If you’re the resolution-making type, this is your year. January 1 is the start of a new year, as well as a new decade. With that big, blank slate ready for you to make your mark, it might be time to put a few helpful podcasts in the rotation between the true crime, politics, and celebrity interview episodes. Here are seven that are worth the download:
How to Be a Better Person
Have a few minutes? Author and coach Kate Hanley will give you one simple task you can do today to help you be a better person. These microdoses of wisdom and guidance can help you take better care of yourself, help others, improve relationships, and relax a little more. And, at roughly four to six minutes each, you can easily fit them into your day.
Try: “Forgive Your Mistakes”: In less than four minutes, Hanley will help you let go of a mistake or regret that’s sapping your energy—and feel like it’s perfectly okay to do so.
In 2004, ABC news anchor Dan Harris had a panic attack on Good Morning America. The self-described “fidgety, skeptical newsman” turned to meditation to quiet his inner critic and help manage stress and anxiety. The podcast, named after his bestselling book, features leaders in wellness and living a better life who discuss meditation, life skills, wellness, and more. Harris’s reporter sensibility keeps the episodes from getting too “woo-woo.”
Try: “Stress Better”: Modupe Akinola, an associate professor of management at Columbia Business School, discusses better ways to respond to stress—and even make it work for you.
If you’re interested in the forces that drive behavior and an exploration of how our brains work, this NPR podcast is for you. Host Shankar Vedantam dives into the science of the unconscious patterns that make us behave the way we do, make certain choices, and affect our relationships. People searching for the latest thinking about being a better leader will find a wealth of meaty, science-based material in these episodes.
Try: “BS Jobs: How Meaningless Work Wears Us Down”: Boring, low-impact jobs aren’t just undesirable, they can have a negative impact on us a number of ways. This episode includes a history of the BS job and the harm these roles can do to our psyches.
The Accidental Creative
Even if you’re not in a job that’s traditionally considered creative, bringing fresh thinking and innovation can help keep things interesting, and it’s good for career growth. Business creativity consultant Todd Henry helps listeners develop systems, habits, and practices to cultivate and tap into their ingenuity.
Try: “One Way to Spark Unique Ideas for Your Project”: If you feel like you’re stuck and can’t come up with good ideas for a new project, Henry shares a simple exercise that you can use to spark creativity, either on your own or while collaborating with others.
Secrets of the Most Productive People
This Fast Company podcast helps you find ways to work optimally. Hosts deputy editor Kate Davis and contributor Anisa Purbasari Horton bust productivity myths and share what works when you need to get more done without sacrificing quality. In addition, the pair dive into general career issues, like how to get a bigger starting salary and how to avoid burnout.
Try: “How Can You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions?” Davis and Horton, both resolution enthusiasts, share how to beat the odds and join the 8% of people who actually keep their resolutions. They also introduce their “three quick tips” feature, which will delight those who want quick, action-oriented advice, and interview Charles Duhigg, author of the New York Times bestseller Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity.
Sleep with Me: The Podcast that Puts You to Sleep
Good sleep contributes to everything from better decision-making to the ability to exercise. If you struggle with falling asleep because you can’t quiet your mind, let creator and host Drew Ackerman (aka Dearest Scooter) tell you a bedtime story. His rambling, humorous, but mostly boring stories will help your mind stop racing so you can drift off to sleep.
Try: “Matter Matters“: This episode will give you a good sense of the podcast’s meandering style and whether it’s a good fit for you.
Ted Talks Health
Whether the goal is to get a little more fit or begin a big transformation, a health podcast can arm you with ideas and information about the latest science about the health issues you face. The challenge with many such podcasts is that they’re overly focused on one particular area or, worse, dive into questionable advice or guests to fill podcast time. TED Talks Health episodes come right from the TED stage and feature a wide range of experts discussing various areas of health and well-being. You can act as your own moderator, picking and choosing the issues and experts that work for you.
Try: “Your Words May Predict Your Future Mental Health“: Neuroscientist Mariano Sigman shares how our words hint at our inner lives and how big data may play a role in the future of mental health diagnosis.