35 Inspirational & Motivational Songs to Kickstart Your Day
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Looking for ways to get motivated?
In addition to reading this article on motivation, listening to the songs we’ve listed in this post can supercharge you to get things done and go the proverbial extra mile.
Music is a powerful force.
The right song can hit you with inspiration. It can make you move, take action, or vow to become a better person. Some songs have the power to unite people. Other songs compel us to see the beauty in the world.
Music changes how we see life.
(Side note: Listen to your first song of the day while staying up-to-date with the latest news from Wall St. to Silicon Valley. This newsletter is a 5-minute read that's informative, witty and FREE!)
Today, we are giving you 35 motivational songs that will give you a dose of inspiration to face the day ahead.
Let’s start updating your playlist.
What You Will Learn
- 1. Titanium, David Guetta featuring Sia
- 2. Dream On, Aerosmith
- 3. Don’t Stop Believin‘, Journey
- 4. Beautiful, Christina Aguilera
- 5. Don’t Worry Be Happy, Bobby McFerrin
- 6. Roar, Katy Perry
- 7. Hello Hurricane, Switchfoot
- 8. Fight Song, Rachel Platten
- 9. Lose Yourself, Eminem
- 10. Wavin’ Flag (Celebration Mix), K’naan
- 11. What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong
- 12. Walking on Sunshine, Katrina and the Waves
- 13. Three Little Birds, Bob Marley
- 14. Drive, Incubus
- 15. Livin’ on a Prayer, Bon Jovi
- 16. Born This Way, Lady Gaga
- 17. Just the Way You Are, Bruno Mars
- 18. It’s the Final Countdown, Europe
- 19. Survivor, Destiny’s Child featuring Da Brat
- 20. True Colors (Trolls OST), Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick
- 21. Imagine, John Lennon and Yoko Ono
- 22. Head Above Water, Avril Lavigne
- 23. Stronger, Kelly Clarkson
- 24. Brave, Sara Bareilles
- 25. Sky Full of Stars, Coldplay
- 26. Rise Up, Andra Day
- 27. Eye of the Tiger, Survivor
- 28. One Day, Matisyahu
- 29. Firework, Katy Perry
- 30. Whatever It Takes, Imagine Dragons
- 31. I’m Still Standing, Elton John
- 32. Pyramid, Charice/Jake Zyrus featuring Iyaz
- 33. When You Believe, Whitney Houston featuring Mariah Carey
- 34. So What, P!nk
- 35. Hands, Jewel Kilcher
- On a Final Note
1. Titanium, David Guetta featuring Sia
via David Guetta
“You shoot me down, but I won’t fall. I am titanium.”
This motivational song can help you get through a challenging and stressful day. You can sing along and actually scream the last line of the chorus to release those pent-up frustrations. Try it. You’ll feel better afterwards.
2. Dream On, Aerosmith
“Sing with me, sing for the years. Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears.”
When you’re struggling to make it through life’s challenges, this song motivates you to keep reaching for your dreams. Dream On is about looking at the past to see how far you’ve come in the present, and motivating you to work to achieve what you want for the future.
3. Don’t Stop Believin‘, Journey
“Don’t stop believin’, hold on.”
When you feel that success keeps eluding you, Journey’s inspirational song can help motivate you to hang in there and never stop believing in your dreams. The song was inspired by keyboardist Jonathan Cain’s own experience when he went to Hollywood to become a professional musician.
The boulevard in the lyrics refers to Sunset Boulevard, where people who dream of becoming actors often gathered on weekends.
4. Beautiful, Christina Aguilera
“I am beautiful in every single way. Words can’t bring me down.”
We often feel insecure about who we are. Sometimes we just want to stay home because we don’t feel beautiful enough to face the world.
This song from the early 2000s encourages you to express who you truly are inside, despite other people’s criticisms and negativity. The chorus can be your battle cry as you face the mirror every morning and learn to like what you see.
5. Don’t Worry Be Happy, Bobby McFerrin
“Don’t worry, be happy.”
Are you under too much stress lately? This song contains the greatest advice for anyone who is under a lot of pressure.
