10 Things To Do When You Feel Like You Can’t Do Anything Right

It’s easy to convince yourself that you are the only person who feels like you can’t ever do anything right.

You compare yourself unfavorably with just about everyone you can think of.

Conclusion: They’ve got life sorted, cruising along at the top of their game, scoring successes left, right and center, and in control of pretty much everything.

But, wait up, your perception is wrong!

The reality is that everyone, yes everyone, feels weighed down with despondency at their failures, real or perceived, at one time or another.

The difference lies in their ability to reset their compass after a knockback and continue to forge ahead with barely a dent in their armor.

In the absence of that conviction, the I-can’t-do-anything-right demon has an insidious way of becoming self-reinforcing.

In no time you can find yourself stuck in a depressive rut, truly believing that everything you touch will ultimately fail.

And it’s a scary place to be.

The purpose of this article is to give you a toolbox to help you build your inner resilience, using the capabilities and strength you already possess in abundance, even if you feel they’ve deserted you right now.  

Just remember: nobody is perfect.

The first step toward turning your negative mindset on its head is to take stock of where you are right now, cut yourself a little slack, and remind yourself that nobody is perfect.

Bear in mind that the more energy you waste on beating yourself up, the less you’ll have available for the task of banishing the persistent negative incantation that whispers, “I can’t do anything right.”

But it really is possible to reprogram your default setting from negative to positive by applying some changes to your perception and your habitual behavior.

The following steps may be small, but they punch above their weight in terms of results. It’s all about building a momentum that will make you an unstoppable force of positivity!

1. Reframe the question.

So, this is where you take stock and find out where you’re really at, by shining a positive light in the gloomy place you’ve been calling home recently.

Instead of repeatedly asking yourself the rhetorical and unhelpful “why can’t I get anything right?” question, try turning it around and putting a positive spin on it.

Rather than repeating that habitual, negative, and deeply unhelpful question, ask yourself instead: “What are some things I’ve done well?”

They are there if you look for them. Bring them center stage and allow yourself to take credit for them.

It can be a good idea to write them down in a journal for easy reference when you need a boost. Create a list you can add to as you allow the spirit of positivity back inside your head.

Similarly, ask an upbeat question like: “What one thing could I do at this moment that would make me feel better?”

Maybe that would be to eat a whole carton of Ben & Jerry’s or to go for a walk in the park. It matters not. The point is that you’re taking control and doing something more productive than continuing to burrow deeper into your depressive bunker.

2. Use a personal mantra.

One of the most insidious things about negative thoughts is their tendency to be self-perpetuating. They form shackles of doubt in one’s mind which are so hard to shake off.

The negative self-talk is internalized and becomes the new reality. The more you persist in your belief that you can’t do anything right, the more likely that will be the case as your self-belief is undermined.

This is where your consciousness lets you down, allowing these negative gremlins to continually reinforce themselves and create a distorted reality.

One of the most effective ways of resetting your thought pattern is through meditation. Repeating mantras can anchor you to the reality of the present, allowing your brain to respond affirmatively to negative emotions.

Try one of these on for size:

I am capable of doing whatever I set my mind to.

I can do this. I can do it well. I am competent.

I am going to do my best, and my best is good.

3. Take a bath or shower.

While it may seem like a tiny and ineffective defense in the face of the tsunami of negative thoughts and emotions you’re facing, taking the time for a long hot shower or a bath brimful of bubbles is more beneficial than you might imagine.

Your hardworking body serves you round the clock, getting on with its job no matter if you’re on top of the world or battling the can’t-get-anything-right demons.

Taking some time out to reward its unstinting efforts, especially at the end of a long and draining day, may give you the reset you need to break the cycle of negativity in your head.

When you’re done with your well-deserved retreat, take time just to breathe and reflect on how capable you really are.

4. Declutter and reorganize.

If you’ve been feeling beaten down for a while, convinced of your inability to succeed at anything, it may be that you’ve let things slide within your own home or your room.

If you’re an aesthetically-minded person, the space around you can often mirror your mental state.

Clutter breeds and populates a space so stealthily that you may barely have noticed the decline.

However, you may find that the mountains of ‘stuff’ that has accumulated, and the resulting disorder, are sapping your ability to think clearly and to focus.

When everything around you is topsy-turvy, getting anything done can prove even more of a challenge.

While reorganizing, decluttering, or even just cleaning the space around you are comparatively small tasks and unrelated to your current woes, they can make a considerable difference to your mental attitude.

Not only will you gain a sense of achievement from having successfully completed the task, you’ll also inhabit a space that works with you rather than being at odds with you and bringing you down.

