“Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.”

William Wordsworth

CHANGE. The word alone can send shivers down your spine. Your mind may start racing a mile a minute. A tug at the heartstrings squeezes your chest. Hell, even your soul begins stirring behind its bars of tissues and bones, itching to break free.

But why does the mere idea of tweaking our daily lives send us into fight-or-flight response? Answer: Humans are creatures of habit. And change is unknown (and scary) territory.

Whether a thrilling event (a move to a cool new city, a budding new relationship, a dream job accepted) or a tragic one (a divorce, a job loss, a death), unfamiliar routines produce stress — period.  Even a creative trial run (like starting a blog [hand raise from me here!] daring to learn an instrument at an older age, making a YouTube video) can feel like you’re jumping off a cliff to your reputation’s death. Just publishing this post has me crawling inside (is this cheesy content actually live on the worldwide web?! Gulp…)

But we always have the choice: to stay coiled up in the tangled and dark forest of fear we’ve been in for so long. . .or forge FORWARD towards the sunlight, stepping confidentially around and through the rocks and roots. No one (from Oprah to Obama) just snapped their fingers and were transported to some mystical mountaintop of success. You must pave your path slowly, steadily, daily — even when the trek gets tough. Someday you will look back and realize YOU changed your life for the better — one small step at a time. What a glorious view, indeed.

What will you do today to thank your future self? Start with these 8 quotes from trailblazers who walk (or walked) their talk. Then go forth and be GREAT!

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

          – Lao Tzu

My takeaway: Trust the journey. Make one small step forward to a goal every day to see BIG results one month (or 1-10 years from now).

“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”

          – Meister Eckhart

My takeaway: See the urge to change as an invitation. . .a happy dance of the soul. . .a date with creativity (where the chemistry is on fire).

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

           – Pablo Picasso

My takeaway: Every person starts out as a novice. Be open and bold enough to try new activities that call to you — for one may just become a lifelong passion.

“Your calling isn’t something that somebody can tell you about. It’s what you feel. It is the thing that gives you juice. The thing that you are supposed to do. And nobody can tell you what that is. You know it inside yourself.

          ― Oprah Winfrey

My takeaway: No one knows you better than you do. Trust your inner intuition and let it guide you to a life that lights you up — personally and/or professionally.

“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.”

          – Wayne Dyer

My takeaway: That niggle of potential within is never going to go away. Choose to explore your untapped potential, or choose to live with that inner restlessness.

“I’d finally come to understand what it had been: a yearning for a way out, when actually what I had wanted to find was a way in.”

          ― Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

My takeaway: Sometimes we believe an outer escape (from a location or relationship) will change how we feel. But the places or people we leave will not shake the unease; we can only find peace within ourselves.

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”

          – Muhammad Ali

My takeaway: Keep your eyes ahead to your main goals, and don’t let little setbacks or one “bad day” take you off your path to greatness.

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”

         Maya Angelou

My takeaway: Keep seeking to find your aligned “happy place”: that space inside where you feel cozy, safe, grounded. . .and 100% connected with yourself.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

          ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

My takeaway:  Unshackle yourself from societal norms (and social media) when you can. Time in the Great Outdoors allows us to tap into our inner nature — one to dream and think, without possessions or status.

“What you stop doing is just as important as what you start doing.”

          – Danielle LaPorte

My takeaway: The first step to reaching your goals is letting go of the negative habits (or people) holding you back. THEN you can fill your time up with positive/empowering activities.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”   

          – Mark Twain

My takeaway: Even just your commitment (and doing one tiny action a day to get you closer) makes you miles ahead of someone who never dares to try.

“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner — continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you — is a fine art, in and of itself.”

          ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

My takeaway: We each have beautiful hidden gifts inside us. Life is short — it’s worth it to be vulnerable and bring forth the unique creativity we have to offer.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

          – Confucius

My takeaway: Don’t focus on the pace or time of your achievements or steps   — the tortoise often wins the race.

“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”

          – Brené Brown   

My takeaway: Aim high, but make sure your goal-getting path is a healthy one.  Don’t let perfectionism (a people-pleasuring, shame-filled trail) stall you from moving forward (and enjoying) your growth process.

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

          – Robert Frost 

My takeaway: Be brave enough to be different and choose your own life choices — not the one thats that society, family, friends, enemies, or loved ones expect or tell you to choose.

Hope these words have inspired you! What motivational quote (on this list or elsewhere) has helped you keep on track with your goals? Feel free to share in the comments!


Hannah Fredenberg

I'm Hannah - happy to meet you! I live in the (frequently chilly) Midwest city of Milwaukee, yet keep a sunny disposition year-round. I’m a corporate copywriter by day, creative blog writer by night (or morning). I light up my life with writing, reading, running, yoga & soaking in the Great Outdoors as often as possible. I'm here to help YOU dig deep and uncover your real roots (who you authentically are) so you can start to align your inner & outer worlds -- one step at a time.


Shauna · July 8, 2017 at 10:02 pm

Absolutely loved this! I feel like you were talking to my soul:)

hfredenberg · July 10, 2017 at 1:24 am

Thanks, Shauna! Yes, I believe memorable words/quotes are just like seeds that can take root within us (for the better, hopefully). Then it’s up to us to continue tending to these beliefs/thoughts. . . so that they may eventually extend into our OUTER lives in order to be seen & shared. 🙂

“There is a secret garden where miracles and magic abound, and it’s available to anyone who makes the choice to visit there.” – Wayne Dyer, “I Can See Clearly Now”

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