In late 2010, Lehi singer-songwriter Hilary Weeks heard a speaker in Relief Society say we think negatively an average of 300 times a day. Hilary’s ears tuned in because she was already intrigued with mental power. Not one to passively accept information, Hilary bought a clicker so she could count her negative thoughts.
She found herself clicking when taking care of her new puppy, when being around her kids and even on date night with her accountant husband.
Click, click, click.
“By the end of the week, I woke up depressed,” Hilary says. “I’m a fairly happy person, but I had given my negative thoughts too much attention. Nothing in my circumstances had changed, but I had given my thoughts power to change my mood.”
She did a switcheroo the next week and started clicking her positive thoughts. She noticed beautiful trees. She felt grateful for her body. She appreciated the lessons she still carried from undergoing chemotherapy in 1997 to treat a molar pregnancy. She saw the strengths of her four daughters and her husband — and herself. Her thoughts were big and her dreams were bigger. On the fourth day, she clicked 1,262 times.
With her fingers clicking and her positive mind ticking, she set a goal to be the first LDS artist to land in the top 10 of the Current Contemporary Christian Albums Billboard chart.
“It almost seemed like an impossibility, but because of where my mind was at, I thought, ‘Why not?’” she says.
Call it karma. Call it “The Secret.” Call it the clicker. But in November 2011, Hilary was indeed the first Mormon musician to hit the top 10 on this specific industry standard.
Click the habit
The simplicity of the clicker is also its power.
“It doesn’t require a life change, but it causes a life change,” Hilary says.
She shared her clicker experiment for the first time during her Time Out For Women presentation in Nashville, and the clicker movement started … well … clicking. She launched a website called billionclicks.org, where participants can login and report their positive clickables. As of press time, the website shows 649,159 clicks.
“My goal is to reach a billion clicks — and I hope it happens in my lifetime,” Hilary says.
Hilary and her followers have come up with additional reasons to click. Recently, it was “Click For Your Health Week” at billionclicks.org. Followers clicked for healthy choices such as taking the stairs or drinking more water. Hilary told her family they were going to click for situps. The Weeks clan clicked in 1,094 situps in one night.
“We would never have done that without the clicker challenge,” Hilary says. “It’s a simple, simple tool to help us recognize the way we are thinking and to change the way we are thinking. I didn’t realize the power of thoughts until I put a clicker in my hand and made myself accountable.”
Now Hilary doesn’t just eschew negative thoughts. She also drives out unproductive ones.
“So many thoughts run through our heads with no purpose,” she says. “I don’t want to waste any more time with random thoughts. I want to be focused on my current goals and how I’m going to be the kind of person I want to be.”
She quotes research that indicates athletes have only 1,500 thoughts a day, while the general population has 2,500 to 65,000 thoughts (it’s obviously difficult to measure).
“It’s not that athletes are less intelligent — it’s that they are more focused,” she says.
A “mostly dedicated exerciser,” Hilary had her most successful day on the treadmill while clicking about her blessings.
“I went six miles, which I hadn’t done since high school,” she says. “I thought about how good this was for me and how my heart was getting stronger. When we fill our mind with positive things, it has a result on our spirit, mind and body.”
At billionclicks.org, Hilary sells clickers in eight colors and accompanying stickers that say things such as “Think, click, be” and “Polish your thoughts.” Clicker orders have come in from Russia, Norway, Jamaica and Canada, as well as 23 of the 50 states.
“I’m inspired by what people want to click about,” she says. “Several people leave comments about their experiences on the blog, and I save the inspirational ones to uplift me and to share with others. No matter who you are or where you are from, every single person thinks. And everyone’s thoughts could use some fine-tuning.”
The night before this Utah Valley Magazine interview, Hilary’s garage was filled with high school students who helped her get 6,000 clickers stickered and ready for shipping.
“Think of the impact one positive thought can have,” she says. “Now multiply that by a billion and watch the world around us change.”
Hilary clicked with audiences long before the clickers. She marched onto the LDS music scene with “He Hears Me,” which was recorded on the 1993 Especially for Youth album. Three years later Hilary released her solo debut, “He Hears Me,” for which she was awarded Inspirational Album of the Year by the Faith Centered Music Association. In 2000, Hilary received Pearl Awards for Inspirational Album of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, and Songwriter of the Year.
“Every Step,” which came out in fall 2011, is her ninth album.
Although she’s never had voice lessons, Hilary began learning the piano at age 8 and wrote her first song — about friendship — at age 14. She sang in the high school choir while growing up in Anchorage, Alaska, but never set out to be a singer-songwriter. That came naturally — as does her description of musical creation being like childbirth.
“For some songwriters, creativity is like drinking and sleeping. For me it’s a lot of work, and when I’m done with a project I have to take a sabbatical — I can’t talk about if I’m going to ‘have another baby, so to speak’ and when that will be,” she says.
Just like labor and delivery, Hilary can look back and see the joy. “Every Step” felt like the windows of heaven opened and poured out on her and her grand piano.
