What keeps you going?


“Your attitude is a choice you make.”  I have this quote, and many others like it, in a little book I’ve been keeping since 1991.  I write messages to myself that remind me to stay positive, to be grateful and appreciative, to work hard, and to have faith.   Here are some of my favorite lines that keep me going:

“Life is either a challenge, or nothing at all.”   ~Helen Keller

“Happiness is not something owed you.  Nobody is handed joy on a silver platter.  Instead you make your own happiness, knowing it is an attitude, a habit gained from daily practice.”      ~Denis Waitley

“Positive attitudes are like nourishment to the body and soul.  The right attitude can carry you through the worst days.”      ~Unknown

“Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”   ~Albert Einstein

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”         ~Isaiah 41:10

The beginning of the school year is often a time when we turn over a new leaf or start with a blank slate.  Those idioms mean that we make a fresh start to do things right, to the best of our abilities.  This isn’t always easy though.   By the time we hit week four, which is where we are now, the routine has become, well, routine.  It’s already getting tough to get out of bed on time, to do our homework before watching t.v. or playing Xbox, to exercise after school, to be kind to the kids who annoy us.

Think of Odysseus, lost at sea for ten years after already fighting in the Trojan War for nearly 10 years.  Think of all the difficulties he faced at war, at sea, and even when returning home to Ithaca.  What kept him going?

How can we stay positive when the going gets tough?

In addition to my book of quotes, I can think of twenty-five things that make me happy, that keep me going when I’m starting to sink.

25 Things That Make Me Happy on PhotoPeach (click on link rather than on slide show in order to hear music…little technical difficulty with music)

Generally speaking, it’s hard to make others happy when you’re stuck in a rut yourself; that’s one reason why it’s important to choose to have a good attitude.  It’s like the oxygen mask on the airplane; you have to put the mask on yourself first before you can help others with their masks.  

So think about it……

What keeps you going?  

(Purple makes me happy, too!)  (So does peppy music and the tv show Drake and Josh where the song came from.  I love that show.  It’s so funny!)



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54 thoughts on “What keeps you going?

  1. Hi Mrs. Donofiro,
    I really liked that cool slideshow! What keeps me going is probably… my amazing family and friends. They always support me and always encourage me to be the better me!
    Where did you go to vacation this summer??

    • Hi Baylee,
      I went to Atlanta for the first time because my son Mitch was playing baseball there, and I also went to Key Largo for a couple of days, just for a family vacation, no baseball. Lots of times our trips coincide with baseball tournaments, so my girls were glad to take a short vacation that didn’t involve hours sitting in the bleachers of a hot baseball stadium. Did you go on vacation this summer?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  2. Hi Mrs. Donofrio

    These are the things that keep me going. My brother’s smile, baseball, knowing that my family will always be there for me, and having a loving family.

  3. Hi Mrs. Donofrio. For me what keeps me going is playing piano. It helps me relieve my stress or if I am mad. I also Like being outside in cold weather for some reason. I find it hard also to cheer people up. Have you ever felt that when your mad you have to make everyone around you mad too? I have. I stay positive by going into my room for a while and just think about other things than my anger.


    • Hi Daniel,
      Do you know the expression “Misery loves company”? That is similar to what you are saying about wanting to make everyone around you mad when you are mad. I’m proud of you for finding a good way to handle those feelings. There is also a saying, “Music soothes the savage beast”. That seems to apply to your penchant for playing the piano when perturbed. (How do you like my alliteration there?) You are making good choices in dealing with stress and frustration.
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  4. Hey Mrs. Donofrio!
    Some of the things that keep me going are:
    1. Reading the bible in the morning with my mom.
    2. Playing volleyball with my sister.
    3. Getting a good grade on my tests or quizzes.
    4. Walking around my neighborhood with my family.
    5. Eating lunch with my friends.
    6. Drawing and knitting.
    These are a few things that keep me going. There are a lot more, but these are the main things. My favorite thing though is number one. I love reading the bible with my mom each morning. it helps me to keep going even when I get a bad grade on a test or quiz. What helps you when you do something bad to help you feel better?

