How to stop whining and start acting - easy productivity exercise

What gets you closer to your goals – to what you want to achieve or to the kind of person you want to become?


People who keep whining repel others, spoil their moods and create an aura of sadness and hopelessness all around.

A socio-psychological experiment conducted by Prof. Wojciszke proved that complaining leads to an instant mood drop, while affirmations – phrases that increase your self-esteem and self-acceptance – make you feel much better and happier. In short: we experience what we say (SIE effect – Saying is experiencing effect.)

Drowning in depression and staying passive?

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God, Book 3.

No one will live your life for you so you better start experiencing it (as intensely as you can) … starting today. Obviously, you don’t need to throw yourself into a whirlwind of work and challenges. Start slowly, do little things that will let you taste some satisfaction and self-content while noticing how it feels to have a real influence on the world around you.

Feeling entitled and accusing everyone but yourself?

You make choices in every situation you encounter. Your choices and decisions shape the course of events. Nobody says that these always have to be good decisions. You’re a human being and you have the right to fail and make mistakes as well as to be angry and sad because of that.

These are your thoughts, words and deeds that have brought you to where you are now.

In his book “Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life” Larry Winget wrote: “You never have a money problem, a relationship problem, a business problem, or a health problem. You only have a problem with how you think, what you say, and your actions."

So, if you try to straighten out your thoughts, words and behavior relating to a certain aspect of your life, it should get and feel much better.


If you’ve mastered the basic personal productivity rules, I’m sure you know that doing two or more things at a time rarely pays off. Think then: is it possible to pity yourself, complain and look for excuses and to focus on finding a solution to your problem at the same time? Not really, huh?

So let’s get back to the initial question: what gets you closer to your goals – to what you want to achieve or to the kind of person you want to become?

It’s surely not whining, doing nothing or looking for the source of all the problems beyond yourself.

There is more than one correct answer to this question. Today, I suggest you go for: “a plan!"

Good planning might be a key

If it’s hard for you to get going, I have an exercise for you. It’s a bit like cheap, how-to-be-really-happy, self-help-book advice, but give it a try. It shouldn’t be in vain :-)

Think of what has spoiled your mood today, what’s bothered you or shattered your plans? Or try it the other way around – focus on the “bright side” – what could help you complete your goals, put a smile on your face or believe in yourself?

You got it?

Now, try to make a plan that will let you eliminate that negative factor or achieve that good thing. Do you realize that having a plan for coping with a difficult situation, even a rough plan, gives you a dose of positive energy and pushes you to action? A plan makes you feel better because you have finally focused on solving a problem and not just whining about it.

A couple of planning tips

Every situation is different – nobody has come up with a universal magic solution yet. There are, however, several things you can do to make your strategy work.

1. Switch to reception mode. Listen to others, take advantage of their experiences. As a part of our exercise, please find a person who has gone through what you are experiencing now or who has achieved a goal similar to yours and ask them for advice. Today.

2. Learn. Although it is not the knowledge itself but putting it into practice that will take you closer to achieving your goals, you need to acquire it first anyway. There is tons of precious information out there. Use the Internet, get a good book or go to a seminar. Just find one valuable source of timely info that will prove useful when creating your plan. Today. Then study it.

3. Listen to yourself. As Gonçalo Gil Mata wrote in Productive! Magazine №23 – changes are always hard. In order to change something, you need to really want it and be prepared for all the consequences that will follow. Now, go for a walk or just lie down in a comfy armchair and consider whether there is something about your plan that you are afraid of or unsure about. This thing might hinder your planning and execution process so it is important to find out whether you want to and whether you can fight that fear. Be completely honest with yourself. Try!

4. Be an optimist. Stop complaining and stay positive. Think about what you are really good at, what you have succeeded at before. Be honest. Recall the moments when you were truly proud of yourself. And no! I don’t believe there were none or barely any of them :-)

5. Start little by little. Don’t forget about the Small Steps Method. It might sound banal and overused to you – but this only confirms that there must be something to it :-) But keep in mind that the Small Steps Method shouldn’t be an excuse for acting with exaggerated caution or deferring ground-breaking decisions.


If you have been following my guidelines, you’ve already learned the opinion and advice of someone who “did it” and got a source of know-how and practical tips that will help you get started. You are also working on making the change that is about to happen consistent with your values and far from any internal conflicts. Last but not least, you believe (or try to believe) that your plan is a great thing and you will manage to put it into effect.

As you can see Number 5 has kicked off by itself :-) I mean – you actually got started with your plan! You already have or are about to take the first steps. Now – just don’t slow down or lose focus. Feel how cool it is to act, make changes and not whine :-)

An extra

I have prepared a template that you can use in order to put my advice into action even more quickly and easily. You can also share it with someone who might need a little help to get going :-)

One of the Nozbe team "dinosaurs" - #NoOffice practitioner since 2013. Extravert, neurotic & vegetarian feminist with 189 imperfections.