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Invigorate your daily routine this new year with the best podcasts for self-improvement to motivate you to make positive changes in multiple areas of your life. Whether you want to pay more attention to your mental health, boost your fitness, focus on your career, or nurture your relationships, there's a show out there to provide inspiration and information directly into your ears.
We've called on personal trainers, dietitians, yoga practitioners, and life coaches to share their expert recommendations for podcasts providing actionable advice on a variety of wellness-related subjects, so you can kickstart 2023 in the best way. Their top picks include much-loved shows with well-known hosts, as well as lesser-known options that are certain to become a must-listen on your phone.
So, if you haven't got time to sit down with the best self-help books, then you can still work on your mind and body in the new year via the medium of audio. Whichever aspect of your day-to-day that you want to improve - like finding workout motivation or learning how to be more confident in the workplace - there's one of the best podcasts for self-improvement out there for you.
Best podcasts for self-improvement in 2023
1. Happy Place
The podcast, hosted by former TV and radio star Fearne Cotton, focuses on mental wellbeing. As befits her showbiz background, she has invited on a wide array of A-list guests, including Emily Ratajkowski, Ricky Gervais, Jada Pinkett Smith, Russell Brand and Maisie Williams.
"Fearne picks amazing guests from all walks of life and I love the variety," says Ani Naqvi (opens in new tab), a master coach, transformational expert and founder of the Ultimate Results Group (opens in new tab). "The stories and advice are always relatable and there are so many great lessons and takeaways. I love that she is doing her bit to demystify mental health issues too."
2. Power Hour
Personal trainer and fitness star Adrienne Herbert is the host of this podcast, which aims to "motivate you to pursue your passion and to achieve success" - whatever that may be. Herbert speaks to leading coaches, creatives, innovators, and change-makers about their daily habits, morning routines, and rules to live by in this pick of the best podcasts for self-improvement.
Its content quickly struck a chord which yoga teacher Josie Griffiths (opens in new tab). "It became an instant favorite as soon as I started listening and actually inspired me to do my yoga teacher training," she explains. "It helped me learn how to maximize my time and the mixture of Adrienne's infectious energy, life story, and all the motivational guests, who are themselves experts, wellness gurus, or busy celebrities, really helped to change my mindset."
3. Beautiful Misfits
Is your career a key focus of your self-development journey? Perhaps you're starting your own venture, want to turn one of your hobby ideas into a side hustle, or want to flourish in your current job. Mary Portas, the retail consultant and broadcaster, hosts this business-focused podcast in which she talks to authors, businesspeople, designers, and poets who are all using their unique experiences and perspective to create a better future.
It's the recommendation of Gaby Noble (opens in new tab), a Pilates teacher and founder of Exhale Pilates (opens in new tab). "Mary is an incredibly real and passionate woman and the people she has on are equally that way," she explains. "Inspirational topics and discussions on the way we are shaping our future and interpreting things in today’s society, always strike a chord. There are difficulties in today’s society, especially as a strong businesswoman, whilst being sensitive at the same time, and she believes it’s an incredible tool to have and one that isn’t easily combined but when done well can be a superpower."
If you don't have time for the best confidence books and need a little help and guidance to gain the confidence to create boundaries and build in more space for solo self-care, this podcast could be ideal for you. It's hosted by journalist and author Francesca Specter, who has spoken about the positive side of alone time with guests including Alain de Botton, Konnie Huq, Mo Gawdat, and Dr Julie Smith.
"Our relationship with me myself and I is the most important relationship we have with the world, yet many of us struggle with it and will do anything to anything to distract ourselves from being alone with the thoughts of our inner critic," says behavior and mindset coach Gemma Perlin (opens in new tab). "This is why I love the Alonement podcast. It's a unique bible of inspiring ways that you can delve into to borrow other people's tools and beliefs about being alone."
5. Feel Better, Live More with Dr Rangan Chatterjee
Dr Rangan Chatterjee, a GP, has used his medical background to help create an informative podcast that aims to offer simple health hacks and expert advice, and debunk some of the most common wellbeing myths to help us "revolutionize" how we live. He covers everything from how to avoid burnout to the secret of a happy life, and to do this, he welcomes onto the show a variety of leading wellness experts.
