21 Motivational Podcasts to Add to Your Queue When You Need a Little Oomph in Your Day

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)
·8 mins read

These days, there’s a podcast about pretty much every topic you can imagine, from semi-cheesy romance novels to baseball cards. If you’re in the market for a show that’s going to provide you with a little inspiration, guidance and encouragement, look no further than these 21 motivational podcasts, all of which you can (and should) add to your queue immediately.

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1. ‘Happier with Gretchen Rubin’

It’s a sister act, but with quips, concrete suggestions and thoughtful commentary about ways to make your daily life happier. Author Gretchen Rubin (Oprah interviewed her about her best-selling book The Happiness Project) and her younger sis, TV writer Elizabeth Craft, ponder disparate attempts at manufacturing joy like de-cluttering, forgiveness and a kissing schedule. (Bonus, busy lady—every other episode is just two minutes long.)

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2. ‘Unlocking Us’

In this wide-ranging pod, researcher and New York Times best-selling author Brené Brown unpacks and explores the ideas, stories, experiences, books, films and music that reflect the universal experiences of being human, from the bravest moments to the most brokenhearted. A recent episode with Little Fires Everywhere author Celeste Ng, for example, covers the writing process, the stories that we tell, and the stories that define us in addition to how our hometowns shape us, how parenting is a shame minefield and how we all have the power to mourn moments even while we’re in them.

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3. ‘Black Girl in Om’

Black Girl in Om exists “to hold and heal black women and women of color around the world on their unique wellness journeys, mending us from the inside out.” During each episode, host Lauren Ash is joined by wellness and spirit-centered guests across various industries to talk about all things self-care and self-love, spiritual awakening, intergenerational healing and more.

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4. ‘Your Best Life with Anna Victoria’

Anna Victoria is the CEO and founder of the Fit Body app, a fitness influencer and a personal trainer. Now she's adding a new title to her already impressive resume: podcast host. What can you expect from each episode? Realistic inspiration. What we mean by that is, hearing Anna talk to her guests—including her husband, Luca Ferretti, with whom she just welcomed her first child—feels like you're chatting with friends. Anna and her guests provide insight into how to live your best life—even if you're still working on it (she acknowledges early on that we're all works in progress, after all).

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5. ‘Superwomen with Rebecca Minkoff’

Curious about the secrets behind some of the most successful women in the world? On this podcast, designer Rebecca Minkoff talks to women from all walks of life, from CEOs to artists, to reveal what life is like without the pretty filters in order to help you navigate what it means to be vulnerable, how loss can make you stronger, and other ways to make your inner superwoman shine.

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6. ‘Long Story Short with Bobbi Brown’

Beauty industry titan Bobbi Brown—who walked away from her namesake company in 2016 and hasn’t stopped going since—is giving a glimpse into the lives of influential people: how they got their start, what drives them and how they’re trying to make the world a better place. Tune into the first episode, where she sits down with Mickey Drexler, the former CEO and current chairman of J.Crew, to talk Steve Jobs, his humble beginnings and how to create iconic brands.

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7. ‘Where Should We Begin?’

Unlike Savage Lovecast or Dear Prudence (which are also great), Esther Perel’s podcast offers a glimpse into a couple’s relationship from both sides. Listen in on real, unscripted consultations of anonymous couples with the Belgian-born psychologist, whom you may remember from the 2015 TED Talk “Rethinking Infidelity.” Even if you’re not personally dealing with the same dysfunctions, hearing these couples work out their issues (or not) in this series can help anyone sympathize a little more with the loved ones in their lives.

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8. ‘Self Service with Jerico Mandybur’

Ready to use whatever tools you can get your hands on to feel at one with the universe? Explore the spiritual side of life with this “inner beauty school” in which the editorial director of Girlboss hosts guests like psychologists and healers who discuss soooo many modalities of self-care, from crystals to staying hydrated (also, drinking booze). Bonus: Every Sunday, hear your weekly horoscope.

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9. ‘The Science of Success’

As host J. Matthew Bodnar says, “If you want to become the best version of yourself and share what you truly have to offer with the world, then you’ve come to the right place.” Each episode of The Science of Success is about exploring ways to improve your decision-making, understand your mind and how psychology rules the world around you and learn from experts and thought leaders about ways we can become better versions of ourselves. Among the show’s expert guests are neuroscientists, psychologists, FBI hostage negotiators and more.

