53+ Inspiring Quotes About Change

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Kelly Jensen


Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

While the end of the year often brings about the desire to improve something in one’s life come the new year, the reality is the desire for change can happen any time. Perhaps the new year is when you’ll set a lofty reading goal or you’ll reevaluate your career ambitions somewhere in the second quarter. Whatever the case, one place to begin to get in the mindset is to explore inspiring quotes about change.

Whether you use these inspiring quotes about change in your bullet journal, on your vision board, or as a daily mantra to yourself, they’re sure to help you find that mindset for whatever it is you’re seeking.

Find below a wealth of quotes about change that highlight how many different ways change can look, feel, and manifest. All are by authors from works of fiction and nonfiction (or from their personal journals, memoirs, or other similar works).

Be ready to be inspired.

53+ Inspiring Quotes About Change

1. “What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.” —Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now

2. “Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” —Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

3. “We are not trapped or locked up in these bones. No, no. We are free to change. And love changes us. And if we can love one another, we can break open the sky.” —Walter Mosley, Blue Light

“All that you touch you Change. All that you Change Changes you. The only lasting truth is Change. God is Change.” — Octavia Butler quote print.

4. “And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.” —Libba Bray, The Sweet Far Thing

5. “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” —Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

6. “Believe something and the Universe is on its way to being changed. Because you’ve changed, by believing. Once you’ve changed, other things start to follow. Isn’t that the way it works?” —Diane Dune, So You Want To Be a Wizard

7. “I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.” —Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point

8. “Our life is made up of time; our days are measured in hours, our pay measured by those hours, our knowledge is measured by years. We grab a few quick minutes in our busy day to have a coffee break. We rush back to our desks, we watch the clock, we live by appointments. And yet your time eventually runs out and you wonder in your heart of hearts if those seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and decades were being spent the best way they possibly could. In other words, if you could change anything, would you?” —Cecelia Ahern, Love Rosie

9. “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” —Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala

10. “Right now I want a word that describes the feeling that you get—a cold sick feeling, deep down inside—when you know something is happening that will change you, and you don’t want it to, but you can’t stop it. And you know, for the first time, for the very first time, that there will now be a before and an after, a was and a will be. And that you will never again quite be the same person you were.” —Jennifer Donnelly, A Northern Light

“You write in order to change the world. If you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it.” — James Baldwin quote print.

11. ““You tried to change didn’t you?
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him travelling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do love
split his head open?
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.” —Warsan Shire

12. “You’re always you, and that don’t change, and you’re always changing, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” —Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

13. “Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” —Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

14. “The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surrounding.” —Kakuzo Okakura, The Book of Tea

15. “Think progress, not perfection. Under this kind of force, obstacles break apart. They have no choice. Since you’re going around them or making them irrelevant, there is nothing for them to resist.” —Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is The Way

16. “We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.” —Anaïs Nin

“You have to make a little noise to change the world” sticker.

17. “You cannot change what you are, only what you do.” —Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass

18. “And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be are full of trees
and changing leaves.” —Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse

19. “What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over.” —Marina Keegan, The Opposite of Loneliness

20. “The changes we dread most may contain our salvation.” —Barbara Kingsolver, Small Wonder

21. “It was wise enough to know itself, and brave enough to BE itself, and wild enough to change itself while somehow staying altogether true.” —Patrick Rothfuss, The Slow Regard of Silent Things

22. “Awareness is the greatest agent for change.” —Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

Print of JRR Tolkien quote: “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”

23. “fluxn.

The natural state. Our moods change. Our lives change. Our feelings for each other change. Our bearings change. The song changes. The air changes. The temperature of the shower changes.
Accept this. We must accept this.” —David Levithan, The Lover’s Dictionary

24. “The willingness to show up changes us, It makes us a little braver each time.” —Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

25. “The likelihood that your acts of resistance cannot stop the injustice does not exempt you from acting in what you sincerely and reflectively hold to be the best interests of your community.” —Susan Sontag, At The Same Time: Essays and Speeches

26. “You almost have to step outside yourself and look at you as if you were someone else you really care about and really want to protect. Would you let someone take advantage of that person? Would you let someone use that person you really care about? Or would you speak up for them? If it was someone else you care about, you’d say something. I know you would. Okay, now put yourself back in that body. That person is you. Stand up and tell ’em, ‘Enough!’” —Queen Latifah, Put On Your Crown

27. “We can’t have change without loss, which is why so often people say they want change but nonetheless stay exactly the same.” —Lori Gottleib, Maybe You Should Talk To Someone

28. “You can’t predict the future. It turns out that you can’t predict the past either. Time moves in both directions—forward and backward—and what happens here and now changes them both.” —Nicola Yoon, Everything Everything.

