Self Improvement

How To Stay Positive When Things Aren’t Going As Planned

It’s easy to feel down when you’re not exactly where you think you should be. Ending a relationship, not being where you imagined in your career, and not checking certain travel destinations off a list can leave you feeling like you’ve failed in one way or another. And social media has a way of magnifying how awful you think things are by seeing how perfect you think everyone else has.

I’ve been there. It’s not my first time sharing this story, but for those of you who are new here or need a refresher, at 27 I was 8 years into a toxic and very dead-end relationship with an awful guy. I was designing blogs out of a bedroom at my mom’s house and found myself in a friendship, career, and general life rut. I became really depressed and retreated from everything.

At 28, I moved to Chicago – a city where I didn’t know anyone – and one year later I was single for the first time in my adult life. A few months later, I started working on the launch of The Everygirl – a website people thought exploded overnight (it did grow quickly) but we worked away unpaid for a year with full-time jobs on the side. I had my ups and downs over the next few years and still do, but I was the happiest I had ever been when I met Conor. He didn’t complete me because I didn’t need him to.

If you’re struggling with where you are right now, it’s time to reevaluate your goals and realize that it’s ok to be where you are – even if it’s not where you thought you should be.

Think about what’s going well

When it feels like things are falling apart in one area of our lives, it’s so easy to focus on where you’re stuck instead of what’s going right. I’m single. I don’t make enough money. 

Most recently for me, I found myself fixating on the fact that I wouldn’t have family at my wedding and couldn’t stop thinking about how sad I might be. I’m 35 and still learning. Rather than pine over the negative (something I am painfully good at) try thinking about what’s going right. Do you have an amazing family? Great friends? Are things improving at work? Focus on the good and do things that make you happy.

Embrace change

If you’re feeling stuck, take a class, say yes to new plans (this was a big one for me), go on a road trip, or consider moving to a new area in town or a new city.

Moving from LA to Chicago was the start of a completely new life for me and opened so many doors. A new job or new part of town could do the same. You just have to get out there and try something new.

Remember that change takes time

Just because things aren’t exactly how you think they should be now doesn’t mean they won’t get a lot better. Just 5 years ago, my first paycheck from The Everygirl was $1000 (a year into starting our website) and I was so stressed about money. I still worry about the future because who doesn’t – but it’s now my full-time job. I also got married about 7 years later than I thought I should but it all worked out in the end.

Remember that things will get better

Back when I was struggling in my 20s and felt like I didn’t have any support, I told myself that one day, I’d use my story to help someone. I didn’t know when or how, and I’ve gotten to be a part of something so much bigger via my blog and of course, The Everygirl. If I didn’t struggle and feel the need to “reset” by moving to Chicago, I never would have launched The Everygirl, wouldn’t have met some of my closest friends, and I never would have met my husband.

Do things that make you happy

Surround yourself with great people, make your favorite dinner, watch your happy place movie (Something’s Gotta Give or The Holiday, anyone?). There was even a time where I would eat a mini Trader Joe’s ice cream cone in bed in the morning simply because I could. Corny? Probably. But it made me happy.

How do you stay positive when things aren’t going as planned?