Despite the gloomy, rainy weather in Britain, many young people are celebrating right now after having received their A Level results this month, filled with the euphoria of moving onto the next stage of their lives. Many others, however, are like me, weighed down by endless reading lists and preparation for the final year of university, and need a little boost to the motivation levels. There are a few things I do to stay motivated – having a clear, tidy
bed workspace and exercising regularly, for example – but my number one essential is good music.
I constantly listen to music throughout the day, whether I’m reading, blogging or running errands, and you’ll rarely find me without my red headphones. For me, the most important thing is a catchy, positive beat – all my songs have to be suitable for walking, so I’m not a fan of too many slow ballads – which means my iPod is consequently full of upbeat, motivational tunes to form the soundtrack to my day. Predictably, it was very difficult to choose my absolute all-time favourite songs for giving me a boost, so this is just a selection of my faves. Whenever I listen to any of these, I immediately feel more positive and inclined to tackle the task at hand.
- Get Back Up by Barenaked Ladies
This isn’t a fast, peppy song, but I really like it because of the lyrics. I don’t find constant praise and sweet words motivational when I’m struggling – I prefer a calm acknowledgement that, yes, it’s hard, but it’s essential to carry on, and that’s exactly what this song is about. It doesn’t coddle you and cheer you on; it simply and quietly states that you’ve got to recover yourself in a crisis, and that endurance is more important than quick victories.
2. Dil Dhadakne Do from Zindagi Na Milege Dobara
ZNMD is one of my all-time favourite films and really makes me feel energised whenever I watch it so it’s no surprise that one of the songs from the soundtrack, composed by Shankar Ehsaan Loy, is on this list. Obviously, the song’s placement in the film makes it an ideal choice while travelling, and I find that no matter how bored, tired or impatient I am in an airport or on a train, the vocals and the lyrics remind me that I’m still off on an adventure – and goodness knows I needed that this past year! Now I’m no longer flying away, I love to use this as a morning alarm or when starting any new project to give me the boost that I need. The film itself is available on Netflix and I would more than recommend – the characterisation is superb and the Spanish landscapes are absolutely stunning.
3. Nunca Estarás Sola by Maldita Nerea
This song definitely deserves a spot in this list, because a few months into my stint in Madrid, I was struggling with one of the worst depressive episodes I’ve ever had, to the point where I had to call in sick to work and could barely walk. On one of the days that I had managed to struggle numbly through my job, I decided to listen to the (then) new album by my favourite band, Maldita Nerea: I am not exaggerating when I say this song came on and I basically burst into tears right there on the bus, because the lyrics lifted the horrible lid on my feelings and I genuinely did feel that I wasn’t alone. Maldita Nerea are such a friendly, down-to-earth group of people, and Jorge always sings with such conviction and warmth, that it was like this song had found me at just the right moment, speaking right to me! (The track was originally released under the title “Buena Energia” to support Spain in the 2014 World Cup.)
If you enjoy this song, I would really recommend “Mi Única Verdad“, as it’s one of my favourites and was in close contest with this track – I find its melody and beat more motivational than “Nunca Estarás Sola”, but the latter’s lyrics are spot on if you’re feeling down.
4. Catch My Breath by Kelly Clarkson
How could this list be complete without Kelly Clarkson, pretty much the queen of the believe-in-yourself anthem? I think this song is better for emotional motivation than physical, as the lyrics are really all about staying true to yourself and doing exactly what you want, rather than what others believe is best for you – this includes standing up for yourself, so perfect if you’re struggling to ditch toxic influences in your life. This song definitely helped me to break free from oppressive forces and the effect reaction policing had on me, as silly as it sounds, and certainly helped me feel stronger and more independent.
5. Offo from 2 States
I had originally wanted to put “Jetzt” by the German artist Cro on this list, but there isn’t an unpitched version available on YouTube (check it out on iTunes! It’s a great song), and I struggled with what to include instead. This song – another Shankar Ehsaan Loy offering – was always at the top of my list, but I was reluctant to include it because so many people turned their noses up at both soundtrack and film. However, I realised I use this song as my get-up-and-go alarm practically all the time, and I feel full of the desire to get up and do great things when I listen to it. Neither lyrics nor the placement in the film have anything to do with its motivational effect, but I do love the development of Krish and Ananya’s relationship in the accompanying montage. This film is based on Chetan Bhagat’s bestseller and I’ve watched it so many times – mainly for Alia Bhatt’s outfits!
Wow, I didn’t realise how hard picking just five songs would be before I started this! I have so many other favourites that I will certainly make a Spotify playlist if anyone would like that, and I’m sure you have your own too! What’s your favourite song to motivate you? Definitely share it in the comments – I love discovering new music!
I hope you enjoyed reading this post – posts sadly won’t be very frequent now my Finals work has taken over, but I’ll do my best!