Motivational Mottos [A simple Tool to Improve Your Motivation]
What is a Motivational Motto?
A motivational motto is a personalized statement that seeks to encourage you to action based on a meaningful goal or purpose. Each motto is unique to its creator and allows for renewed motivation, time and time again.
Before you can start crafting your motto, it’s important to look at what really motivates you. This can be a longer process for those who have not practiced as much self-reflection over their motivations. (If this is you, I would recommend taking a look at something like the enneagram as a potential starting place.) When you understand your motivations, you look at what is deeper than the immediately recognizable.
Try this quick discovery exercise to identify at least one thing to have in mind as we move forward.
Follow through these Motivation Discovery Questions in order and meet me back on the other side.
When you have finished working through these questions, hopefully you come to a better understanding of what one of your motivations might be. Maybe you began with money. If your motivation is to earn more money, what will that money do for you? How will having more money affect you personally? Now that you see its effects on you, what makes that worth chasing after? Does it give you and your family more security? Does it allow you to have more opportunities? Will it allow you to be more generous or leave a legacy?
When talking about motivation, you are looking for ways that you can find a true motivation, not just something you want. If you go beyond money to get to something like security or legacy, this gives you a motivation that transcends boundaries in your life and gives you a deeper understanding of your unique, far-reaching motivations.
What Drives Motivation?
While everyone’s motivations are a little different, there are typically two distinct reasons you are motivated.
Desire to Get Something
You can be motivated to go after a lot of things in your life. There are work opportunities and significant others. There are moments of impact and tangible objects. As already noted, you can have a variety of depth to your motivations. Look for the things that you truly want.
What would you give yourself if you had unlimited resources and time?
Fear of Losing Something
While motivation to get something is fairly obvious, it may be less common to look at more negative motivations. Oftentimes, you may have things that you desperately want to hold onto. Relationships are an easy example. But what about your status or position? Your personal resources or your home? All of these are great examples of things that you may fear losing. Just as with other motivations, there is often a deeper level to these.
What would you sacrifice everything else to hold onto?
Motivational Motto Ingredients
You can shape your motto however you see fit, but there are a few pieces that should go into each one. These pieces align with motivation and mottos in general and allow for a writing process that fits you.
Your motivational motto is yours and yours alone. Others may find some motivation in your words or feel a sense of connection to what you have written. But no motto will truly work for you if it is not your own. Just as yours is not for anyone else, don’t copy someone else’s work either. They may have beautiful language or some inspiring metaphor you want to steal. I would challenge you to write with your own language, in ways that allow you to connect with your motto well and completely.
To hit this home, think about Nike’s motto. “Just do it” is a great motto and slogan. It has some good meaning and I’m sure you could apply this well to meaningful places in your life. But “just do it” will never feel like your own, it will always be Nike’s.
Your motto should be inspiring, moving. In order to accomplish this well, you need to look at positive language and optimism. For some, this may be a challenging way to speak. It may be more natural to think of the struggles, challenges, and roadblocks that may get in the way. Positivity is my very last strength according to Clifton Strengths, so I tend to resonate a lot with that way of thinking. Still, try to focus on the positive and what can inspire.
Your motto should be motivating to you and in order to do this it has to aspire to something. This leaves the negative back talk at the door and lets you step forward with more confidence and drive. As you craft your motto, watch out for places of hesitation or frustration, where your mind will go to struggles rather than opportunities. Turn them into positives!
I have written before about the importance of values and this applies here too. Your values help you make decisions and determine what is best for your life. As you craft your motto, look at your values and see if there are ways you can incorporate them into your writing.
Let’s say you have the value of justice. How could justice be a motivating force in your life? How do you keep this positive and aspirational? What about justice inspires you? Asking yourself similar questions about your values can not only give you clarity, but also that language that can fill up your motto.
Your motto should be something that you can reach toward or run after. In fact, it’s best if this is something you know you will always be searching after. What is the thing that you want to always be improving in your life?
When you know your values and you understand more of your purpose in life, you can begin to see what goals you truly want to see accomplished. These may line up with some of the motivations you have already identified and should line up well with what gets you out of bed in the morning. Your goals help shape your work because they are the fuel to keep you moving.
What goals are worth pursuing right now and for the rest of your life? What would you be willing to chase, even if you never caught it?
Creating a Motivational Motto
If you have done the work so far, you have all the ingredients in from you to craft your motto. Your motto should be personal, positive, value driven, and goal driven. It should reflect your deeper motivations and the things that truly make you move.
Take a look at whatever you are trying to keep motivated over. More than likely, this is either your work or personal life. Seek to define this and understand it. Then move on to searching out what values apply to it, what goals are worth pursuing there. Now look at what might motivate you based on those values and goals. Put these into words and starting writing some drafts. It won’t be perfect at first and may need tweaking over time. Just get something down and start refining as you better understand your motivations.
In order to make this a personal statement, you can follow a format that tends to work well for mottos.
First, identify yourself within it by saying, “I am…” and then whatever values or personal traits you want to include.
Second, write a “so that…” or “who will…” statement to show how you will live out this identity. This includes the goals and motivations you are seeking after.
Let’s walk through an example.
James was growing frustrated with his work and felt demotivated by his job, so he wanted to create a motto that would keep him moving forward. James felt motivated to work by money. It was something he knew about himself. When he dug a little deeper, he saw that it wasn’t just money but the security that money provided for his family.
When James sat down to write his motto, he thought about what security meant to him and what values went along with it. Security was one value that made a lot of sense. When he thought on it more, he saw that security provided peace of mind for him and provided happiness for his family. He wrote down “security, peace of mind, happiness, and family” as the values he saw connected to his work.
James took a look at the goals he wanted to achieve that would lead him toward more security. He knew he would never feel completely secure, so he thought through what would be best. He wrote down how he wanted to have enough for an emergency fund, travel funds for the family, and be able to retire and maintain his current livelihood. These were all pretty specific and tangible and had personal meaning to him.
James wrote down a few drafts of his motivational motto.
“I am a husband and father who will provide security and happiness for my family.”
“I am a leader of my family so that they can rely on me for a good life without worry.”
“I am a family man who will work through anything to give them the joy that brings me peace.”
“I am the evergreen of my family who will shade them under my branches.”
You will notice that these mottos don’t always use the same words as James identified earlier. One even goes straight into metaphor. That’s just fine. Work with what you have and keep it meaningful. Look for what kinds of words will motivate and encourage you. Throw out the script and combine your ingredients however you like. Whatever you decide, make it something that has lasting meaning in your life and start using it today!
Your motto is only worth reading if it means something to you. Be true to yourself through the process of creating it and allow yourself to dive into your deeper motivations. When you have finished with your motivational motto, share it here in the comments. I would love to hear what ideas you have come up. Share this post with coworkers and friends to help them find more motivation in their daily lives.