16 Powerful Quotes to Unlock Change in the New Year

Change starts with just a thought. Check out these quotes from inspiring change makers throughout history.

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By Carolyn Sun

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During this time of year, many of us are thinking about the goals we want to achieve or the habits we want to start or stop. However, change is hard, and it can be a discouraging effort, particularly when we don’t get the results we want. However, the mere act of trying is a massive step forward. After all, change is an ongoing process, not a light switch.

So for all of you out there who want to make change in your lives, here are inspirational quotes about change from 17 incredible historic figures that will help keep you fired up.

Related: 20 Quotes on Coping With Change From Successful Entrepreneurs and Leaders



Prince Williams | Getty Images

Oprah Winfrey

"Step out of the history that is holding you back. Step into the new story you are willing to create.”

- Oprah Winfrey

Related: 15 Motivational Quotes From Legends in Sports

Marla Aufmuth | Getty Images

Sheryl Sandberg

“It is the hard days, the times that challenge you to your very core, that determine who you are.”

- Sheryl Sandberg

Related: Inspiring Quotes to Help You Get Through Your Work Day

Jean-Claude FRANCOLON | Gamma-Rapho | Getty Images

Mother Theresa

"I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples."

- Mother Teresa

Related: 50 Inspirational Entrepreneurial Quotes

Otto Herschan | Getty Images

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Related: 38 of the Most Inspirational Leadership Quotes

Larry Morris | Getty Images

Maya Angelou

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."

- Maya Angelou

Related: Fuel Your Drive With These Motivational Stories of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Oprah Winfrey

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Albert Einstein

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

- Albert Einstein

Related: 20 Quotes on Coping With Change From Successful Entrepreneurs and Leaders

Bettmann | Getty Images

Golda Meir

“Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.”

- Golda Meir

Related: Want to Inspire Your Team for Success? Check Out These 11 Quotes From World Series Champs.

Ray Fisher | The LIFE Images Collection | Getty Images

Estée Lauder

“I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it.”

- Estée Lauder

Related: 20 Motivational Quotes to Inspire Your Next Business Idea

Craig Sjodin | ABC | Getty Images

Dolly Parton

“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.”

- Dolly Parton

Related: Feel Like Quitting? These 9 Women Prove Grit Can Lead You to Massive Success.

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Mark Twain

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.”

- Mark Twain

Related: 10 Powerful Quotes From Oprah, 'The Queen of All Media'

Bettmann | Getty images

Norman Vincent Peale

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.”

- Norman Vincent Peale

Related: 10 Quotes from Daniel Lubetzky On Living a Kind Life

Jesse Grant | Getty Images

Shonda Rhimes

“You can waste your lives drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them.”

- Shonda Rhimes

Related: 8 LeBron James Quotes to Help You Find the King Within

Hulton Archive | Getty Images

Theodore Roosevelt

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”

- Theodore Roosevelt

Related: 8 Quotes From Shark Tank's Lori Greiner That Will Make You Proud to be An Entrepreneur

Ron Galella, Ltd | Getty Images

Erica Jong

“If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.”

- Erica Jong

Related: 9 Inspirational Quotes From Billionaire Entrepreneur Bill Gates

Herbert Dorfman | Corbis | Getty Images

Lucille Ball

“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.”

- Lucille Ball

Related: 50 Inspirational Quotes to Motivate You

Johnny Nunez | Getty Images

Michael Jordan

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

- Michael Jordan

Related: 50 Inspirational Quotes to Help You Achieve Your Goals
Carolyn Sun

Carolyn Sun is a freelance writer for Entrepreneur.com. Find out more on Twitter and Facebook


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