Finding the Great in the Not So Great Days

We have all had those mornings. The alarm didn’t go off and so we woke up later than planned, our stomach is not loving something we ate, we are still mad at our partner from the disagreement we had last week, and our body is thrashed from the extra class or training we did yesterday.

We turn on our phone (hence why our alarm did not go off), open up our calendar, check our schedule, and there it is – back to back clients with two mini group classes bookending the day ahead and no meaningful breaks built in.

@!%^ (insert word of your choice here!). After you put your phone down, there in front of you stands the most important decision you will make today. Do you keep going and bring the not so great start to your morning into your trainings, classes, and the rest of your day? Or do you pause, take a breath, and decide to do a reboot and a reframe.

You have a few moments before your brain locks into the negative and pulls you and your emotions down the rabbit hole of doom and gloom. This is the easiest place for our mind to go as our brain is designed to focus on the negative. It is what kept our ancestors alive and is why we are here today. It is called the negativity bias, and it has been said that negativity will stick to us like Velcro while positivity will slide off us like Teflon and the same is true of our emotions. But the good news is that just as you change and sculpt bodies for a living you can do the same with your brain.

We are in the service business and so whatever energy and mindset we choose to show up with, will not only impact our day, but will also have a ripple effect on our clients and everyone we meet. During the first workshop I ever took back in 1993, I remember Lynne Brick, who is both a fitness icon and co-founder of Brick Bodies Fitness Services Inc., reminding us that “no-one is paying to see your bad day”. Yet, easy as it is to focus on the good when things are going well, how do we shift our energy and mood on the not so great days?

I say happiness is not steady state, but rather interval training for life. When we train our happiness muscle it allows us to enjoy the good days without waiting for something bad to come our way, and in the not so good moments it allows us to say “this too shall pass”, and move our mind into a more positive state.

Our brain does not like inconsistency, but it does love to focus on the negative. Happiness and maintaining a positive attitude requires work, consider it strength training for your well being. Just like the foundational exercises you use for your clients, here are five foundational strategies that you can use at anytime to turn your not so good days into a great day for both you and your clients.

  1. Before you get out of bed think of three things you are looking forward to that day. It can be as simple as your cup of coffee or a phone call with a dear friend. This first step is important as it primes your brain to seek more good things throughout the rest of your day. If you have time, write these three things down as it will help ground your morning in goodness.
  2. Stay off technology. The most successful and happiest people guard their mornings and do not allow other people’s ‘to-do’ lists to infiltrate their power hour. Stay in your lane and away from social media. This may have become a habit, one that you are not even aware of.
  3. Do one thing mindfully. With full intention and with full attention, pick a morning routine and turn it into a mindfulness ritual. For me it is making the coffee, for you it may be brushing your teeth, making the bed or feeding your pet. Choose one thing and whatever you do and wherever you are, be all there.
  4. On your way to work keep your phone out of your hands and keep your head up and smile. The power of the smile is two fold. Not only will the person on the receiving end feel super special, you will also be firing up your happy emotions. When you smile, the feel good neurotransmitters of dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin are released. Endorphins are pain relievers and your body will also feel better.
  5. “If we have not learnt the language of gratitude, we will never be on speaking terms with happiness.”

Bring a sense of gratitude with you. When it comes to elevating your happiness and the happiness of the people you work with, moving, speaking, and living in a state and space of gratitude will have a positive impact on all you meet. Gratitude allows us to be thankful for what we already have. That means the clients we work with, the classes we teach, and the environment we work in. Gratitude allows us to find the extra-ordinary in the seemingly ordinary of days and flips our inner dialog from saying, “I have to go to work” to celebrating the fact “I get to go to work.”

As American Author Edith Wharton wrote, “There are two ways of spreading the light, to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” Now go and shine that magnificent light of yours and have a extraordinary day!


Petra is a happiness guide, keynote speaker and movement motivator. She has 25 years experience presenting around the world and has led workshops in over 20 countries. Petra is the recipient of canfitpro 2001 and 2016 International Presenter of the Year award and is the host of The Perfection Detox podcast on iTunes. For five free videos on happiness go to