Grow Strong Again After a Hard Day

One night I was lying in bed feeling disappointed in myself. It had been a busy day but I didn't feel like I'd done much to advance my goals, and there were a couple of things I did poorly. I didn't want to end the day like that because I felt down, as if my efforts were futile. I hate that feeling. It is so demotivating. Days like that I feel like I'm spinning my wheels and going nowhere. I feel frustrated and don't look forward to tomorrow.

Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever wished you had a way to bring yourself out of it? Well, from now on, you'll have something you can use. I invented a technique that night and I've used it many times since, and it works every time to raise my spirits and make me feel strong again, looking forward to another day.

I asked myself, "What did I do today that was right?" As soon as I asked it, I thought of something. Earlier that day I was going to say something in anger, but I held my tongue. "That was a good thing to do," I thought to myself. And I already felt better. I had done at least one thing right.

But I didn't stop there. I asked it again. What did I do right today? After only a minute's thought or less, I thought of another one. There were three small items on my desk I'd been needing to do and not getting around to, and I got them done. I felt better still. The day wasn't a total loss. Not at all. And even though I did a couple things poorly, I had also done a couple things right, and this made me feel better.

I asked the question again a few more times and went to sleep feeling relaxed and satisfied, looking forward to a new day.

If this technique did nothing more than make me feel better, it would be worthwhile. An improved mood is a definite asset. But the question does something else that may be even more valuable: It makes you look into your day to see which actions you took were the most valuable. Each right thing you do is something you do voluntarily — you have a choice in whether to do it or not.

By paying special attention to which were the truly good choices, you clarify your goals and moral principles. You clarify what you think is good. You clarify what you want more of.

Ask yourself tonight: What did you do today that helped you achieve your most important goals? What did you do right today? Think of something. Enjoy it for a moment, and then ask the question again. What else? And what else? It's an excellent exercise to help you feel good more often and increase your ability to accomplish your goals.

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

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