    • Hi Emmalee,
      I love the simplicity of all the actions on your list. Isn’t it wonderful that reading the Bible, going for walks, knitting, and eating luck with friends are activities that sustain us? We don’t need to spend a lot of money to be happy. Not one person wrote about needing to spend a lot of money to be happy.
      I didn’t know you read the Bible with your mom every morning. I did know your mom is an early riser, and that she has a strong faith life, and that she is a good mother, so I am not too surprised, though. That’s a wonderful habit to have. I hope you keep that habit for your whole life.
      Talking and listening to God, or saying the Rosary, help me to feel better. I have a Rosary novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots that really helps me.
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  5. I have heard of the first quote and I love it, good taste!
    I also have a quote that always keeps me going from the Bible, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” from Philipians 4:13. As of this summer, I moved to Venice from Wisconsin; I didn’t know how I would survive another move (8th time!!) Have you ever moved, Mrs. Donofrio? If not, it is terrible having to start over all the time. It is difficult to think of the positive in moves.. thinking of the things that will keep me going is really tough to process.
    Do you have any other quotes from the Bible that keep you going?

    • Hi Erin,
      I also love Phil. 4:13. I have written that many times on the first page of a final exam so that the kids can read it before they get to work on their tests. Good choice!
      I am so glad you wrote this about moving, Erin. I knew you moved, but I didn’t know you moved 8 times. That sure is a lot. I could tell that you have been struggling a bit, and I thought it might have to do with moving, but I hadn’t taken the time to talk to you about it. I’m sorry I didn’t do that before now. I agree with you 100%; thinking of the things to keep you going in a difficult time is tough to process.
      I have moved, Erin. When I moved from Boston here to Florida I cried every single day for two weeks. Finally my husband just flat out told me I had to stop crying because we were here, we weren’t going back, and I had four children who needed me. I knew he was right. He did say that if I was still unhappy in two years, we could move back. The idea that it was possible to go home helped me learn to look for the good where I was then. Knowing that it didn’t have to be forever was helpful to living in the present, not in the past, and looking for things to enjoy while I was here. I did three things that really helped me:
      1. I called everyone I knew and told them how I was struggling. Just emptying myself out like that helped. My aunt had moved to France for three years one time. She really helped me, too, because she knew how I felt.
      2. I reminded myself that my attitude was a choice I made every day. Being happy was a decision I could make; it wasn’t something that was going to happen on its own. Even if I didn’t have control over where I was living, I had control over my attitude.
      3. I wrote about moving. I wrote an article for a magazine called Ten Tips for a Successful Move or something like that. I thought of ten things I could do to make the move better for myself, and then I shared the ideas with others who might be struggling, too. I will find the article and share it with you.
      Erin, I apologize for not talking to you sooner about your move, especially when I could tell something might be bothering you. I am so proud of you for sharing your thoughts. Know that I am here for you any time, and that yes, I do know how terrible it is having to start over, especially eight times.
      I like the Bible quote I wrote in the post. I will find a few more for you, too.
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  6. I really like the quotes you always have the best quotes! I have a quote that makes me think of these “you miss 100% of the shots you never take”. I’m not sure who made that quote but i really like it.
    What keeps you going?
    what keeps me happy is
    My family
    my friends
    my best friends (Erin, Hannah, Katie, Megan)
    my dog and cat.
    Do you have any animals?

    • Hi Johnny,
      I’m glad you like all the quotes. I like the one you chose, too. As you know, I like to compete in races, either triathlons or just running races. I always finish somewhere in the middle of the pack. Whenever I get discouraged by this, I always remind myself that I beat all the people who stayed home in bed while I was out running. That idea is similar to your quote. You have to participate in life in oder to make at least some of the shots. Good choice!
      I do have an animal. Our family has a little dog named Teddy. I wish I could say that he makes me happy, but sadly, I often think only of the work involved in taking care of him, and really, he is not too much work. I am just so busy. He loves me to pet him; no matter how busy I am, he comes near me, jumps on me, and nudges me with his head to get some pets. When I stop, he repeats his actions so he can get more pets. I have had dogs that I’ve really loved, though, so I understand how pets can keep you going.
      What are your pets’ names?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  7. Whenever I need to stay positive I will just pray to God to help me get through the tough times. One ting that makes me happy is playing soccer because it just takes everything off my mine. What makes you happy?

