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  • Writer's pictureShannon Wiggins

Put A Pin In That and We'll Come Back To It Later

Let’s put a pin in that…

Sure, this phrase may sometimes be said in a jerk-like rude way when someone doesn’t really care for your idea and wants to move the conversation along, but that’s not what the original purpose was. What does it really mean? It’s a phrase to be used when discussing ideas that we want to remember and come back to later. And it’s an awesome self-care hack as well!


Did I lose you yet? Well, let me explain. Putting a pin in it is a concept I use when working with therapy clients. Some clients come to counseling because they have a low motivation for change or are so deeply depressed, they honestly can’t remember what having a “good” day feels like. The idea is to find moments that motivate you or made you happy and put a pin in them because these are moments that you want to remember and go back to later. See, it’s the very definition of putting a pin in it!

In order to maintain motivation and hope, it’s helpful to have meaningful, well placed reminders throughout the day. Keep reading my favorite tips and to see how these “pins” can work for you.


1. Remembering—This is the essence of putting a pin in it. The point is to go back to something from a previous time and remember it. Maybe it’s a picnic you had with a loved one on a beautiful fall day. Maybe it’s the first time your kiddo said “mama” or “dada”. For me, it’s walking down the aisle on my wedding day. Whatever it is, take a few moments out of your day and really remember it. The sights, sounds, and smells. The feelings of excitement, love or joy. Hit that replay button and checkout that awesome scene from your life again and again!

2. Post it notes—This is one of my go to suggestions both to increase motivation and elevate mood. Write yourself a post it note and put it up where you’ll see it every day. Sure, it may be a little on the nose, but trust me, it works! Had a fun night out with friends at dinner? Write the name of the restaurant on a post it and stick it somewhere you’ll see it. That way, you’ll associate the name with the feel-good feelings of that evening. Want to know the bonus? No one else will even know what your note is referring to, so it’s like having your own little code all for yourself.

3. Wear a reminder—I had a simple gold band ring made and inscribed with the phrase “Live the Dream”. This is a motivating pin for me, and I wear it nearly every day. And it really works! Whenever I look at it, I take stock in where I am in my journey to living my dream. How far I’ve come and what work I still need to do to get there. A key point here, I didn’t get the ring to say you can live the dream or reach your dream. I wanted it to say live the dream. Why? Because this pin is a reminder to me that every day that I’m alive, I can live some part of my dream life. Wearing my ring changes my behavior because I behave like a person that already has my dream life. Talk about motivation! Maybe your wearable isn’t a ring, but I’m sure you can come up with something super creative!

4. Set a reminder to remember—So you’re not loving the post its idea, or you can’t think of a creative wearable? Well, I’m sure you have a cell phone, right? (Of course, you do, you’re probably reading this post on it right now…) Set an alarm on your phone every day to remind you of a memory or goal. Simply name the alarm based on whatever you’re wanting to remember. That way, the alarm goes off, you take some time to remember, and life gets that much better!


You may find yourself wondering why does this process even work? Well, it turns out, research shows your brain doesn’t actually know the difference between what’s real and what’s imaginary. I can only assume that our brains work so hard non-stop that they just don’t have the time to decipher small details such as this. J/k, it’s actually a pretty big detail that the brain pretty much glosses over! Anyhoo, that’s why you get scared when watching thrillers, cry when watching tear jerkers and laugh and feel happy when watching a comedy. And it’s not just with things you see. Ever get super depressed while listening to the news or find yourself overly invested in the lives of book characters? That’s because even when we only imagine it in our minds our brains don’t decipher the difference.

So, when you put a pin in a happy memory or motivating thought and go back to it, it’s almost as though as you’re living it, right then in that moment. So, I encourage you all to put pins in your happy memories, future fantasies and all the feel-good thoughts you can find in between. Your brain won’t know the difference, and neither will you! So, go ahead, put a pin in it!


I would love to hear how you stay motivated and hopeful! Let me know in the comments below!


Thinking we should work together? Sounds like a great plan! Fill out the contact form for any inquiries or to schedule an appointment or call direct at 910.745.0303.

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