Organize Your Attitude #7
A motto is a short saying that helps you stay focused and committed. Having little mottos will make it easier for you remember to do what you want to do.
Some of my mottos include
- Work the plan. Roll with the punches. Choose the right next thing.
- Uses est magister optimus. (Practice is the best teacher.)
- Come what may, time and the hour run through the roughest day. (Shakespeare)
- Prayer is the most important part of the thankfulness God requires of us. (from the Heidelberg Catechism)
- Leave it better than you found it.
- Smile and start.
These little chants I can tell myself are mini pep talks on the tip of my tongue that can help bring back my attitude when it starts drifting into dismay or laziness.
In my own life I have noticed three benefits that selecting a handful of mottos has given me.
1. They provide mental shortcuts.
Instead of reviewing an entire plan of action or running down a list of specific habits, these mottos remind me of the mindset and habit patterns I want to cultivate. The more I say them, the quicker they pop to mind when I need them.
2. They’re catchy.
Mottos are reminders, and they are also catchy. It’s important that reminders be, well, easy to remember. Catchy mottos are inherently compelling and motivating. When they pop into our head, they make us smile, which makes it easier to conform to them rather than fight and argue internally with a more dour, data-driven reminder.
Mottos keep our pep-talks upbeat.
3. They build an identity.
When we recite a handful of mottos over and over again, and conform our choices to them, we more and more naturally live them out even when we don’t use them. They become the way we simply do things.
The best way to form new habits is to take on the identity as the kind of person who … leaves places better than they were, smiles and starts, or doesn’t let a mistake or slip-up stop continual practice.
I think mottos are so important, I built them into Simplified Organization: Learning to Love What Must Be Done. Every new thought or action pattern it teaches comes with a motto because it they provide simple method for making change stickier.