Catchphrases: short and sweet and typically used repeatedly. They derive their power from the subtle cues they send your brain — messages you receive whether you realize you’re internalizing them or not.
But why should you care about catchphrases if you’re not a screenwriter or ad executive? Well, no matter your pursuits, you can tap into the power of this literary tool and harness it to propel you toward your goals.
In the same way repeated use reminds you of a character’s motivation during a TV drama, crafting and using a personal catchphrase helps you maintain focus on your goals, inspires you and reveals to others what you’re working toward and why.
The Power of a Personal Catchphrase
Ideally, you’d be able to create a singular phrase that works in all situations. Since you often have different goals that are determined by which facet of your life you’re focusing on, crafting a few different phrases ensures you’re prepared for any scenario. Take these five examples below:
1. Start strong. End strong.
Fitness and motivational catchphrases mesh perfectly together. Consider the phrase “Start strong. End strong.” Not only is it terse (the hallmark of a good catchphrase), it also conveys a clear and succinct message: “Whatever fitness goal I start toward, I work hard at and sustain my intensity and focus. I don’t fizzle out toward the end.” This catchphrase doesn’t deny there’s effort involved, yet it simultaneously focuses on the positive: Begin with power and end with power.
2. Dream it. Achieve it.
Catchphrases help remind you of your potential with regards to personal goals too. “Dream it. Achieve it.” is a fantastic example of a phrase that prompts you to remember that you chose the goal you’re working toward and are responsible for and capable of achieving it. Repeating this phrase to yourself sparks forward momentum and reminds you that you’re already in the process of turning your dreams into reality.
3. Focus hard. Work hard. Play hard.
Personal catchphrases are lifesavers when it comes to your career objectives. When work hours increase and leisure time seems to shrink, a phrase like “Focus hard. Work hard. Play hard.” is a key tool in attitude shifting. Repetition of these six words reminds you that hard work and tremendous focus is pivotal for career success, but that you won’t be your most productive self unless you make time for relaxation.
Read more: 15 Secrets to a Better Work-Life Balance
4. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it.
What about trying to attain a personal health goal? Similar to motivational quotes or memes, catchphrases can inspire you to healthier living because they stand out in the forefront of your mind. “It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it.” captures all the best parts of a health catchphrase. It’s brief, it’s honest and it reminds you that all the consistent effort and prioritizing health will pay off.
5. Eat better, feel better.
Catchphrases work best with frequent use. And since eating is also something you do frequently, the two pair perfectly together. Creating a phrase to use before meals or snacks helps facilitate the mindset you desire and encourages you to feel positively about food choices.
“Eat better, feel better.” is an ideal catchphrase for a nutritional goal. It’s positive, reminds you there’s a direct connection between food and how you feel and highlights the power of what you’re about to consume.
Crafting Your Own Catchphrase
Now that you’ve seen how these snippets of sentences aid in achieving your fitness, career, health, nutritional and personal goals, let’s break down how to create one tailored to you.
1. A catchphrase should be short.
When creating a phrase, start out verbose and trim to terse. Some of the best catchphrases began as a few sentences that were edited down. The shorter the better — even acronyms work — as this is something you’ll want to say frequently.
2. A catchphrase should sound natural.
Create your phrase and say it repeatedly. How does it sound? Does it feel awkward when you use it? Does it sound OK, but not quite there? Revisit, edit and try again! A strong catchphrase feels uniquely you, yet still entirely natural when spoken.
3. A catchphrase should spark action.
When writing your catchphrase, visualize yourself achieving the goal and consider what feelings you will experience when you reach it. Choose words that will inspire you and spark action even on days when you might not otherwise be motivated.
4. A catchphrase should change your perspective.
It may take revisions, but you’ll know you’ve perfected a phrase when simply saying it possesses the power to turn your day around. Select words that are empowering and uplifting to you.
5. A catchphrase should be used — and often.
Whether it’s to yourself or out loud, the first few times you utter a new phrase can feel heavy-handed. Stick with it. The secret to a catchphrase lies equally in its personalized creation and in its use. Even the best phrases possess absolutely no power if they aren’t uttered often enough.
What Do YOU Think?
What are some well-known catchphrases that have inspired or motivated you? What area(s) of your life would benefit from a personal catchphrase? How do you think creating one might help you better achieve your goals? Share your thoughts, suggestions and questions in the comments section below!
Read more: 11 Words to Stop Saying Right Now
Carla is a writer, editor and social media consultant. Her health philosophy (and life motto) is, “fitness isn’t about fitting in.” Her site's tagline “ucapologetically myself” has inspired thousands to pursue goals in their own way. And her recent book, “What You Can When You Can: Healthy Living On Your Terms,” is one of the first to spark an online movement (#wycwyc) and create a virtual community of support.