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Don’t worry. It gets worse before it gets better.


You start the cleanse and you get a gnarly headache and feel super grumpy all of a sudden.

You’re cleansing to feel better but instead you feel worse.

Hang in there. It always gets worse before it gets better.

Your new skincare regime promises to create a luminous complexion. But after three days you’re breaking out like the high school kid who bags your groceries.

Keep going. The pus (literal or metaphorical) must rise to the surface in order to leave your experience.

You commit to saying no more often so you can say yes to your own priorities. But instead of feeling freedom you have a knot in your stomach. And guilt.

It’s normal. Every new decision creates discomfort, but that doesn’t mean the decision was a bad one. {Tweet it!}

Every new decision-tweet

You decide to finally clean out your closet. But three hours into the project your room looks like a bomb went off. And you’ve only gone through the sweaters so far.

That’s how it goes. Order comes after the chaos.

You wake up at 4am (again) worried about that thing that’s been preoccupying your headspace for the last week and a half. It’s dark. Deep, thick dark.

You lay awake ruminating for longer than you’d care to count. But then, almost imperceptibly, the light begins to creep in. And before you know it, the first golden hints of sunrise are lapping at the places where your curtains don’t quite block the window.

You drift peacefully back to sleep as the dark begets the dawn.

We make changes because we want things to be better. But often things go to hell before they point heavenward.

The mistake is to quit when it gets worse.

Instead, we must remember that it’s always darkest before the dawn. The good stuff comes after the bad stuff has had time to clear the scene.

But we must give it that time and not give up.

It’s easier to do when cleaning out a closet than when overhauling a life.

But the same principle applies.

Keep going. Don’t worry. Have faith.

It always gets worse before it gets better.

But the better is just around the corner.


Have you been tempted to give up and give in while trying to make a change in your life? How do you stick with it?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!


  • Thank you so much for this post today Kate! It is exactly what I needed to ready today.

  • I could not help but think about motherhood with this post. OMG the newborn stage specifically! My son was born last July. 4 weeks later we moved into a new home. My toddler daughter refused to sleep in the new house for months. My coaching business was dissolving alongside motherhood. And I was done. Exhausted.

    BUT I didn’t quit, I thought about it, but didn’t. I kept moving and slowly but surely my fussy baby turned into the happiest little booger on the block. My daughter started sleeping AND helping around the house (she’s 2). And my coaching business took a completely new turn and turned into something amazing. And the light just keeps getting brighter.

    Your post made me feel so grateful to be on the *other* side of that season… But it’s a great reminder on how to keep moving when that next tough season arrives.

  • Love that article and just what i needed to hear today! not easy to face the shadows when you are a light worker.. but no light without shadow! Thank you!

  • Anne

    I’m paying off some debt on credit cards. I have a plan. I’m sticking to it.
    Everything done by the new year.
    But it always shocks me when I look at the total every month–Eeekkkkkk!

    I’ve hidden the cards so I can’t use them

    It will be dark for months before I begin to see the light on January 1, 2017

  • Oh m’gosh Kate, this is EXACTLY what I needed to be reminded of! Literally – this is answered prayer. Whenever I feel stuck, I ask the Universe for a sign. (that’s right, I’m one of those. My friends call me The Cosmic Muffin), and here it is. Just last night I reminded a friend going through a hard time of this very thing. Life is Ebb and flow – in and out, up/down. And that just because it’s difficult, now is not the time to stop! Spring always seems to ask a lot of me. Just like the trees and flowers, I am going through a sort of personal Spring, and It’s hard work! Thank you gentle gardener for your help!

  • Hi Kate! Thank you so very much for this post. The timing and the tenor are just what I needed this morning.

    I am on the cusp of literally turning my life upside down for the sole purpose of wanting to love my life, rather than tolerate it by subscribing to what others expect of me or what society says I “should” do. But dang, is it hard!

    Your words about waking up at 4 am, ruminating… I’ve done it more times than I care to admit. And I’m currently in full blown self-doubt mode, and I know the pain of the changes I’m about to make, (e.g, leaving my full-time job with benefits to spend more time on my freelance business and purse my aspirations of becoming a college professor, while raising my daughter on my own), might well send me into overload.

    But the thing that keeps me going right now is knowing, in my heart, that NOT making those changes will be far more painful in the long run.

