What To Do When Things Are Not Going Your Way As A Teenager

Welcome to this blog on what to do when things are not going your way as a teenager!

It’s an undeniable truth: Life does not always go how we want it to go.

I’m going to be honest, I’m writing this blog as a letter to myself right now, but I really hope that this article helps you understand what to do when things are not going your way.

Initially, I was starting to write on a different topic, but after the last few days, I realized that this was a much more important topic to cover. I’m not going to explain exactly what inspired me to write on this topic, but let’s just say that what I wanted to happen did not happen.

And that’s a part of life that we need to accept. There will be many points in life where we can’t be in control of what’s going to happen to us, but we can control our reactions and the steps we take after it.

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

Whether you got a bad grade on a test you spent countless nights studying for, got rejected at a college you really wanted to go to, or forgot to do something, this blog is for you.

We all have a fixed idea of what our life “should be” like. With a consistent daily routine and the same tasks to do over and over again, we get so used to how life is going right now. We expect to eat the same breakfast each day, watch the same TV show, work on the same project, etc. But, when something different happens, we get totally off-track. We lose the routine that we consistently worked hard to build, we lose the relief of knowing what’s next, but most of all, we lose our peace of mind.

It may feel like the world is crashing down on us, and we have nowhere safe to go. It may feel like nothing good can come out of the situation, and it messed with our goals and vision for the future. And, it may feel like there’s nothing we can do to make it better on our side, and we are left hopeless.

NONE of that is true! The world is not crashing down on us. There is always something good that comes out of each and every situation. And, there is always something we can do to make it better. You have control of your own life, and you better start using that power to your own benefit.

When things are not going your way, here are 10 tips and steps to use to get back up and keep hustling:

1. Reflect & Evaluate

what to do when things are not going your way

“When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.”


2. Vent (if you need to) but move on

If something didn’t go the way you wanted it to, you’re probably going to feel frustrated and angry. So, if you feel that way, go ahead and let off that steam. Talk to a friend, complain, cry, scream at the top of your lungs… do whatever you feel like doing. The important part is that you feel a tiny bit better after doing so.

However, don’t get caught up with venting. It may temporarily relieve yourself, but it is not going to ultimately solve the problem. Complaining doesn’t do anything to the situation, you must take action for something to change.

In short, vent if you need to, but only for 15 to 20 minutes. Move on after that, as complaining is not a solution!

3. Process & acknowledge your thoughts

what to do when things are not going your way

Don’t resist your thoughts; instead, acknowledge them, whether they are positive or negative. By doing this, you can accept what you are feeling and focus on the situation on hand.

Once you acknowledge your thoughts and emotions, it’s time to process them. Here are three methods you can use:

  1. Journaling: This can be a brain dump on your computer or rough paper
  2. Audio taping: Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. After you finish, listen to what you said, as this may be quite revealing and eye-opening
  3. Meditating: Observe your reality as is, in a calm peace of mind.

4. Take a break

Often times as a teenager, when a problem occurs, the only thing that’s on our minds IS the problem. We tend to not be able to focus on other things, like the tasks we have to complete. That’s not very productive and can mess up our routine.

If you find yourself stressing and spending too much time thinking about 1 thing, take a break! Go for a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, take a nap, or do whatever will make you relax.

When you are done with the activity you chose, you will feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation as your mind will be fresh.

5. Talk to someone

what to do when things are not going your way

You don’t need to go through hard things alone.

There are always people around you who love you and care about you. Talk to a sibling or your parents. FaceTime a friend for a while. Text in a group chat. Ask advice from a mentor who you trust.

Positive words from people you care about can go a long way.

Remember that in order for this to work, you have to be vulnerable and open yourself up. They could have a great idea or solution for you to use, that you would not have realized if you didn’t open yourself up to people.

Along with this, talking to another person could help you get another perspective and see the situation from another angle.

6. Uncover what you are really upset about

Often times when we get mad or upset at something, there is something deeper that we are actually frustrated at. I know this may not make sense, but here’s an example:

Say you lost your car keys and you say, “I’m so mad I can’t find my keys.” Maybe, it’s not the fact that your keys are missing that you are mad about, but the fact that you are not organized.