Listening to this song lifts your mood and makes you forget your troubles momentarily. It’s feel-good music. You’re likely to end up taking Bobby McFerrin’s advice to just be happy.
6. Roar, Katy Perry
via Katy Perry
“I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter. Dancing through the fire.”
When you’re feeling low or when things are not going as planned, you can choose to scream or just sing the chorus of this song.
Roar has references to Rocky III and Muhammad Ali (champions in their own rights). It’s about being able to get up and stay on top after experiencing setbacks.
7. Hello Hurricane, Switchfoot
“Hello hurricane, you’re not enough. Hello hurricane, you can’t silence my love.”
When the going gets rough, some people will throw in the towel. But this song is all about tenacity.
It is a reminder that there are forces powerful enough to withstand whatever challenges are standing in the way. Something new and beautiful can be rebuilt after chaos and destruction.
8. Fight Song, Rachel Platten
via Rachel Platten
“This is my fight song, take back my life song… I’ll play my fight song, and I don’t really care if no one else believes. ’Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.”
Having a rough time? This song could be the soundtrack to your life as you overcome each and every challenge standing in the way of your success. (To learn more what to do to achieve more, read these 12 rules for being successful in life.)
People who listen (and sing along) to this song feel empowered, and at the same time emotional.
9. Lose Yourself, Eminem
“You better lose yourself in the music, the moment. You own it, you better never let it go.”
This song tells us that when we’re given an opportunity, we are to seize it. We have to make it count.
Lose Yourself is a song of hope and not giving up. It reminds us that we all have the ability to achieve whatever we set out to do when we’re motivated enough. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2003.
10. Wavin’ Flag (Celebration Mix), K’naan
“When I get older, I will be stronger. They’ll call me freedom, just like a wavin’ flag.”
This song was originally K’naan’s tribute to the hopes and dreams of the Somali people. The song, however, became a uniting force after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and also when it was chosen by Coca-Cola as their promotional song for the 2019 FIFA World Cup.
The lyrics and the beat of the song inspire you to take action. This is one of those songs that stop procrastination in its tracks.
11. What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong
“And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”
This song is an antidote for when you’re having a hard time seeing the good in the world. It brings your focus back to things that you can be thankful for, no matter what kind of day you’re having.
Louis Armstrong released this song in 1967, one of the most politically charged periods in the United States. Perhaps it was intended to remind people to look beyond race and color and see how wonderful the world is instead.
12. Walking on Sunshine, Katrina and the Waves
“I’m walking on sunshine (wow!). And don’t it feel good!”
This song from the 1980’s makes you feel good. It’s light and fun. You’ll catch yourself humming the chorus throughout the day in a strong case of last song syndrome.
The band that made the song wasn’t really known to be a cheerful bunch. The song, however, gave listeners a shot of optimism and inspiration. That’s how it stands to this day.
13. Three Little Birds, Bob Marley
“Don’t worry about a thing, ’cause every little thing gonna be alright.”
Are you constantly plagued by anxious thoughts that sound like chattering monkeys in your head? Listening to this song can help you stay calm and keep anxiety at bay. (And if you frequently feel this emotion, then these 15 books on overcoming anxiety can help.)
The message gets through even in the midst of chaos. Yeah, things are gonna be alright.
14. Drive, Incubus
“Whatever tomorrow brings I’ll be there, with open arms and open eyes.”
All of us are afraid of something. The question is: How do you deal with your fears?
This song is inspiring because it tells us that there are two ways to face our fears: accepting them (open arms) and being mindful (open eyes).
15. Livin’ on a Prayer, Bon Jovi
via Bon Jovi
“Woah, livin’ on a prayer. Take my hand we’ll make it I swear.”
When you’re struggling to make ends meet, it often seems that a prayer is the only thing that helps you get by. This song carries a message of hope for those who are down and out.
The inspiration for the song came from band members Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora’s lives before they became famous.
16. Born This Way, Lady Gaga
via Lady Gaga
“Don’t hide yourself in regret, just love yourself and you’re set. I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way.”
