Using a Motto to Stay on Track

A good motto will remind you of what is truly important.

Logan Haney
3 min readFeb 19, 2021

When asked, I think many people would say their lives are largely a result of their habits and routines. These routines not only lead them to complete similar actions each day, but they also lead them to have similar thoughts. This is what human bodies are good at. They pick up on the things you often do and make it easier to do them again. However, if you’re attempting to change your life, you need to establish new actions and thought patterns to replace the ones that do not serve you anymore. This means you must find a way to interrupt this feedback loop and remind yourself often of your new goal.

There are many techniques that may help you make progress toward your goal. One technique I have found to be helpful recently is a spoken motto that reminds me of what is most important in my day. For example, my recent motto has been “will this make me a more well-rounded person?” I find this question to be very helpful in balancing my happiness and growth as a person. When I am writing, doing schoolwork, or socializing with friends, the answer is an easy “yes”. On the other hand, I often find myself scrolling YouTube aimlessly which can be quite unproductive. When I ask myself this question, I remind myself that I can find something enjoyable while also learning a little in the process.

Motto’s Are A Subtle Reminder

A great motto is one that is completely customized to your own life. Your motto may be more broad or specific than the one I listed above. You could make a motto to be healthier in a broad sense or your motto could be to eat two cups of vegetables each day. You also get to use it in any section of your life. You may have a motto oriented toward fitness, work, or your family. The list goes on and on.

You also have the opportunity to fine-tune the harshness of your motto. For example, I often let myself enjoy some entertainment at night. My motto helps make sure I have been productive prior to this point so that I get to fully relax at the end of the night without feeling guilty about it. Allowing for these exceptions ahead of time can make it easier it easier to stick to your plan. I would advise making these exceptions clear ahead of time. That way you are not constantly debating whether to follow your motto or treat yourself. As with anything in life, there needs to be a balance that works for you.

Consider Making A Repeated Reminder

As mentioned before, it can be difficult to create new thought patterns. With that in mind, you will likely forget your motto without some sort of reminder in place. Your life will get busy at some point and your motto may fall to the end of your priorities for a few days. This is natural. A consistent reminder will allow you to get back at it when things calm down again. You could set a reminder each morning on your calendar, put small notes or symbols in places you see each day, or create a consistent timer/notification.

Creating Consistency In Your Actions

In my eyes, the ultimate goal of a motto is creating consistency in your actions. Each time you use it, you are giving yourself a small note that your goal is important. Progress will require consistency and time to show its true worth. In the long run, it could be the small addition that gets you over the hump.