  8. Hi Mrs. Donofrio. What makes me happy is Abby (my best friend) and my family. Visit abbylsblog.edublogs.org. Another thing is my house and my friends. I always look forward to coming home from school everyday. Those are some things that make me happy. Visit my blog at rainacysblog.edublogs.org!
    What is your favorite thing to do when you get home from school?

    • Hi Raina,
      I love the feeling of comfort when coming home from school, too. The strength of that feeling depends on what school I have been at. I have had times when I am thinking about going home while I have been in the parking lot at 7 am, just going into school.
      My favorite thing to do when I get home is have a cup of tea. In fact, I almost listed tea as one of my 25 things that make me happy.
      What is your favorite thing to do when you get home from school?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  9. Hi Mrs.Donofrio,
    What keeps me going is the people who love and support me. I know they have my back one hundred percent and they’ll never let me down when I need them.
    My favorite quote that makes me happy and makes my day is, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.’

  10. Hey Mrs. Donofrio,
    This is a great post and I love the video. Lots of things make me happy like my friends, craft stores and cooking. All of the quotes are very inspiring and I also love the Drake and Josh show. When you were a student in school what was your favorite subject? Hope to blog you later!
    Love, Hannah

    • Hi Hannah,
      When I was in high school, I actually loved math! I thought I was going to be a pediatrician for a long time. However, when I went to college, I didn’t love the biology book. I thought it was quite boring, so I decided to become an English major where I could read novels and books I liked better. What is your favorite subject?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  11. Hey Mrs. Donofrio, loved the video. You asked me what kept me going and that answer to me is easy to me, my mom she keeps me going, by helping me with my homework, to cooking me dinner at night she is my hero and she keeps me going. Who’s your hero?

    your student, Matthew

    • Matthew,
      I hope you are able to make sure that your mom sees this! She will be so happy. I actually don’t know who my hero is. I can think of a few heroic people, but it is hard to narrow it to one hero. I’ll keep thinking and let you know.
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  12. Hi Mrs. Donofrio,
    That’s a cool video that you did. Nice song from Drake & Josh, too. A few things that keep me going are probably
    My sister, My family, and God.

  13. Hello Mrs. Donofrio,
    I love your video and quotes they are great.
    One way I stay positive is by acting and being in theatre. I also love spending time with my friends and family. What is your favorite quote? I have two they are both from my heroes Nelson Mandela and Harriet Tubman.

    “It always seems impossible before its done.”
    ~Nelson Mandela

    Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
    ~Harriet Tubman


    • Hi Sophia! Great quotes! Did you know them before or did you look them up today? Either way, they are both great. I have a quote purportedly from Nelson Madela on my refrigerator, but apparently actually written by Marianne Williamson. Whoever said it, I like it:
      Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
      You are not the first person to say how the theater keeps you going. We will have to let Brad know!
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  14. Hi Mrs.Donofrio,
    Some things that keep me going is seeing my friends at school, watching sports like hockey and baseball . When I do a good job on homework or a test it also helps me get going.One thing that keeps me going is when my family comes to my piano recitals or my volleyball games. The last that keeps me going is coming home and getting a big hug from Buster.

    • Hi Reanne,
      It’s amazing how much our pets contribute to our well-being, isn’t it?
      I didn’t know you were a hockey fan!
      How long have you been taking piano lessons for? I took piano lessons when I was your age.
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  15. That was really inspiring, it makes you think about some of the things you normally don’t think about. I looked up funny quotes and I found one that made me laugh. “Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.” -Margret Mead- What inspired you to make this post?

