared as an expert on 20/20, Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, ABC Morning News, and in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Money Magazine, and many others. Robert is the president of Pacifica Wealth Advisors, Inc., a boutique wealth management firm specializing in sudden money recipients. He is a Certified Financial Planner and has a master’s degree in financial services.

Robert Pagliarini

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