“New year, new me.”
It’s ironic, isn’t it? As a society, we love the symbolism of the “New Year.” We’re obsessed with turning over a new leaf, making a fresh start. It’s a powerful time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished as individuals and as a society (#MeToo and #TimesUp, anyone?), to appreciate how far we’ve come, and yes, for many to make New Year’s resolutions. And here at Livingly, we also LOVE reading and sharing inspirational quotes to motivate ourselves to start the year off right — and to stay strong and to keep moving forward, even when the path forward looks dark.
The truth is that you can take steps forward at any time, and anywhere. You can start over, or just continue to work on improving yourself. There’s something to be said for making resolutions all throughout the year, and of setting goals and feeling the little flurry of happiness that comes when you achieve them, slowly but surely crossing items off of the “to-do” list of your life.
There’s something really powerful and inspiring about continuing to make tiny steps forward toward your dreams without the structure of set timelines and countdowns, no matter how glitzy and champagne-drenched they may be. That said, we’re collectively obsessed with the concept of New Year’s resolutions for a reason, aren’t we? So, as we float in the liminal space between December and January, in the waning time between this year and the next, we look to find more solid footing while standing on the precipice of 2019.
What better way to do that than to fuel ourselves with the powerful words of those who came before us; with inspirational quotes from the mouths of writers and poets and luminaries like Janet Fitch, Maya Angelou, Rumi, and more, who have and had so much wisdom to share during their time on this earth? Keep reading for some of our favorite inspirational quotes to start your New Year off right. 2019, here we come!
1. "I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing the world." Neil Gaiman
We so often see mistakes as failure, when instead we should see them as guide posts, catalysts for change that will propel ourselves forward into the people we want to be, living the lives we want to lead. The goals, dreams, and lives we are all so capable of manifesting, if only we'd let go of our rigid views of "what should be." When you fail enough times, you start to fail "better"; you start to see new pathways forward where there had only been closed doors. You just have to be willing to put yourself in a position to see mistakes as opportunities to learn, to change, and to grow.
2. "You've got to let go of who you were, to become who you will be." Janet Fitch
3. "If you are not in love with your life, change it."
If you are not in love with your life, change it. If you are not utterly obsessed with the life you are living, change it. Now, this is not to say that there won't be moments you'll feel tired, or defeated, cast to the wayside, unappreciated, or downtrodden. You will feel all of those things. There will be moments you will feel like you can't go on. Those are the moments it's more important than ever to remember to fight for it — you know, that life you've always dreamed of. Everything you want is coming — you just have to be want it badly enough to change.
4. "Anything is possible if you've got enough nerve." J.K. Rowling
5. "It's never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again." Eric Roth
The quote in full: "For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again."
Although this quote is misattributed to F. Scott Fitzgerald, it was actually written by Eric Roth, the screenplay writer for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which was adapted from Fitzgerald's 1922 short story.
6. "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead
7. "The real challenge is not to simply survive. Hell, anyone can do that. It's to survive as yourself, undiminished." Elia Kazan
"To survive as yourself, undiminished" is certainly a lofty goal, and one I'm not sure is possible. There are going to be times in our lives that we all feel ourselves to be a little "diminished." Tarnished, perhaps. When we feel the need to dim our light. The real challenge, then, is to remind ourselves that the darkness doesn't have to last. That we can find our way through it, alone and with others. That we can shine again.
That, we all have within us.
8. "We can be our own dragons as well as our own heroes — and sometimes we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves." Tom Robbins
9. "One of the most courageous decisions you'll ever make is to finally let go of what is hurting your heart and soul." Brigitte Nicole
The weight you carry — you know the one. The one that is impossible for you to go on bearing — write that. Make that. Tell that. Love that. Whatever is hurting your heart and soul. By doing so, you'll start to make space to ask for help. Or maybe you're just making space to let yourself show up. Right now. As you are.
And know that one day you'll be able to put it all down. Let it all go.
10. "There's no such thing as the light at the end of the tunnel. You must realize that you are the light." The Better Man Project
11. "Be messy and complicated and afraid and show up anyway." Glennon Doyle Melton
Is there anything more truly brave than "showing up anyway"? Showing up and making space for yourself — and thereby for others — even if you're messy, even if you're complicated, and especially even if you're afraid?
12. "Remember, when you forgive, you heal. And when you let go, you grow."
13. "My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness." Maya Angelou
The first of several endlessly inspiring Maya Angelou quotes on this list, because the world lost the poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist in 2014, we'll never not miss her. And her words still ring true, too — to stay kind in today's world is no doubt an astonishing feat, but one that should not be overlooked.
14. "If you can't do anything about it then let it go. Don't be a prisoner to the things you can't change." Tony Gaskins
15. "There are some things you learn best in calm. And some, in storm." Willa Cather
While some may treat life like a calm and sunny day at the beach, others are meant to weather more storms in their lives. If you ask me, there's much more to be learned at the high seas than by the shore, in the deep than in the shallows. It may not be easy to weather through; but it's almost always worth it.