    Thank you for the encouragement!

  • So grateful for this post. I’m living in a different country, where I am still learning the language, and realised that I was spending way too much time on my phone checking social media etc, because even though it wasn’t remotely fulfilling, it was in english and I was getting a ‘connection’ hit each time I surfed.

    Detoxing from it was harder than giving up coffee! But all of a sudden I had so much more time, to read a book, to be in nature, to channel into my work and create new things!!!

    Don’t know that I am exactly ‘out the other side yet’ still get the occasional ‘detox shakes’ but I am committed to going forward not backward, thank you for the reminder to stay the course!

    Have an exquisite day,

    Catherine x o x o

  • Good morning Kate! I have been reading your blog for about a year now got your book at Barnes and Nobles in Union Square, NYC, and just today, after about 15 minutes of contemplating to actually write a respond, for the first time I did not leave my want to write a comment, and actually, did. To me, that little 15 minutes was a big effort :) as I don’t usually believe what I say matter so much. I have a tutoring ( educational enrichment) and parental consulting business that encourages seeing a child as a “WHOLE child”, emotionally and cognitively, encourages parents to see a child from a place I called ‘ENOUGH’, using the strengths to overcome challenges rather pointing out the weaknesses as a way to empower a child in the learning process he/she is experiencing, not just to teach them academic subjects. This business is also my dear passion, and I would like to bring it to the next level. I am understanding that I am needing to grow with my passion, and I am feeling that I am growing slowly but surely…:) I am excellent with my students and what I do in the classroom, yet I am combating with this feeling of shame of talking about my business, marketing business,and guilt of saying “no” to some of my clients’ requests, plus convincing myself that I am excellent of what I do and what I am doing matters for humanity…that is what I am trying to combat and the battle at times were just too much, yet I am glad that I did not quit. I kept on going, and I learn to have a conversation with myself about it. An individual like you, in my email inbox, has helped me many times over. I wanted to say thank you and I truly appreciate it.

  • I sometimes remember to help myself through worse-before-better times by calling it “the storm before the calm.”

  • This is so timely. The world works in mysterious ways. Thank you for saying exactly what I needed to hear!

  • Dear Kate…First, a big thank you from my heart for all the free insight and help you share. I’ve been following you for a while. I bought your book for a client which came at exactly the right time. I have one too. I’ve got a heavy finance background. It’s great to see the loving perspective you bring. I read your note today and felt an urge to contact you. It’s about decisions. I’m kindly going to disagree. I hope you don’t mind me saying. I don’t believe every decision creates discomfort. When you lay out a clear strategy for making them, they become quite joyful. Would love to share more with you. I care that people go through life with ease. xoxoxo

  • Dorothy

    Kate your blog really lifted my spirits. I am in a place of change and I have been stuck and overwhelmed. Thank you for speaking truth.

  • Thank you so much for this post! I am currently in the middle of filing for divorce and trying to untangle a business relationship with my that is toxic. I have a new practice that I started at the end of January but because my lease/business agreement with my husband isn’t ending anytime soon, I am stuck working two and a half days a week in my old practice with him. Due to the horrible financial straits the partnership with my husband is leaving me in, I am having to decide if I have the time to let this new practice blossom or if I am going to have to get a 9-5 job in a field unrelated to what I am currently doing in order to support myself and my son. Daily, and sometimes hourly, I am torn between fear and trusting that this is the worst it will be and that it will get better. Reading your post today made me feel confident that it will turn around. I just have to work on trusting that.

    • Kate Northrup

      This will turn around Allie – I’m so glad you see that. Keep going! You’re so courageous for making the changes that will serve you long term.

  • Tujuana

    Post was right on time thanks!

  • Shirlene

    Synchrodestiny! As the coffee was brewing, I had chuckled over an epiphany of my own detours/hiccups. Each time I feel momentum on a big desire, a profound “I’ve got it this time!”… then boom, the flu/cold shows up? Then, recently I started to read Eckhart Tolle’s books, and deeply related to his analogies of why all the humanitarian efforts to heal our worldly pains are met with intense resistance by others who prefer darkness. So just this morning, over coffee, I found joy in seeing the parallel of worldly resistance in my personal mind-body resistance. OMGoddess…then your email/blog sharing was there, waiting for me to have an extra dose of enlightenment! Gratitude for you Kate, sharing your brilliance and wisdom in playful creative words!