Self-love and acceptance can be difficult for many people. However, compromising your self-expression for fear of what other people think only leads to unhappiness.
Most people who hear this song are empowered by its message. Today, it is an anthem for those who are on the road to self-discovery.
If you need ideas on how to become more loving toward yourself, check out this post for 13 ways to fearlessly love yourself more.
17. Just the Way You Are, Bruno Mars
via Bruno Mars
“You’re amazing just the way you are.”
Still on the subject of self-love, this song from Bruno Mars is a great motivator and reminder of how each of us possess qualities that make us unique. You don’t have to give in to the pressure of the beauty industry.
It really does not matter if you’re having a bad hair day, if your six-pack isn’t showing, or if you don’t have a commercial-worthy cascade of hair.
You are already amazing.
Just. The. Way. You. Are.
18. It’s the Final Countdown, Europe
“It’s the final countdown. The final countdown.”
Are deadlines looming close? Although this song refers to leaving this planet for outer space, the chorus works as an antidote to procrastination.
When you need that extra push to get things done, this song can do the trick. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for ways to manage your time, check out this post that introduces an effective time-management strategy known as the Pomodoro Technique.
19. Survivor, Destiny’s Child featuring Da Brat
via Destiny’s Child
“I’m a survivor, I’m gonna make it. I will survive, keep on surviving.”
It’s hump day at work. And on top of that, it isn’t really your day.
This song will help you get through everything.
20. True Colors (Trolls OST), Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick
“I see your true colors shining through. I see your true colors and that’s why I love you.”
This was originally sung by Cindy Lauper (see video here), and it has spawned numerous covers, including the latest one from the animated movie Trolls.
True Colors is about showing who we truly are. With the gentle melody, we are encouraged to get rid of self-hate. It’s time to celebrate our individuality.
21. Imagine, John Lennon and Yoko Ono
“Imagine all the people living life in peace.”
Are you tired of all the negativity that surrounds you every day? Then this song might be what you need.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s song contains powerful images of positivity. Through it, they invite the listeners to see a world where there are no divisions, no conflicts, and no selfishness.
22. Head Above Water, Avril Lavigne
via Avril Lavigne
“God, keep my head above water. Don’t let me drown, it gets harder.”
Avril Lavigne’s personal story as she battled Lyme disease (which halted her career for a couple of years) became the inspiration for this song.
If you’re searching for a song about resilience, faith, and surrender, this is perfect.
23. Stronger, Kelly Clarkson
via Kelly Clarkson
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stand a little taller.”
Is it hard for you to let go? You may have had a bad experience in the past, but that doesn’t define you.
Take the lessons from those experiences. You have the power to recreate who you are. Be a stronger, wiser version of yourself.
24. Brave, Sara Bareilles
“Say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out. I just wanna see you be brave.”
Standing up for something you believe in can be hard when you’re surrounded by detractors. Sometimes, you just want to hear someone supporting your choices and decisions.
This song does that.
25. Sky Full of Stars, Coldplay
“’Cause you’re a sky, you’re a sky full of stars.”
How often do people wish that others would accept them for who they are? Have you ever wondered that?
This song is all about unconditional love. It’s loving someone for who they are—flaws and all.
26. Rise Up, Andra Day
via Andra Day
“I’ll rise up, I’ll rise unafraid.”
This song has a strong message of perseverance. For many listeners, the lyrics give them hope and make them feel better.
It’s a great motivational song for doing what needs to be done despite the obstacles standing in your way.
27. Eye of the Tiger, Survivor
via Survivor Band
“Went the distance I’m not gonna stop. Just a man and his will to survive.”
Put the volume on full as you listen to this energizing song. You’ll feel the adrenaline pumping, ready to take on anything that stands on your way.
Perhaps the most popular motivational song of the 1980s and early 1990s, Eye of the Tiger was an original soundtrack for Rocky III. It’s a great addition to your playlist for the gym. (And if you want more inspiration from the Rocky franchise, then here are 5 motivational lessons from Rocky's speech to this son.)