It's a formula that really resonated with Alice Fontecilla (opens in new tab), a personal trainer and sports massage therapist at Gymondo (opens in new tab). "I am inspired by his view that self-improvement, including health and happiness, should be tackled in a holistic way," she explains. "I firmly believe that a healthy and happy body means looking after yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally, and I find that this podcast is particularly helpful in giving me accessible, interesting, and digestible tools for how I can lead a more fulfilling, meaningful, and happier life."
6. Food For Thought
This is another podcast headed up by a well-known voice in the wellness world. Rhiannon Lambert, a leading nutritionist, aims to deliver evidence-based advice on useful topics like quitting caffeine, calorie counting, the dangers of body obsession, and boosting brain power.
"Every week, Rhiannon explores a different topic related to diet and wellbeing, covering everything from caffeine addiction to processed foods and sexual health," says Dr Caitlin Hall (opens in new tab), chief dietitian and head of clinical research at gut health brand myota (opens in new tab). "Every episode busts myths and explains the science on topics including the complex relationship between gut health, physical health, and mental health. There's also plenty of actionable tips that you can put into practice right away."
7. Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel
In this podcast, therapist Esther Perel counsels real couples as they navigate the bumps in their relationships. "They reveal the most intimate, personal, and complicated details of the conflicts that have brought them to her door," reads the synopsis. This includes a pair "wrestling with the guilt they feel over the happiness their infidelity created" and another "trying to make space for their queerness in an outwardly appearing hetero relationship".
It's a go-to for Nancy Best, personal trainer and founder of Ladies Who Crunch (opens in new tab). "This podcast has episodes I've listened to more than once, but I still come away each time learning something new about human connection," she explains. "Listening to live couples' therapy is strangely comforting because the themes are so universal to our own experience. The podcast also encourages you to reflect on your relationship with yourself; that's the one that we all need to invest more time into." So, if you're looking for one of the best relaxing podcasts, this could also be a winner for you.
8. Unlocking Us with Brené Brown
If you're looking to start afresh in the new year by making new year's resolutions that actually stick, then this podcast hosted by Brené Brown could be invaluable. The researcher and author has spent over two decades studying the emotions and experiences that bring meaning and purpose to our lives. In the episodes, which are exclusively available on Spotify, Brown uncovers the discussions that "unlock the deeply human part of who we are" so we can live our lives with "more courage and heart" - whether that be our love lives, parenting lives, or professional lives.
It is the top pick of the best podcasts for self-improvement for Victoria Joy (opens in new tab), a clarity and consistency coach. "It may seem like an obvious one, after all, Brené is the godmother of self-development and learning more about ourselves as humans," she says. "But this is the podcast I always come back to when I want a new perspective on the world. I constantly recommend episodes to clients and friends, specific to what they're navigating at the time. Her episodes on Values (opens in new tab) are a perfect January listen to get to know yourself deeper, be clearer on your vision and set yourself up for the year ahead."
- Listen on Spotify (opens in new tab)
9. Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris
If you've never quite got to grips with meditation - whether that's walking meditation or sitting contemplation - then be inspired by the story of this podcast's host Dan Harris. He's a previously-skeptical journalist who gave it a go after having a panic attack on live national television. In the episodes, which cover subjects ranging from enlightenment and psychedelics to anxiety and productivity, he speaks to leading meditation teachers and scientists, as well as well-known names like the Dalai Lama and Queer Eye's Karamo. There's also an accompanying app, which features on our list of best mindfulness apps if you're looking to make big changes.
It's an understandable favorite of Eloise Skinner (opens in new tab), a Pilates, yoga, and meditation instructor. "I love how it explores meditation and mindfulness practices with a real-world, practical approach," she explains. "I've definitely been inspired by some of the meditation practices shared on the podcast. It's always fascinating to discover new approaches, both as a teacher and as a student."
10. The Habit Coach with Ashdin Doctor
Short on time? This podcast features bite-sized episodes of less than five minutes each, all made up of interesting facts and habits that are easy to incorporate into your life. It's hosted by habit coach Ashdin Doctor who aims to help people who are, in his own words, "tired of starting because you fail to see things through". He helps listeners to forge habits around things like sleep, de-stressing, productivity, and movement. If you're also downloading one of the best habit tracker apps this year, it's certainly worth a listen.
