I’m always a bit sad to see the holiday season come to an end, but I look forward to the possibility of a new year. January 1st feels like a fresh start, a clean slate. Change can happen anytime, of course, but there’s something about a new year that makes me feel extra hopeful and eager to make changes.
Today I’m sharing 9 books that have motivated me in different ways. If you too are excited about acquiring new habits and letting go of some old ones keep on reading.
IF YOU WANT TO CULTIVATE NEW HABITS, READ THIS:
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
by Charles Duhigg
This book contains a lot of research and information, but Duhigg presents much of it through stories, so it’s never dull. Readers learn how habits helped Tony Dungy lead his NFL team to the Super Bowl and how habits helped a woman stop gambling. Habits impact everything from our diets to our routines, our relationships to our safety. Building a new habit sounds simple enough, yet we all know how difficult it can be. I learned a lot from this book and think of it as essential reading if you feel stuck and defeated by the failed habits of your past.
IF YOU WANT TO FINALLY DO THAT THING
YOU’VE MEAN MEANING TO DO, READ THIS:
Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff
Like many people, I’m great at starting things. But finishing what I start? That’s another story. If you too are a chronic quitter, read this book. Jon Acuff encourages people to complete their goals with doable steps and helpful advice. One of the things that stood out to me in Finish is Acuff’s advice to cut your goals in half. I tend to dream big, so being able to focus on smaller goals has helped me many times. This book is only around 200 pages, but there’s a lot of wisdom in it.
IF YOU WANT TO CUT BACK ON YOUR PURCHASES
AND GIVE YOUR CREDIT CARD A BREAK, READ THIS:
The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store by Cait Flanders
I have a sweatshirt I wear around the house that reads, “Shopping is my cardio.” The mall has felt like a second home since I was a child. I consider T. J. Maxx a close friend and have a deep, everlasting love for Nordstrom. As I’ve worked on decluttering and minimizing over the past few years, I knew my shopping habits had to change. They have, and that’s partially due to books like this one. I’ve never cut out shopping completely or gave as much away as Flanders does, but this book is still worth reading even if you don’t want to take all the extreme steps mentioned. Learning how someone else learned to live with less is inspiring and will help you see your buying in a new light.
IF YOU WANT TO BETTER UNDERSTAND
YOURSELF AND OTHERS, READ THIS:
Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel
When I first discovered what an introvert was and realized that label fit me perfectly, so much about my life and personality made sense. I saw myself in a new way and was able to understand my preferences for the first time. If you want a lightbulb moment like that for yourself, Reading People is a good start. Bogel presents a survey of different ways to understand and determine personality types, such as the Enneagram, Myers-Briggs, and several others. Find what interests you most and then pick other books to dig a little deeper.
IF YOU WANT TO READ MORE AND START
TRACKING YOUR READING, READ THIS:
My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues
by Pamela Paul
Pamela Paul has kept a record of the books she’s read for nearly three decades. Bob, her book of books, comes with her everywhere and its pages tell the story of her life. Paul reads widely and will inspire you to do the same. Seeing how essential her reading record is to her will motivate you to get your own Bob. Book nerds will genuinely enjoy this story of how reading shapes a life.
IF YOU WANT TO LEARN HOW TO BE
MORE VULNERABLE AND PRESENT, READ THIS:
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
Brené Brown’s work has changed my life. I can’t say that about a lot of things and don’t say it flippantly. If I were to make a list of things I hate doing, being vulnerable would be listed between laundry and running, yet it’s essential for a rich, fulfilling life. Brown explores what it means to live with courage and openness, explaining that vulnerability isn’t a weakness but a great strength. If your life needs a tune-up, Daring Greatly is an excellent place to start.
IF YOU WANT TO CREATE SOMETHING, READ THIS:
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Creative Battles
by Steven Pressfield
Steven Pressfield introduced me to the idea of Resistance, which is anything that stands in the way of a creator finishing her creation. Whether you want to write, take photos, bake, or start a small business, Pressfield’s words will help you. This book is like a serious pep talk perfect for those moments when you need someone to remind you that if you want something, there are no excuses. This book should be required reading for all creative people.
IF YOU WANT TO EAT BETTER, READ THIS:
Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan
I’m easily overwhelmed by information about nutrition because there’s so much of it. There are countless diets out there and shiny magazine covers that tell you how to lose 10 pounds in a hurry. If your goal is to eat healthier, Food Rules is a simple, understandable guide that will help. Michael Pollan presents a rule per page and explains why it matters. I appreciate that this book gets to the heart of the matter and makes healthy eating seem like a doable endeavor. (There’s an illustrated version of this book by Maira Kalman that I’m dying to get my hands on.)
IF YOU WANT TO USE THAT DUSTY YOGA MAT, READ THIS:
Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get on the Mat, Love Your Body
by Jessamyn Stanley
We all know we should exercise more, but it can be challenging to find a routine that works. If you’re a perfectionist like me, the pressure to perform a certain way or look like a traditional athlete can be overwhelming. I like this book by Jessamyn Stanley because she encourages readers to move their bodies and to celebrate those bodies, no matter what they look like. The world needs more body-positive exercise guides.
What are your goals for 2019? What motivates you to reach them?