How to get out of a downward spiral and boost up the positive attitude

Rate this post

We all had enough with the uncertainty and worries about the future! It’s time to get back control of our lives. Today we will look at an exercise that’s in the heart of the “GoalBuddy” system. It will help us to tune into a completely different mindset.

Now is the time

Everyone would agree that we’ve witnessed something unprecedented[1]. The way we communicate, work, and pretty much everything we do is affected. So, we have to adapt to the new “normal” by trying to foresee its consequences.

Many of you would probably think that it’s not the time for long-term objectives when tomorrow is so unpredictable.

Well, we strongly disagree.

Now is the best time to refocus our view on what matters most, i.e. the objectives we aim in the long-term and things that will stay the same regardless of the circumstances.

For now, though, we are not talking about goal-setting but just how to adjust and re-orient our state of mind.

The way we do it

At our first post-pandemic, 90-day meeting we started with “The Confidence Fuel Tank” exercise. And then we realized how things were so far from what they used to be.

Somehow, and not consciously, our attention was drawn in an unexpected way. Instead of talking about the pandemic news (which isn’t quite productive), we found ourselves getting into a completely different topic. We underwent a surge of energy and positive expectations for the future. That’s when we decided to share it with you.

The exercise

It is something we start with at each 90-day goals meeting, as well as at the beginning of a new workshop. We look at it as a “warm-up” of sorts but many other people find it to be something that’s much more valuable than this.

It’s very simple.

Make three columns on a piece of paper:

  1. Past achievements. We write down here everything we can think of from the last 10 – 20 years, and in much detail as possible.
  2. Here we explain why these matter to us. We do make a record only for those that we have a good answer to the “why” question.
  3. Future progress. We give our thoughts about how to make a previous success of ours into a stepping stone for further advancement.

The idea here is to do some “brainstorming” and figure out which of our past moments of triumph were still meaningful to us now. And then, after identifying these, we try to find a way to incorporate them into our long-term visions.


What can be counted as success? This could be almost anything positive that you can think of, i.e. something of personal nature as well as professional, or related to health, education, etc.

For both of us, one of the recent achievements was the launch of the live streams instead of the pre-recorded podcast we did before.

Ivan has placed in the first column things like a memorable ski vacation and a visit to Venice. But he did also the launch of Aula’s program “Time to learn” with over 2800 free courses which reached tens of thousands of subscribers. Another item in his list was the repair he did of the roof of a small cabin which he converted into a summer house.

The purpose of the exercise

We challenge you to take a few minutes and write down what makes you feel good about yourself.

It’s normal to forget our little victories. That’s why it’s necessary to remind ourselves of these. It will strengthen the belief in ourselves and steer us towards a much more optimistic attitude.

But that’s not all.

A change in our attitudes

There are a few more good reasons for it:

In the end, you will have this great inner feeling that you can do anything once you set your mind to it. If you’ve been able to do it before then you should be able to do it again.

How to run the exercise

It’s really simple:

You get together with your Goal Buddy (if you have one, of course).

Then you turn on the timer and write everything you can think of – small and big victories, achievements, any past events that you remember as great.

After you go through something like a couple of dozens get to the second column and then finally the last one.

# 1 The first column – the beginning is always hard

Although we have been doing this for years, we always experience some trouble when it seems as if we have nothing to think of. It takes time and effort to get into that type of thinking.

But this is only the beginning.

Once your imagination is triggered you will unleash the process and neither time nor space on the piece of paper will be enough. There will be too many new ideas that will come to mind one after another.

How to recall the positive experiences from the past

If you run into any trouble then check out the following suggestions:

  • Start with the last week, or month, and then keep going back in time;
  • Sure, if you already have some goals written down then go over them and try to do a re-write;
  • Look at the pics on your phone. You will be surprised by how much you’ve forgotten. Like Ivan’s trip to Venice. Sometimes events are best captured in a photo and scrolling through these will get you to recollect and reminisce.
  • Go through your calendar. You might find meetings and events that were totally buried in your memory and when brought back they could be very helpful.
  • Revisit the old social media feeds as well. These can give you a clue what used to excite you and remind you of any success.

And that wraps up the hardest to fill in column.

# 2 The next step

The past achievements that have a strong and clear answer to the “why” question are very promising and that’s why it makes sense to be set for any future progress.

In other words, when we ask ourselves why we recorded one of our victories in the first column, the answer will tell us if this is really something of consequence for us in the long run.

If that’s not the case then perhaps this may not be a true goal of ours. It could look like something spectacular but if we can’t say why we think so it means only one thing. Namely, it’s simply someone else’s goal, important to others, but not to us.

Having a meaningful answer to the “why” question reveals the full potential of a given objective.

# 3 The third column, or “It’s all about the future”

We can promise that you will be charged to your fullest with the energy to generate many new ideas and start acting on them.

Just think of all the challenges you have overcome and how they are worth being worked in your future endeavors! Once you put down these thoughts on paper they could easily become the basis of an action goal.

That’s how a little bit of brainstorming with your Buddy and subsequent analysis will bring you to a point of taking back control over the setting up an objective and then start pursuing it the very next week.

But the best is yet to come!

Buddy’s role

If you already have one, the whole process will be much easier and straightforward.

Discussing everything with that person will give you a much better understanding of the inner workings of your thinking. Their questions will steer you towards the right path.

Plus, it’s very like that you might come up with even more interesting ideas during this meeting.

Another great aftermath is the contagious nature of shared inspiration and positivity.

Last but not least, a goal that was defined in this manner will be something that your Buddy will support all the way. Each week you will meet to address issues and maintain your productivity levels.

We challenge you – do the exercise!

It’s okay if you are reading this just because you need a little bit of motivation or because you are interested in goal-setting. Well, in a couple of days there will be very little you can recall this article.

However, if you take the 5-10 minutes needed to sit down and list each of your past successes explaining to yourself in writing why these are important then this will open up many good for you things. Just do it and see what happens!

The domino effect

Once you get back the confidence that you deserve you will find yourself riding a tsunami of incredible energy fueling a determination to start working again towards fulfilling your biggest dreams.

Well, we don’t want to take more of your time. Let’s do the exercise and find something within the third column so that you can formulate it as a 90-day goal and start acting on it every week one small step at a time. You do that and we can promise you won’t regret it.


[1] The article was posted in the spring of 2020 in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting state of emergencies in many countries (including Bulgaria) as well as the new rules on social distancing and several other quarantine rules.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.