    • Hi Emma,
      I thought about this post for a few reasons:
      1. I saw a classroom bulletin board on Pintrest called “Things That Make Me Happy” and it had tons of sticky notes all over it for students to write what makes them happy.
      2. A Twitter board #100 Days of Happiness. On this board people take a photo every day of something that makes them happy and then they post it to Twitter. Cool idea, huh?
      I think we all need to think more about what makes us happy and less about what frustrates us.
      Great quote by Margaret Mead, too. Do you know who Margaret Mead is?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  16. Hello Mrs. Donofio!
    What keeps me going in hard times is, my family, who are always there to support me, God, knowing that he is there always, and knowing that everything happens for a purpose in God’s plan. Whenever I am upset about something, I do things that make me happy. Things like watching my favorite show, spending time with friends (even if I can’t see them, I can always call or text!), reading my favorite book, or listening to music I enjoy. What is your favorite thing to do when you’re upset that makes you feel better?

    • Hi Katie,
      I always rely on talking when I am upset. Usually I talk to God, to someone I trust (husband, sister, mother, friend), and oftentimes I even talk to myself! I talk out loud until I feel better. Running helps me, too.
      What t.v. shows do you like to watch to make you feel better?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  17. I loved your video! Some activities that keep me going are volleyball, dance, violin and this is a big one, school. I enjoy these activities because not only do they keep me going, they keep me active and happy! I also enjoy your class a lot, and it also keeps me going! I also think another thing that keeps me going is music. Listening to your favorite song is so fun! The color purple is my favorite, and it also keeps me going! I think colors are a good way to express yourself. Some other things that keep me going is my family, my friends, and all my other blessings. I think that when you look around you and realize you blessings, you feel so much better! Even though there are a lot more thing that keep me going, the most important things are God and prayer. Both of those things are so so so important to me. I loved your blog post, and video. What is the most important thing to you that keeps you going?

    • Hi Grace,
      I love your comment and am glad you loved the post and video. You are right; it’s good to remind ourselves of all our blessings. Praying and my family are the two things that keep me going the most. We have a lot in common, too. The color purple, music, and school are on both our lists. We are kindred spirits!
      What is your favorite music?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  18. Every morning when I get up I take a shower to wake myself up and get going. Anther thing is that before a basketball, football, or any other sports game
    ,I listen to music that gets me pumped up and ready for the game. Also every night I have to listen to the t.v. For some reason that helps me go to sleep. And that’s what gets me going!

    • I love listening to music, too, Connor. Do you have favorite songs or groups that especially pump you up? And I also agree about the shower, although I never thought of that before. A warm or cool shower (depending on the weather outside) sure does wake me up and make me feel good. Good thinking!
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  19. Hello Mrs Donofrio!
    I thought about what keeps me going, and I came up with a list of things I like!
    1 My friends and family
    2 Doing theater
    3 Drawing
    4 Soccer
    5 vacation
    Out of my 5, which would come closest to the top on your list?
    I love all your quotes. Albert Einstein’s my favorite. He is spot on with that quote. You are completely right about the good attitude! It’s infectious. Sometimes I wonder about how you always stay happy on even the grumpiest Monday!

    • Hi Dia,
      These things make me happy about your comment:
      1. using the phrase “spot on”….should be said with a British accent, too, don’t you think? Love it!
      2. choosing Albert Einstein (scientist) while listing artistic endeavors (theater, drawing). You are multifaceted. Love it!
      3. nicknaming yourself Dia. Original name, confident attitude. Love it!
      How do I stay happy? Being with all you kids!!
      My closest match on your list? I’ll combine two: vacation with my family
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  20. Hey Mrs.Donofrio! Lots of things keep me going in my life. There are so many of them, that if I wrote all of them done I would fill one million pages! But I can’t do that so I’m going to give you a list of some thing that make me happy.
    It makes me happy when …
    1.) I spend time with my family, and we have a blast together.
    2.) I accomplish a goal that I have been working very hard on.
    3.) I get a good grade on a test that I studied really hard for.
    4.) Holidays come around and I get to celebrate with friends and family.
    5.) I do really good or win a gymnastics competition.
    6.) I realize that I go to the best school and have the greatest teachers ever!
    7.) I go to mass and get to visit God’s house.
    8.) I spend time with my friends and get to laugh until we cry.
    9.) Go to gymnastics, because I’m doing the thing I I love the most.
    10.) I get to write posts and comments on my own blog! (thank you Mrs.Donofrio)
    Those are ten things that keep me going and make me happy:)

    • Cooper!
      1. I love that you can fill a million pages with things that make you happy! What an awesome attitude and outlook on life! YAY!
      2. I love all the ways you are happy with family and friends. Awesome.
      3. I’m so happy that you like your own blog. Double yay!
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  21. Hey Mrs.Donofrio! There are lots of things that get me going. Everytime I get back from school I always have a power snack to help me stay concentrated on my homework. And on the weekend after breakfast I go on a bike ride around my neighborhood. Sometimes I get bored and I play with my cat Lucky! Then she bites me! There are LOTS of other things that keep me going Lots!

