Pulling Yourself Out of the Doldrums

Ever have one of those days (or sometimes several days) where you just don’t feel like doing the things you need to do? I think we all have those days sometimes, and I know I do.

We watch a movie and/or sleep late instead of writing in our blog, go out to eat instead of making the food we’d gotten out, let the receipts pile up, or just plain skip the things we ought to be doing.

When it happens financially — for example, if we don’t sit down and deal with our money or make a trip to the bank when we ought to — it can literally be costly. Due dates get missed, and fees get tacked on.

So how do you pull yourself out of the doldrums?

When I’m whining to myself that “I don’t want to” or “I don’t feel like it”, what generally works for me is giving myself a little lecture. I tell myself that I don’t have to “want to”; I just have to do it. And then, most of the time, I get up and do it.

And that’s the thing. We’re all capable of doing things that we don’t want to, if we know it’s for our own good. That’s especially true if we know it’s for the sake of a goal that we really do want to achieve. Sometimes going ahead and doing the thing we don’t feel like doing is enough to provide a fresh outlook or a renewed sense of motivation. (After all, there’s nothing quite like accomplishing something to prove that you can make progress.)

We all have ups and downs. (Of course, if the downs go on for a long time, that’s something beyond just the doldrums that it’s good to get help for.) But making progress often does mean struggling to continue on, and pulling yourself out of the doldrums by acting — despite them.


  • Life will for sure come with its ups and downs but the worst thing you can do is throw in the towel. I agree with you that when things get tough you have to wake up and get things done, in short become even tougher.

  • This is a great post. I used to give into the doldrums. All that did for me was help me gain weight (I emotionally ate!) and made me broke ( I also shopped) now-I clean, use steely eyed focus, exercise, or read. The house is cleaner, I’m fitter, and am spending a lot less money!

  • I always think back to my time growing up overseas, and then to 911, and then to the Mumbai terrorist attacks, and then I just go…..

  • When I’m caught up in the doldrums, I remind myself of something awesome I have coming up (like the weekend) and then make a list of everything I need to get done BEFORE that point and usually that gets me rolling in a good groove.

    (Or doing a quick dance party by myself to techno!)

  • All great ideas!

  • This would make sense if I was working a nine-to-five, five-days-a-week job, or studying at university or school, but I don’t. I can party or relax every night if I want to. At the end of a Friday I rarely feel any more or less exhausted than I do on any night because I haven’t been putting in the long shifts, living for the weekend. Despite this, the conditioning remains, and it is very hard to get anything done on a Friday night, so usually I don’t bother even to try.