Our favorite songs bring us joy, carry us through stressful patches, and inspire us to aim high and meet challenges. That’s why the Spotify Wrapped feature has a lot of us revisiting the songs we couldn’t get enough of this year — the ones we mentally associate with our most joyful moments. In the spirit of discovery (who couldn’t use some some inspiring new listens?), we asked the Thrive Global community to share songs that motivated them to push forward in their lives and careers in 2018. Which of these will make your power playlist?

“My favorite song of this year, ‘A Reminder (East Forest Remix)’ by Trevor Hall, brought me peace, encouraged me to practice gratitude, and taught me to be present in the moment. I’m actively trying to improve all of these so this song really served a strong purpose and helped me keep my well-being in mind. I played it on camping trips with my boyfriend, during my morning showers, on my walk to work, at wine nights with friends, and to wind down for bed. With a message so universal and simple, this song impacted me so positively. I also highly recommend seeing Trevor Hall live!

—Melissa Muncy, content marketing, San Francisco, CA

“Absolutely, hands down: ‘Shallow’ by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga from A Star is Born (can I pick the entire soundtrack?!) This song is rapturous in every way. It captures their love, talent and palpable professional respect for one another all while bathed in their palpable love.”

—Meris R. Gebhardt, founder, New York, NY

‘This is Me’ from the film The Greatest Showman deeply touched and inspired me. Accepting ourselves and each other is one of the greatest gifts we can give the world. Joy comes from living authentically. Our uniqueness is what gives us beauty, flaws and imperfections.”

—Pamela Bennett, artist and coach, Phoenix, AZ

‘At My Best’ by Machine Gun Kelly, featuring Hailee Steinfeld, is the song that motivated me through finishing law school, landing a great job, and studying for the bar exam — plus countless workouts. I wasn’t a Machine Gun Kelly fan before, but something about this song (especially the chorus) just motivates me. The words force/remind me to accept that not everything is going to be easy or go my way. When those instances hit, it’s up to me to accept ‘my worst’ so that I can thrive ‘at my best.’”

—Allyssa Wall, judicial law clerk, Bismarck, ND

“The song I was obsessed with from the minute it came out this year was ‘Nina Cried Power’ by Hozier, mainly for the first line: ‘It’s not the waking, it’s the rising…’ Not just for our collective waking up and rising up on a global scale, the lyrics also spoke directly to my own experience in finding and owning my authenticity. This one is always cranked up loud on my car stereo!”

—Ayser Salman, writer, Los Angeles, CA

Glorious’ by Macklemore, featuring Skylar Grey, was on repeat this year for me! I went through a complete rebrand, and pivoted away from health and wellness coaching, and toward being a business strategist. When clarity hits, it’s not easy to start again, but the move has already brought in more income, impact and happiness in our lives and that song always changes my mood. Remembering to be grateful for everything in my life grounds me.”

—Lisa Pezik, business strategist and content expert, Ontario, Canada

‘Fate by H.E.R. is a song on full repeat in my life right now, and I simply can’t get enough of it. Chances are, I’m either listening to it or thinking about it. I adore H.E.R.’s ability to transform Michael Jackson’s ‘Earth Song’ into a completely new experience. She has me from the first hum. The song teases a familiar riff, but why? It isn’t until later that she goes into the full expression of the original song, which gives me goosebumps. Her voice, her lyrics and her ability to elevate a song that I already know and love is nothing short of artistic. The funniest part is that I’ve been listening to H.E.R. for about a year now. I thought I’d discovered a little-known gem of an artist, but she was nominated for five Grammys last week. I guess the secret is out. They’re so well-deserved.”

—Julie Westervelt, yoga teacher and pillow maker, Austin, TX

“Every year I make a playlist called ‘The New Me.’ The key is for me to pick songs that aren’t what I listen to on a daily basis so that the lyrics feel new and don’t lose their impact. When I get down, overwhelmed or lose sight of my goals, ‘Never Give Up’by Sia helps me reset and get back on track. Don’t forget to make a whole playlist — just be sure to put the song that moves you the most first for quick relief from mental meltdowns.”

—Todd Garrett, marketing, Nashville, TN

‘Joy.’ from For King & Country. Whenever I am feeling down, that song always lifts my spirits. It has such a great message and is also a really good song to run to!”

—P.A, email marketing, Raleigh, NC

“The song that got me motivated this year is ‘A Million Dreams’ from the film The Greatest Showman. I love it because it reminds me to keep up with my dreams that I have been following since I was just a Russian girl who came to US alone at the age of 15, wanting to make a difference in the world. This year has had its challenges but I keep listening to the song, reminding myself that I can live a life ‘that we design.’ It keeps me believing in my vision and brought me success in my career.”

—Alina Z, private chef and health coach, Los Angeles, CA

“2018 was a year full of triumphs and fallbacks. The song ‘A Little Too Much’by Shawn Mendes was the song that pulled me back on my feet, gave me hope, and made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I have always been one to hide how I really feel, often facing hard times alone, because no one else really knows what I’m going through. This song feels like my story. It feels like my life and because of that, it reminds me of just how strong I am and how I know that I will be okay. Sometimes, a mental illness can make you feel isolated and make it difficult to connect with people, but finding a song can bring a new understanding. As Mendes sings, ‘And you don’t have to be afraid because we’re all the same.’”

—Olivia Greeley, college student, Knoxville, TN

Follow us here and subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.


  • Marina Khidekel

    Chief Content Officer at Thrive

    Marina leads strategy, ideation and execution of Thrive's content company-wide, including cross-platform brand partnership and content marketing campaigns, curricula, and the voice of the Thrive platform. She's the author of Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive. In her role, Marina brings Thrive's audience actionable, science-backed tips for reducing stress and improving their physical and mental well-being, and shares those insights on panels and in national outlets like NBC's TODAY. Previously, Marina held senior editorial roles at Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour, where she edited award-winning health and mental health features and spearheaded the campaigns and partnerships around them.