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“Have you ever waken up and just felt defeated before the day even starts?”

This has happened to me many times. I wake up at 3, 4, or 5 in the morning immediately worried about the topic of the day. One time I found myself worried that I wasn’t going to be able to pay my kids’ college tuition. My oldest daughter is 7 years old. I paused for a moment and came to a few realizations:

  1. My kids might not go to college, or a traditional 4 year school (and that’s ok!)
  2. If they do go, it’s not my responsibility to pay for it.
  3. There is no limit or end to the arbitrary things I could pick to worry about.

When I wake up in this state, it’s so easy for it to snowball into the rest of the day. That stress and anxiety leads to thoughts of self-defeat and negativity. Before you know it everything is going wrong. It reminds me of a book I read as a child: “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”

Perhaps you read this as a child and are now reading it to your kids or children in your life. What I’ve come to realize is that you have a choice on how good or bad your day is. One of my virtual mentors, Jeffrey Gitomer, put it this way:

“I’m having a bad day” is bologna. What you’re really saying is: “I’ve let other people get to my attitude” or “I’ve let other circumstances get to my attitude.” That’s not only unjustifiable; it’s a sign of mental weakness. If you tell yourself you’re having a bad day, I promise you will have one, and if you tell yourself you’re having a great day, I promise you will have one. The day is not bad unless you declare it bad.

My best plan of attack, once I’ve realized I’m in this cycle is to stop the cycle, slow time, and reset.

Stop the cycle

Once the thoughts and stress are rolling, it can feel difficult or impossible to stop but I promise it isn’t! People have many ways to stop the cycle but what works for me is a quick pause for meditation. I close my eyes, breathe deeply, and focus on releasing all the thoughts in my head. Usually 1-5 minutes is enough time to break the cycle to move on to my next move which is to slow time.

Slow time

I love walks! Taking a quick walk around the block gets the blood flowing. It takes me out of the physical atmosphere where the negativity started and gives me a chance for a fresh start. I pause and take moments to experience everything that is around me. Last week I took a quick walk and appreciated the cool breeze, the smell of fresh cut grass, and the sound of the birds. I focused on being present in that moment.


Each of these steps helps me get to a state where I can reset or reframe my day. I begin to focus on positive thoughts. Reflecting on life’s blessings, I look to the future as a place filled with opportunity and hope.

I hope you have found this to be helpful. Each day is full of possibility! You will find what you are looking for in the day whether it be positive or negative. What are some ways you conquer these patterns in your life? Feel free to leave them in the comments.


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