‘How to feel good all of the time’

One of those days…

Have you ever noticed how some days you feel on a high and others you just can’t seem to get into gear?  Just last week I was working from home and having some real productivity problems. I just couldn’t seem to get going.

Ready, set…slow

It was grey and wet outside, so a typical UK summer’s day I guess, so I can’t use the weather as an excuse!  Words just weren’t reaching paper as fast as usual.

To cut a long story short, I spent the whole day twiddling a pencil and sending text messages. Not good.  This was a complete contrast to last week when not only did I get everything done, but I breezed through my to-do-lists ahead of each deadline.

The week before, I’d felt as if I had a wave of excitement pushing me on.  The difference between the two weeks is huge, but I was still the same person in both of those weeks, so what could be the reason behind my apathy in one and my single-minded drive and focus in the other?

There’s only one thing that was different in those two weeks, and I’ll come to it in a moment…

Stuck in glue

Do you ever have those days too, where you just feel mentally lethargic and can’t really be bothered? And those weeks where each day rolls into one and you feel no urge to make today a special one?

It’s difficult to motivate ourselves every day because motivation relies on emotion, and emotions can’t always be summoned at will.

When we have too many of these uninspiring days in a row it begins to affect our mental state and we can tend to take a more ‘reactive’ approach to life rather than a ‘proactive’ one.

This isn’t good as we are then at the mercy of events that happen to us, rather than being the one who instigates events.

What’s the magic formula?

If only every day could be an exciting one where that magical magnetism pulls us out of bed in the morning before our alarm goes of, and has us eagerly anticipating the events of the day.

But what I do have for you is something that will definitely add more spark into your days and drive you to get more done and enjoy each day more fully.

A clue

Have you ever noticed how in the week or so running up to you going on holiday, or to a festival or something that you’re really looking forward to, every day feels richer and you have a real sense of purpose in everything you do as you know there’s a pot of gold waiting for you at the end of the week.

I challenge you to try and get angry at the ‘office pest’ the day before you’re set to fly off on your hols…

A simple shift in mindset

So with this in mind I want to tell you about something I use regularly to make sure I can pretty much feel good whenever I choose.

I call them my ‘Feel-Good Lists’ and I keep them stored in my phone at all times, to be called on in times of need, aka ‘boredom’.

Two lists

1) My ‘Instant’ Feel-Good list:

This is simply a list of all the things I can do at absolutely any time that I know will make me feel good. On this list I have things such as; chatting to a friend, a cup of tea, going for a stroll, reading, listening to a podcast, listening to music, making future plans, funny memories, reading my goals,
etc etc..

There are no rules other than the fact that it has to be an instant feel-good bringer!

Next I have my…

2) ‘Deferred’ Feel-Good list:

This is full of things that make me feel good and excite me.

Things that I can’t do right this moment, but can at some point in the near future. ie: Later, tomorrow, next week etc..

On this list I have things like; going mountain biking, camping weekends, visiting friends, playing sport, going to the cinema etc.

I try to make sure that I always have something from this list booked into my diary, so that I am never without something to look forward to.

Excitement and anticipation are amazing tonics

The reason I felt so energised during the week when I achieved everything in super-quick time was because I had a trip to Scotland booked in to climb Ben Nevis.

This is something that I’d wanted to do for a long time, and so the sheer excitement and anticipation of it gave me a buzz that pulled me eagerly through all of my tasks for the week.

The point of these lists is that they allow me to be in control of how I feel most of the time. Being happy or unhappy are simply choices that we make, so why not choose the positive option.

“So why isn’t everybody doing this if it’s so easy?” is probably what you’re thinking.

And the answer to that question is that it requires a little bit of effort, and many people don’t want to put that effort in.

Your friend in times of crisis

The beauty of having your own feel-good lists is that whenever something goes wrong you have ways of not only turning things around instantly, but also of making sure you stay that way as you have something pulling you towards the light.

Now I’m not saying that using Feel-Good’ lists will help you overcome all of life’s problems, that’d be very optimistic and a bit silly, but what they will do is turn those average and dull grey moments/days into slightly brighter ones.

Remember this: Happy people tend to have things to look forward to.  They also make sure these happy events are sacrosanct.  They don’t let anything stop them from happening.

Do it today:

Start right away by making a list of everything you could do right now that could give you an instant boost of feel-good.  List as many things as you can, because the more the merrier.

Some things won’t be practical in certain situations, so you need to have reserves to draw from.

For example, reading may make you feel good instantly, but reading a book whilst stuck in slow-moving traffic on the M6 isn’t very practical.

Next make a list of all of the things that excite you or would excite you if you had one of them in your diary to look forward to.

The cherry on your cake

Now here comes the ‘action-taker’ step..pick something from your deferred feel-good list and go and book it right away so that it’s in your diary.

Maybe it’ll be cinema tickets, a table at a restaurant, or even a holiday, just make sure you get something in your diary today that gives you an event to look forward to.

You can really begin to have fun with this as it’s completely up to you what goes in your lists. You know what makes you happy.

Once you’ve created your lists, save them to your phone or the back page of your journal and you now have your very own feel-good kit to use whenever you need it…


Jonathan Pittam
Corporate Resilience & Wellbeing Coach, Consultant, Writer, Speaker

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