Life is filled with ups and downs. Longing for a better future can inspire us to push through the hard times in hopes of achieving our hearts’ desires. However, making our dreams come true usually takes hard work, perseverance, and a strong commitment to disregard the naysayers on the long and winding road toward success.
Maybe you’re staring down the blank page before writing the next great American novel. Or, maybe you’re in training for a sports championship, you’ve set a fitness goal, or you’re working two jobs to pay for a dream vacation. Whatever dream you’re shooting for, half of the battle in reaching any goal is digging in your heels and being prepared to tackle any challenges that may arise along the way.
Listening to music can help pump you up and inspire you to stay focused during your journey toward success. Here’s a list of 17 inspirational songs that can motivate you to hang in there and make your dreams come true.
This celebratory anthem hails from Taylor Swift’s Grammy-nominated, Guinness World Record-breaking album Speak Now. Swift sings about savoring the sweet victory after years spent sitting on the sidelines. The song is about crashing through the walls and finally basking in the light of glory. She says, “We are the kings and the queens/You traded your baseball cap for a crown/When they gave us our trophies
And we held them up for our town.” Ultimately, winning a long, hard-fought battle is one of the best victories.
One of the hardest parts of achieving any dream is blocking out negative voices. Twisted Sister puts naysayers firmly in their place with this ‘80s power rock hit. It’s important to remember we’re all in charge of our own destiny and no matter what people say, our dreams are worth fighting for. The band loudly declares, “Oh we’re not gonna take it/No we ain’t gonna take it/We’re not gonna take it anymore.”
Barbra Streisand is a living music legend. She performed the song in stage and screen versions of the 1964 musical “Funny Girl.” In many ways, Streisand’s own path to international fame was launched by her unwavering delivery of this bold, confident anthem.
The motivational tune has transcended multiple generations. Lea Michele did an amazing cover of the track during an episode of Fox’s award-winning dramedy series “Glee.” Simply tell anyone who tries to discourage you, “Don't tell me not to fly/I've simply got to/If someone takes a spill/It's me and not you/Who told you you're allowed/To rain on my parade.”
There may not be a brighter example of an American dream coming true than when Kelly Clarkson became the first “American Idol” champion in 2002. She was an unknown singer with a dream of finding music industry success and stole millions of viewers' hearts during her time on the show.
Clarkson performed “A Moment Like This” after being crowned “Idol’s” inaugural winner. The track was also her debut single. She went on to become a globally adored pop superstar. As she sings, “Some people wait a lifetime/For a moment like this” it’s important to remember her example and believe that dreams can and do come true.
Detroit native rapper Eminem asks a bold question right out of the gate with his Oscar and Grammy Award-winning song “Lose Yourself:” “If you had one shot/Or one opportunity/To seize everything you ever wanted /In one moment/Would you capture it/Or just let it slip?”
If you’re serious about achieving your dreams, then the answer to his question should be a resounding yes. Go for it! Stake your claim for success. Sometimes the only thing standing between you and a victory is fear and doubt. Don’t let those emotions cloud your desire. Just “own it” and “you better never let it go.”
To make any dream come true, you have to start somewhere. If you need a little encouragement to jump off the diving board and into the pool, crank up “All Star” by Smash Mouth and follow the band’s lyrical advice: “Hey now, you're an all-star, get your game on, go play/Hey now, you're a rock star, get the show on, get paid.”
In other words, nothing ventured means nothing is gained. Above all else, you need to try reaching your goals. Just remember all-stars get their game on and rock stars always get the show on. No guts, no glory. Enough said.
Believing in yourself is a vital part of turning a dream into a reality. Pop superstar Justin Bieber does a fantastic job of reminding us that “everything starts from something” and you just need to “believe, believe, believe” in his 2012 hit single. Self-doubt might creep in when you’re hit with challenges. Don’t let it overshadow your will to succeed. Instead, hold your head high, reach for the stars and believe.
