When You Cannot Reach Your Goals



Being optimistic as we develop and set out to achieve our goals increases our chance of achieving them.  When the going gets tough a little positive self-talk can keep you moving toward your goal.

I often refer to the story of “The Little Engine that Could” remembering how this little engine took on such a big job that other engines who were mightier that he would not and how he kept going to succeed at completing his task by telling himself over and over “I think I can.”

“The Little Engine that Could is an illustrated children’s book that was first published in the United States in 1930 by Platt and Munk.  The story is used to teach children the value of optimism and hard work.  Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the book on  its “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children.”

A early short synopsis of the story is below:

A little railroad engine was employed about a station yard for such work as it was built for, pulling a few cars on and off the switches. One morning it was waiting for the next call when a long train of freight-cars asked a large engine in the roundhouse to take it over the hill. “I can’t; that is too much a pull for me,” said the great engine built for hard work. Then the train asked another engine, and another, only to hear excuses and be refused. In desperation, the train asked the little switch engine to draw it up the grade and down on the other side. “I think I can,” puffed the little locomotive, and put itself in front of the great heavy train. As it went on the little engine kept bravely puffing faster and faster, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

As it neared the top of the grade, which had so discouraged the larger engines, it went more slowly. However, it still kept saying, “I—think—I—can, I—think—I—can.” It reached the top by drawing on bravery and then went on down the grade, congratulating itself by saying, “I thought I could, I thought I could.”

If you do not think you can you will not, if you do and pursue until the end you will be enriched with the knowledge that there are no limits to what you can achieve.

Below the link takes you to a great article on strategies for achieving your goals.

How to Achieve Your Goals

5 thoughts on “When You Cannot Reach Your Goals

  1. One of my favorite stories as a child and even now as an adult child 🙂 it pops in my head often in trying situations I may be experiencing or observing as others I know are experiencing trying situations as they reach for goals that sometimes seem so far away or difficult to reach. I quote that little train often. Thank you Tina for sharing this post and thought this morning what a smile it brought to my face and my heart!

    🙂 Hope all is amazing in your world and that your beautiful family is doing awesome!


    • Hi Joe
      So nice to hear from you and that you and I both love the story of The Little Engine That Could. It is a great children of all ages book. When my kids were young and having problems with something I would have them follow me and we would act like the Little Engine and make the choo choo, chug chug noises until their little spirits were lifted and they were inspired to carry on with whatever the problem was.
      As for me and my family we are doing fine, thank you so much for asking.
      Have a great week

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