We all need a boost of inspiration and motivation every once and a while.
And what better way to lift your spirits than music!
Research shows that music can boost your mood, make you happier and reduce anxiety.
To help you find your motivational mojo, I’ve hand-selected the 35 most inspirational songs (with lyrics) to lift you up and get you firing on all cylinders.
Just remember, champ, you’re going to crush it!
Here we go:
This classic motivational anthem which was written during a difficult period in Destiny Child’s career has helped to inspire and motivate millions around the world.
“I’m a survivor / I’m not gonna give up / I’m not gonna stop / I’m gonna work harder.”
This one is packed with simple words of wisdom for when things go beyond your control (oh yes, those days will come).
“And when the broken-hearted people / Living in the world agree / There will be an answer / Let it be”
Skepta might be little known outside the UK, but his words certainly offer encouragement and strength to anyone, anywhere who seems to be facing the seemingly insurmountable.
“Whenever you feel like letting go / And you’ve got your back against the wall / Hold on, just hold on, cause you’re gonna take a few low blows”
There’s no better song to prepare ladies for big, scary life-events than this song. The inspiration for this song came after Alicia gave birth to her son. Nothing like a powerful, targeted inspirational piece to fill you with courage before taking that step.
“Oh, we got our feet on the ground / And we’re burning it down / Oh, got our head in the clouds / And we’re not coming down”
This list wouldn’t be the same without a bit of Eminem. This is the perfect song for when life is a boxing match and you are preparing yourself mentally to face it squarely.
“You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow / This opportunity comes once in a lifetime you better”
Inspired by the Great Depression, this chilled classic song features a Peter Gabriel’s description of absolute despair on one hand and Kate Bush’s solace-filled words of hope and encouragement.
“Don’t give up / ‘Cause you have friends / Don’t give up / You’re not beaten yet”
Forget the verses, this chorus of this song can be applied to those horrible situations where you have just been disappointed after putting your energy/resources into something that doesn’t work out. Plus it’s got a really catchy beat that you can dance to.
“If at first you don’t succeed (first you don’t succeed) / Dust yourself off, and try again”
The instantly recognizable opening sequence of this classic song is enough to pump you up and get you going. No wonder this was used as the theme track for Rocky III and later went on to become one of the biggest tracks of 1982.
“It’s the eye of the tiger / It’s the thrill of the fight / Rising up to the challenge of our rival”
Or “The Song for Change”, depending on how you look at it. If you find yourself at a crossroads in your life, needing the motivation to make a change, this is a song you might be able to relate to. Just ruminate on the lyrics:
“Everything’s changing around me / And I want to change too / It’s one thing I know / It ain’t cool being no fool”
One which you may have never heard, but when you do hear it, it sticks. This is a song for hustlers needing a bit of motivation to keep going.
“This is ten percent luck / Twenty percent skill / Fifteen percent concentrated power of will / Five percent pleasure / Fifty percent pain / And a hundred percent reason to remember the name”
Switchfoot is not a very popular band, but the title says it all. An upbeat, motivational tune guaranteed to get you hyped up and ready to face that hurricane that life is throwing your way.
“Hello hurricane / I’ve got doors and windows boarded up / All your dead end fury is not enough”
What better song to listen to when you’re feeling defeated and down on your luck? She might sing like a wounded lover (Rolling Stone’s words, not mine), but you certainly can’t help but feel the strength of her resolve as she powers through the chorus.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”
Simply put, here’s what Newsweek had to say about this song: “there’s such a thing as a breakout moment for a brand-new artist, where they come out of nowhere and all of a sudden everybody is singing this song,”. And it’s easy to see why
“This is my fight song / Take back my life song / Prove I’m alright song / My power’s turned on / Starting right now I’ll be strong / I’ll play my fight song / And I don’t really care if nobody else believes / ‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me”
This list would not be complete with the motivational, chilled out Stand Up Anthem from the musical legend, Bob Marley. Don’t be fooled by the laid-back beat, this words of this song are so poignant that it has survived to become one of the biggest Human Rights Anthems of our generation.
“Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights / Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight!”
This one is for the dreamers. This catchy little gem from the UK’s grime scene is as motivating as it is compelling. It might just be what you need to go out and chase that dream, work that extra hour on your project, apply for that funding, take that class.
“Dreams can come true for you / I know, I know / That I can make it”
15. Madonna – Jump
Empowerment is the theme of this techno track by the Queen of Pop. This is the musical equivalent of a push up the backside you might need to take that big step without fear.
“I haven’t got much time to waste / It’s time to make my way / I’m not afraid of what I’ll face / But I’m afraid to stay / I’m going down my road and I can make it alone / I’ll work and I’ll fight till I find a place of my own”
Nothing gives a finger to heartbreak and disappointment like this classic track which you can probably sing along to by heart.