  22. Hi Mrs.Donofrio
    There is There are multiple things that make me happy they include going to Canada going to the beach taking the boat out and going to my cousins house in New Jersey. Do any of things make you happy too I sure hope they do.

    • Hi Eric,
      Of the four items you listed, the only one I do is go to the beach, and yes, that does make me happy! I also like to visit our cousins, but they don’t live in New Jersey; they live in Massachusetts. I have been on a boat, and yes, that made me happy, too, but unlike you, I don’t have boat so I can’t do that too often. I have been to Montreal, Canada, once, and I did enjoy it, but I don’t visit Canada regularly. I do, however, like to go on vacation, and I do like to go to New England, which is similar to Canada in weather and topography. What part of Canada do you like to visit?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  23. Hey Mrs. Donofrio,
    What keeps me going is my family, friends, and teachers. These people keep me going because they love me and want me to do my best!

  24. Hi Mrs. Donofrio!
    Those were really inspiring quotes. When I was little, my mom taught me the prayer “Little flower, in this hour, show your power”. If I’m ever having a bad day, or if I have a big test coming up that I’m worried about, I just remember this simple saying. It really helps to calm my nerves when I’m upset or stressed. Do you have any certain sayings or prayers that you say when your having a bad day? Blog you later!

    • Hi Megan,
      I have never heard that little prayer/poem before. I like it! I don’t really have any special prayers like yours, but sometimes I just repeat something like, “Jesus, help me,” over and over. It’s comforting to talk to God in times of need.
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  25. Hey Mrs. Donofrio,
    What keeps me going is being with my family and playing sports and going to school. That’s what keeps me going

  26. Hi Mrs. Donofrio,
    There are plenty of things that keep me going. A few of them are:

    1. Going to my orchestra rehearsals every Tuesday
    2. Having a good time with my family
    3. Flying to Alaska with my sisters to see old friends and family
    Like I said, these are just a few things that make me happy. What makes you happy? Do you have a favorite place to go?

  27. Hey Mrs. Donofrio,
    That video was amazing. I can’t believe you ran a whole triathlon. It looks like you had a lot of fun. And the pictures of you swimming with the dolphins where adorable.
    What makes me keep going is….
    1. Knowing that after you accomplish a goal a good thing will come out. Like when I study for a really hard test my reward is I’ll get a good grade.
    2. Thinking of my friends and family
    3. I reach my goals
    4. God believing in me

    When I mess up, like I remember last year I was trying to do a trick on the bars and every time I tried I would always fall. I came home everyday with my mouth tasting like mulch. But for some reason I felt like I had to keep trying until I got better. So I tried it over and over for a week, and then one day I finally did it and I was so happy. I guess my mind was just telling me to not give up and keep trying.

    I thought I posted my comment but it turns out it didn’t send cause my iPad died

  28. Hey Mrs. Donofrio! I really liked the blog post about what keeps you going, and my answers are probably my friends, family, and school. These things keep me going because every morning i get to see my family, and then i get to go to my amazing school where my friends are!


  29. Hello Mrs. Donofrio,
    One of my quotes that keeps me going is:
    “Mistakes are NOT your shackles.” I really like this quote because it makes you remember that although you do make mistakes, everyone does, that doesn’t mean that you should let your mistakes hold you back.
    Some of the other things really make me feel better are:
    1. When I sit with a good book and a warm cup of tea.
    2. Whenever I am drawing or doodling.

    • Hi Sara,
      I think we are kindred spirits. I am drinking a hot cup of tea right now, and I wish I were reading a book, but I am doing the next best thing: writing to you on our class blog! I also love your quote; it is definitely good to remember. Where did you first hear it?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

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