The Secret To Turning Your 2020 Around

Introducing the Cookie Jar Method. Trust me, you’ll love it.

Juan Leal
Cookie Jar
5 min readDec 16, 2020

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Photo by Toni Ph

How has your year been? Looking back, what do you remember the most? What feelings, what obstacles, what growth and memories are the most poignant to you? These could be both positive and negative. What we recall most vividly does not depend on the nature of the moment, but how strongly we felt it.

Every year of our life warrants growth — the type that is induced by both bad and good experiences. Try as we might to live in complete happiness, we must also accept and endure discomfort in order to mature and better ourselves. We’ve all experienced challenges in our lives — but it’s up to us to determine whether they’ll make us stronger and more resilient, or if we’ll get stuck and let them overpower us. And so, in comes the Cookie Jar method: our way of taking challenging experiences and using them for the better.

The Cookie Jar Method

As humans, it’s easy for us to get stuck in our pain and suffering — and it doesn’t help that our brains are wired to hold onto negative experiences.

But by tapping into your past struggles, you can reframe them in a more positive light by seeing them as opportunities for learning and growth — rather than as setbacks.

The fact that you’re here right now means that you’ve overcome all of the challenges you’ve faced in your life — proving that you’re much stronger than you think.

When times are difficult and you start to impose self-limiting beliefs on yourself, reach into your Cookie Jar and prove yourself wrong — remember that you’ve overcome tough times before. The Cookie Jar helps you reconnect with your inner strength, and it serves as a reminder that you are adaptable, capable, courageous, and powerful.

Using the Cookie Jar Method to Achieve Your Goals

So how do you create your own Cookie Jar? It’s really simple, and can be done in 3 easy steps:

1. Take inventory of your “cookies”

First, take a piece of paper and write out everything that will go into your Cookie Jar. This can include:

  • The obstacles, struggles, and failures that you’ve overcome — these can be anything from failing a class, to going through a rough breakup, to facing discrimination. Remember how painful or difficult it was, and realize that you could’ve given up — but you kept going.
  • Your past achievements, and the successes that came after challenges you’ve faced — such as acing a test that you studied all night for, healing from an injury, or conquering your depression. Remember what success felt like, and how you came out on the other side stronger.
  • Anything else that you can look back on and be proud of yourself for, no matter how small — such as doing an extra 10 minutes at the gym, or not eating junk food despite your temptations, or working on your business for an extra hour instead of playing video games. Remember how fulfilling those moments felt, and how a little self-discipline was all it took.

All of these moments will be your “cookies.

2. Store the cookies in your “jar”

Next, take your cookies and store them somewhere that you can easily access in times of need.

This can be a notebook or journal — or even an actual physical mason jar!

3. Dig into your “cookie jar” whenever you feel like giving up

Lastly, whenever you’re stressed out, or tired, or facing difficult times — simply take a moment, reach into your cookie jar, and remember. Out of the blue, power and motivation will kick in, and replace fear and worry.

Remember who you are, how far you’ve come, and all of the challenges you overcame. Draw strength from your “cookies,” and keep pushing forward.

And that’s it! Just remember to always keep adding your challenges, failures, and successes to your cookie jar.

Cookie Jar 2.0

Photo by Michael Henry

Now you might be thinking — it’s a good idea but it seems a bit flawed. You can’t carry notebooks or journals around everywhere — and much less an actual, physical jar. And at some point, journals will run out of pages, and jars will fill up.

Most importantly, writing down your “cookies” might not even be enough to give you the full picture of what you felt like when you went through certain moments.

It might not remind you of that adrenaline rush you felt when you first learned how to ride a bike, or the butterflies in your stomach when you first fell in love, or the mental burnout you experienced from working long, tireless nights.

Unfortunately, our brains aren’t designed to remember things long-term; which is why we can’t easily recall our “cookie jar moments” in times of need.

But thankfully, when the traditional routes don’t work, technology fills in the gap with innovation. There is an app you can easily use for the above method called — of course — Cookie Jar!

The Cookie Jar app digitizes the cookie jar concept into a mixed media space, where you can upload photos and videos, attach music, add your own voice messages, and write journal entries — all in order to capture, remember, and relive your most meaningful memories to their maximum potential.

With the app, you can have your own personal cookie jar in your pocket at all times, being able to add to it anytime and anywhere, and never having to worry about filling it up.

I might be biased, but I’ve been using the beta version of the app for some time and I highly recommend it. If you want to give it a try, you can sign up here and be notified about the beta release, too!

In Conclusion

It has been a pretty whirlwind year for everyone, full of adjusting and overcoming a variety of challenges. At the time of writing it’s almost the end of 2020: the perfect time to look back and reflect on all the things, both good and bad, that made up this year.

With the Cookie Jar method, see each experience as something positive or instrumental in your growth. It hasn’t been an easy year, but going forward, we hope that you start to make a habit of remembering everything: laughs, tears, friendships, failures, warmth, spontaneity, achievements…

Our mission at Cookie Jar is to make moments matter, so start collecting them with us as we step into 2021, and the future going forward!

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Juan Leal
Cookie Jar

Life-long learner. Born in Mexico, raised in Italy, based in New York.