What better time to focus on being our best selves than before the day has even begun?

In a recent interview with Scientific American, journalist and bestselling author of The Power of Meaning Emily Esfahani Smith argues that we ought to pursue "meaning" instead of happiness. During grad school, she was captivated by a growing body of research indicating that chasing happiness is problematic as it "can actually make people feel lonely and unhappy."

Esfahani Smith warns that our culture's "happiness frenzy" distracts us from what truly matters. "Human beings have a need for meaning. We’re creatures that seek meaning, make meaning, and yearn for meaning . . . The route to meaning lies in connecting and contributing to something bigger than yourself—and not in gratifying yourself and focusing on what you, yourself, need and want, as the happiness industry encourages us to do."

Many of us are already aware that a meaningful life leads to a deeper sense of contentment and peace. But how often do we wake up each morning inspired to actively pursue a life of meaning dedicated to something greater than ourselves?

When we wake up each day, we have two options: we can choose a purpose-driven life or not. Esfahani Smith notes, "Meaning is everywhere. It’s up to us to build it into our lives." Start out by beginning each morning with these five motivational quotes. They'll get you out of bed and on a more fulfilling foot every day of the week.

Monday

"This is your Monday morning reminder that you can handle whatever this week throws at you." —Unknown

This is not just another manic Monday. In fact, it doesn’t even need to be Monday for you to decide that this is your day. We all need a gentle daily reminder that we are capable of handling whatever may come our way today. This inspirational quote is yours.

Tuesday

“Every moment is a fresh beginning.” —T. S. Eliot

Compelling research from music psychology doctoral student David M. Greenberg indicates a strong link between uplifting music and our resilience and well-being. Greenberg and his researchers found that upbeat songs with positive lyrics or those that explicitly mention waking up or rising were especially beneficial to energizing one's body and mind. So don’t just wake up—rise up. Here’s our curated playlist to help you do just that.

Wednesday

“Happiness is not a station to arrive at but a manner of traveling.” —Margaret Lee Runbeck

As the old adage goes, “Wednesday’s child is full of woe,” and rightly so. For many of us, it's the middle of the typical workweek. It’s tempting to look at Wednesday as the toughest day of the week, but you needn’t look further than your bathroom mirror to find the strength to overcome hump day in a proactive and productive way. Choose to see the potential in yourself rather than focusing on your fatigue or pining for the weekend. A woman who is driven makes a world of difference.

Thursday

“You cannot always wait for the perfect time. Sometimes you must dare to jump.” —Unknown

When you wake up, fill yourself with thoughts that help you aspire for a day that makes you better—not perfect. When we let go of our perfectionism, we actually set ourselves up to have a more productive, more satisfying day. The challenge should be to open yourself up to opportunities that allow you to embrace your imperfections instead of waiting for "perfect."

Friday

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” —Diane Ackerman

It may be the end of the workweek, but it’s just the beginning of your weekend—your time to relax. Don’t confuse self-care with selfishness, though. Give your best until it’s time to clock out. Then resolve to make your time off a day of rest, not stress. You’ll honor all the hard work you put into your week while gearing up to rinse and repeat for the next one.

Waking up with a positive outlook is key to being happier and healthier. Apart from lowering rates of depression, having a positive outlook on life correlates with increased life span, greater resistance to the common cold, better coping skills, and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

While they may seem small, these inspirational quotes are just the beginning of a better and brighter day. Set each quote as the title of an alarm notification for each day. Or write them on a sticky note to place on your bathroom mirror or coffee machine. Keep embracing motivational thoughts that fill your life with meaning—they are small but mighty steps toward being the best version of yourself.

Photo Credit: Elissa Voss