101 Powerful Personal Mottos To Live By (Examples To Choose From)

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A personal motto can be a powerful tool to guide you through life’s ups and downs.

Whether it’s a famous quote or a catchy phrase, a good motto can inspire you to stay focused on your goals, shift your perspective, and remind you of your values and beliefs.

This article explores the importance of having a personal motto and provides you with some ideas to help you find the perfect one for you.

So, if you’re looking for a way to boost your motivation and live a more purposeful life, read on to discover the benefits of having a personal motto and how to choose one that resonates with you.

Why Have A Personal Motto Anyway?

A personal motto is like a mantra.

You might choose one that keeps encouraging you to be the person you want to be, even when you’re going through a difficult time.

Or, it might help to soothe your soul in the midst of chaos, or remind you to see joy in every situation.

Your motto could even be used to calm anxiety or stop negative self-talk, especially if you find yourself being overly self-critical.

Return to your motto whenever you feel yourself falter, or you just need a little pick-me-up to lift your spirits and inspire you. It’ll give you just the boost you need.

If you’re reading this piece, it’s likely because you’re at some kind of crossroads in your life and you’d like a phrase to motivate you.

Maybe you’re dealing with a difficult situation that can’t be avoided, and you need to muscle through it.

Or you’re striving toward a goal and need encouragement to keep going.

You might even be trying to live more authentically, and could use some reassurance that your choices are the right ones for you.

Whatever it is, good for you!

Life can be really challenging, and every action we take toward greater peace, happiness, and fulfillment deserves acknowledgement.

How Do I Choose My Personal Motto?

Personal mottos can be whatever you need them to be, and there are endless possibilities.

As a result, finding one that suits your personality can seem like an overwhelming endeavor.

After all, there are so many great ideas out there – how can you possibly choose just one?

Here’s an idea: aim for a personal motto that best encompasses where you are right now.

I often reiterate that we’re not the same today as we were last year, and we won’t be the same person a year from now. 

So, you don’t need to stress about looking for a personal motto that will be perfect for you today as well as 50 years in the future.

Sure, if you come across one that really fits well, then that’s great! Just remember that you can choose a different motto whenever you feel the need to.

As an example, my current motto is “courage and compassion,” which I feel is quite noble, and can encompass a wide range of life scenarios and experiences.

If you’d like to come up with your own motto, think about which theme/subject means the most to you at this point in your life.

Then, brainstorm a ton of words and phrases associated with that subject. Loose associations are fine: let your unconscious take over.

You might find you’ve written out a phrase that means just the right thing to you.

Or even a few words that work together harmoniously.

Barring that, there are countless quotations, song lyrics, poems, etc. that you can choose from.

When you’ve found one (or a few) that you like, print it up in a favorite typeface, or write it out in your own hand, and hang it on your wall.

If it makes you feel good every time you read it, you have a winner.

If you’re a bit meh about it, try a few others until you find a better fit.

We’ve amassed some below that may help to inspire you.

Although some of them may reference a particular gender, their wording can easily be adapted to neutral pronouns.

101 Mottos To Live By

1. He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How. – Friedrich Nietzsche

2. It always seems impossible until it’s done. You can do it.

3. We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated. – Maya Angelou

4. Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny. – C.S. Lewis

5.If you’re going through hell, keep going. – Winston Churchill

6. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

7. The secret of life is to fall seven times and to get up eight times. – from The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

8. Throw me to the wolves, and I’ll return leading the pack.

9. Tomorrow is another day.

10. Mistakes are often the greatest teachers.

11. Live life. Learn lessons. Liberate yourself.

12. Take in the good.

13. It is okay to live a life that others don’t understand.

14. Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it to happen, and take steps to make it happen.

15. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. – J.R.R. Tolkien

16. When you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine.

17. Negative thoughts will never give you a positive life.

18. The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open. – Chuck Palahniuk

19. The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up. – Mark Twain

20. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely. – Roy T. Bennett

21. Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. – Marthe Troly-Curtin

22. The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts. – Marcus Aurelius

23. People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou.

24. If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain.  – Emily Dickinson

25. Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

26. A life spent helping others is a life filled with purpose.

27. Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them. – Dalai Lama XIV

28. Be the change that you wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

29. No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. – Aesop

30. Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind. – Henry James

31. No one has ever become poor by giving. – Anne Frank

32. Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.

