I built my writing career around setting New Year Resolutions, even though I no longer jump on the resolution bandwagon.
Don’t get me wrong, goal setting is still an integral part of my life, especially for my mentoring business, but writing a list of all the things I want to change doesn’t meet my needs as I grow and evolve.
Intentions, on the other hand, are a fabulous way of reflecting on the year we’ve left behind, reviewing what matters to us, and embarking on the year ahead. An intention is softer, cuddlier, and much more manageable than a resolution.
Instead of setting a resolution to ‘lose three stone in weight’ it becomes an intention to ‘make healthier choices’. See, much more palatable, excuse the pun!
One intention I set year after year (although I do occasionally struggle with this one) is to find more time to read. When I was reading Stephen Guise’s book, Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results, I discovered one of his mini habits that fit perfectly with my reading intention – to read two pages a day. Simples! Even I could include that into my busy schedule.
This breakthrough got me thinking about the other non-fiction books on my shelves that have shared insightful messages and nuggets of wisdom. I scoured my bookshelf and pulled out five books that could help kick start your New Year.
One for fans of an inspiring story – A Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
I love this woman! She’s a genius and has been responsible for many (many!!) tears over the years as I watched her successful show, Grey’s Anatomy. A Year of Yes is an oldie (2015) but a great addition to your TBR pile.
Discovering that one of my favourite Hollywood writers went through the same emotions and anxieties I’d been through made me sit up and listen. Shonda’s story is inspiring and honest. If it’s your intention to say ‘yes’ a bit more this year then this is the book for you.
In this poignant, hilarious and deeply intimate call to arms, Hollywood’s most powerful woman, the mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of Bridgerton, For the People and How to Get Away with Murder , reveals how saying YES changed her life – and how it can change yours too.
With three hit shows on television and three children at home, Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say no when invitations arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No.
And to an introvert like Shonda, who describes herself as ‘hugging the walls’ at social events and experiencing panic attacks before press interviews, there was a particular benefit to saying no: nothing new to fear. Then came Thanksgiving 2013, when Shonda’s sister Delorse muttered six little words at her: You never say yes to anything.
Profound, impassioned and laugh-out-loud funny, in Year of Yes Shonda Rhimes reveals how saying YES changed – and saved – her life. And inspires readers everywhere to change their own lives with one little word: Yes.
One for the rebels – Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results by Stephen Guise
This book has been a game-changer for me. As someone who has an abundance of motivation when starting a project or regime, I am fully aware that my willpower is nowhere near as strong. Within weeks I’ll have resorted back to my default setting – a sloth!
If you can relate to this (no judgement here!) then grab a copy of Mini Habits and prepare to be wowed.
Lasting Change for Early Quitters, Burnouts, the Unmotivated, and Everyone Else Too
When I decided to start exercising consistently 10 years ago, this is what actually happened:
I tried “getting motivated.” It worked sometimes.
I tried setting audacious big goals. I almost always failed them.
I tried to make changes last. They didn’t.
Like most people who try to change and fail, I assumed that I was the problem. Then one afternoon—after another failed attempt to get motivated to exercise—I (accidentally) started my first mini habit. I initially committed to do one push-up, and it turned into a full workout. I was shocked. This “stupid idea” wasn’t supposed to work. I was shocked again when my success with this strategy continued for months (and to this day).
I had to consider that maybe I wasn’t the problem in those 10 years of mediocre results. Maybe it was my prior strategies that were ineffective, despite being oft-repeated as “the way to change” in countless books and blogs.
I was right.
One for the inner child – Be More Kid by Ed James, Mark Taylor, Nicky Taylor
If a book offers to help me escape the grown-up trap and live life to the full then it’s going to find a home on my bookshelf. I’ve listened to Ed James on Heart FM for years and love his approach to life and work. When he popped up on LinkedIn talking about Be More Kid I knew it would be my kind of book.
THIS ISN’T JUST ANOTHER SELF IMPROVEMENT BOOK.
Have you ever felt there must be more to life? Do you feel unfulfilled? Have you felt stuck, not knowing how to move forward and found yourself settling for less than you deserve?
AND IT ISN’T ABOUT HAVING TO CREATE A NEW YOU.
Since childhood you’ve had all of the resources that you need to create the life that you want, and over time you’ve simply lost touch with them. Now is the time to find them again.
With expert guidance from broadcaster and entrepreneur, Ed James and behaviour and relationship experts, Mark & Nicky Taylor, you’ll rediscover your sense of purpose, reconnect with what is important to you and find out how to unlearn unhelpful habits and behaviours. Employing simple tools and techniques you can use each day, Be More Kid shows you how to:
Enjoy a meaningful and fulfilling life
Stop overthinking and build resilience in a challenging world
End the conflict of putting everyone else before your own needs
Rediscover the contentment, enthusiasm and zest for life you had as a child
If you are ready for a new approach to your happiness, relationships and your future, Be More Kid will guide you through the journey, one step at a time.
