Sometimes we have not so good days. A project didn’t go as planned. We had negative interactions with a coworker. We had a goal for the day, but somehow we got distracted and it didn’t get completed. We feel discouraged or stuck. We’ve all been there.

When it’s one of those days, I encourage you to try one of these five productive tips to help you improve, feel more productive, and simply feel less stuck.

1. Create a growth mindset:

Embracing an “always learning” mindset allows for growth and positive experiences. It enables you to experience an open perspective of the world. Once you realize that you can grow from any experience, you start to become less hard on yourself.

The reality is that life is an ongoing classroom with much to teach. The world is not stagnant, but forever shifting and growing. When you think you’re not “good” at something, I encourage you to try a new way of seeing things. Try instead, to think of it as an opportunity to improve. I suggest fueling your inner fire. Read books on subjects you are interested in. Take a class. Join a group. Hire a coach. Because there isn’t a wrong or right to learn, it’s just wrong not to try.

[clickToTweet tweet=”There isn’t a wrong or right to learn, it’s just wrong not to try.” quote=”There isn’t a wrong or right to learn, it’s just wrong not to try.”]

2. When things don’t according to plan, figure out what your going to do next:

Sometimes, things don’t go according to plan. You feel the soul-crushing feelings of discouragement and failure, the lump in the throat, the tears, to a flat-out bawling marathon. Trust me — I’ve been here. I’m good friends with my failure.

I recall a time when I had completely lost my project somewhere out in the world — two days before the critique! I sat in the car and let myself feel all the feelings. Then when I was ready, I would wipe the tears, think on what I can do better, and try yet again. Super ready to hit the pavement for another go.

When you fall on your face, keep on getting up and move forward. Because failure is not a sign that you’re are weak, it just means you’re brave and willing to do what most people are scared to do.

3. Improve productive daily habits:

Doing the same task every day makes it easier to accomplish more. For example, I write every day whether I feel like it or not. Creating a habit is in of itself — an act of practice. Essentially, you are training to ignore your inner lazy cat.

All of us fall victim to procrastination – even the most productive of people. Try creating a habit by simply going to bed at a certain time and waking up at a certain time. When you make this a routine, your mind and body will begin to adjust.

4. Do something rather than nothing:

During my college years, I challenged myself as a woman to begin asking men out on dates. Because of typical stereotypes, this wasn’t something I had ever done before. So, I did some research and I found an exercise called the Fifteen Second Rule. The rule indicated that if you see a cute guy, immediately approach him and talk to him. The reasoning behind the rule is to act as soon as possible because within 15 seconds we start to back pedal.

Human nature is to retreat into waiting for the perfect time, or thinking we aren’t good enough and consequently, decide against it. I loved this and have applied it to everyday life situations such as connecting with a client, getting the work done, or just simply rising in the morning. Hop back on the horse and just do it. It’s better to do anything rather than nothing.

[clickToTweet tweet=”It’s better to do anything rather than nothing.” quote=”It’s better to do anything rather than nothing.”]

5. Always forgive yourself:

Forgiving yourself is a crucial step on your journey to becoming grittier. The universe will throw you all sorts of curveballs to test your resolve. Forgiving yourself makes it so much easier for you to get up again. When things don’t go as we’d hoped, we tend to beat ourselves up.

Negative mindset beliefs begin to play self-destructive thoughts on repeat. Thoughts like: I’ve wasted so much time online, I should have done this instead of that, or if only I had gotten up earlier. It becomes increasingly difficult to gain traction on an already slippery slope. However, with a next-action type awareness, we can begin to use a NOW mentality to start fresh. The reality is that there are days where you get distracted and don’t do what you had planned to. Forgive yourself and love yourself, then move forward. Try again.

If you’re feeling stuck or unmotivated, I hope at least one of these tips will help you push through.


By Vanina Howan

After making a career change as a fashion designer, Vanina Howan now mentors millennials as a career & lifestyle coach. She is also writes and leads a minimalistic lifestyle. Connect with Vanina at vaninahowan.com.