The Habit Coach podcast is also a regular source of inspiration for personal trainer Aimee Victoria Long (opens in new tab). "Each episode looks at giving tips and motivation on how to create small little daily habits that can help change your life and become permanent fixtures in your daily routine," she reveals. "It is also great for listening to on your commutes to work since the episodes are so short.”
11. Clowning Around
For a more light-hearted approach to self-development, look no further than this podcast hosted by comedian Emma Stroud. It is positioned as a personal development show with a unique twist. Along with her clown called Barbara, she interviews experts from all areas of life who have stories to share.
It certainly tickled the fancy of Aysha Bell (opens in new tab), a yoga teacher and transformation coach. "I really enjoy this podcast for its variety of guests talking about wellness, self-care, self-development, mental health, the arts, and comedy," she explains. "I like Emma's approach to the serious stuff, with a pinch of humor. She goes heavy, but with lots of laughs. It's a great balance."
- Listen on Apple Podcasts (opens in new tab)
- Listen on Spotify
12. The Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett
Self-improvement can be about so much more than getting fit or nutritious eating, as this podcast proves. This pick of the best podcasts for self-improvement is hosted by businessman Steven Bartlett, who is the founder and former CEO of social media marketing agency The Social Chain, and is now also one of the investors on Dragon's Den. He has interviewed a variety of guests, including Jessie J and Richard Branson, about the journey behind their successes in a series of interviews.
"This podcast has really helped me as a business owner striving to grow, and also as a human living and surviving on this planet," shares Amy Brogan (opens in new tab), a personal trainer and founder of A Body Forever (opens in new tab). "I get to hear the stories of so many successful people and it has allowed me to understand that everyone struggles no matter what they have achieved. Behind every success story there are ups, downs, wins, and losses, and that personally helps me to keep going when things get tough."
How to get the most out of your podcast
While your ears are certain to absorb many inspiring and useful pieces of advice, implementing tips can often feel overwhelming. "You're probably listening to podcasts while doing the mundane tasks of life, like cleaning or commuting," says Dr Marianne Trent (opens in new tab), a clinical psychologist. "But to make it more likely that you will take action, it’s essential that you remember what you've heard."
Dr Trent, who is also the host of The Aspiring Psychologist (opens in new tab) podcast, has some key tips to help consolidate this information. "Firstly, it can be helpful to keep a note of the bits and pieces which resonate with you. This might take the form of using pen and paper, sending yourself an email, or using the voice control function of your phone to create a note for you," she suggests. "Secondly, given that we tend to passively listen rather than actively listen to podcasts, you might find it helpful to listen to the same episode a couple of times. In this way, we are more likely to soak up more of the content.
Dr Trent continues, "Thirdly, getting a podcast buddy in the form of someone who also likes to listen to the show can be really useful. Following each episode discussing your take-home messages can spark new ideas and add opportunities for enhanced understanding. And finally, you could also try a more mindful approach. The cooking or cleaning can wait. Challenge yourself to make listening your main activity. Sit comfortably and resist the urge to scroll through your phone as you let the words and meanings wash over you and connect."
But should you only try to put one thing into action at a time when trying to improve certain aspects of your life? "If we try to make too many changes at one time, we are less likely to succeed. It can lead to feelings of overwhelm and can contribute to a lowering of self-esteem too," warns Dr Trent. "When we think about the idea of ‘ducks in a row’ it can be useful to focus on sorting one duck out at a time. Once this duck is toeing the line and coming to heel it is going to strengthen our resources to be able to tackle any others which also need sorting at a later stage. It’s said that doing something for a hundred days is a safe period of time to assume it has become a habit. Once this time period is up, you may choose to move onto incorporating something new into your life."
Lauren is a freelance writer and editor with more than six years of digital and magazine experience. In addition to Womanandhome.com she has penned news and features for titles including Women's Health, The Telegraph, Stylist, Dazed, Grazia, The Sun's Fabulous, Yahoo Style UK and Get The Gloss.
While Lauren specializes in covering wellness topics—ranging from nutrition and fitness, to health conditions and mental wellbeing—she has written across a diverse range of lifestyle topics, including beauty and travel. Career highlights so far include: luxury spa-hopping in Spain, interviewing Heidi Klum and joining an £18k-a-year London gym.
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