I think this happens to most of us: we set New Year’s resolutions, or set a big new goal for ourselves. And then, things go awry.

Maybe something happens in the world that upsets us for days, or something in our personal life throws us way off course. Maybe our plans don’t seem off to a great start. Numbers don’t budge, or even go the wrong way, whether it’s the word count on a story we’re writing, the amount in our savings account, or the number on the scale.

We think, Maybe I was crazy for thinking I could make a big change in my life. 

Well, the hell with that, friends. Of course we can make changes. It just happens so slowly that it takes a while to see the results.

Here are 5 ideas for staying motivated. Maybe one of them will work for you!

1. Index cards.

I learned this from Jack Canfield’s online 10-day success course. It had a lot of good stuff in it.

Canfield recommends having 21 goals, 3 apiece in 7 different categories, all with different deadlines. This is too intense for me (maybe you would dig it, though!) 10 resolutions is my limit.

BUT, I loved his idea of making an index card for each one of them, looking at the cards one by one every morning, and envisioning your goal come true.

I can’t remember if he said to add pictures to them or not, but for some of them, I have.

I am likely to regret sharing this, but whatever. This is my index card for my “being in shape” goal. The picture is of the actor Natalie Dormer. I cut off part of her face (sorry Nat, you’re the best!) and colored her hair with an orange highlighter to help me imagine me being that fit. Hahahaha, yes I’m a dork, but you knew that!

#motivation #positive thinking

2. Passwords.

Right now my password at work is… oh wait, I can’t tell you. It’s related to one of my resolutions, and I’m going to switch it out to other resolutions over the course of the year. I guess this isn’t really visualization. It’s making your goal part of your muscle memory.

3. Gratitude.

Thank God, the deity/deities of your choice, or the universe in advance for the fact that your goal is going to become a reality. Do it out loud, maybe! If you’re an atheist, I think this can still work. Just say “I am grateful that I am (getting a great new job this year, about to meet my soul mate, or whatever you like.)”

4. “Remember that time…”

This is something I do with Mr. Donovan, and it’s kind of a variation of the above: claiming success or joy as a foregone conclusion.

A couple of years ago, months before we took a trip to Costa Rica (we haven’t been able to travel a ton, so this was a big deal), I started saying to him, “Remember that time we went to Costa Rica and saw dolphins and whales?” And, “Remember that time we hiked through the rainforest?” I actually had no idea if we would get to see dolphins or whales, and we did — in the sunset, from a boat full of partying people on Christmas Day.

ACTUAL PHOTO OF DOLPHINS WE SAW okay not really, but close.

I do this all the time now with hopes and dreams. If nothing else, it’s a sneaky, Time Lord-ish way to enjoy things in advance.

5. Pinterest boards!

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when, some years back, Pinterest introduced secret boards. I have 14 of them. You can create a secret board for your goal, add images that relate to it, and peruse them at any time.


Here’s how I think positive thinking works. If you keep telling yourself, “I am attaining this goal,” and inputting images of success, your brain gives a loud sigh and is like, “Ughgh, fine. FINE,” and it kicks into overtime on the conscious or subconscious level to make things happen. (I am not a neuroscientist, so take that with a big ol’ salt lick of salt.)

Some people (I am one of them) believe that a divine power or the universe itself will intervene, but everybody has to come to their own conclusions there.

In any event, to reach a goal, it’s super helpful to not give up on it. And in order to not give up on it, it’s super helpful to believe that the goal is actually reachable.

These are ways I keep myself believing, and I would love to hear others! Thanks for reading, and best of luck in all your goals!