5. Take yourself outside.

When you’re in a mental slump, even hauling yourself out of bed can seem like an uphill struggle, and the idea of any kind of physical effort is out of the question.

Although it may be the last thing you feel like doing, forcing yourself to rise above the mental and physical inertia and get yourself moving is a big step toward fighting back against the gloomy gremlins.

Better yet, get out and connect with the great outdoors. Being amid the wonder of nature and letting yourself be inspired by its beauty and seasonal changes could be just the tonic you need to counterbalance the feelings you’re experiencing right now.

But you don’t need to conquer the Appalachian Trail to feel the gain. Just getting out of your four walls and taking a ten-minute walk around the park or even just around the block can work wonders in shifting your negative mindset to a more positive can-do approach.  

6. Take another look at your to-do list.

So, there you are stuck in the doldrums with the burden of being unequal to pretty much any task, believing that you can’t get anything right.

The trouble is, while you’re hamstrung in this way, the tasks on your to-do list don’t magically melt away. Instead, these things, big or small, can relentlessly build up, adding to your mental load until they become quite overwhelming.

Now’s the time to reset the way you approach the daily grind. Forcing yourself to stick to a strict regime can become a burden in itself. To begin with, try picking just one thing off the list each day and gather the mental and physical energy to get it done.

Break the bigger tasks down into bite-size, manageable actions that are not over-taxing. Each one you tick off will give you a valuable sense of achievement.

Let your mood guide your choice of task. Quit beating yourself up about how much you achieve, or the length of time it takes, and always remember that getting one thing done is better than none.

Each achievement proves your inner nagging negative voice wrong.

7. Plan a trip.

When you feel you’ve been on a downward spiral where nothing seems to have gone right, breaking the cycle of negativity with a change of scene can really help reset your mental and emotional compass.

This doesn’t need to be a long trip or even to be a massive drain on your finances. Just a weekend away, with a few indulgences and some me-time can reap big benefits in boosting your mood.

Giving yourself some space and time away from your usual routine can help reset your perspective on just about everything.

8. Treat yourself.

Along the same lines as the idea of a trip, but without the expense and upheaval of leaving home, rewarding yourself for your positive achievements is an essential tool in restoring your sense of self-worth.

The human psyche responds so well to praise and reward. Use that knowledge to your own benefit by allowing yourself to feel proud and making a point of giving yourself a well-earned treat.

Indulge yourself with a fancy cup of coffee and a delicious pastry at a swanky café you’d normally regard as too extravagant, perhaps.

Such rewards aren’t silly, they’re motivating, so don’t hold back.

9. Set achievable goals.

It’s not rocket science to understand that burdening yourself with huge and possibly unachievable tasks is instantly demotivating. You’ll feel daunted, maybe to the point of paralysis.

If you find yourself in a rut, be careful to limit your self-expectations, so that you at least have a chance of success.

When you’re faced with a monster of a task, take a step back. From this perspective, you’ll have a better overview, helping you to identify manageable nuggets of action within the bigger task.

As you tick these off one by one, the enormity of the overall challenge will be chipped away. Bit by bit, instead of feeling like you’re facing Mount Everest, you’ll be looking at a few easily scalable foothills.

As you complete each mini task, you can strike it through on your list. And, let’s face it, the joy of crossing things off lists is one of life’s great pleasures.

Better yet, you’ll be able to reward yourself, as described above, with plenty of treats along the way, as each milestone is conquered.

10. Just do nothing.

This may seem counterintuitive advice in a world where being madly busy and setting ever higher personal goals is the expected norm.

But it may be that your current inability to get anything right is down to your body and mind needing a break.

The compound effect of mental exhaustion could be what’s causing lapses in your productivity, concentration, and ability to focus. Living with constant stress has a similar effect.

Maybe the best medicine right now is to listen to your body, step off the hamster wheel, and do nothing at all for a while.

Spend the day in your PJs watching box sets, sleep in as long as you like without feeling an ounce of guilt, or just take an afternoon nap. Just do nothing!

Remember, this is not an indulgence; it’s a necessity to give your overworked mind a chance to de-stress and restore your self-confidence and inner resilience.

The reality is that you are stronger and more capable than you know. You are more than equal to the challenges put before you.

Why not try some of these ideas to help reset your mental compass into can-do mode?

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About Author

Working as a freelance copywriter, Juliana is following a path well-trodden by her family, who seem to have 'wordsmithing' in their DNA. She'll turn her quill to anything from lifestyle and wellness articles to blog posts and SEO articles. All this is underpinned by a lifetime of travel, cultural exchange and her love of the richly expressive medium of the English language.