“I will survive / Oh, as long as I know how to love I know I’ll stay alive / I’ve got all my life to live / I’ve got all my love to give.”
If Kanye West’s ‘Stronger’ doesn’t make you want to get on your feet, not much else will. This danceable rhythm coming from the king of overconfidence has some golden nuggets if you get lost in the beat.
“N-now th-that that don’t kill me / Can only make me stronger”
Life lesson from Sara Bareilles? Don’t be too afraid to say what you want to say. Don’t keep it all in – be brave and let the world know how you really feel. Now, go and ask for that raise that you deserve!
“Say what you wanna say / And let the words fall out / Honestly I wanna see you be brave”
This top ten Billboard pop single is the perfect anthem for living courageously through your fears and inhibitions. Spring in your step not included.
“Drench yourself in words unspoken / Live your life with arms wide open / Today is where your book begins / The rest is still unwritten”
Christina Aguiler’s aim in writing this song was to create an “emotionally rich and positive empowering” song, especially for women, in order for them to speak for themselves be strong. You go, girl!
“Made me learn a little bit faster / Made my skin a little bit thicker / Makes me that much smarter / So thanks for making me a fighter”
This catchy tune by the Irish band, The Script focuses on never giving up on your dreams. The perfectly balanced vocals and rhythm are the perfect recipe for that exact moment when you want to give up and do something else. Don’t give up!
“Standing in the hall of fame / And the world’s gonna know your name / Cause you burn with the brightest flame.”
If this doesn’t get you pumped up and ready to face negativity head on, I don’t know what will. You couldn’t ask for a most power-packed, passionate delivery of words from Eminem.
“I’m not afraid (I’m not afraid) / To take a stand (to take a stand) / Everybody (everybody) / Come take my hand (come take my hand)”
You’ve probably heard this song before, and like me, you might have thought the name was different. It is the musical equivalent of a warm cup of hot chocolate in the middle of a crisis. Just don’t worry.
“Singing’ don’t worry ’bout a thing / ‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright”
The beat might sound a bit mellow and chilled out, but don’t be fooled. This song is actually about winning in life, and here’s a fun fact : the title was taken from Scarface.
“Right now, hey / It’s your tomorrow / Right now, / C’mon, it’s everything”
This moving soundtrack from the movie, Selma, almost instills in you an ethereal feeling of hope and triumph when you listen.
“One day when the glory comes / It will be ours, it will be ours / Oh one day when the war is won / We will be sure, we will be sure”
This haunting melancholy tune describes insecurities before memorable, gospel-inflected chorus offers hope and encouragement.
“If you are what you say you are / A super star / Then have no fear the camera’s here and the microphone and they wanna know”
Let’s throwback to the 90’s when tops were cropped and trousers were flayed. This was the perfect tune to belt out to on a journey to somewhere you don’t really want to go.
“You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold / You gotta be wiser, you gotta be hard / You gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger”
Let’s slow down the tempo a little bit and draw from this easy-listening motivational anthem from the 90’s. The effortlessly graceful lyrics from the soothing voice of the lead singer will leave you feeling Lifted.
“When you’re close to tears remember / Someday it’ll all be over / One day we’re gonna get so high / Though it’s darker than December / What’s ahead is a different colour /One day we’re gonna get so high”
Put this on, yell the lyrics at the top of your voice because anything is possible, and this will encourage you to march on no matter what.
“There’s so many wars we fought / There’s so many things we’re not / But with what we have / I promise you that / We’re marching on”
A perfect mix of punk rock and as much motivation as you can muster in one song.
“I think we’re going somewhere / We’re on to something good here / Adversity, we get around it / Searched for joy, in you I found it”
If you’re trying to psych yourself to take a bold step and take a risk that could potentially turn your life around for the better this is the song to bellow out at the top of your lungs.
“It’s my life / It’s now or never / I ain’t gonna live forever / I just want to live while I’m alive”
“Anyway”, according to McBride was inspired by many things – a poem by Mother Teresa, real life, and the fact that we all face adversity in one way or another. The song is about hope, love, perseverance and, mostly, faith.
“You can chase a dream / That seems so out of reach / And you know it might not never come your way
Dream it anyway”
This ballad from the 1998 musical animated feature, The Prince of Egypt will leave you with so much drive and determination to believe in yourself.
“There can be miracles / When you believe / Though hope is frail / Its hard to kill”
You could probably listen to this ten times, and find a new nugget of pure genius motivational fire in the lyrics each time. Guaranteed to pump you up.
“Let it burn / You don’t say good luck / You say don’t give up”
We hope these 35 inspirational songs and lyrics helped motivate and inspire you to do great things and be better.
And please share your favorite inspirational songs in the comments below…