This post is about self help / personal development. Or, specifically, how to make acronyms and use them for self-improvement. The process of making them can be challenging, but using them is easy and rewarding. At New Year’s cusp, people always think about resolutions but shouldn’t we be thinking about them all year long? Trying to reinvent ones self once every year can have some value but ongoing changes throughout the year yields greater results. I usually make my resolutions around August because that is where my teaching work year renews itself. Continuous improvement is what I strive for and I use self-invented acronyms to make it happen.
These funny little words really work!
There are many quality online personal development courses that attest to the power of acronyms. The reason I use acronyms is because they are easy to remember. Usually all goals can be narrowed down to three words. That’s the perfect length for an acronym. The word you create becomes your personal thing and you carry it with you while traveling toward your goals. This past new year’s eve I read about a great worksheet and used it to develop some of my goal words for the year. Check it out here.
The first three goals are your creation!
At the beginning of the process, write down three words you want to focus on. You might write many and narrow them down to the three best. For example, a horse trainer might list:
patience, people, volume
Each word has a lot of idiosyncratic meaning to the horse trainer. You can imagine what these three words might mean in a horse trainer’s life in contrast to that of say, a lawyer.
Next in the process come up with a three letter word you will use as your acronym. It doesn’t matter if it’s related to the three words you just chose or not, but you should find the imagery of the word pleasing. You may find this list of three letter words intended for Scrabble players useful. This is in a way the game of your life.
To illustrate these first 2 steps, let’s say the horse trainer chooses the goals listed above and then chooses the word “ACT” as his acronym.
That leads to the most fun and rewarding step in my opinion. It’s also the step that takes the most time. The step is to come up with three words that start with the letters A,C, and T. Each word should represent one of the word-meanings you came up with when you started the process ie; patience, people, volume.
This can take a lot of trial and error until you get it right but once you are done you “own” the acronym. Take this as a possibility:
The words you assign to the acronym don’t have to be exactly the same meaning as your goals but they should have enough to do with the original goal for you to remember the goal when you recall the acronym.
Now the horse trainer can go to work thinking about his meaningful acronym “ACT.” He has given his job and life a more precise focus.
I chose nouns for this example, but you can choose action verbs as well. A resource you might find useful is this list of action verbs by letter. You can even make up a sentence like “I will Always be patient,” where Always is the A part of the acronym. This is helpful when you just can’t think of a word to match the goal.
When it comes to personal development and self-improvement, I swear by my acronyms to improve memory and other stuff. I think once you give it a try, you will too. If you are a trainer or a mentor, acronyms can assist you greatly with your time management training program. On a last note, you should check out this make an acronym engine, it is helpful.