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Need Motivation? 55 Quotes That Will Get You Fired Up (and May Just Change Your Life)

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Need Motivation? 55 Quotes That Will Get You Fired Up (and May Just Change Your Life)

If you want to check out some of my favorite motivational quotes for changing mindset, setting goals, doing the work, and more, then you want to read this article.

There’s a reason why most people are the way they are.

There’s a reason why they’re, on average, 23 pounds overweight, why they do just 3 hours of real work and watch 5 hours of TV per day, and why they’re over $130,000 in debt with less than $1,000 in savings.

There’s a reason they sit, eat, watch, and die, an anonymous statistic.

It’s because escaping the gravity of mediocre is hard.

You don’t get to eat all the sugary, fatty foods your inner fat kid desires. You don’t get to buy all the shiny things your ego swoons over. You don’t get to carouse through life with reckless abandon and blame everyone else for everything that makes you unsatisfied.

You have to exercise self-discipline in all areas of your life. You have to take personal responsibility for your circumstances and refuse to complain. You have to get very good at saying “no” to all the people and things that might derail your efforts, and at doing all the types of things that most people don’t want to do.

To make matters worse, you can make all the hard sacrifices and still come up short of the brass ring.

So it’s easy to understand Everyman’s predicament. It’s also easy to fall prey to it ourselves.

It’s all well and good to intellectually understand the myriad benefits of health, wealth, and wisdom, but it’s something else to come to the end of a long, stressful day and choose the gym over the couch, the salad over the spaghetti, and the book over the TV show.

And that’s where motivational quotes can help.

The right words at the right moment can pick you up when you’re down, steel your nerves when you’re afraid, and even transform the way you view yourself or the world around you.

I’ve been collecting such quotes for years now, and in this article, I’m going to share 55 of my favorites organized by theme (mindset, goal setting, doing the work, overcoming obstacles, and staying on top), as well as books on those topics that I’ve found particularly helpful.

I come back to many of these quotes regularly for guidance, inspiration, and reassurance, and I hope that some of them resonate deeply with you as well.

If anything here does speak powerfully to you, please do let me know in the comments at the bottom of this article. I’d love to hear which quotes meant the most to you and why.

Furthermore, feel free to share favorites from your own collection, too. I’d love to see them!

Motivation Quotes for Cultivating the Right Mindset

The greatest discovery of my generation is that you can change your circumstances by changing your attitudes of mind.

—WILLIAM JAMES

Never cease chiseling your own statue.

—PLOTINUS

When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe. But that is not what great ships are built for.

—DR. CLARISSA ESTES

In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.

—MICHELANGELO

You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf.

—JON KABAT-ZINN

Be less concerned with what you have than with what you are.

—SOCRATES

If you have the power to change your body, you have the power to change your life.

—MICHAEL MATTHEWS

Bad men live that they may eat and drink, whereas good men eat and drink that they may live.

—SOCRATES

There are people who do not live their present life; it is as if they were preparing themselves, with all their zeal, to live some other life, but not this one. And while they do this, time goes by and is lost.

—ANTIPHON

I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies, for the hardest victory is over self.

—ARISTOTLE

Excellence is born of preparation, dedication, focus, and tenacity; compromise on any of these and you become average.

—JOHN CHATTERTON

Don’t sacrifice who you could be for who you are.

—DR. JORDAN B. PETERSON

Recommended Reading

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

Motivation Quotes for Setting Goals

Even if you fail at your ambitious thing, it’s very hard to fail completely. That’s the thing people don’t get.

—LARRY PAGE

Giving up on our long-term goals for immediate gratification, my friends, is procrastination.

—DAN ARIELY

Mental health is based on a certain degree of tension, the tension between what one has already achieved and what one still ought to accomplish, or the gap between what one is and what one should become. Such tension is inherent in the human being and therefore is indispensable . . . What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task.

—VICTOR FRANKL

I have always been contented, but I have never been satisfied.

—JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

—HOWARD THURMAN

So what you need is . . . confidence in yourself and the belief that you are on the right path, and not led astray by the many tracks which cross yours of people who are hopelessly lost, though some are wandering not far from the true path.

—SENECA

We who cut mere stones must always be envisioning cathedrals.

—QUARRY WORKER’S CREED

Recommended Reading

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J Schwartz

Motivation Quotes for Doing the Work

We are what we repeatedly do. Greatness, then, is not an act, but a habit.

— ARISTOTLE

Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.

—OSCAR WILDE

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

—THOMAS EDISON

A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.

—ANTHONY TROLLOPE

Seest thou a man diligent in his calling, he shall stand before Kings.

