The Benefit of Adopting a Mantra

By: Duncan Robinson

I’ve been thinking a lot about goals, and how to achieve them. I’ve got a few this year.

Things like losing weight and getting down to 77kg. That’s something you can make an action plan for, and I’m sure I can achieve that steadily this year. Write a children’s book is another one. That, too, has simple steps that means I can work towards this goal. I was taught early on the goal is important but I should also have a plan for all the small incremental steps to get there.

We don’t just have to set the start of the year. You can set weekly goals, in the form of a To-Do-List, monthly goals, set them at any time within the year.

The key is to have them regularly in front of you. Life can get busy and that can cloud our goals. There really is a simple formula.

  • Make them specific.
  • Make them achievable.
  • Review them regularly.

Also be willing to revisit them and ditch the goal if it doesn’t sit within the plan anymore. Life changes and it isn’t a cop-out when we change our goals.

I’d just been accepted to a theological doctorate program when I found out I was pregnant with our second child. We made some executive decisions, dropped the theology studies, and moved back to Australia. Lots of goals got ditched, because life changed and we needed to move in a new direction.

Adopting a Mantra

family walking at the beach at sunset

This year goals weren’t quite enough; I wanted a mantra – something I can cling to.

Colossians 4:6 was a verse that really stirred my heart: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” It’s a verse through which I can filter life simply.

Joshua makes a bold declarative statement, a goal for his household in Joshua 24:15. Joshua declares that his “whole household will serve the Lord.” David in Psalm 27:4 hopes to “dwell in the house of the Lord for eternity.” These moments of prayer and declaration give us a filter for all our goals.

“I wanted a simple term that I could use. A regular little catchphrase to help encapsulate the goals for the year.”

I’m a fun guy, I wanted a simple term that I could use. A regular little catchphrase to help encapsulate the goals for the year. Something I could scream if I feel like I’m drifting. Something that I can use in conversations, social media and around our family. Something that we can own and call our own. A quick little mantra to remind me of the goals for the year:

“Full Phoenix”.

The Phoenix is mythical, but it carries the imagery of resurrection and rebirth. I also love the idea that from the fiery ashes the bird is reborn. Coming off a rugged season where I felt the need to rest, I wanted something to capture the motivation and energy for this new season for my family.

So I’ve adopted the family mantra, “Full Phoenix.” Every time I hear it, I think I’m going to be gracious and willing to give an answer to everyone. It reminds me that I have some big goals for the year, to stay focused and to keep working.

My encouragement to you for this year is to add to your goals a reminder – a mantra – for everything you do.

Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.

About the Author: Duncan is a radio host, pastor, husband and father of two.