One for the entrepreneurs – She Means Business by Carrie Green
Carrie Green is the founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association (FEA) of which I am a member. It’s one of the best memberships for women in business I’ve found and is packed full of supportive and like-minded ladies from across the globe.
If it’s your intention to start a new business or scale up the one you currently run then She Means Business will be a perfect companion.
Are you ready to turn your ideas into reality and build a wildly successful business?
There has never been a better time to say yes! With a computer and an Internet connection you can get your ideas, messages, and business out there like never before and create so much success.
In this book, Carrie Green shows you how. Carrie started her first online business at the age of 20—she knows what it’s like to be an ambitious and creative woman with big dreams and huge determination . . . but she also knows the challenges of starting and running a business, including the fears, overwhelm, confusion, and blocks that entrepreneurs face. Based on her personal, tried-and-tested experience, she offers valuable guidance and powerful exercises to help you:
• Get clear on your business vision
• Move past the fears and doubts that can get in the way
• Understand your audience, so you can truly connect with them
• Create your brand and build a tribe of raving fans, subscribers, and customers
• Manage your time, maintain focus, and keep going in the right direction
• Condition yourself for success
. . . and so much more!
If you’re a creative and ambitious female entrepreneur, or are contemplating the entrepreneurial path, this book will provide the honest, realistic, and practical tools you need to follow your heart and bring your vision to life.
One for the writers – Your Writing Matters by Colleen M. Story
Turning an idea into a living breathing book takes hard work and dedication. It also needs a hefty dollop of inspiration and motivation. In Colleen’s book, she works through the challenges any writer will face on their journey.
You could spend years wondering whether you’re meant to be a writer—or you could read this book.
You write day after day. You dream of bestseller’s lists and royalty checks. But despite your best marketing efforts, those dreams remain out of reach.
You start to wonder if you’re wasting your time. Does your writing even matter?
Yes, it’s tough out there, and you have a right to feel the way you do.
Society’s focus on money and fame doesn’t make it any easier. If you’re not producing results in the form of royalties and recognition, others may discount the value of your creations, making it difficult to get the support you need to keep going.
Everything changes once you make “the decision.”
In Your Writing Matters, author Colleen M. Story — a long-time professional writer and writing coach — will help you discover whether you truly have a writer’s DNA. She examines:
- The scientific evidence behind the pressure you feel to make money with your work
- The reasons why fame and notoriety are so attractive and discouraging
- The myth of the most talented writers
- Why book marketing can seem so exhausting
- Why you feel you have to justify the time you spend writing
- Step by step, you’ll gain a clear-eyed look at the challenges a writer faces in the outside world. You’ll also learn:
- What hidden benefits writing may have in your life
- Whether writing is part of your life’s purpose
- When it’s best to leave writing behind
Every writer, somewhere along the way, grapples with the question of whether to continue on the writing journey. Don’t waste your precious time in indecision. Let Your Writing Matters guide you to your truth and you’ll never look back again.
Finally, one shameless book plug! Self-Help for the Helpless by Shelley Wilson
As I mentioned at the start of this post, I built my writing career around setting 52 New Year Resolutions and blogging about it before turning the entire process into my debut non-fiction book, How I Changed My Life in a Year. Writing my self-help and personal development titles has been a great joy and an honour. Here’s my latest release:
Bestselling self-help author and award-winning personal development blogger Shelley Wilson takes the fear out of self-help and makes it fun, helping you to make easy, positive changes to improve your life right now. Includes her 31-day self-help toolkit.
Have you ever felt helpless? Are you struggling to understand why you feel disconnected from your friends or family? Are you mystified by the words self-help, self-care, and personal development? Are you looking for answers but really have no idea where to begin?
In this beginner’s guide to personal development and understanding self-care, Shelley Wilson will show you how looking after your own needs can be a powerful tool for your mental, physical, and emotional health so you can begin making important changes today.
Discover what self-help means, how to become more self-aware, understand core values, and have fun mapping out what your best life looks like. Shelley includes tips, tools, and techniques and shares her 31-day self-help toolkit.
Be the person you deserve to be and join bestselling self-help author and award-winning personal development blogger Shelley Wilson on a journey of self-discovery and recovery.
Have you read a non-fiction book that had a big impact on you or your life? Tell us about it in the comments. In the meantime, fill up your creative well by reading more non-fiction titles and staying curious.