28. One Day, Matisyahu
“Sometimes in my tears I drown, but I never let it get me down. So when negativity surrounds, I know someday it’ll all turn around…”
This song carries a lot of hopefulness. It promotes kindness, love, and peace.
When things are really difficult, this song puts things in perspective. We suffer, but we do not lose hope. Perhaps, one day, we’ll have lasting peace, both within ourselves and in the world.
29. Firework, Katy Perry
via Katy Perry
“’Cause baby you’re a firework, come on show ’em what you’re worth.”
Katy Perry appears in this list for the second time with another song about self-empowerment. She encourages all of us to “shine” and “own the night.”
This inspirational song was released in 2010, and was nominated for (and won) a number of music awards. Nearly a decade after its release, Firework remains one of the most inspiring and motivating songs of the 21st century.
30. Whatever It Takes, Imagine Dragons
“Whatever it takes, ’cause I love the adrenaline in my veins. I do what it takes.”
Are you embarking on a new project? This song is perfect for getting pumped up to get stuff crossed off from your to-do list. (If you don't have one, here are 13 to-do list app options and a tutorial on my favorite app Todoist.)
Whatever It Takes was voted MTV’s Best Music Video in 2018. It’s a great song to listen to while reading goal-setting affirmations to raise your motivation level.
31. I’m Still Standing, Elton John
via Elton John
“You know I’m still standing better than I ever did. Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid.”
You’ve probably been through a breakup, a job layoff, or a serious health crisis—but you’re still here. Still standing strong.
Life is going to give you some painful blows, but this inspirational song’s message is that you’ll be able to take them.
32. Pyramid, Charice/Jake Zyrus featuring Iyaz
“Pyramid, we built it on a solid rock. It feels just like it’s heaven’s touch. Together at the top, like a pyramid.”
If you’re in a relationship, you may have experienced some roller-coaster moments.
What relationship goals have you and your partner already achieved? This song can motivate you to work on strengthening your love for each other. That way, your relationship can withstand the challenges that couples are bound to face.
33. When You Believe, Whitney Houston featuring Mariah Carey
via Whitney Houston
“Who knows what miracles you can achieve. When you believe somehow you will.”
If things seem hopeless right now, hold on. Things will start looking up soon.
This song tells of the awesome power of faith—or believing in yourself, and also in a higher power that makes it possible for you to achieve things you may have never expected to do.
34. So What, P!nk
“So, so what? I’m still a rock star, I got my rock moves and I don’t need you.”
Having a hard day? Reeling after a breakup? P!nk’s song is full of swagger and rage, making it the perfect track to sing scream along with when you have no other outlet for your frustration.
This song had references to P!nk’s relationship with her husband Carey Hart. The song was conceptualized when she and her husband separated. P!nk and Carey eventually reconciled and had a daughter named Willow.
35. Hands, Jewel Kilcher
via Jewel Kilcher
“My hands are small, I know. But they’re not yours, they are my own…. In the end, only kindness matters.”
Whatever is going on in our lives, we have a choice to either wallow in misery or do something to overcome those obstacles. This song tells you that you cannot give up hope.
Jewel wrote the lyrics to this song when she was 18 and homeless. She needed to turn her life around, and did just that.
On a Final Note
They say that music is the universal language.
Perhaps you’ve already heard of someone saying that a certain song saved their life or motivated them to take action when they had been scared before.
Regardless of where you are in the world, music has the power to transform your thoughts and emotions.
We hope that the inspiring and motivational songs featured today will give you the drive to follow through with your commitments, help get things done, and energize your day.
Lastly, if you can’t get enough of motivational stuff, here are a few additional resources that you can check out on our website:
- 20 Motivational Books to Read This Year
- The 18 Top Motivational Speakers in the World
- 23 Motivational Podcasts You Should Listen To
- 24 Examples of Creating Intrinsic Motivation
- 21 Ways to Get Out of a Motivational Rut
Finally, one way to motivate yourself is to stay up-to-date with the latest news from Wall St. to Silicon Valley. This newsletter is a 5-minute read that's informative, witty and FREE.