Whether you’re stuck in a rut, existing on autopilot or simply feeling as though you are ready for a breakthrough, there are few things that can be as demotivating as feeling as though we are just looking to survive as life happens to us.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to wake up exhausted, be sidelined by the same setbacks every day or lay in bed with your eyes wide open as you reply every frustrating conversation you had with your boss. If you’re ready to take back control, you’re in luck: here are five effective ways to turn things around (almost) immediately.
1 | Set the tone early on.
Take control of your day the moment you wake up by keeping a pen and paper by your bed. Write down three things you plan to achieve that day, set an intention, and place a few positive affirmations in there for an extra boost. If you want to take it further, write a small paragraph that highlights what image you plan to project during the day.
Example: I will finalize my invoices, follow-up with X, and hit the gym before lunch. My intention is to remain graceful and calm under pressure and to embrace the many opportunities and invitations that are coming my way today. I will get up, have a smoothie, hit the gym, wear my favorite jumpsuit, grab a coffee, and head into the office a half-hour early which will keep me ahead of the day. I will exude confidence, kindness, and strong leadership all day.
When you have a clear vision as to how you want things to go, it’s easier to make a plan.
2 | Prep for setbacks.
Whether it’s a bullying boss, stressful commute or chaotic client, workdays are full of small (and not-so-small) annoyances that can be tedious to deal with. That said, allowing the same thing to derail your day (day-after-day-after day) is a one-way ticket to burnout. Use the information you have to create an exit strategy that will allow you to achieve your goals with a minimum amount of stress.
If your boss is continually making passive-aggressive statements, don’t wake up every morning thinking, “this is the day he/she will change.” Come up with a few responses that will serve to create boundaries with your boss. Phrases such as “I am unclear as to what you mean by that statement, can you clarify?” or “I understand that you are unhappy with the way I am managing this. How would you like to see me change my approach?” work well. These force your boss to take ownership of statements and come up with a clear direction as opposed to just taking swipes.
3 | Commit to making a fresh start.
I have a motto I rely on when I feel as though I am being underestimated by others or engaging in behaviors that are keeping me from being my best self and doing my best work. That is: “Don’t get mad; get better.”
The second you recognize that the way you are going about things is not working for you is the second to start making changes. It is not only OK to hit reset when you recognize that your thoughts and actions are no longer representing who you are or supporting where you want to go, but it’s also an essential component of success. Take a moment to close your eyes and really visualize your evolution. Consider the ways you can “go higher” today and really polish up your skillset and personal brand. Then, imagine walking up to a big, red button that says “reset”, use both hands and push it down. When you open your eyes, say something like, “I am now living at a higher level and much closer to living as my highest self.” Taking these kinds of moments for yourself can be life-changing if you take your words seriously and commit to continual growth.
4 | Create some consistency in your schedule.
When you are running a business, freelancing, and/or working in a dynamic environment, consistency can sound like a far-fetched concept. That said, placing routine where you can serve as anchors in your day that will allow much-needed breaks and give a sense of stability which can be a sanity-saver in busier times. Can you block out your mornings and evenings so that you only take meetings from 10-5 or schedule a lunch break at the same time every day for a week or two? What about blocking out a 15 min reset break every afternoon just to check-in with yourself? If this can’t be done at the office, tighten up your routine before and after work. It’s especially important to do something to “close out the day” (perhaps writing your to-do for tomorrow and clearing up your desk) so that you can stop taking it home with you.
4 | Learn to say “No”
Here’s something that took me way too long to recognize: people-pleasing is a one-way ticket to disappointment. While we all want to feel valuable, wanted and “super-productive” the truth is we are human beings with very human limitations and just because we can get it all done doesn’t mean we should. It’s necessary to push yourself to your limits with important projects but running yourself into the ground day-after-day will lead to exhaustion, frustration, resentment, and lower cognitive function. How is this useful?
Commit to a certain number of hours each week and divide them up as needed. Once you have booked those hours, say “no” or “not right now” to any other commitments or projects. Doing so will protect not only relationships and current projects but also your physical and mental health.
5 | Turn down the noise.
From people who love to jump in with their (often uninformed) two cents to news outlets shoving anxiety-inducing click-bait headlines in our faces, the world is constantly screaming at us. The only way to protect your peace and stay focused on what matters most to you is to turn down the volume. You do this by committing to a specified number of tasks, scheduling times to look at emails (instead of replying in real-time) and refusing to engage nonsense. Do you need to respond to the coworker who decides to jump in with an uninformed opinion about your work or participate in the Facebook debate that will lead to precisely zero change? Are you carrying around a book or podcast that will empower you or scrolling The Daily Mail showbiz headlines every morning? Asking yourself, “how is this contributing to my growth and peace?” is a great way to determine if something is worth your time or not.