What kind of day are you going to have today?
Often my clients tell me that they know before they even get to work that they are going to have a hard day or a bad day or a tough day. And then they tell me why. They give me all the reasons why their day will be terrible.
And you know what?
They are right.
Their day IS going to be terrible as long as that is what they are telling themselves.
But it doesn’t have to be.
It starts so innocently. You have the thought “this day is going to be awful” or “today is Monday and I hate Mondays” or something else along those lines. It’s likely a thought you think a lot. Maybe you think it every morning as you head to the clinic or hospital for work. And your brain is happy to (and very good at) finding evidence to support this belief. A LOT of evidence.
Does this make sense to you? Let’s slow it down so I can show you, step by step, how it all goes wrong.
Step 1: You think something like “today is going to be a bad day.”
Step 2: Your brain immediately starts listing all the reasons this seems true. It might use past evidence of previous bad days or just start spinning doom and gloom scenarios about whatever is on your agenda for the day: your clinic or surgeries or particular patients or meetings or difficult colleague interactions.
Step 3: And then you feel crappy. Likely at this point you will notice a familiar feeling of stress, dread, unhappiness, irritation, and/or resentment. Maybe then you’ll start wishing you didn’t have to go to work.
Step 4: All day long your brain will keep finding evidence for how today is another bad day.
Step 5: Your day will be bad.
I want you to ask yourself, what is the upside to thinking this? Really? Is there one? How does this thought make you feel? Probably not good. Probably not excited or happy to go to work. And just notice this. Notice the effects of a simple sneaky thought as it ripples through your day.
What result is this thought creating in your life? Is it helping you deal more or less effectively with the challenges that do arise in your day? Is it making you more or less productive during your day? Is it making it more or less likely that you will enjoy your day at work? Is it creating the results you want in your career or is it contributing to burnout and unhappiness as a doctor?
Here is a technique I suggest to start having a better day – every day.
The key here is to interrupt this pathway. So next time you catch yourself thinking you are going to have a bad day, stop yourself right there, and re-direct your brain. Ask your brain a better question:
How can I have a good day today?
How can I enjoy my day today?
How can I get everything done today and feel relaxed and in control the whole time?
How can I make today fun for me and my patients and staff?
And so on …
You get the idea. Want a better day? Ask your brain to figure out how and watch as it finds all sorts of answers and evidence for you. And notice how your day transforms.
Step 1: Notice you are thinking “Today is going to be bad.”
Step 2: Interrupt that thought and ask yourself a better question like “how can I make today fun or interesting or simply have a good day at work?”
Step 3: Keep asking your brain this question all day long and notice how your day is actually fun or interesting or good.
Step 4: Repeat tomorrow.
PS – I’d love to hear how this works for you!
PPS – If you are stuck or having a hard time shifting your thoughts about your day, please contact me for a free 30 minute mini-session and let’s solve this problem together!