Print of quote “nothing changes if nothing changes.”

29. “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” —Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

30. “Life is not always perfect. Like a road, it has many bends, ups and down, but that’s its beauty.” —Amit Ray, World Peace: The Voice of a Mountain Bird

31. “If you’re serious about changing your life, you’ll find a way. If you’re not, you’ll find an excuse.” —Jen Sincero, You Are A Badass

32. “Change might not be fast and it isn’t always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.” —Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit

33. “When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. You’re able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open. And you notice when you get caught up in prejudice, bias, and aggression. You develop an enthusiasm for no longer watering those negative seeds, from now until the day you die. And, you begin to think of your life as offering endless opportunities to start to do things differently.” —Pema Chödrön, Practicing Peace in Times of War

34. “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” —Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

35. “I wanted the past to go away, I wanted
to leave it, like another country; I wanted
my life to close, and open
like a hinge, like a wing, like the part of the song
where it falls
down over the rocks: an explosion, a discovery;
I wanted
to hurry into the work of my life; I wanted to know,

whoever I was, I was

for a little while.” —Mary Oliver, Dream Work

36. “Change is hardest at the beginning, messiest in the middle and best at the end” —Robin Sharma, The Leader Who Had No Title

Digital quote print of Barack Obama quote, “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.”

37. “Whether we change our lives or do nothing, we have responded. To do nothing is to do something.” —Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals

38. “There are times in our lives when we have to realize our past is precisely what it is, and we cannot change it. But we can change the story we tell ourselves about it, and by doing that, we can change the future.” —Eleanor Brown, The Weird Sisters

39. “But there is one thing you must remember, if you forget all else. There is no good or evil, save in the way you see the world. There is no dark or light save in your own vision. All changes in the blink of an eyelid; yet all remains the same.” —Juliette Marillier, Daughter of the Forest

40. “If nothing ever changed, there would be no such things as butterflies.” —Wendy Maas, The Candymakers

41. “If you really want things to change, you can make them change no matter where you are.” —Hannah Harrington, Saving June

42. “Some changes happen deep down inside of you. And the truth is, only you know about them. Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be.” —Judy Blume, Tiger Eyes

Quote T-shirt reading “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time,” said by Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

43. “There must be a few times in life when you stand at a precipice of a decision. When you know there will forever be a Before and an After…I knew there would be no turning back if I designated this moment as my own Prime Meridian from which everything else would be measured.” —Justina Chen, North of Beautiful

44. “Don’t worry about wanting to change; start worrying when you don’t feel like changing anymore. And in the meantime, enjoy every version of yourself you ever meet, because not everybody who discovers their true identity likes what they find.” —Antony John, Five Flavors of Dumb

45. “When we identify where our privilege intersects with somebody else’s oppression, we’ll find our opportunities to make real change.” —Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race

46. “If you remember nothing else, remember this: Inspiration from outside one’s self is like the heat in an oven. It makes passable Bath buns. But inspiration from within is like a volcano: It changes the face of the world.” —Alan Bradley, The Weed That Strings The Hangman’s Bag

47. “What matters is not to know the world but to change it.” —Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks

48. “You can’t change how other people think and act, but you’re in full control of you. When it comes down to it, the only question that matters is this: If nothing in the world ever changes, what type of man are you gonna be?” —Nic Stone, Dear Martin

49. “Some people will always fear change. But we can’t indulge them.” —Veronica Roth, Allegiant

Digital print of CS Lewis quote, “You can’t go back and change the ending but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

50. “Time only moves in one direction. Remember that. Things always change.” —Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist

51. “As wave is driven by wave
And each, pursued, pursues the wave ahead,
So time flies on and follows, flies, and follows,
Always, for ever and new. What was before
Is left behind; what never was is now;
And every passing moment is renewed.” —Ovid, Metamorphoses

52. “We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming—well, that’s like saying you can never change your fate.” -—Amy Tan, The Hundred Secret Senses

53. “I don’t believe in failure, because simply by saying you’ve failed, you’ve admitted you attempted. And anyone who attempts is not a failure. Those who truly fail in my eyes are the ones who never try at all. The ones who sit on the couch and whine and moan and wait for the world to change for them.” —Sarah Dessen, Keeping The Moon

Love these inspiring quotes about change? You’ll want to dig into even more literary change quotes, as well as these quotes about new beginnings.