American Authors sing of their “dream so big and loud” in their smash hit single “Best Day of My Life.” Tasting victory is sweet and when you finally win your heart’s desire, this track will help you celebrate the milestone. The moment that you bask in hard-won glory, without a doubt, will be one of the best days of your life.
Katy Perry’s uplifting Grammy-nominated anthem “Roar” hails from her 2013 album Prism. The track topped charts all over the world and celebrates the resilience of the human spirit. Getting knocked down is never easy. However, getting up and pushing through hard times can make us stronger. If you waver in the journey toward your dreams just put on your game face and shout, “I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar!”
Starship’s indelible power ballad was the theme song to the 1987 romantic comedy film “Mannequin.” The feel-good track topped the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. While it’s intended as a love song, this tune pays sweet musical homage to chasing a dream with someone else. Leaning on friends and family during an unpredictable journey can boost confidence.
The San Francisco rockers send their message loud and clear in the song’s infectious chorus: “We can build this thing together/Standing strong forever/Nothing's gonna stop us now.”
One of the greatest underdog stories of all time is the 1982 film “Rocky.” “Eye of the Tiger” was the theme song for the third installment in the franchise, “Rocky III.” The track was nominated for both an Oscar and a Grammy Award.
This enduring “fight” song emphasizes the grit and the grind involved with chasing a victory. We often must stay “hungry” in order to get back up when we’re down and stay focused on the end goal. Survivor lends a perfect power rock backdrop to fictional character Rocky Balboa’s faceoff against his boxing rival. To reach crowning glory, we too must keep “the eye of the tiger, welcome the “thrill of the fight,” and “keep the dream alive” come what may.
There’s a way to project confidence without being arrogant and Tina Turner knocks it out of the park with her 1989 cover of Bonnie Tyler’s original song “The Best.” The bold declaration in the chorus, “You’re simply the best/Better than all the rest” helps keep the fire in your belly with your eyes on the prize. Turner’s version is soulful, fun, and feisty. It’s simply the best.
Late legendary songstress Whitney Houston released this incomparable anthem in 1988 and it was a featured theme song at the 1988 Summer Olympics which took place in Seoul, South Korea. The song tracks the tumultuous journey that a champion takes to finally reach the winning summit. If you’re looking for inspiration to keep fighting for your dream, keep this song cranked and on repeat in your playlist.
Andra Day caused music lovers to sit up and pay attention to her Grammy-nominated debut album Cheers to the Fall in 2015. The record’s Grammy-nominated lead single, “Rise Up” is the perfect pick-me-up for a downtrodden spirit. When you’re “broken down and tired” it’s important to find the strength to keep going. Day triumphantly reminds us we can “rise up” and “rise like the day” even in the darkest times. Coming out on top after navigating a storm will always make a victory even sweeter.
Journey’s 1981 anthem “Don’t Stop Believin’” was an instant success. Then it found a whole new generation of fans when it was featured in the pilot episode of “Glee” in 2009. The song’s simple message to dreamers everywhere is very clear: “Don’t stop believing/hold onto that feelin’.”
Miley Cyrus really showcases her beautiful vocals in this sweeping inspirational ballad that hails from the 2009 film, “Hannah Montana: The Movie.” The song reminds us to keep pushing and keep our heads held high as we fight for our dreams. Cyrus sings about the inevitable bumps in the road as she says, “There’s always gonna be another mountain/I’m always gonna wanna make it move/Always gonna be an uphill battle/Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose.”
Overall, the journey you take and the lessons you learn in “the climb” toward your dreams will be just as important as winning itself.
Nothing means more than finally seeing a dream come true. Freddie Mercury and Queen send up a fierce victory cry that has transcended multiple generations with their renowned power rock anthem “We Are the Champions.”
Dreamers around the world can cling to the promise of sweet success and wave their banners high as they sing along with the band in the track’s indelible chorus, “We are the champions my friend/And we’ll keep on fighting till the end.”