Writing succinct, helpful commit messages is the VCS equivalent of eating your vegetables — everyone knows they should be doing it, but it’s really hard in the moment to keep up a good habit. My personal trick for training myself in good habits like this is, like all lazy programmers, to try and automate it as much as possible — and when I can’t automate, I try to have my tools at least guide me in the right direction.
To that end I’ve been collaborating on a nifty editor for commit logs called Komet:
Komet highlights messages that are too long, and automatically formats your commit messages to conform to some (very low-touch) norms that will make your (and your collaborators’)
git logs much more informative. Check it out!