32 Quotes to Help You Stay Motivated When You’re Feeling ‘Meh’

We’ve all had those days. You know, the days when you’re feeling unmotivated or lazy or just plain old “meh.” Sure, it happens, but when it does, we try to combat those negative feelings with a healthy dose of inspiration via 32 of the most badass women in history.

9 Women Share the Best Advice They’ve Gotten from Their Therapist During the Pandemic

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1. “Take things with a grain of salt and find balance within your life. On your lunch break, leave to go and get some fresh air. You don’t need to make your life your job. I have to find that balance for myself, as well...I think you have to make time for yourself so that work doesn’t become the end-all be-all.” –Meghan Markle

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2. “Fear is stupid. So are regrets.” – Marilyn Monroe

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3. “Cowards falter, but danger is often overcome by those who nobly dare.” – Queen Elizabeth II

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4. “I just love bossy women. I could be around them all day. To me, bossy is not a pejorative term at all. It means somebody’s passionate and engaged and ambitious and doesn’t mind learning.” – Amy Poehler

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5. “Don’t waste a minute not being happy. If one window closes, run to the next window—or break down a door.” – Brooke Shields

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6. “I’ve learned that you can always achieve more than you thought you could. There are moments when I’ve walked off the court, and I’m like, ‘I don’t know how I won that match.’ It was actually impossible, but it happened, and then you realize that you can push yourself much further than you ever thought, and you can make the impossible happen.” -Venus Williams

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7. “If you're offered a seat on a rocket ship, don't ask what seat. Just get on.” – Sheryl Sandberg

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8. “The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you’re very courageous: be strong, be extremely kind, and above all be humble.” -Serena Williams

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9. “Only do what your heart tells you.” -Princess Diana

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10. “I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong.” -Audrey Hepburn

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11. “Your mistakes are not what define you. What defines you is what you do after your mistakes and how you learn what is meant to be learned from those moments.” -Jennifer Lopez

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12. “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In stopping to think through the meaning of what I have learned, there is much that I believe intensely, much I am unsure of. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

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13. “I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.” -Maya Angelou

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14. “I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who’s deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends.” -Joan Didion

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

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16. “I think that what I have been truly searching for as a person, as a writer, as a thinker, as a daughter, is freedom. That is my mission. A sense of liberty, the liberty that comes not only from self-awareness but also from letting go of many things. Many things that weigh us down.” -Jhumpa Lahiri

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17. “I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life—and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” -Georgia O’Keefe

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18. “Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” – Oprah Winfrey

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19. “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” – Coco Chanel

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20. “I’ve never met a woman who is not strong. They don’t exist.” – Diane von Furstenberg

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21. “I raise up my voice not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” – Malala Yousafzai

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22. “Continue to embrace the things that make you unique even if it makes others uncomfortable. You are enough.” – Janelle Monáe

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23. “I’ve never felt like I needed to change. I’ve always thought, ‘If you want somebody different, pick somebody else.’” –Melissa McCarthy

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24. “It’s only when you risk failure that you discover things.” –Lupita Nyong’o

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25. “Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” – Mother Teresa

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26. “Don’t waste your energy trying to change opinions. ... Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.” —Tina Fey

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27. “Women have to take the time to focus on our mental health—take time for self, for the spiritual, without feeling guilty or selfish. The world will see you the way you see you, and treat you the way you treat yourself.” – Beyoncé

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28. “Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass lipstick.” – Gwyneth Paltrow

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29. “Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick and pull yourself together.” – Elizabeth Taylor

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30. “The more I like me, the less I want to pretend to be other people.” – Jamie Lee Curtis

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31. “I don’t look in the mirror and go, ‘Oh, I look fantastic!’ Of course I don’t. Nobody is perfect. I just don’t believe in perfection. But I do believe in saying, ‘This is who I am and look at me not being perfect!’ I’m proud of that.” – Kate Winslet

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32. “I’m pretty comfortable with my body. I’m imperfect. The imperfections are there. People are going to see them, but I take the view that you only live once." – Kate Hudson

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5 More Ways to Motivate Yourself

Just in case you need an extra boost, try one of these five techniques for feeling more motivated.

1. Become a Morning Person

We hear you—mornings are so not your thing. But according to a recent study in Health Psychology, it’s easier to form habits in the a.m., when cortisol levels are at their peak. So instead of trying to fit the gym in after work, get your heart rate up before work. Can barely drag yourself out of bed to get to the office on time? Try the Yoga Wake Up app, which you can literally do on top of your covers. (No excuses.)

2. Be Your Own Cheerleader

What goes hand in hand with feeling unmotivated? Negative thoughts. But the easiest way to turn things around is to tell yourself how great you’re doing. That’s according to a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, which found that cyclists who repeated positive phrases (like “you can do it”) when they hit the wall during a tough training session actually pedaled longer than those who didn’t. This “motivational self-talk” group also felt like they weren’t working as hard (even though their heart rate monitors indicated otherwise). But if the idea of talking about how awesome you are while on the treadmill feels, well, silly, don’t sweat it—saying a positive mantra in your head also does the trick.

3. Set Specific Goals

Let's say your dream is to run your own business. If you're starting from scratch, it sounds pretty daunting. So in order to make it happen, it’s all about baby steps, like creating a business plan and finding an accountant. According to the American Psychological Association, people who set out to achieve a few small, specific tasks are 90 percent more likely to achieve them than those who aim for a large, broader goal. So when you’re feeling overwhelmed, break down your goals into mini tasks. Just send that email and you’re one step closer. You’ve got this.

4. Believe in Yourself

It’s cheesy, but it’s true. People who think that they have a lot of willpower, do. In one study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers followed 153 college students over five weeks and found that those who believed that willpower was an abundant (rather than limited) resource were less likely to procrastinate, eat junk food and spend impulsively. Even their grades were better. Time to change your screen saver to one of the inspirational quotes above.

5. Try a Power Pose

You’re on three hours of sleep, you forgot your lunch and you’re a month overdue for a haircut. But even if you’re not feeling 100 percent, you can transform into Wonder Woman in one easy move. The trick? Power posing. It took off in 2012, with social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s now-famous TED Talk. According to Cuddy, standing or sitting a certain way, even for a few minutes, can raise testosterone levels and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Basically, how you position your body is closely linked to how badass you feel. Here are three poses that will make you look (and feel) more confident right this second.

sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...