I’ve always been an avid reader but it wasn’t until my late 20s that I started reading personal development books. When I was a kid, the books I read were always fiction or biographies. Today, the personal development and non-fiction books outnumber the fiction books.
I always make sure to get the actual book. As I read, I find pieces of information I want to highlight and notes I want to jot down in the margins. Some say I’m defacing the book, but I use them as reference tools throughout the years. If I can encourage you to do one thing, it’s to get the physical book. You just might thank me later. 😉
Over the past 15 years or so, I’ve read TONS of personal development and non-fiction books. I have a few favorites and recommend to those that ask me where to start. Those books are:
Below is a synopsis about the book and why I hold it so near and dear to my heart.
You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
The subtitle of this book is How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. Seems pretty self-explanatory, right? Well, this book does exactly what it sets out to. It’s my go-to recommendation whenever anyone asks what book they should read. I loved this book so much, I’ve read it multiple times. One of my biggest takeaways was that the author’s writing helped me to stop some of my self-sabotaging beliefs. Her writing helped me start believing that I was capable of accomplishing big (even if just to me) things. I always grew up with a “glass is half empty” outlook and this book stopped that mindset. Yes, I still have setbacks from time to time, but they don’t last as long.
Make a conscious effort to increase your joy in whatever capacity you can.
Reading these words helped me realize that regardless of my circumstances, there are things to be happy about. I live in the Northeast quadrant of the United States and have never felt at home. I don’t like the winters because they’re too cold and the summers impact my asthma greatly. Despite all this, though, I have so many memories that make me smile.
What you choose to focus on becomes your reality.
If that ain’t the truth, right?! When I was a kid and had that “glass is half empty” mindset, I had a negative outlook and things did not always go my way. Changing my focus helped me see the positive more than the negative. I stopped following people and social media accounts that didn’t fit me up and make me happy. I even reduced my screen time to make room for other good things in life.
The Universe Has Your Back by Gabby Bernstein
The subtitle of this book is Transform Fear to Faith and it helps you do that and more! I met Gabby on her book tour and seeing and hearing her speak changed how I felt about letting to. Being the Type A person I am, I like to be in control of as much as I can. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always work. This book helped me learn to trust the powers that be and let go. Whether you call it The Universe, God or Spirit, it’s there to help guide us on the path we’re on.
Energy flows where your attention goes.
Just like the quote in You are a Badass, I realized that it’s not just about my focus. It’s about my energy too! Where I apply myself needs to be an area that is going to elevate me. If I focus on gossip or something negative, my energy level is going to plummet.
Practice the Holy Instant.
I learned about the Holy Instant from Gabby years ago and I’ve been practicing it ever since. It’s when you make a mistake, say or something wrong and you notice it in the moment. In that moment, you decide to choose again. Since I’ve learned this technique, I’ve practiced it at least once a day. It helps me remember that life is fleeting and it doesn’t do us well to dwell in the negative.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Marie’s book gave me the starting place I needed to clean up my home, declutter and live a more fulfilling life. It taught me that the “things” we have need to serve a purpose and make us happy. Too much clutter around you can lead to a cluttered mind, a cluttered life and chaos that you don’t want.
Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong.
I loved this quote because I’ve always believed that everything in our homes needs a home too. When something is “where it belongs”, your space is neater and you know where to find things when you need them.
I recommend you dispose of anything that does not fall into one of three categories: currently in use, needed for a limited period of time or must be kept indefinitely.
I needed THIS answer. The pressure to keep gifts I received, family heirlooms that were handed down and all sorts of other things I had in my home was always there. Marie writing these words gave me the out I needed and the path to start decluttering.
Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson
Oh, I want everyone to read this book! The subtitle of this book is 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health and Bigger Success. These strategies are easy to follow, simple to put into play and they honestly work. I have never been a good sleeper and Shawn’s book helped me change my sleep patterns for the better.
Avoid screens before bed.
Yup, Shawn said it and I agree. I’ve gone back and forth on this tip and when I look at my screen close to my bedtime, I sleep worse than when I stop looking at them hours before. And when Shawn says screens, he means ALL SCREENS – television, cell phone, computer, etc. Basically it includes anything that emits a blue light and keeps the brain active. Stop looking at these at least one hour before bed and you’ll sleep easier.
Get it blacked out.
No, it doesn’t mean painting everything in your room black. It means make your sleeping quarters dark. Zero light in your bedroom is ideal! Get black out curtains, get rid of your alarm clocks (if possible) and shut off the night lights. The darker the room, the better. Any bit of light will wake you up and prevent you from getting some shut eye.
Life’s Golden Ticket by Brendon Burchard
The last book is fictional but it has so much meaning. It’s a story about second chances and not giving in to what life throws at us. Without giving anything away, following an accident, a man goes to a dilapidated fair ground and gets transported to a time when it was active. Throughout his time there he meets different characters, listens to their stories, gets advice from them and is led down different paths in an effort to help him understand what’s going on around him. At the end of the book, you have a special surprise that reinforces the motivation in the story.
When you were born, a golden ticket was slipped into your soul’s pocket.
While it might not feel like it, sometimes we have to use this golden ticket. It gives us permission to do anything we want, be anyone we want to be and live the life we dreamt. When we’re a kid, it seems like we know about this ticket and understand its meaning. But as we get into adulthood, that ticket falls to back burner and we leave it behind. Why? I don’t know but I know many of us forget about this ticket.
The choice, as it has always been, is yours.
Who knew something could be said so powerfully in less than 10 words?! This quote is one of my favorites of all time because it is a wonderful reminder that we control our decisions, our choices, our actions and yes, our path. YOU control what you choose to do and how you choose to feel about what’s going on around you. Don’t forget about the control you do have and use it to your advantage.
While these are just a few of the books I’ve read, these really are the ones that got me started on my personal development journey. If you want more of my recommended reads, click the link below to access my Amazon Recommended Reads list.
If you’ve read any of these, I’d love to hear your thoughts on them. How did they impact you? Let me know in the comments. If there’s another book not mentioned here, let me know what too! I’m always looking to add more books to my list.