Four years ago, I listened to my very first podcast episode.
At the time, I thought the format was a bit weird — it’s like radio but… I can listen to it whenever I want? Nonetheless, I quickly fell in love with it and haven’t looked back since.
Over the past six or seven years, podcasting has exploded and become a household term. Whether it’s a podcast hosted by your favorite celebrity like Alec Baldwin or Anna Faris or a serial like the wildly popular Making a Murderer, there’s something for everyone.
But where I’ve found the most value in podcasts is as a vehicle for change. With everything else going on in my life I find it hard to manage fitting in time for both professional and self-improvement. However, podcasts allow me to do that in the most efficient way possible: while I’m on the move.
Whether I’m driving, traveling, cleaning, running, grocery shopping, or doing any other assortment of errands, I can listen to a podcast (often more than one episode), get a ton of value crammed into the in-between time where I otherwise wouldn’t be doing anything productive in particular, and motivated to do more in my own life.
There are a lot of amazing podcasts out there but iTunes and Spotify don’t exactly make it easy to find them. Also, there are a lot of different ways you might want to work on yourself depending on your goals.
With that in mind, we’ve crafted a list of the best motivational podcasts available in several categories including:
- Health and fitness
- Happiness and well-being
- Performance, productivity & life hacks
- Entrepreneurship and leadership
So, whether you’re looking to work on a single category or find something to help you work on every area of your life, below you’ll find a podcast for everything.
Health & Fitness
Interested in refining your body and mind? Want to change your diet or get fit? Below are three outstanding podcasts that will help you do that.
Bulletproof Radio is one of the most unique podcasts on this list and one that doesn’t have much competition on iTunes.
The podcast could be organized into several categories on this list because, for host Dave Asprey of the Bulletproof brand, it’s all about gaining a complete understanding of how the mind and body work in tandem to maximize its capability.
Asprey talks about cutting-edge supplements, workout equipment and exercises, and interviews top experts in everything from biochemistry to medicine. If your goal is the master your health but with a specific mind towards performance, it’s one of the best and will really motivate you to get moving.
If you’re looking for a single podcast to subscribe to that covers the full range of possible health and fitness-related topics, this is the best there is. Dr. Hyman is smart and easy to understand and makes things relevant to everyday life.
Nutrition Diva is a podcast hosted by self-proclaimed “nutrition diva” herself Monica Reinagel that’s all about, well, nutrition and healthy eating as you might expect. If you’re looking for a strictly nutrition-based podcast, this is one of the best.
But what’s really great about this podcast is Reinagel’s short, bite-sized format. Each episode is just ten to fifteen minutes long and targets a specific nutrition topic such as whether the natural fructose in fruit is really bad for you like artificial sugar is and how much Omega-6 our bodies need.
If you’re a busy person and you’re looking for podcasts to improve your health and fitness, this can fit the diet/nutrition slot perfectly.
Happiness & Well-Being
Looking to reduce stress and anxiety, navigate life’s challenges better, or bring a little more joy into your life? These are the podcasts to help you do that.
10% Happier with Dan Harris
10% Happier is, at its core, a meditation podcast. It’s leagues better than virtually any other podcast of its kind available for several reasons and can teach you a lot about how to become happier, whether you’ve tried meditation already or not.
The podcast is primarily an interview show through the lens of exploring the meditation practices of the various interviewees and, in some rare cases, their spiritual beliefs. The guest list includes everyone from meditation experts and spiritual teachers to T.V. execs, producers, actors and actresses, entrepreneurs, and everything in between.
However, what really makes this podcast special is the fact that it’s hosted by ABC Nightline news anchor Dan Harris, who was once a devout skeptic of meditation (and very much still is a skeptic in a general sense by nature), making it incredibly interesting and full of value.
Harris is inquisitive, curious, and critical while being fair and open-minded at the same time. It creates for a wonderfully valuable and entertaining format that will teach you more about what it takes to truly be happier than virtually any other show out today, audio or visual alike.
Ram Dass Here and Now
For the past several decades, Ram Dass has been teaching in the states what he learned decades ago when he and many others traveled to India during the ’70s and since applied in his own life. This podcast is a collection of his recorded talks from various events over that time.
Part of what’s great about Ram Dass is that he doesn’t come off as some transcendental guru who you’re not sure you can trust. Instead, he’s a regular guy who talks in terms of daily life and its challenges and he’s a master at placing things in perspective and then offering simple, relevant wisdom.
If you’re looking for a podcast where you can delve deep into the mind and what happiness really is while miraculously staying grounded (often with a good bit of storytelling), Ram Dass’ Here and Now is what you need.
Happier with Gretchen Rubin
Similar to 10% Happier but in an entirely different way, Happier with Gretchen Rubin is more discerning and experimental in nature, being almost scientific about happiness.
The podcast follows former New York City lawyer turned bestselling author and happiness expert Gretchen Rubin and her sister, writer and producer Elizabeth Craft, as they break down topics such as mental reframing, habits, and general life wisdom in both a smart and entertaining way.
If you’re interested in learning how to navigate the challenges of daily life and become happier from a more scientific perspective, you’ll love this.
Performance, Productivity & Life Hacks
If the name of the game is honing your mind and maximizing your performance, below are the best podcasts for helping you do it.
