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I know I can!  I know I can!

Powerful tools to help kids achieve their goals

You are probably familiar with the story of “The Little Engine That Could”.

In the story, a long train of railroad cars needed to be pulled over a mountain. After numerous engines refused the job, a little engine – much smaller than the others – volunteered to help. After the railroad cars where hooked up behind him, the little engine started up the hill cheering himself on with the mantra, “I think I can. I think I can…” 

Little engine 150
The little engine overcame a seemingly impossible task and successfully pulled the train of railroad cars over the mountain. This story, which has been shared for generations, helps kids learn one of life’s most powerful tools…using affirmations.

Affirmations are positive statements about what you want. Repeating affirmations over and over helps you create what you want by imprinting your desires at both the conscious level and the subconscious level of your mind. To understand how this works, let’s talk about how your conscious mind and your subconscious mind work.

Your conscious mind is where you do all of your thinking – it is the part of the mind that you are aware of. So when you say 2+2=4 or you tell someone about a book you read, you are using your conscious mind.

Your subconscious mind is the part of your brain that you are not aware of. It is like a giant filing cabinet that stores your memories, life experiences, and belief systems. And it has a much stronger influence on your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors than your conscious mind does.

The key to achieving your goals is to learn how to get your subconscious mind to work “for you” and not “against you”. Positive affirmations are a great way to do this because your subconscious mind accepts as true what you tell it over and over again.

By intentionally and consciously using affirmations, you can “reprogram” your subconscious mind, which in turn can help you change your habits, your behavior, your attitude, and even help you reshape your life!


If you want positive results in your life, focus on positive affirmations!

Let’s look at some examples of influential people from our past and present who have used affirmations for success:

Oprah Winfrey. Despite being born into poverty in rural Mississippi, Oprah saw greater possibilities for her life. She overcame her challenging circumstances to become one of the most influential women of her generation. Oprah has made many statements over the years about the impact of positive affirmations. According to Oprah, “Every time you state what you want…it’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.”

Jim Carrey. Comedian Jim Carrey has long told the story of his rise to fame. One of the most interesting stories Carrey has shared is that well before he became successful in the acting world, he wrote a check to himself in the amount of 10 million dollars for “acting services rendered”. He postdated the check for 1995 and carried it in his wallet. Carrey also visualized himself cashing the check and visualized what he would buy with the money he earned. By the time 1995 arrived, Jim Carrey was a able to cash that check!

Albert Einstein. Many think of Albert Einstein as the wild-haired mathematician who discovered that E=MC2. Many, however, may not have realized that he was also a philosopher, statesmen, and advocate for human potential during his lifetime. He is quoted as saying “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Imagine what life would look like through each of these lenses. Which lens do you choose to look at life through? Which lens would you like for the kids in your life to look at life through?


So what can you teach the kids in your life today?

You can start by sharing the story about the little engine that could and the success stories of Oprah Winfrey, Jim Carrey, and Albert Einstein.

Next, you can help them get started by teaching them these simple steps for using positive affirmations.

Step 1: Have them identify one or more goals that they would like to achieve.

Step 2: For each goal, have them write 2 or 3 affirmations that support that goal. When writing affirmations encourage them to write their affirmations with a “feeling of gratitude” and as though their goal has already been achieved, “I am thrilled that I am on the All Star team!”

Step 3: Encourage them to rewrite their affirmations or to say their affirmations out loud at least once each day. They can enhance their affirmations by using visualization as well – actively imagining themselves having already achieved their goal. Using affirmations and active visualization prepares both their conscious mind and their subconscious mind to help them achieve their goals.


Remember that anything is possible. Having a positive can-do attitude will help you and your kids achieve your dreams. For the next 30 days, we invite you, and your kids, to write your affirmations, visualize you success, and to test out the mantra, “I know I can! I know I can!” I bet you create magic!


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Adventure well my friend!

Copyright (C) 2012 Renaye Thornborrow. All Rights Reserved.