Your Three Watchwords

Watchwords serve as a personal guide for your day-to-day moments and interactions.

They help keep you on track for the kind of person you want to be and the impact you want to have.

Watchwords bring you back to your most important principles, whatever life throws your way.


Identify your watchwords.

Write about how you want to feel and how you want others to feel with you

Your watchwords are tied to how you feel and how you "are" in every situation.

When we're living our lives, the situation can have a big impact on what we think, say and do.

A list of watchwords to consider

There are thousands of "ways to be." We've included a list in the "resources" section below.

As you look at the list, you'll find more than three appealing. That's great! It will take some time for you as you reflect on which are most core to how you want to be.

Use the "public records" test

Ask yourself this question: Would I be comfortable if my watchwords were available for anyone to see? What if your words and name were on the front page of every news site? The "public record" test is always a helpful guide when we're making decisions.

A few ideas to...

Prime yourself to your watchwords

They are your personal guide: Repeat them, often. More often than you think.

Super simple: Spend about five minutes writing them down.

Pick a time to do it, and leave a reminder.

Ideas to remind yourself of your watchwords, and keep them top of mind.

Ten seconds, a few times a day, can help bring these ideas back to mind.

A simple idea is to set an alarm on your phone a few times a day to remind yourself of your watchwords. When the alarm goes off, just spend a few seconds reflecting on the words.

Or create a ritual. Say, every time you walk in the front door, or pick up the phone, remind yourself of the words.


Your watchwords might change as you change and grow.

It's okay that they change.

They might change as you change. A simple example: When you're younger they might be about independence, confidence, and focus. And maybe, over time they might move toward peace, hope, and meaning. Of course, your watchwords are yours--about your values and your life experience. Whatever words you choose, let them reflect the person you are growing to become.


Here is a list of watchwords to start. Take some time to identify the ones that align (or don't) with you.

  • Joyful

  • A source of light

  • Generous of spirit

  • Open-minded

  • Courageous

  • Loving

  • Hopeful

  • Faithful

  • Loyal

  • Committed to something bigger

  • Consistent

  • Honest

  • Compassionate

  • Inspirational

  • Positive

  • Efficiency

  • Innovation

  • Creative

  • Good-natured

  • Adventurous

  • Fair

  • Persistent

  • Sense of ease

  • Responsible

  • Even-keeled

  • Optimistic

  • Passionate

  • Respectful

  • Learner

  • Patriotic

  • Service to others

  • Prudent

  • Reliable

  • Environmentalism

  • Or anything else that can help guide you in both everyday and challenging moments

Sources and Citations

  1. List of virtues: