Inspirational quotes are a dime a dozen. You can’t throw a rock on the Internet without coming across a list of quotes that were supposedly written by Buddhist monks who achieved nirvana while balancing on a bed of nails with their pinky fingers.

If you’re willing to wade through the silly stuff, however, there are genuinely inspiring quotes that can help you improve your outlook on life. You just have to figure out why you need them.

Are you hoping to snag a promotion or secure a new relationship? Do you want to boost your confidence for everyday affairs? Do you need a spiritual energy boost to get through a difficult time?

Think about your goals. Open yourself up to new ways of thinking. Then, grab a pen and jot down some of these inspirational quotes about life.

Here are some inspirational quotes to remember:

1. “You’ve been criticizing yourself for years. It hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”

It’s often said that the definition of insanity is repeatedly doing the same things but expecting new results each time. What makes you think that negativity will magically transform your life after years of causing you nothing but doubt and pain? Instead of treading down the same well-worn paths of self-recrimination, try to give yourself a fresh start filled with energy, enthusiasm and plenty of inspirational quotes.

2. “Attitude is a choice.”

From late-night insomnia to long-term heart damage, negative emotions can take a physical toll on your body (1). They can even affect your brain chemistry (2). On the flip side, positive emotions have been linked to everything from clearer skin to stronger immune systems. By staying optimistic, you can improve your health without changing a single thing about your diet.

3. “Be who you needed when you were younger.”

Inspirational quotes about life are often focused on the future, but this one asks you to dive into the past. What kind of help or guidance did you need as a young person? If the adults in your life failed you, what were their mistakes, and how can you learn from them? Try to create your new self with your old self in mind. Become the kind of person who would’ve reached out a helping hand to the struggling, self-doubting kid that you used to be.

4. “No matter how slowly that you’re moving, you’re lapping everybody on the couch.”

This is a common piece of advice in gyms and fitness centers; inspirational quotes can be a great way to motivate yourself for workouts. However, it can be applied to other things as well. Even if you can only take one class per semester, you’re still progressing further in your education than people who aren’t in college at all. Even if you can only save one dollar from your paycheck every week, you’re building a bigger nest egg than people without savings at all.

5. “If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse.”

Procrastination is one of the biggest obstacles that you’ll face in pursuit of your goals. It’s so easy to make excuses for bad habits and put things off for another day! If you’re serious about changing your life, however, you’ll need to figure out your true priorities. Do they involve working hard and making something of yourself, or do they revolve around binge-eating in front of the television for hours on end? A helpful hint: Don’t let Netflix decide your future.

6. “You’re under no obligation to be the same person that you were five minutes ago.”

Everyone has flaws. Everyone experiences moments of stress, sadness, anxiety and anger. However, you don’t have to cling to these things. You don’t have to wallow in your bad moods. Even if you spiraled into a negative head space for awhile, you can regain control of your emotions, read a few inspirational quotes of self-affirmation and move on with your day. You don’t have to wait until a new morning to start fresh.

7. “Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a long time making it.”

In the same vein as the above, it’s important not to get caught in cycles where you make bad choices over and over again to justify the other bad choices that you made previously. It’s called the “sunk cost” fallacy, and it means that you’ve invested so much time in a bad course of action that you feel like you have to see it through to avoid “wasting” your efforts. Don’t fall prey to this fallacy. When you realize that you’re on the wrong path, cut your losses and try something different.

8. “Have you ever loved someone so much that you would do anything for them? Make that someone yourself, and do whatever the [heck] you want.”

Spoken by a successful, high-powered lawyer in the television drama Suits, this is one of those inspirational quotes about life that can redefine your entire way of thinking. Instead of directing all of your goodwill towards friends and family members, hold a little back for yourself. You deserve care just as much as everyone else in your life. Treat yourself with the same kindness that you would want others to express towards you.

9. “Work until your idols become your rivals.”

This is one of those inspirational quotes for career success that can help you succeed in your chosen field. Don’t just dream of meeting your heroes. Dream of surpassing them. Dream of giving them a run for their money when you finally reach the same level of success. Make them take notice of you as a personal and professional equal rather than a simple fangirl or fanboy.

10. “Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited about what could go right.”

A study from The Journal of Behavior Research and Therapy has demonstrated that positive thinking can reduce feelings of anxiety (3). Interestingly, the positive thoughts didn’t even have to relate to the worries of the subject. People afraid of failing didn’t have to imagine themselves succeeding; people who were stressing about their weight didn’t have to envision themselves looking thinner. They could focus on any kind of positive thought or image, and it still reduced their anxiety.

11. “Be kind. Everyone that you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

You might have noticed that many inspirational quotes about life are focused on self-improvement. This is completely normal, but don’t let it morph from “self-care” into “self-centeredness.” Empathy is still important even though you’re making your transition from a caterpillar to a butterfly. You’ll want the world to be a beautiful place when you emerge from your cocoon, and that means extending positivity towards others as well as yourself.

12. “Everyone who’s ever taken a shower has had an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference.”

This is a helpful piece of advice for people with grand ideas that never seem to come to fruition. While there’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, you don’t want that to be the full extent of your endeavors. You want to turn dreaming into doing. The next time that you have a great business idea or an exciting thought for a killer date, don’t let it languish in your brain. Put it into the world with action.

13. “New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”

This is one of the most inspirational quotes from Lao Tzu, a renowned Chinese philosopher who is credited with creating the Taoism movement. It means that every change is an opportunity. Every cloud has a silver lining. Even if you’re moving away, getting laid off or going through a divorce, you can re-frame the negative ending as a fresh start in that particular area of your life.

14. “Deserve victory.”

This comes from a longer passage in the writings of Winston Churchill: “We cannot guarantee victory, but only deserve it.” While he was talking about the emotional heft of fighting Nazis, it’s also a sentiment that can be applied to self-improvement as well. You don’t want to get ahead in life by cheating on tests or throwing other people under the bus to advance your own career. When you finally reach a place of serenity, you’ll feel better if you earned it fair and square.

inspirational quotes

15. “Do more things that make you forget to check your phone.”

Some inspirational quotes about life are funny because they’re true. In today’s increasingly digital society, it’s the mark of a truly engaging event when you’re so absorbed that you don’t even think about tweeting or live-blogging it. A good goal for your life is to fill it with such exciting things that you never want to interrupt them to snap a selfie!

Final Thoughts on Inspirational Quotes

Inspirational quotes come in all shapes and sizes, but not all of them will speak to you on a personal level.

For example, some people respond to tough-love motivation while others prefer their inspirational to be the soft, gentle kind that forgives their mistakes. Neither of these are wrong! There’s no wrong way to be inspired.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is that your chosen quotes and mantras are genuinely motivating to you. Don’t be afraid to keep looking until you find a saying that makes you gasp, “That’s it! That’s what I need!”

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