“I only had six months to write that album, and I felt like songs were given to me on a silver platter,” she says.
Hilary’s daily life inspires her music — including a song based on watching her daughter eat mac-and-cheese on a mother-daughter date, which reminded Hilary that our children won’t always be young. Hilary also wrote a Christmas song while her neighbor mowed the lawn across the street. (Christmas CDs aren’t created at Christmas, she says.)
Hilary’s music fills iPods and Relief Society rooms year-round worldwide, but she doesn’t feel a constant need to write more.
“Unless I feel a nudging in that direction, I’m perfectly content to hang out with my family and try new recipes,” she says.
Hilary is humble enough to let her family rate her creative culinary efforts.
“Usually we all agree anyway,” she says.
Go in Time Out
For 10 years, Hilary has been a headliner at Time Out For Women events. About seven times a year, she travels to places like Nashville or Australia or Ogden to share her music, her wit and her wisdom from the stage.
“I spend the weekend with fabulous women,” she says. “It’s a dream come true, and I absolutely love it!”
In these Deseret Book-sponsored events, Hilary is given a rock-star welcome for both her music and her message. She shares what she’s learned about recognizing her thoughts. Eager note-takers leave the room wanting to click and think. Think and click.
She hears, hugs and sings to women around the world — which gives her a front-row seat to the ladies of 2012.
“Women right now have a desire to contribute to their children, their husbands, their schools, their communities,” Hilary says. “Women are filled with endless creativity — just look at Pinterest!”
Although Hilary faces microphones and audiences regularly and with gusto, for years it was a big obstacle to sharing her talent.
“Early on I was so nervous it was almost miserable,” she says. “The fear would take me to my knees, and I became dependent on Heavenly Father. It has gotten easier through the years because love has overcome fear. I’m so passionate about the message that I can hardly wait to share it.”
Hilary’s relateable style elicits laughs and head nods. For example, she isn’t afraid to say that she has 12 wrinkles on her forehead — she’s counted them. But once she starts singing, laughter turns to tears as the messages hit close to home and to the heart.
Day in the Weeks’ Home
Hilary starts out her day alone with her thoughts. She spends five to 10 minutes visualizing, which she considers an extension of her morning prayers.
“I think about my goals and picture myself in the moment of accomplishing them,” she says. “How does it feel? Who am I telling?”
Hilary visualizes the movement of clicking as it spreads around the world.
“I visualize one billion clicks and how we’re going to get there,” she says. “I hope it happens in my lifetime because this is important. As a mother, I have a responsibility to help my daughters understand that what they say to themselves is very important. I feel the same stewardship about sharing this message to the world. Our thoughts matter.”
Although Hilary spends time almost every day managing her two active websites (hilaryweeks.com and billionclicks.org), she isn’t naturally drawn to blogging and Facebooking — and she doesn’t follow other blogs.
“Truthfully, I’d rather clean my house or scrapbook,” she says. “But I do love the connections I make on the blog.”
Recently, she posted about how she figured out that her daughter was allergic to red food dye. Readers hopped on and shared similar experiences or thanked her for tipping them off to a problem they hadn’t resolved.
Naturally a private person, Hilary knows that the more personal the experience, the more universal.
“And yet I sometimes struggle to share what is closest to my heart,” she says. “But I’m learning, and readers are responding.”
Hilary has emceed the popular musical evening event at BYU Women’s Conference for several years. This year’s production called for her to develop yet another talent — acting. She interacted throughout the evening with “Eliza Snow,” played by local award-winning actress Anne Sward Hansen.
“I was so nervous,” Hilary says. “I was worried that the women weren’t going to appreciate our approach. But when ‘Eliza’ came out and introduced herself to me at the piano, the audience applauded. It was so unexpected.”
At the end of the production, the audience members held up tea lights and sang “I Will,” written by Hilary.
“It was so moving, and I’ll never forget it,” she says. “Hopefully that means I won’t get fired from my job as emcee!”
Hilary doesn’t consider herself an actress, but she did have to fake emotion in her most shameful Christmas memory from her youth.
“A couple days before Christmas, I took all my presents up to my bedroom and opened every single one,” she says. “I wrapped them back up and had the worst Christmas. I was a liar on Christmas day when I faked the surprise. I never did that again.”
Oh, what do you do in the summertime?
Hilary’s mantra this summer is to only wear things that are comfortable.
“Nacho Libre and I have something in common — stretchy pants!” Hilary says.
Hilary’s summer days are filled with enforcing piano and violin practice, going for frozen yogurt runs and fulfilling clicker orders.
She uses her own family’s clickers to teach work ethic as her daughters click their chores and earn trips to Roxberry, the snowcone shack or a movie.
Hilary’s own personal clicks have earned her a place in the heart of music lovers and thought analyzers worldwide.
“There is so much good that each of us can add to this world,” Hilary says. “I believe that, and I love looking for the positive in every person and situation.”