The Beauty of a Bad Day

Updated: Sep 17, 2018

You hoped it wouldn’t come but you sort of knew it would.

You were doing so well, getting up each day, focused on your goal, in the flow and taking deliberate action. It felt so good!

And then it hit. A Bad Day.

Today you woke and you couldn't summon the same enthusiasm for your goals.

The thought of taking action felt almost like a weight around your neck and working through your task list felt like slogging through quicksand.

When we make the decision to change something in our lives-whether that’s exercising each day, building out our side hustle into a full time gig, establishing a morning routine etc, losing the excess weight-we envision ourselves taking deliberate action, flowing smoothly and getting sh#@t done!

Then we hit a rough patch; a day when we just don’t feel like taking the action we know would move us towards our goal. It feels like a heavy burden and we begin to hear that voice within saying, "You can skip this today, there's always tomorrow" or worse "It doesn’t matter, you’ll never achieve this goal anyway".

The going has gotten tough and we begin to second guess ourselves and our goal. We might think "I never signed up for this!"

But the thing is, we did.

When we committed to our goal, we neglected to notice that way down at the bottom in teeny-weeny print was the warning "There will be bad days!"

Everyone has bad days. Top performers in any field have days where they feel like they just..can't...get...going.

But one thing that separates top performers from others is that they understand this truth. What you do on the bad days has as much to do with whether you succeed or fail as what you do when you're performing at your peak.

In his book, The Champion’s Mind, Jim Afremow talks about Good Bad Days and the concept of Ugly but Effective (UBE). In a nutshell, it means that when the we are struggling we need to keep our mind in the game. Let go of the mental picture of flawless performance and just do our best. Don't give up. Take a small step forward. It doesn't need to be pretty.

Challenge: So if we know that we will hit bumps in the road-that there will be bad day's ahead-why not prepare for them in advance?

How do we do that?

1. Accept that there will be bad days. It's great (and important) to hold that vision of excellence in our head. But also understand that many days excellence may be off the table and "showing up" is all we can muster. And that's ok!

2. When Bad Days hit, don't fight them. Don't succumb to "oh woe is me" thinking. If you're feeling like crap, sit with that for a bit. Take a few deep breaths. Own it. This is not going to be one of those golden days. Your mission today is to salvage what you can and stay in the game.

3. Now Do Something. Anything. As long as it is in the direction of your goal-it counts. That's what success looks like today. Tomorrow is another day and another chance.

Don't lose the opportunity that bad days provide you. You can still maintain some momentum towards your goal. But better still—you can emerge from the day knowing that despite everything else you persevered and that knowledge alone will do wonders for your self-confidence!

© 2018 by Craig Kennedy