Undercover the root of your anger before you start blaming something or someone else, which can lead to even more madness.

After you figure that out, you can then take action. (#9) Anger comes from not being able to control a situation. So, the more action you take, the more control you will regain, and the better you will feel.

7. Identify how it occurred

Whenever a problem occurs, we focus on the effects of it and what we can do to make the situation better. However, we never focus on why the problem arose in the first place and what we can do to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

As an example, let’s say that you couldn’t get a cab one morning to go to work, and you think it’s bad luck. Most of the time, it’s probably not bad luck, and it happened because 1. you overslept and didn’t wake up on time, or 2. you didn’t budget enough time to wait for a cab.

Next time, you could sleep earlier or manage your time more wisely so that you don’t have to experiences the same situation again.

8. Focus on actionable steps

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After a problem that already occurred, there is no way to go back in time and reverse the events that led up to it. You want to focus on things that can still be changed instead of wasting time on things that already happened.

Rather than cry over spilt milk, ask yourself, “What are the next steps that’ll help me resolve my problems?”

Asking yourself this question will help you focus on the future and act on your next steps.

9. Improve your mindset

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I truly believe that the most effective way to recover from when something doesn’t go your way is to improve your mindset. Everything starts with your mindset, how you think, and how you look at the world.

First of all, see this challenge as an obstacle to overcome and become stronger because of it.

Secondly, realize that this situation could be much worse than it is right now.

Along with this, be sure not to fall into an all-or-nothing mindset.

Lastly, look for the positive aspects of your situation and find learning points from it. There is always something to learn from each and every encounter, and once you have learned it, try to implement that lesson moving forward.

10. Do your best

John Wooden - Just do the best you can. No one can do...

Sometimes, the most we can do as teenagers, as human beings, is to just try our best.

Life is too beautiful to worry about issues. If there ever is an issue that you’re stressing over, don’t kill yourself over it. Everything will unfold accordingly, and worrying about it is not going to change the situation.

“Remember that life is not meant to be a series of dreams coming true but a series of lessons to be learned. At some point you just need to let go of what you thought should happen and live in what is happening.” (greatist)

Check out my blog on how to live your life to the fullest as a teenager in 2021!

The Takeaway:

Life is a crazy journey, and as teens, we have a lot more to experience. When one thing doesn’t go right, it may seem like nothing is going right, but always remember: We shouldn’t let one bad event stop us from achieving our goals and reaching our highest potential. It is still okay to have high hopes and high expectations from our future, but at the same time, we should know what to do and how to react if something doesn’t go as we wanted it to go.

While it may seem like you can’t catch a break, you CAN and here’s how:

  1. Reflect & Evaluate
  2. Vent (if you need to) but move on
  3. Process & acknowledge your thoughts
  4. Take a break
  5. Talk to someone
  6. . Uncover what you are really upset about
  7. Identify how it occurred
  8. Focus on actionable steps
  9. Improve your mindset
  10. Do your best

When things don’t go according to plan, we tend to have that stick in our minds for a very long time. However, in order to avoid that in the future, check out this wonderful book, “The Power of Letting Go: How to drop everything that’s holding you back. Along with this, be sure to watch this video on 5 Ways To Get Back On Track When You’ve Lost Your Way.

“Sometimes, things may not go your way, but the effort should be there every single night.” – Michael Jordan

Everything going wrong is preparing for things to go right. It can only go up from here! So, despite all the hardships, keep pushing yourself and keep working hard. It may not be the easiest thing to do right now, but your future self will thank you for it. I promise you, when all the tough times are over, you’ll be a stronger, wiser, and more resilient person because of it. Don’t give up now just because you were thrown one curveball.

I hope this blog inspired you to keep going even though things may not go your way. If you ever have any questions or comments, feel free to type them below in the comments. When things ever go off-path, you can refer to this article for advice on what to do. With that, have a great day and good luck!

P.S. Good times are coming!

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