What to Do When Nothing is Working Out

What to Do When Nothing is Working Out

I was a patient person. Or so I thought.

Everything that could go wrong was going wrong.

In a short period of time, I was dealing with multiple issues: chronic back and eye problems that were both worsened by the type of work I was doing. I couldn’t stop the work because I needed to pay off debt I accumulated despite having low expenses. I put in a lot of energy, time and thought into getting new work, but I hardly gained any traction.

I thought I was doing all the right things. I was trying to stay positive. I kept putting in effort. Why was nothing working?

Chances are, you’ve also gone through periods where nothing is working out for you. Maybe you’re dealing with some tough issues right now.

5 Strategies for When Nothing is Working Out

 Here are some strategies for when it seems that absolutely nothing is going your way. I’ve used a combo of all of them when I’ve gotten stuck. They’ll work for you too.

1. Regroup and reflect.

  • Take a break from your efforts so that you can regroup and reflect. Stop what you’re doing for awhile, or at least greatly reduce what you’ve been doing. Withdraw temporarily. If you’ve been tearing after something and not getting results, take a break to re-think your strategy.

2. Practice gratitude.

  • Look for and focus on what’s positive in your life. What’s working? What are you doing well?
  • Start a daily gratitude practice. Make it part of your new morning success ritual.
  • Write down what you’re grateful for. When we write things down, it gives them more power, as Gregory Ciotti writes in his well-researched article, “The Psychological Benefits of Writing”.

3. Change direction.

  • What could you do differently? Maybe even radically differently? Is there an angle that you haven’t yet considered for solving your current challenges?
  • Shake it up. Maybe you could sell your house, take a leave of absence from your job and travel around doing work exchange programs (and learning skills and getting life experience along the way).
  • Change physical location. Change your job, your business, your mind. Just change.

4. Treat yourself really well.

When we get chronically frustrated and stressed, the danger is that anxiety and depression can take over our minds. When we’re depressed, we don’t take care of ourselves. We eat poorly and we don’t bother exercising (because hey, what’s the point?).

  • Eat well. When we’re stressed, the temptation is to reach out for feel-good junk food or even start skipping meals. Eat natural food and avoid packaged food (that usually has excessive salt, sugar, and chemicals in it). Check out this article on eating healthier from the Holding Your Feet to the Fire blog.
  • Exercise. Movement is our natural state. It’s what we would be doing all day if we didn’t have all these damn desk jobs. Exercise reduces stress, promotes relaxation and boosts your mood.
  • Use positive self-talk. There is a lot of evidence that shows the power of positive thinking and how it helps with health issues, improves how we feel and inevitably helps improve our external situation.
  • Reward yourself. This means you’re allowed to sleep in sometimes. Take an extra long shower. Buy your favourite food. Do anything that you really enjoy.

5. Find a mentor or coach.

There are so many great free resources online to help us find solutions to the challenges that often come up for us in life. Look for blog articles, podcasts and videos from personal development writers and speakers. Put them into practice so that you can improve your situation.

You can get more ideas from an article I wrote on how to find mentors quickly.


Maybe you’ve heard all of these strategies before. Maybe this is nothing new for you. But do you implement them when things aren’t going well for you?

We need to make sure that we take action on strategies that help us overcome challenges. Doing nothing is not an option. We’ll just continue getting the same results and being stuck in the same situation. This article, “How to Finally Stop Procrastinating” will give you a few additional ideas to take action and make changes.

What challenges are you facing right now? Leave a comment below or email me and I’ll reply to you personally with a few suggestions. Don’t worry, I won’t try to sell you anything. I like to help my readers when they take the time to email me with their concerns.

If you enjoyed this article, share it using the social media icons on this page. Maybe it’ll help someone you know start to make some positive changes and get out of a bad place.

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About the Author

I'm Nigel, accountability coach and creator of Holding Your Feet to the Fire.   I offer online accountability coaching to help my clients reach their goals faster and support them every step of the way.   Check out the Online Coaching page to find out how this accountability system will help you reach your business, career, financial, health and personal goals.

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