The Tim Ferriss Show
If your goal is to master yourself — your process, your craft, your life — this is one of the best podcasts to help you do it.
The interviewees are high-profile and incredibly diverse, from actor and entertainer Jamie Foxx to meditation expert Tara Brach, director James Cameron, entrepreneur Richard Branson, and actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
But what really makes this podcast special is Tim Ferriss himself who is incredibly passionate about helping others become world-class performers. Ferriss is both an exceptional interviewer and thoughtful about who he has on the show, what he discusses, and is very open to talking about his own life and process as it pertains to his performance.
The Tony Robbins Podcast
Like The Tim Ferriss Show, The Tony Robbins Podcast is an interview show. However, the format is much different and less welcoming.
That said, what it lacks is made up for in large part by the quality and diversity of guests and the fact that it gives you the opportunity to hear from renowned performance coach Tony Robbins without having to pay to attend one of his events, even if it’s just for a short time.
If your focus is improving your performance, this podcast is right behind the Tim Ferriss Show and a welcomed addition.
Optimal Living Daily
Optimal Living Daily is the most unique of the podcasts in this section by far. The concept is ridiculously simple but you’ll quickly find the value you get from it to be on par with virtually any other podcast available in this category.
There are no live conversations, but rather, host Justin Malik reads the work of popular bloggers such as Ramit Sethi, Leo Babauta, and James Altucher on the topics of productivity, happiness, mindset, and finance among others.
It at first might sound like an odd format, however, if you’ve ever experienced the value of audiobooks, it offers much the same feel but in more bite-sized chunks and with varied topics.
If you’d prefer a more structured podcast with short, value-packed episodes (typically less than ten minutes long), you won’t regret giving Optimal Living Daily a listen.
We’re social creatures, so the better you are at navigating your relationships, the better your life will be as a whole.
If you’re looking to motivate yourself to create change in your intimate relationship, better navigate family life, or get along better with colleagues in the workplace, there’s something here for you.
Rise Together Podcast
I love the Rise Together Podcast because it’s the perfect mix of relationship advice, motivation, and performance improvement.
The podcast follows hosts Rachel and Dave Hollis’ as they work together as a couple to become the best versions of themselves and talk about how you can do the same. Episodes include topics such as: Let’s Talk about Sex Baby, 5 Ways to Show Up For Your Partner (Rachel’s Perspective), and Why Hard Conversations Are Key To Building An Exceptional Relationship.
If you’re looking for a podcast that motivates you to improve your life with your partner, you won’t find a better fit than this.
Anna Faris is Unqualified
Comedian Anna Faris is the most unlikely of hosts in this relationship podcast. But she’s so awesome.
Anna Faris is Unqualified is unique among relationship podcasts because she, along with cohost Sim, interview celebrities about their own relationships: both the ups and the downs, including everyone from David Spade to Kelly Ripa, Topher Grace, and Kat Dennings.
Along the way, Faris offers her own brand of wisdom and makes you laugh through the entire ride. It’s less potent compared to a podcast like the Rise Together Podcast, however, it’s easier to get engrossed in episodes and you end up coming away with a really valuable and diverse collection of insights from all different people.
Dr. Laura Call of the Day
Take a good scroll through iTunes and you’ll notice something after a while: intimate relationships aside, there aren’t many podcasts for navigating relationships in a general sense (and even then, it’s hard finding good podcasts on intimate relationships that aren’t just about sex). Dr. Laura fits that bill like a glove and then some.
Dr. Laura has one of the longest-running relationship-centric podcasts on iTunes (and her radio show has been running for more than thirty years) with several hundred episodes. The great part about the podcast is each episode is centered around a question, so you can peruse the list of episodes for questions relevant to things you’re interested in endlessly.
Entrepreneurship & Leadership
Whether you’re solopreneur, you have a team, or you’re simply in a leadership position and you’re navigating the challenges that come with those positions, the podcasts below are perfect for helping tease the best out from yourself.
I’ve watched my fair share motivational videos, listened to podcasts, and watched speeches, but few even come close to the power of retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink.
Jocko has a way of immediately placing your life in perspective and wiping away all excuses in an instant. He takes no BS from himself and his perspective will very quickly rub off onto you as well.
Plus, Jocko and director Echo Charles tackle some really intense topics, the kind of things very few people are talking about, so it’s simultaneously enlightening and informative.
The GaryVee Audio Experience
Similar to Jocko, Gary Vaynerchuk doesn’t take crap and will offer consistent wake-up calls. However, where Gary differs is in his talks being more entrepreneurial in nature and specific to business, so the two together actually offer a nice mix.
Gary V. is also a master at staying ahead of social media and general digital marketing trends, making him an ideal person to follow as a business owner or thought leader who needs to make sure they’re staying relevant in a rapidly changing world.
The MFCEO Project
MFCEO stands for m*ther f*cking CEO and, if the name of the podcast is any indication, it’s intense.
Similar to the other podcasts in this section, host Andy Frisella, a successful entrepreneur in his own right, will motivate you to take action even when you’ve got nothing in the tank.
Frisella has regular guests hosts and discusses a whole range of topics such as mindset, communication skills, motivation, confidence, and productivity, making it a great all-in-one podcast if you’re looking for entrepreneurial, leadership, and self-improvement advice.