The Trick* to Feeling More Productive and Accomplished Today

beat yourself upI’m often bummed at how hard people are on themselves. Talented, accomplished, smart, engaging, sometimes even award-winning people make themselves a punching bag for all the things they don’t achieve.

Instead of counting the wins for the day, the focus is on what didn’t happen. Sound familiar?

But research shows that beating yourself up is counterproductive. (Pardon me if this sounds like you should beat yourself up for beating yourself up.) The harder you are on yourself, the more difficult it is to get into the mindset that  you can accomplish whatever you set out to do.

I went on a 30-day sugar fast and broke it twice. In the past I might have figured that since I messed up the 30-day effort by eating a dessert the entire plan may as well be ditched.  But my habit had been to eat sugar every day.  Sometimes several times a day.  So if I had sugar two days out of 30, that’s going to count as a win. And the research mentioned above seems to be backed up.  There’s a level of confidence that I can pass up the candy sitting on the counter. Heck, all of those other days passed with no sugar. Why not today?

Your brain only knows what you tell it and this is case in point.  You tell yourself you’re not productive or accomplished enough and lo and behold you won’t be.  Focus on your wins, even if you consider them minor, and you’ll have more of them.  As a lifelong “not enough-er” I understand if this will be tough habit for you to break.

Be kind to yourself.  Count the positives. Pat yourself on the back for the thing you did get done. I’m cheering you on!

*It’s not really a trick.  It’s an idea.  Just like “secrets” aren’t usually secrets. They’re just ideas you may not have heard yet.


  1. Nancy Hightshoe on February 15, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    GREAT article, Mary! It’s so easy to get bogged down in my incompletes instead of focusing on the action items I DO complete. Thanks for reminding me!

  2. Jackie demko on February 17, 2012 at 8:50 am

    I love “the brain only knows what we tell it” so true. It is wonderful and scary.

  3. Mary Kutheis (kooth-ice) on February 19, 2012 at 7:42 am

    It happens to all of us, so at least we all have company! Thanks for the kind words.

  4. Mary Kutheis (kooth-ice) on February 19, 2012 at 7:46 am

    You know, you’re right Jackie. Having that much power is great but a bit daunting, too. Guess it’s another opportunity to face our fears, in a sense.