Listen Up: The 6 Best Podcasts to Help You Win at Life

Sophie Miura

Whether you’re dealing with rejection or can’t seem to master a mounting to-do list, there’s rarely a day when expert advice would lead you astray. Wish you could tap into a team of therapists, life coaches, and career specialists? You can. We’ve found six winning podcasts to help you ace life’s little challenges; think of it as bite-sized mentorship on the go. Download these handy episodes for practical advice to slay any challenge.

Podcast Prescription: “Goals” by Beyond the To-Do List

It’s been three months since you’ve penned your New Year’s resolutions—did you succeed? It’s time to revisit those optimistic goals and consider how to put them in place this year. Podcast host Michael Hyatt talks about how to make better plans, and why it’s vital to keep dreaming.

If You Only Learn One Thing: Don’t go public with your goals. “Psychologists have shown that when we state a goal publicly it has the same psychological satisfaction as if we have accomplished it. So it actually works against us,” Hyatt explains. Instead, tell your plans to a select few. “Share it with the people who will hold our feet to the fire and encourage us.”

Podcast Prescription: "Productivity Tricks" by The Tim Ferriss Show

If you’ve got a to-do list that never seems to diminish, this is your new go-to. Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, charts one easy method to get on top of your tasks. Listen to this simple, step-by-step during your commute and action it when you arrive in the office. 

If You Only Learn One Thing: Try this productivity hack: “Wake up an hour before you have to be at a computer screen … and write down three to five things that are making you most uncomfortable. They’re often the things you punt from one to-do list to another,” says Ferriss. Next, ask yourself, If this is the only task you complete today, would you feel satisfied? And Is this task a force multiplier?” meaning will it make all other tasks irrelevant or easier to do? According to Ferris, if you answered yes to any of the questions above, then those tasks are the ones you should focus on first. Designate at least an hour to each, and channel your attention on one at a time; don’t multitask.

Podcast Prescription: “Why We All Need to Practice Emotional First Aid” by TEDTalks

Experiencing failure or rejection at some stage of our life is inevitable, but in this TED Talk, psychologist Guy Winch explains that the way you respond makes all the difference. “We all have a default set of feelings and beliefs that get triggered when we experience frustrations and setbacks,” he explains. “Are you aware of how your mind reacts to failure? You need to be.”

If You Only Learn One Thing: Practice emotional first aid. Winch explains that people who train their minds to respond positively and proactively to setbacks are more likely to succeed.“When you get rejected, the first thing you should do is revive your self-esteem, not join fight club and beat it into a pulp. When you’re in emotional pain, treat yourself with the same compassion as a best friend.” It might sound simple, but Winch explains that few people focus on changing their inner dialogue. “That’s why so many people function below their potential.”

Podcast Prescription: “How to Consciously End a Relationship in a Healthy Way” by The School of Greatness

Whether you’re going through a breakup or are fighting with a toxic friend, there comes a time when we need to end a relationship amicably. Tune in to this episode for super-practical advice from marriage therapist Katherine Woodward Thomas, author of Calling the One. “I have seen the most high-level, advanced spiritual people make a mess of the end of a relationship. We just don’t know how to navigate it,” she says. 

If You Only Learn One Thing: Just because a relationship has come to an end doesn’t mean it was a failure. Woodward Thomas says getting out of this mind-set is key. She dubs this final stage “conscious completion,” where both people decide the best move is bringing their history to an end in the most compassionate way (yes, Gwyneth Paltrow might have tuned into this podcast, too). Try her simple technique, called “affect labelling.” Take a moment to think about the scope of your emotions. Try to articulate each feeling and write it down. According to Woodward Thomas, research shows that “when we have a name for the experience we’re having, we don’t get as overwhelmed.”

Podcast Prescription:A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit” by TEDTalks

According to psychiatrist Judson Brewer, breaking a bad habit is easier than you might think. Brewer explores the link between mindfulness and addiction and came up with simple ways to change your behavior—for good. One of which is to actively focus your attention on the triggers. He says mindfulness is all about “seeing clearly what [happens] when [we get] caught up in our behavior, becoming disenchanted, and from this stance naturally letting [the bad habit] go,” he explains. “That’s not to say poof, magically we quit smoking, but over time, as we learn to clearly see the results of our actions, we let go of old habits and form new ones.”

If You Only Learn One Thing: Your mind is powerful, and learning to channel your thoughts can help overcome big obstacles. If you need to change a habit, be it your penchant for five coffees a day or reaching for chocolate when you’re stressed, Brewer says to identify three things. To “move from knowledge to wisdom,” write down what triggers your bad habit, what the resulting behavior is, and the perceived reward. Once you break down your habit into these three phases, it’ll be easier to try mindfulness techniques to make lasting change.

Podcast Prescription: “Beating Burnout” by Happen to Your Career

Feel like you’re on the path to career burnout? “Happen to Your Career” podcast host Scott Anthony workshops ways to cope with stress along with resilience expert Paula Davis-Lack, who has suffered burnout firsthand. If you’re unsure whether you’re at risk, Davis-Lack says a key sign is cynicism. “Everything and everyone was rubbing me the wrong way and that’s not a good way to be when your job is to help people.” If your immediate reaction to a colleague’s request for help is a deep sigh, chances are you’re in the danger zone. This podcast combines Davis-Lack’s personal experience with key lessons so you don’t make the same mistake.

If You Only Learn One Thing: Question the root of the problem, and find a side project that energizes you. “You really need to take a step back for yourself and say, What do I need to do to get myself out of this situation,” says Davis-Lack. That doesn’t mean you have to quit your job on the spot. Instead, she recommends finding solace outside of the office. “Ask yourself what’s causing all of this? Is there something you can do on the side that will give you a boost of engagement so that six months from now, you’ve built another thing that you can go to?”

Ready to juice up your podcast list and get inspired? These chic headphones will give you one more reason to tune in.

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What’s your go-to podcast series for life advice? Share your favorites in the comments below.

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