It’s January! In honour of one of my favourite times of year, I’ve put together a list of my top book recommendations in the area of personal development/wellness/well-being. I return to these books often and have read many of them several times over. Pick the title that most resonates with you or crush the whole list; either way, you won’t be disappointed.
For spiritual health: The Untethered Soul, by Michael Singer
This is a truly beautiful book in every way. The Untethered Soul is a little gem that asks you to examine who is doing all the talking inside your head and whether that is actually you (hint: it isn’t). An easy read and a beautiful game-changer.
For physical health (for the ladies): The Woman Code, by Alisa Vitti
I highly recommend this book to all my lady friends. Vitti grounds everything in science (thank God), but uses holistic methodology to lay out actionable ways to regulate your hormones and improve pretty much every aspect of your health. I can’t say enough about this book, especially if you are trying to even out your hormones (i.e., if you have period issues, acne, weight fluctuations, adrenal fatigue, bloating, migraines etc.) or if you’re trying to conceive/up your fertility.
For getting more done, and better: Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey
This book is like a hug (especially for my fellow type-A peeps). All seven habits are just good common sense, but they really stick with you. Covey’s writing is warm and comforting, and the advice is straight-forward and realistic. If you’re feeling pretty good about life but want to “up-level”, this is where I would start.
For women seeking fulfillment: Playing Big, by Tara Mohr
I started recommending this book to women I know before I even finished the introduction. Whether you’re at home with kids or climbing your way up the corporate ladder, this book is for you. I audibly gasped in self-reflection so many times that I had to stop reading it in public. If you have a resolution about living your most authentic life but don’t know where to start, then goddamn it you have to read this book.
For improving relationships (including with yourself): The Road Back to You, by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile
I’ve mentioned before that I’m pretty obsessed with personality typing, and the Enneagram is (to me) the very best system. Once you figure out your type (the best way is to take this test), turn to this book and I guarantee a-ha moments so deep you will have to read through the mascara you’ve been weeping (or big, manly, man tears… whatever). The Road Back to You is about learning and leveraging profound compassion – for yourself and for those you interact with most. It’s real good.
For cultivating habits: Better Than Before, by Gretchen Rubin
Gretchen Rubin is my kindred spirit. She has a law degree, loves gold stars and day planners, and only wears comfortable clothing. She is also the author of several wonderful books about happiness, habits, and personality. Better Than Before is all about knowing yourself from a number of different angles, if you will, and using that self-knowledge to set yourself up for success in all areas of your life. If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution, I recommend you read this ASAP to up your chances of success.
For building mindfulness: How to Be Here, by Rob Bell
Another beautiful little book, How to Be Here is a collection of Bell’s short essays on life. Many are funny, many are touching, and all are reminders of what it means to be human. If you’re feeling low, I recommend turning to this book for a January pick-me-up. If you’re feeling joyful, I recommend this book for stoking the fire of mindful appreciation. If you’re a human being – well, I recommend this book to remind you how wonderful it is to be here.
For finding more ease and joy: The Sweet Spot, by Christine Carter
I can confidently say that this book has had a lasting positive impact on my life since I first read it five years ago. If you’re an over-achiever by nature, if you struggle with keeping-up-with-the-Joneses, or if you feel like you work really hard on everything but never quite feel satisfied with the results, you haven’t yet found your “sweet spot.” Spoiler alert: the “sweet spot” is basically where you give fewer fucks and somehow have better outcomes. It legit works for just about everything.
For getting out of your own way: Ego is the Enemy, by Ryan Holiday
Do you spend a lot of time thinking about what you’re gonna do one day? Do you beat yourself up about not actually getting the stuff done that you aspire to do? Do you have big dreams for yourself but can’t seem to actually put one foot in front of the other? Turns out your ego isn’t what’s fuelling your aspirations; it’s what’s standing in your way. For a real one-two punch, read this one back-to-back with The Untethered Soul and prepare to have your mind (or what you think is your mind) positively blown.
For everyone: The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle
My favourite, favourite, favourite book about the human experience. Tolle is gentle, but his message is shattering. As they say in RENT: there’s only now there’s only here, forget regret or live in fear, no other road no other way, no day but today. If you give yourself one gift this January, let it be this wonderful book I’ve dog-eared nearly to death.
That’s all for now, friends! I hope you enjoy January as much as I do!