16. "The many things that don't suck rival the things that do. And we all live in the house of what we pay attention to." Ani DiFranco
17. "Maybe the journey isn't so much about becoming anything. Maybe it's about unbecoming everything that isn't really you." Paulo Coelho
The process of unbecoming, reworking and accepting is not always a pretty one. Looking at your struggle — really looking it in the eye. Doing the work involves reframing and redirecting the old narratives, the old paradigm, and the tiny slivers of things that lodge themselves in your heart and won't come loose, no matter how you try to pry them out. Looking at the things that hurt now, but will ultimately make you grow. Learning from those things so that you can rediscover and claim new space for yourself. And yes, so that you can ultimately let go of your hold on them and fly free. It may not be pretty — but it's so, so worthwhile.
18. "Sometimes what you're most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free." Robert Tew
19. "Climb the mountain so you can see the world, not so the world can see you." David McCullough Jr.
This may seem tougher than ever in today's narcissistic, individualistic and social media-driven world, but it's a big one for that reason and many more. With that said, let's aim for less selfies in 2019, and more actual seeing. Less posts, more presence. We'd all do well to remember that just because someone isn't immediately taking to Instagram to share their accomplishments with the world doesn't mean they're not making moves. And "talking the talk" should always involve "walking the walk."
20. "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful."
21. "Make generosity part of your growth strategy." Danielle LaPorte
You've got to give to receive. Abundance works both ways!
22. "What if you simply devoted this year to loving yourself more?"
23. "Stay close to anything that makes you glad you are alive."
Don't fear what makes you human: Go after it with open arms. Chase it to the end of your days, if you must. Follow the magic in life — the whimsical, weird, and unexpected. Relentlessly pursue the things that make your soul hum and buzz, those things that make you come to life and remember how glad you are that you're alive.
24. "Whatever you are meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible." Doris Lessing
25. "Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." Barack Obama
These powerful words say so, so much. We miss you, Obama!
26. "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing themselves." Leo Tolstoy
27. "Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving." Terry Pratchett
It's funny how no matter how far you travel, you'll always come home to yourself.
28. "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new."
29. "Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself." Rumi
Sage advice from the wisest of them all, the Persian poet and mystic Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi.
30. "Some days you just have to create your own sunshine."
31. "Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys." Rita Schiano
Comparing and complaining is easier than ever. There's such a strength in breaking this habit and ushering more abundance into our lives by talking about our joys instead. What we focus on grows; and what we talk about consistently, we bring in more of, whether we're aware of it or not. Want more joy in your life? Start to manifest it by expressing your gratitude instead.
32. "Take the time to do what makes your soul happy."
33. "Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions." Pema Chodron
This is your gentle reminder that you control your emotions, not the other way around.
34. "Don't put your happiness in other people's hands. They'll drop it. They'll drop it every time." C. Barzak
35. "Joy is a decision, a really brave one, about how you are going to respond to life." Wess Stafford
What a brave and gorgeous way to approach life — to wake up in the morning and decide, despite it all, to be happy.
36. "The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up." Mark Twain
37. "And if the music is good you dance."
Is there anything more freeing than dancing? Any better form of self-expression through movement? If you ask me, absolutely not. Nothing even comes close.
38. "Today I choose joy."
39. "I love the person I've become, because I fought to become her." Kaci Diane
Self-love. Self-compassion. Always. All ways.
40. "The bravest are the most tender; the loving are the daring." Bayard Taylor
41. "I believe that the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare." Maya Angelou
Yes, Maya Angelou. Yes.
42. "What is creative living? Any life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than fear." Elizabeth Gilbert
43. "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena..." Theodore Roosevelt
The quote in full: "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly."
44. "You can, you should, and if you're brave enough to start, you will." Stephen King
45. "There are so many ways to be brave in the world..." Veronica Roth
The quote in full: "There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, for the sake of something greater.
But sometimes it doesn't.
Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life."
46. "It is important in life not to be strong, but to feel strong." Christopher McCandless
47. "The world breaks everyone, and afterward many are strong at the broken places." Ernest Hemingway
In 2019, let's strive to stay strong at the broken places.
48. "I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass." Maya Angelou
49. "Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire."
Isn't that what life is all about?
50. "You have been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved."
51. "With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?"
More freedom, more books, more flowers, and more howling at the moon in 2019!
52. "All glory comes from daring to begin." Eugene Fitch Ware
53. "I was amazed that what I needed to survive could be carried on my back. And, most surprising of all, that I could carry it." Cheryl Strayed
The quote in full: "I was amazed that what I needed to survive could be carried on my back. And, most surprising of all, that I could carry it. That I could bear the unbearable."
54. "Sometimes, just carrying on, is the superhuman achievement." Albert Camus
55. "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Mahatma Gandhi
The best part about this quote is that it can be applied to so, so many things.
56. "Gratitude changes everything."
57. "Surround yourself with people who get it."
Your vibe attracts your tribe, and that will ring true in 2019 more than ever. So no more toxic relationships — whether it's platonic or romantic. No more following toxic social media accounts on Instagram or any other platform, either. Surround yourself instead with people who understand you.
58. "Try to remember not to care about the things you don't care about."
59. "All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on." Henry Ellis
I like this quote more than any other quote about "letting go," because we all know that it's not always as simple as all that, is it? You have to know when is the right time to let go, and when to hang on. And even more importantly, you've gotta stay strong. It's different for everyone.