What is the Cookie Jar Method?
David Goggins has accomplished a lot in his life. Not only has he authored a book: Can’t Hurt Me, he has also:
- Completed many ultramarathons
- Became both a Navy Seal and an Army Ranger
- Lost over 100 pounds in 3 months to join the military
- Held the world pull up record
Not to mention the rest of his accomplishments. His book is a summary of all the adversity he has faced in his life and at the end of each chapter, the reader is faced with a challenge or a method for using some of Goggins’ tools in their own life.
In chapter 6, he shares a story about his mother and the cookie jar in his childhood home.
He says no matter what happened in their life, his mother always made sure to have cookies in the cookie jar. This small action, of being able to grab a cookie, turned into a source of happiness, gratitude, and thanks for him. I think it’s all something we can relate to.
As an adult, he took this idea and created a new kind of cookie jar. A mental place where he stuffed all of his past victories, triumphs, and accomplishments.
Anytime things got particularly difficult, stressful, or hard, he would tap into this emotional bank of past experiences and remind himself that he’s already accomplished so much and that he can also overcome the current situation he is facing.
Think of it as a source of energy for when things are tough.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment, that we forget all of the things in our life that we’ve already overcome or adversity that we’ve already survived and made us stronger.
The Cookie Jar Method is a mental reminder or inventory of all these moments that you can create and also tap into.
How do I use the Cookie Jar Worksheet?
Start by downloading the Cookie Jar Worksheet below – then print out a copy. In his book, Goggins gives the following instructions:
Write it all out. Remember, this is not some breezy stroll through your personal trophy room. Don’t just write down your achievement hit list. Include life obstacles you’ve overcome as well, like quitting smoking or overcoming depression or a stutter. Add in those minor tasks you failed earlier in life, but tried again a second or third time and ultimately succeeded at. Feel what it was like to overcome those struggles, those opponents, and win. Then get to work.David Goggins
We’ve included prompts for different types of cookies that you can fill your jar with:
- Triumphs and accomplishments (Sources of pride)
- The hardest situations or adversity you’ve overcome (A reminder that you’ve already come so far)
- Your greatest transformation or change you’ve made in your life (Weight loss, promotion, quitting a bad habit, etc.)
- How you’ve impacted the people around you (Reflect on all of the positive but overlooked ways you make people’s lives better)
Remember that your cookie jar doesn’t need to be filled with mind-blowing, out-of-this-world accomplishments. It’s totally fine to list the small victories or changes that you’re proud of. The key to this exercise is to create an inventory of things that are customized to you!
This mental list is not for anyone else. We’re not trying to compete with others or create a list of things to show off.
Instead, this is a quiet place in your mind that you can tap into and remind yourself that you’ve faced worse things, you’ve done amazing things, and you will get through whatever stress is currently in your life.