33. Live each day as if it were your last.

34. Vision without action is just a daydream.

35. Do what you don’t want to do, so you can do what you love.

36. Carpe Diem (Seize the Day)

37. Do or do not. There is no try. – Yoda, from Star Wars

38. Don’t be busy: be productive.

39. Even the smallest person can change the course of the future. – Galadriel, from The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien

40. Today, I choose to be the best version of myself.

41. Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness.  – Ayn Rand

42. Just keep swimming. – Dory, from Finding Nemo

43. You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.

44. The grass is green where you water it.

45. Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. – Henry Ward Beecher

46. No person is free who is not master of themselves.

47. The discomfort of self-discipline will never be as great as the pain of regret.

48. With every step I get closer to my goal.

49. Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. – Jim Rohn

50. The pain you feel today is the strength you will feel tomorrow.

51. We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses. – Alphonse Karr

52. There is always something to be grateful for.

53. Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears. – John Lennon

54. A grateful heart is the foundation for all other virtues.

55. Start each day with a positive thought and a grateful heart. – Roy T. Bennett

56. Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet. – Thich Nhat Hanh

57.Gratitude; my cup overfloweth.

58. Enough is as good as a feast.

59. May the gratitude in my heart kiss all the universe. – Hafez

60. The struggle ends when gratitude begins. – Neale Donald Walsch

61. Sometimes, life is about risking everything for a dream nobody can see but you.

62. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

63. Don’t panic. – Douglas Adams

64. Comfort zones are cozy, but nothing ever grows there.

65. He who has conquered his own coward spirit has conquered the whole outward world. – Thomas Hughes

66. Have courage, and be kind.

67. Courage is not the absence of fear: it is the ability to act in the presence of fear. – Bruce Lee

68. Do one thing every day that scares you.

69. Have the courage to be who you are.

70. To dare is to do.

71. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. – Leonard Cohen

72. Never lose hope. Storms make people stronger and never last forever. – Roy T. Bennett

73. In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart. – Anne Frank

74. You’re never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream. – CS Lewis

75. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. – Stephen King

76. There is nothing like a dream to create the future. – from Les Misérables, by Victor Hugo

77. When you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on. – Theodore Roosevelt

78. Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all. – Emily Dickinson

79. Don’t set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.

80. Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love deeply and unconditionally.

81. Don’t say ‘maybe’ if you want to say ‘no’. – Paulo Coelho

82. This above all: to thine own self be true. – William Shakespeare

83. Never dim someone else’s light so you can shine.

84. Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be; embrace who you are. – Brené Brown

85. Switch off. Recharge. Reboot.

86. You cannot save other people, but you can love them.

87. Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none. – William Shakespeare

88. We accept the love we think we deserve. – Stephen Chbosky

89. Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time. – Maya Angelou

90. Friendship is the foundation of love. If love fails, friendship should remain.

91. Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. – Lao Tzu

92. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.  – 1 Corinthians 13:13

93. We cannot all do great things. But we can do small things with great love. – Mother Teresa

94. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye.The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

95. Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.

96. Don’t lose faith in people. A few dirty drops of water don’t pollute the entire ocean.

97. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. – Mother Teresa

98. Stand straight, walk proud, have a little faith. – Garth Brooks

99. Faith is not something to grasp, it is a state to grow into. – Mahatma Gandhi

100. Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking. – Kahlil Gibran

101. Never stop believing that good things are coming.

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About The Author

Catherine Winter is an herbalist, INTJ empath, narcissistic abuse survivor, and PTSD warrior currently based in Quebec's Laurentian mountains. In an informal role as confidant and guide, Catherine has helped countless people work through difficult times in their lives and relationships, including divorce, ageing and death journeys, grief, abuse, and trauma recovery, as they navigate their individual paths towards healing and personal peace.