Don’t Make a New Year’s Resolution. Make A New Year’s Motto!

Don’t Make a New Year’s Resolution. Make A New Year’s Motto!

For many, many years, I used to spend the last week of December coming up with a list of resolutions. They would be your typical ones—lose weight, exercise more, put more money away for retirement, etc.  While I am a very motivated person, I, like most people, would start on each with every intention of making it a success. Yet come mid-January, I would start to lose interest (except daily flossing-I do keep that one up).  Why? Well, mostly because we approach resolutions all wrong. To make a resolution that sticks, we really need to understand the psychology of habits.  I just want something simple and easy to put in place. So instead, I now do a yearly motto.

Why A Motto?

According to, a motto is the following:

  1. a maxim adopted as an expression of the guiding principle of a person, organization, city, etc.

  1. a sentence, phrase, or word expressing the spirit or purpose of  person, organization, city, etc., and often inscribed on a badge, banner, etc.

I like that a motto expresses the “spirit of purpose.” It tells me who I want to be; the person that I see myself as.  It provides guidance for me in all situations. So instead of focusing on one part of health, my motto one year, “healthy mind, healthy body” focused on my whole being. It helped me understand choices that helped me strengthen my brain and body. During that year, I worked out more often, read more, and cooked more at home. I saw myself as a healthier person and therefore, did things that a healthy person would do. When faced with temptations that were unhealthy (damn those cheetos), the motto helped me figure out what the healthy me would do.

Some people have a motto for their life. My 88 year old mother came up with her motto, “Ad astra per aspera (through hardship to the stars)” in high school. She even prints it on her address labels to remind herself of it.  I like having a new motto each year. I think of a motto as my guiding light. It helps me keep myself on track with my goals and makes decision making easier. I find that with each year, my circumstances and intentions may be different, so I usually want to have a different motto. Recently on the “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” podcast, there was a discussion of choosing a one-word theme for 2019. They agreed that this was a fun exercise and is even more impactful than several resolutions.

My 2019 Motto

I thought long and hard about this year’s motto. For some years it comes to me quickly. Last year my motto was a word, “change.” I knew lots of things would be changing in my life, and the word was a reminder that change is a constant and change can be good. In 2018 I started and this blog. In 2018 I was an empty-nester for a while before one of my checks flew home. My motto also helped me to remember that it was okay to change things that were not working in my life. 2018 was the year that I finally got Invisalign to close a gap between my front teeth that had bothered me my whole life.

This year my motto is “Set The Wheels In Motion.”  I wanted a motto to do with motion, as I want to be moving forward in my professional and personal life. This motto will remind me to 1) make sure that I am constantly working to build the foundations needed for success and 2) be action-oriented. This is a continuation of last year’s motto, but with more purpose behind it. Now that I started the web site and blog, I want to reach more people with my message of job search empowerment. I am “setting the wheels in motion” to be able to do video, which I find to be very exciting. I am also looking to be able to do more public speaking and maybe even a coaching seminar. On a personal level I want to include more motion in my life. Frankly, like many people, I sit far too much. “Set the wheels in motion” also means to make sure I am moving around.

Your 2019 Motto

Do you want to give a motto a try for 2019? For those that are looking to find a new job or change careers, I have a few suggestions.

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door”-Milton Berle

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going”-Beverly Sills

“Love what you do and do what you love”-Ray Bradbury

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!"-Audrey Hepburn

“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been."-Wayne Gretzky

“Clear your mind of can’t!”-Samuel Johnson

Focus-Stay focused for success

Confidence-You can do this!

Goals-Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)

Motivation-I will do whatever it takes to make my dreams come true

Believe-What I think I can make true

I would like to know your motto for 2019. Leave it in the comments or email me at

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