    • Kate Northrup

      I love that the timing was perfect for you! I’d also recommend reading The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks!

  • Heather

    Amazing timing, thank you. I am exhausted ALL THE TIME and have been for decades now. I put on weight despite a very healthy regime so it feels so defeating. I just saw a doctor yesterday and am going to begin some testing. I appreciate this reminder of the way life works. Thank you and now time for my first nap today. H

  • fiona

    Thankyou for this post.
    I have just come out of a really intense.relationship of 6 years.There was more triggering and projections stress and negative feelings going on than anything else.We tried therapy together and also individual therapy but still we couldn’t manage to reach frustrating and such a bitter pill to swallow after such hard work on ourselves and conscious of our own succes.So we parted for 2months now.It feels so dark and I miss him so much..but I keep on going.Try to gave faith that this was a healthy decision for myself and that it gets worse before it gets better..but hurts to let go of the good stuff and the for confirming that there is and will be light but for now it’s dark and needs time and space to Fiona

    • Kate Northrup

      Fiona – you will make it through this. It’s so hard to let go of what we know, even if it’s no longer the best thing for us. You’re brave. Keep going. I promise it will get better!

  • Still a work in progress. My ultimate lifesaver…prayer – conversations with God in the moments of confusion, frustration, happiness, sadness. There’s an unexplainable comfort that takes place in those still moments. Then, things become clear and I’m reminded that my work is not done. Move forward.

    Thank you so much for this uplifting post.


  • Cindy

    I have my own business and a little over three years ago my entire business flooded…there was lots of damage and chaos to be sure! I ended up with the most wonderful contractor that said he would complete a 120+ day job on 1 month to help me. While the reconstruction was going on my storage pods holding what hadn’t been damaged were robbed. I nearly gave up at that point telling myself the universe is trying to tell me something. But my hubby could see what I couldn’t and offered to move me back in (ALOT of work) and if in 30 days I still felt it was over we end it. Well here I am three years later and after alot of ‘just before the dawn’ it finally has dawned and I am so grateful for so many who held me up when I felt so down…wonderful post Kate…there are many like me that will feel it speaks to them!!

    • Kate Northrup

      Oh Cindy – what an intense time! Thank you for sharing it. I’m so glad you’re on the other side now!

  • Hi Kate I finally caught up Whew! I feel like I have been chasing my tail. I finally close on the property , my mortgage is now paid off. Thank God Thanks for reminder. Sometimes it’s good to stand on the side lines of life and see what others see. This reminds me of the all the paper work I have to do , sometimes I think ….if I burn all, this could solve my problem…. I do feel overwhelmed just to see them, but as you rightly say a bit at a time. Except I want it out of my life now .
    If I had one wish , it would be to turn the clock back where I did not do so much shopping , now I have to pay the price of getting rid of stuff. This is the time I would rather be doing rather than undoing . It’s like penance! Thanks for bringing these things to mind. And to keep moving and thanking God for blessing the works of my hands so I won’t be overwhelmed . Blessing kate

  • Vikki

    Thank you for this!!! I feel the over whelming pull of change and the desire to move on past my present circumstances. But, oh my gosh the GUILT!! WHY is it so hard to let go of people and circumstances that we KNOW are suffocating us?? I am doing the work, pushing forward and clearing the clutter…. but how do you move past the quilt? Much love to you☺

  • I definitely have been feeling moments of giving up. Throwing in the towel. But then I get signs of my purpose. To help others. So then I think maybe I am to go through all this. So that I can be stronger. If I want to help others I need to be able to resonate with the struggles they will be going through. It just seems sometimes difficult at times to be focused on the positive when you are in a dark moment of thoughts.

  • Emmanuelle

    Guess what? I was just going to get rid of the planner you gave to us in which we had to put our focus, our non-negotiables and our boundaries, remember? I’ve been using it for two weeks and I feel I’m accomplishing nothing, I feel guilty, I feel it’s just not working… but after I read this I’ll think it over and give it another chance… thank’s!!!

  • OF COURSE I’m tempted to give in when things are difficult, but with time as come experience, and I’ve learned exactly what you said — it gets worse before it gets better. Reminding myself that everything is temporary, even stress and frustration, helps me stay sane during those tough times (along with a little extra time to take care of myself).

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