February 11, 2014 | Emily Winsauer

Waning Willpower? 12 Motivational Quotes for Work

If you're like me, the second week of February is when you realize, yet again, that this is not the year you will become perfect.

Diets fall by the wayside, Tolstoy remains unopened on the bedside table, and that stack of papers on your desk is as entrenched as ever.

It can be especially hard to keep up with your resolutions at work, because there's always an oncoming flood of new tasks and projects that make it hard to forge new habits. When you're struggling to get everything done, it's so much more comfortable to stick to old patterns and focus on the work rather than spending time and energy trying to build a more efficient and effective workflow.

But don't give up! Change happens gradually. Building habits takes time, and falling off the wagon only hurts you if you don't get back on.

Click on any pin to view it on our Motivation & Inspiration Pinterest board:

"Fail better." - Samuel Beckett1. "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." - Samuel Beckett

We love this inspirational quote from writer Samuel Beckett, especially on days when new, exciting ideas aren't exactly working out as planned. Sometimes things don't succeed—but that doesn't mean they aren't laying the groundwork for other successes.






"Don't stop until you're proud."2. "Don't stop until you're proud."

Next time you finish something and think "This is good enough," stop and ask yourself if you're proud of it. If not, maybe you weren't finished after all!







"Be so good they can't ignore you." - Steve Martin3. "Be so good they can't ignore you." - Steve Martin

Don't feel like you're getting the recognition you deserve? Instead of dwelling on other people's responses to you, take The Jerk's advice and focus on getting even better. People will notice!







It always seems impossible until it is done.4. It always seems impossible until it is done.

Though it's originally from Nelson Mandela, I actually received this advice from a well-traveled friend before I moved overseas, and he was right! Jump in, and you'll see how strong you can be.







"The secret of getting ahead is getting started." - Agatha Christie5. "The secret of getting ahead is getting started." - Agatha Christie

Want to reach your goals? Success is no mystery (pun intended) - take the first step, and the second will be much easier.







Skills are cheap. Passion is priceless.6. "Skills are cheap. Passion is priceless." - Gary Vaynerchuk

If you're not familiar with Gary Vaynerchuk yet, you need to be! He's one of our all-time favorite marketing experts, and as you can probably see, he doesn't pull any punches. Take Gary's advice and don't undervalue your passion—you can always gain more skills, but you can't manufacture passion.






You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step 7. "You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sometimes—let's be honest, most times—you don't know where that first step will take you. All you can do is point yourself in the right direction and get started!







"Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams." - Ralph Waldo Emerson8. "Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Simply avoiding problems can keep you frantically running in circles. You need to have a destination in order to get there!







A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.9. A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.

This English proverb is probably my favorite quote on this list. The skills I've gained during the hardest times of my life are the most valuable, and I'm guessing the same is true for you. During rough patches, remind yourself that you're getting better at handling problems, even if it doesn't feel like it.






Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor. - Anne Lamott10. "Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor." - Anne Lamott

In her famous book Bird by Bird, author Anne Lamott wrote "I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”

So keep your head up, and do your best work—it was never going to be perfect anyway! 



Achievement is talent plus preparation.11. "Achievement is talent plus preparation." - Malcolm Gladwell.

Talent may open the door, but hard work carries you through it!

In fact, in the passage we pulled this from in Gladwell's book Outliers, he continues on to explain that "the closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger the role preparation seems to play."

So if you don't consider yourself innately talented, don't worry—you can still achieve with the best of 'em!  



I never finish anyth...12. I never finish anyth...

It happens. Things don't always get done. Your sense of humor can be your best coping tool!






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Emily Winsauer

Emily Winsauer

As VIEO's content director, Emily Winsauer was responsible for content strategy for VIEO and our clients for over 5 years. She recently moved to Seattle where she's still creating compelling content in her new role.

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