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10. ‘The Good Life Project’

Every week, this show shares inspirational, intimate and disarmingly unfiltered conversations about living a fully engaged, fiercely connected and purpose-drenched life. With guests like Elizabeth Gilbert, Bishop Michael Curry, Macy Gray and everyday, non-famous folks, it’s about helping you live a better life—no matter where you are right now.

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11. ‘Personal Best’

OK, it’s not all murder and scams. In this kooky “self-improvement show,” guests share something they wish they were better at—and the hosts devise bizarre ways to help them achieve said goals, to hilarious and heartwarming effect.

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12. ‘Ask a Clean Person’

Cleaning expert Jolie Kerr advises on simple tasks you haven’t yet mastered (like caring for your pricey denim or cleaning up after your dog) and things you’re simply too embarrassed to ask. No matter how tidy you keep your bathroom, you’ll undoubtedly pick up a tip or two from the listener questions on the weekly pod.

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13. ‘On Being with Krista Tippett’

Whether you’re a strict Shabbat observer or a lifelong atheist, you’ve probably ruminated on the human existence. That’s exactly what Krista Tippett, who was awarded the National Humanities Medal, explores on the Peabody-winning On Being. The weekly podcast features a wide-ranging array of guests to discuss the complexities of life, such as resilience after loss with Sheryl Sandberg.

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14. ‘Just One More’

Join writer/performer Joanna Shaw Flamm and personal trainer/nutrition counselor Daphnie Yang every Monday on Just One More for a real-time wellness chat for “people who still eat bread.” Besides offering tangible tips on topics like preventing and recovering from injuries, meal planning and grocery shopping, and staying healthy during business travel, the co-hosts touch upon more sensitive subjects, like couples’ therapy, body shaming and emotional eating.

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15. ‘How to Be Awesome at Your Job’

No matter whether you’re an intern or a CFO, there’s always room for improvement. Enter Pete Mockaitis, “trainer-in-chief” and host of How to Be Awesome at Your Job, where he chats several times a week with psychologists, consultants, venture capitalists and others to survive office politics, deal with difficult colleagues, supercharge productivity and more. Too busy killing it at work to listen to an episode? Just register for the Golden Nugget newsletter, which boils it down to the top takeaway from each interview.

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16. ‘Money Girl’

Overwhelmed by your student debt or trying to decide how to best save for your golden years? Check out Money Girl’s short and sweet episodes (usually between 20 and 30 minutes). Learn how to choose accounts for your retirement, figure out what getting a dog or a cat will actually cost you and spot warning signs of identity theft, among a plethora of other advice financial expert Laura Adams has been doling out in more than 500 (and counting) episodes.

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17. ‘Second Life’

If you’re into listening to inspiring women (like Instagram’s Eva Chen and reality-star-turned-entrepreneur Lauren Conrad) talk about the formative jobs and missteps that led them to realizing their dream career, then look no further. At the very least, it will distract you from your cousin’s humble brags about her company’s IPO.

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18. ‘Making Beyoncé’

As the saying goes, Beyoncé wasn’t built in a day. In Making Beyoncé, a three-part podcast series, WBEZ follows Queen Bey’s rise from Houston pop group Girls Tyme to international fame and acclaim.

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19. ‘The CMO Podcast’

As the former CMO of Procter and Gamble (aka the biggest marketer on earth), Jim Stengel knows a thing or two about what makes companies work. If you’re looking for motivation or in-depth tips on how entrepreneurs turn problems into solutions, The CMO Podcast has your name on it. We’re personally using it this Thanksgiving to lead a family conversation that gently explains why Apple’s brilliant marketing means we need those new ear pods.

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20. ‘Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations’

On her podcast, the media mogul welcomes commentators, celebs and authors (like Julia Roberts, Tina Turner and Thich Nhat Hanh) to talk about how you can become your best, most joyful self.

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21. ‘Planet Money’

What do declining oil prices mean for you? How is the “pink tax” still a thing? You’re wise, you’re driven and you want answers to practical questions—and tips on how best to achieve your goals. Planet Money uses dialogue and narrative to explain the ins and outs of the economy in a way that’s no-nonsense but still entertaining.

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