An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 1/12/17.
It’s an undeniable fact that with January comes New Year’s resolutions, and with New Year’s resolutions comes the danger of frustration, burnout, or a lack of motivation. Even if you set resolutions that you’re really passionate about (and we hope you do!), changing your behavior can be hard work. To help you all out, I’ve rounded up some book recommendations based on common New Years Resolutions! Whether your goal is to eat healthier, reduce stress, or get organized, These books are here for you. I believe that books contain a wealth of knowledge and can be one of our greatest sources of inspiration when our own is flagging – so get reading and crush those goals!
Resolution #1: Increase your motivation/find your passion
Read Drive: The Surprising truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink
If you find yourself low on motivation and need to get yourself fired up for a new project, job, or challenge, Drive is a great reading choice. Pink draws on four decades of scientific research on motivation to reveal the three elements of true motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. By understanding the science behind human motivation, this book gives you the tools to better motivate yourself and others towards achieving your goals.
Resolution #2: Eat healthier
Read First Bite: How we Learn to Eat by Bee Wilson
In First Bite, award-winning food writer Bee Wilson draws on the latest research from food psychologists, neuroscientists, and nutritionists to reveal that our food habits are shaped by a whole host of factors: family and culture, memory and gender, hunger and love. In exploring the ways in which we learn to eat, Wilson also explains why food has gone so disastrously wrong for so many people. But Wilson also shows that both adults and children have immense potential for learning new, healthy eating habits. An exploration of the extraordinary and surprising origins of our tastes and eating habits, First Bite also shows us how we can change our palates to lead healthier, happier lives.
Resolution #3: Read more books
Read The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin
I know that I work in a library and that I am very much a nerd, but if there’s something I love, it’s books about books. I also love matching my pleasure reading to my mood. With this book, I get a happy combination of both! This book acts as an apothecary for the heart – readers simply look up their ailment, be it agoraphobia, boredom, or a midlife crisis, and are given a novel to read as the antidote. Aware that you’ve been cowardly? Pick up To Kill a Mockingbird for an injection of courage. Experiencing a sudden, acute fear of death? Read One Hundred Years of Solitude for some perspective on the larger cycle of life. Nervous about throwing a dinner party? Ali Smith’s There but for The will convince you that yours could never go that wrong. The Novel Cure is also peppered with useful lists and sidebars recommending the best novels to read when you’re stuck in traffic or can’t fall asleep, the most important novels to read during every decade of life, and many more.
Resolution #4: Organize EVERYTHING
Read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
Marie Kondo has a three-month waiting list of clients wanting her help to declutter their homes and offices – she must be doing something right! In this book, she teaches you her KonMari Method for organizing and decluttering your living space(s) once and for all. Although the book gets a little “out there” with some of the methods (for example, you’re supposed to “thank” the items you throw away/donate for the role they had in your life – it’s hard to thank your old gym socks!) I found the method of focusing on which items in my house “spark joy” to be unique and charming. Plus, my house really is more organized after reading this book!
Resolution #5: Learn to cook
Read Cravings: Recipes for all the Food you Want to Eat by Chrissy Teigen
The food in this cookbook is so delicious, keeping a resolution to cook at home feels like a treat. Learning to cook is more fun when the recipes are simple and the outcomes are yummy, and with this cookbook, they’ll be both! Chrissy Teigen has spent years collecting, cooking, and Instagramming her favorite recipes, and here they are: from breakfast all day to John Legend’s famous fried chicken with spicy honey butter to her mom’s Thai classics. Plus you’ll get a generous helping of Teigen’s trademark humor and sass to complement your kitchen adventures.
Resolution #6: Reduce stress
Read Mindfulness in Plain English by Henepola Guneretana
I don’t think I know a single adult who couldn’t benefit from taking their stress down a few notches – stress wreaks havoc on your health and is also just not fun. This book has been around for awhile – it was published before I was born – but it’s a classic for a reason. This book can help you cultivate habits that will help you be more peaceful and more productive. With clarity and wit, Guraratana takes us step by step through the myths, realities, and benefits of meditation and the practice of mindfulness. He also provides a “meditation toolbox,” pointing to each tool of meditation, telling us what it does, and how to make it work.
Resolution #7: To learn something new (or, to have something new and interesting to talk about at parties)
Read Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel by Michio Kaku
If your resolution is to be a smartypants have something to talk about on first dates learn something new, this unique read could be for you. In Physics of the Impossible, the renowned physicist Michio Kaku explores to what extent the technologies and devices of science fiction that are deemed impossible today might well become commonplace in the future. From teleportation to telekinesis, Kaku uses the world of science fiction to explore the fundamentals and the limits of the laws of physics as we know them today. He ranks the impossible technologies by categories depending on when they might be achieved, within the next century, millennia, or perhaps never. An extraordinary scientific adventure, Physics of the Impossible takes readers on a journey into the world of science that both enlightens and entertains.
Resolution #8: To fight for your right to *(insert social justice cause here)*
Read I am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
If you need a reminder that even single voices can be powerful, and that it’s worth it to stand up for what’s right, pick up this book. I am Malala is the remarkable tale of Malala Yousafzai, who, at 15, refused to be silenced, fought for her right to an education, and almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
What other books are on your New Year’s reading list? Let us know in the comments below! Happy reading!