—PROVERBS 22:29

We do two things here. We work hard. And we win. The reason we win is that we work hard. So really, we only do one thing here. If you don’t want to work hard, don’t waste my time.

—BEN ROSENFIELD

You know that all things require work and that work might be quite difficult. But do you really understand? Do you have any idea just how much work there is going to be? Not work until you get your big break, not work until you make a name for yourself, but work, work, work, forever and ever.

—HENRY FORD

To know and not to do is not to know.

—WANG YANG MING

In the elder days of Art,

 Builders wrought with greatest care

Each minute and unseen part;

 For the Gods see everywhere.

—HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW

The best performers are not consistently great, but they are great at being consistent. They show up every day and they do the work.

—BRAD STULBERG

Lots of people want to be the noun without doing the verb.

—AUSTIN KLEON

To get what you want, you have to deserve what you want. The world is not yet a crazy enough place to reward a whole bunch of undeserving people. Slug it out one inch at a time, day by day. At the end of the day—if you live long enough—most people get what they deserve.

―CHARLIE MUNGER

Recommended Reading

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Motivation Quotes for Overcoming Obstacles

The value of a thing sometimes lies not in what one attains with it but in what one pays for it— what it costs us.

—FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

In this age, which believes that there is a shortcut to everything, the greatest lesson to be learned is that the most difficult way is, in the long run, the easiest.

—HENRY MILLER

The worst form of stress is an absence of stress, because the feeling that there is no life before death gives rise to a despairing feeling of emptiness in the face of the void.

—BORIS CYRULNIK

He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.

—BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

He who wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.

—EDMUND BURKE

Life is one long battle; we have to fight at every step; and Voltaire very rightly says that if we succeed, it is at the point of the sword, and that we die with the weapon in our hand.

—ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER

Don’t assume other people are smarter than you, or more talented than you, or more magic than you. Nobody knows anything. Everybody’s faking it.

—LEV GROSSMAN

Not dead. Can’t quit.

—RICHARD MACHOWICZ

‘Tis not in mortals to command success, but we’ll do more . . . we’ll deserve it.

—JOSEPH ADDISON

Show me a man who is not a slave! One is a slave to lust, another to greed, another to ambition, and all men are slaves to fear.

—SENECA

The common denominator of success—the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful—lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.

—ALBERT E.N. GRAY

It’s not the strongest species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.

—CHARLES DARWIN

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 strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; 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, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

—THEODORE ROOSEVELT

We all need something to struggle against and to struggle for. The aim in life is not to avoid struggles, but to have the right ones; not to avoid worry, but to care about the right things; not to live without fear, but to confront worthy fears with force and passion.

—ERIC GREITENS

There are many who find a good alibi far more attractive than an achievement.

—ERIC HOFFER

Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.

—JERZY GREGOREK

Recommended Reading

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

Motivation Quotes for Staying on Top

Not what we have, but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.

—EPICURUS

Heroes have the whole earth for their tomb . . . There is enshrined in every breast a record unwritten with no tablet to preserve it, except that of the heart.

—PERICLES

Let it be our pride that we ourselves may put meaning into our lives, and sometimes a significance that transcends death.

—WILL & ARIEL DURANT

The first thing which gods bestow on one they would annihilate is pride.

—THEOGNIS

It can ruin your life only if it ruins your character.

—MARCUS AURELIUS

It is not our memories but the person we have become because of those past experiences that we should treasure.

—MARIE KONDO

In pleasant peace and security, how quickly the soul in a man begins to die.

—THEODORE ROOSEVELT

Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.

—THOMAS EDISON

If you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough.

—MARIO ANDRETTI

Recommended Reading

Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

What did you think of these motivation quotes? Have any favorites of your own that you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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  • Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

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  • Daniel Murray

    If you can fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run, then your is the earth and everything in it- Rudyard Kipling

    • Daniel Murray

      ‘Your’ should be ‘yours’ 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • TalkItOver

    Boy! This article came along just when I needed a little kick! Thanks for all the great content on your site. 🙂

    Favorites:
    Be less concerned with what you have than with what you are. (Socrates)

    We who cut mere stones must always be envisioning cathedrals. (Quarry Workers Creed)

    Here’s one I also like: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” Norman Vincent Peale

  • Brandon Watson

    I am mind blown! This is a great article 🙂
    My favorites were:

    “If you have the power to change your body, you have the power to change your life.” 😉

    “I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies, for the hardest victory is over self.”

    “Don’t sacrifice who you could be for who you are.”

    “Let it be our pride that we ourselves may put meaning into our lives, and sometimes a significance that transcends death.”

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