It's Ok To Have A Bad Day

Can Personal Development become an unhealthy obsession?

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PMA, Personal Development, I love all that sh*t, I really do!

I've dipped my toe into just about everything from plant based diets to meditation, Yoga and even some CBT and therapy.

And let me tell you this: it gets addictive.

The better you feel, the more you want to work out.

The more you learn, the greater your thirst for knowledge.

Becoming your best self takes work and achieving your goals feels amazing! It's like 'the runner's bug' - the more you dive in, commit to and challenge yourself, the greater the results, your sense of pride, and the drive to do more, to be more. 

Isn't that GREAT?! Well yes, but sometimes, no.

I've been 'working on myself' for about two and a half years and it's been BLOODY WONDERFUL. After a toxic relationship ended, I found myself at the lowest of lows. I didn't have my own life, I'd lived my life for another person for so long that I'd forgotten who I was. What did I like doing, what was I good at? It was like starting my life from scratch. My confidence had gotten so low that I had to work on everything, but where to start?

I began reading Personal Development books, attending workshops, listening to podcasts and getting out of my comfort zone in any way possible. I hated the idea of 'self help' it felt tragic, something for losers, but Personal development, well that felt different, that felt good! As I ticked off more challenges my confidence grew. I would constantly surprise myself at how strong and fearless I was becoming and all the things I was achieving. I was glowing.

But this week it hit me, I have a problem. 

Yesterday I attended an 'Unleash The Power Within' workshop. A taster of the famous Tony Robbins 4 day 'life changing' seminar. (They've made a documentary about it here:

It was brilliant, albeit a bit of a sales pitch. The dude leading the group (Allan) was funny, smart and gave real step by step actions you can take to improve yourself, to start making your dreams come true. Pretty inspiring. You could feel the energy and the 'penny drop' moments in the room. It was when it got to question time that my 'penny drop' moment happened. A guy stood up, mike in had, and told Allan that he wanted to find his 'focus' this year. Allan probed this answer which led to the conclusion that they guy was looking for his next challenge, his next 'how to be my best self' project for the year of 2018.

BAM. There it was.

In that moment I realised the paradox of Personal Development: You always want more. After my break up, I'd gone from a place of worthlessness, loss and negatively to a place of constant striving, achieving and the pursuit of perfection. What's healthy about that?

As I thought about this, I saw the life I'm currently living unravel in all it's glory: An exhausted, anxious mess. I'm not empowered, I'm a slave. 

It's true. I never allow myself a day off anymore. You know, one of those disgusting days where you don't shower, eat a family sized share bag of milk buttons and binge on Netflix for 8 hours. I used to love those! 

Everything I do now is planned, a step toward whatever the current end result I'm working on at this moment requires. I'm so focused on achievement and goals that I've forgotten it's ok to have a bad day sometimes, to not need to be working towards something or feel guilty for being lazy.

Yes I want to achieve things, maybe even great things, but it's pretty apparent that I also need to 'chill the f**k out' a bit and get some balance back into my life.

....I'll let you know how I get on.


My thoughts on...

Online Contributor, Psychologies Magazine Ambassador

A blog exploring who we are, and what we want out of life, one story at a time.


Go to the profile of Julie Spencer
about 4 years ago

Woohoo, I completely get it, and balance has certainly been the key in my own life.  I look forward to your next blog.

Go to the profile of My thoughts on...
about 4 years ago

Thanks Julie. I guess it's about practicing what we preach! xx

Go to the profile of Tom Dyer
about 4 years ago

Thanks for sharing! I had the same epiphany about 6 months ago, and then my relationship broke down! I'm also looking forward to the next installment. Thanks for sharing.

Go to the profile of My thoughts on...
about 4 years ago

Hang in their Tom, things always work out in the end and usually for the better! Thanks for reading x

Go to the profile of Heather Duggan
almost 4 years ago

I read this after you'd read my blog on a similar topic, Liz. Balance is so important - I went through the same extreme swings with eating, before eventually working my way to a middle ground. I find living in the middle ground itself is a huge challenge with the kind of personality that I have (obsessive!) but it does mean that you can live a happier life in the end. Good luck with it - and any workshop recommendations much appreciated! It seems we like the same things in that respect. 

Go to the profile of My thoughts on...
almost 4 years ago

Thank you Heather, I really enjoyed your article too! Yes, sounds like we are very similar and it's great to hear your story of reaching balance - gives me hope! x