How to Stay Positive When Nothing Is Going Your Way

Michael Butler
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Focus on something you can do today.

A lot of things may be going on in your life right now. No matter what it is that is causing you a moment of dismay, sadness or disappointment, remember that there is always something you can do today to make things better.

I wrote about this in the past, and I am going to say it again: You may want to be at a certain point in your life, but you are absolutely not where you want to be. This is the basis of happiness: To work towards being where you want to be rather than being miserable because you are not where you want to be.

It’s also the basis of living happily in the moment. Yes, you do need to live in the moment, but you also need to realize that you get there step by step. If you set goals that are too far away, it can be easy to get discouraged when you see how far you have left to go. Instead, focus on what you can do today to take a baby step towards your goal.

Right now, probably your biggest obstacle to a life of happiness and success is that you’re discouraged. When you are discouraged and upset, it’s easy to let your negative mood carry over and spread to others.

Remember that your rut is only temporary .

It is easy to get into a good or bad routine when you don’t think about it. After climbing out of a rut, you might be surprised at how quickly you get back in again.

The longer you stay in one place, the harder it is to get started again. So remember, even if your rut has lasted for a while, it’s only temporary.

The first step is to recognize that you have fallen into a rut. Then, define a specific goal to help yourself get out of it. It could be anything, whether it’s quitting smoking, running a half marathon or doing something completely different.

Whatever goal you choose will require a certain level of sustained effort. So be realistic with yourself when planning for abrupt changes.

Once you’ve set your goal, take a good hard look at your schedule, and make sure that your lifestyle is conducive to reaching this goal. If you’re not awake by 9 A.M., you may want to get up earlier. If you don’t get enough sleep at night, you may need to relax earlier. If your work schedule is too busy, you may need to reorganize your schedule. If you’re not getting enough physical activity, you may need to start working out at a different time.

It could always be worse…

After something bad happens, we usually try to actively look for more bad things that could happen. We can call this the “It Could Be Worse” theory. When you look for the silver lining, for example, you’re actively seeking reasons why things aren’t as bad as you think. And because it could always be worse, the things that you’re working on seem relatively minor in comparison.

You can use this theory in your daily life to deal with situations that normally seem depressing or scary. It works best when you use it to remind yourself that you’re not alone in your situation. If you feel guilty about not completing a task, for example, try to remember that you’re not the only person in the world who couldn’t get it done for one reason or another.

Struggle is part of the deal.

What makes you think that you will get through every obstacle, no matter what it is without any struggles? Face it … life is a constant struggle. In your life, you will always have some amount of adversity, but the truth is, nobody knows exactly what it will be.

Even if you acknowledge that life is difficult, you may not have seen how difficult. The biggest problem about our struggles is when we begin to believe that they are impossible. When we think that we will never see the other side, we quit.

The truth is that it’s impossible to give up if you’ve never given up on anything. Fighting is part of life. But don’t relax because the fight is over. You might still have to go through more struggles in your future so don’t stop now. Although our struggles can be the worst part of life, keep in mind that they are the foundation that prepares us for life’s greatest lessons.

When we know how to fight through the struggles, they become easier because we are learning how to break through our barriers. In this way, we grow as people because struggling gives us a wider range of perspective. The trick is to learn how to turn this into your advantage.

See beyond your discouragement.

It is so easy to become disillusioned in today’s world. Healthcare is a mess, politics is a mess, our economy is a mess. You could go on and on. If you let yourself believe all the negative news you hear, you will surely become negative yourself. Instead, put your focus on how you can improve everything that’s going on around you.

When you look for solutions, you find them. It’s hard to be positive when nothing is going your way, but if you look for ways to make it right, you'll find them. You'll need to be creative, however. There's no magic wand that you can wave and everything will be better. Each situation will be unique, but once you face it, you'll find your way out.

Keep your clique positive.

Even if you live life in a fishbowl, it’s important to surround yourself with positive people that encourage you to be your best and support your dreams. You have the choice to surround yourself with positive people who believe in the best in you or with pessimists that see your dreams as mere day dreams. Surround yourself with positive people that support your dreams. Pessimists only drag you down by staying negative and feeding your existing doubts. Surround yourself with individuals that believe in you.

Take a strategic break .

When I say a break, I mean a mental break. It’s important to take time to yourself or away from the drama that surrounds you or whatever situation you find yourself in. If you are feeling overwhelmed, give yourself permission to step away for a while.

Whatever it is that is causing you stress, it is important to understand that it is not all of your responsibility. You can’t control everything and you don’t always need to. Taking a break from the situation allows you to adjust your perspective on what is going on.