Go get some cookies for 2021!

Adithyan Ilangovan 3 min read

Hey Ho!

Hope this post finds you enjoying the new year!


I started the new year by baking a big metaphorical “cookie”. It is a concept that I learned from David Goggins from his book. I wanted to share what this mental model is, and how I employed this on Jan 1st. Hope this is helpful.

Want greatness – Bake cookies

I personally feel 2020 was the year when I figured out my shit together. I feel like myself again, and ready to pursue the next set of risks/challenges. Like many of you, I want to set some ambitious goals for 2021 and crush them. So, now comes the mental framework that could help us achieve that.

Cookie Jar Method

Here is the mental framework, as recommended by David, boiled down into 3-steps :

  1. Create a metaphorical cookie jar in your mind.
  2. Create a challenge for yourself that is just beyond your current limit. Get out, 🔥 GRIND 🔥, push yourself, and get that task done!
  3. Congratulations! You have earned a cookie for yourself. Throw that cookie in your virtual jar.

Now, whenever you actually come across a real-life challenge, the cookie is a reminder that :

  • You have been through pain and you overcame it 💪.
  • Things that you thought beyond your limit are possible 💪.
  • You are capable of withstanding the grind 💪.

Next time, when things get tough and rough in real life, take a cookie 🍪 out from your jar. Nibble it, feel the energy pulse through you. Remind yourself who you are and get the current real-life challenge done!

This is not a one time thing. Rinse and repeat whenever you can. Create a little challenges for yourself.

My cookie for 2021

Now, I need those (a lot of) cookies 🍪 for 2021! I wanted to start the year right. I crafted a challenge for myself.

The challenge

In the past year, on my way to work, I would always pass a bridge. The bridge is the start of the long trail. It’s a 45km round trip, with an 1100m of elevation through some hilly terrain. And every time I pass this, I would tell to myself “one day” I would run this entire trail up and down. I kept procrastinating for a year and that one day never came. I kept giving excuses like :

  • I am not properly trained yet.
  • The weather is not perfect.
  • There is always time.

But they were all excuses for my procrastination.

A hard-earned cookie

On the night of Dec 31st, rain or shine, feeling it or not feeling it, I decided I am gonna run this entire trail. I was not trained.

But I had all that time. And I needed the damn cookie for 2021!

I got up on Jan 1st. Before I can come up with more excuses I set off into the trail. And…

…… it was hard. 85% of the entire path was covered in thick snow, it felt like running on a cold soggy beach. It was -2°C out and my pinkie fingers were frozen for some time. I lost my way twice. Try getting lost alone in frozen woods after 40km in your run when you are tired, hungry, and grumpy. Not very funny.

But what counts is I did it! I ran, I walked and I crawled. Maybe this is not challenging for others. But it was for me. I decided my challenge, pushed through and I earned a big fat sweet cookie 🍪 .

Next time, when :

  • there is a real-life challenge that is out of my reach.
  • I feel like procrastinating
  • I feel like I am not ready enough for this.

I would remind myself of the run. I would eat my metaphorical cookie. As David would say, I “would get that SHIT done!”.

Go make your cookies

The cool thing with the cookie jar method is that it builds on itself. Every challenge you complete is another cookie in your jar. And you never know when you might need a cookie in your life. Always prepare and pack one just in case.

Happy new year folks 🎆. Go get some cookies!


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