I’m a sucker for fresh starts, and I love the feeling in the air of everyone trying to start the year off on the right foot. Whether you set resolutions or goals for the year or not, here are a few of my favorite books for motivating positive change and becoming more like the person you want to be. Fresh start, anyone?
I recommend this book for all creatives, employees, and humans. Are you looking for ways to feel inspired? To enjoy the hobbies, interests, and creative outlets that make you feel alive? Or, if you’re not feeling like you have outlets in your life and want to find them, what is holding you back? Are you fighting with yourself to turn hobbies into careers when doing so strips something you love of its joy?
I love this book. It’s a pretty good mix of hard talk (let’s address those excuses and fears!) and the mystical (energy of the universe and whatnot), but I think it’s hard to read this book and not feel like you want to explore, create more, and enjoy the beauty of what life has to offer in whatever outlet best speaks to you. A very good book for sparking creativity and joy.
(My friend Janssen just did a review of this book here, if you want a second opinion.)
I did a full review of the things I loved (and didn’t love) about this book, but if you’re looking for a fresh start in your home, I HIGHLY recommend this book. Going through your belongings with a fresh perspective and a different goal in mind really changes how you approach decluttering and organizing the things in your home.
I pre-ordered her Spark Joy, which is a sort of illustrated and in-depth look at how and what to get rid of. It also answers questions like “what do I do about things I need that don’t spark joy?” I’m most of the way through, and I think it’s a really great follow-up.
(Wonder how this would work with a house full of kids? Modern Mrs. Darcy has you covered.)
You had to know this one would be included. I’ve been a huge Gretchen Rubin fan for years, and her last book was such a favorite. I love her for her practical approach to something (happiness) that doesn’t seem especially practical. I love that small changes (making your bed or extending warm hellos and goodbyes) and big ones (overhauling your closet or adopting a new habit) can all have a great impact on happiness.
Her books The Happiness Project and Happier at Home are both fantastic, but what makes Better than Before different is that it addresses something she calls The Four Tendencies–Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, and Rebel–which are personality traits that affect the way you respond to demands, requests, and goals. If you have had a hard time keeping goals or resolutions in the past, it may be because you aren’t hitting them from the angle that your tendency best responds to. Better than Before will help you understand ways for you to succeed in building habits that will bring you happiness and free up mental space.
p.s. She also has a Day-by-Day Journal (in the theme of Ben Franklin) to walk you through the changes you’re making.
Are you going to hate me if I tell you I’ve been getting into meditation? It seems like a weird thing to just bring up all the sudden, for some reason, but I keep talking about this book to anyone who gives me the slightest hint of a foot in the door.
Meditation can be a lot of things (and I actually plan to write about what it is for me right now soon), but in this book, Thich Nhat Hanh walks you through the ease of adding short mindfulness meditations to your daily routine. I love bringing mindfulness and gratitude to moments like tying my shoes or brushing my teeth, or beginning the day with gratitude, joy, and openness.