Let me remind you that goal setting isn’t just for New Year’s resolutions. There’s no reason you can’t start bettering yourself this very minute. Sometimes the best way to start achieving your goals is by taking advice from someone who has already done exactly that.
As someone who’s going through big life changes like moving across the country and working on switching career paths, I can confidently say that there is something very powerful about reading inspiring stories and words of encouragement at a time when it’s so easy to feel discouraged. Maybe you’re not going through a transitional period in life; maybe you’re just looking to transform yourself into the best person you can be. Either way, it’s the perfect time to pick up a life-changing self-development book.
Whether you have big dreams or are taking the first step toward bettering your future, you’re in the right place. See what personal development books you should pick up based on your current goals.
If you’re changing career paths
Aside from your own therapist, there is likely no one better to guide you through a time of transition than Dr. Julie Smith. In Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?, Dr. Smith shares advice from her years of practice as a therapist for maintaining resiliency, dealing with criticism, increasing self-confidence, and much more. Sometimes the most challenging parts of our life are those day-to-day decisions, and Dr. Smith breaks down her solutions in practical, digestible entries. For anyone feeling a little lost or confused about their path, this book is a must-read.
If you want to add more organization to your life
We’ve all heard Marie Kondo's iconic cleaning advice: get rid of it if it doesn’t spark joy. That’s just a small portion of the advice Kondo gives in her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Find why it’s so important to have a space that is comfortable, clean, and organized. Her detailed guide explains the best ways for organizing your spaces once and for all—literally, find out how to organize once and keep it that. See for yourself how having an organized living space can improve other parts of your life.
If you want to grow through challenging times
For those unexpected moments in life when big things are going wrong—the loss of a job, a breakup, the death of a loved one—Katherine May has extended her personal story into helpful advice for navigating challenging times. This book focuses on the transformative healing power of rest and retreat, and in doing so, proposes a kind of self-help that feels accessible even during difficult stages of life. May encourages an acceptance of sadness and an understanding of life as cyclical throughout this powerful self-help book.
If you want to enhance your romantic relationship
Is Everything I Know About Love a step-by-step guide to finding your soulmate? No, but it is a heartfelt memoir that will remind you of how and where we find true love in each moment, no matter the status of your romantic relationship. The varied structure of Dolly Alderton's memoir, from personal stories to lists to recipes, makes this an easy read that packs a punch. Especially for those navigating the complicated relationships of their 20s, this book is truly life-changing.
If you struggle to deal with change and want to change that
Maybe one of the most used metaphors for daily life is a mouse in a maze. Author Spencer Johnson uses this metaphor and takes it to the next level in Who Moved My Cheese? Essentially, the four mice in the maze are looking for their most coveted desire: cheese. As humans, our “cheese” can be anything from a great job to finding our soulmate. As we know, achieving our greatest desires is often much more challenging than we initially thought; things change, and we must alter our paths toward achieving our goals. Johnson shows us how to conquer change and not let it make us give up on what we are trying to achieve.
If you need to stop holding yourself back from success
When was the last time a bad habit held you back from the life you want? Probably more recently than you realize. In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear provides practical tools for recognizing and swapping bad habits for good ones that will elevate your success and help you achieve your goals, big and small. Clear explains how to motivate yourself for change, how to make the time to create better habits, and how to alter your environment to make success achievable. He aims to show you that you can alter yourself to automatically incorporate good habits into your life and let go of the bad ones on a cellular level (but trust us, it’s not as complicated as it sounds).
If you want to boost your personal confidence
Megababe founder Katie Sturino spent thirty years of her life feeling ashamed of her body, until a tide of self-acceptance changed her perspective. In Body Talk, Sturino breaks down the steps to freeing yourself from an obsession with your body. This part-workbook, part-memoir, part-guide is for anyone looking to unlearn years of internalized beauty standards and free up space in your brain for more creativity and productivity.
If you’re prone to self-sabotage and want to change that
The "mountain” has often been used as a metaphor for an obstacle we must overcome in order to achieve our goals. Miley didn’t call it The Climb for nothing! Brianna Weist takes this idea a step further by telling us that we are our own mountains that we need to overcome. All the baggage that weighs us down, such as past trauma, bad habits, and so on, are the things that hold us back. Weist believes that we are able to end self-sabotaging behaviors, release our traumas, and enhance our resilience to tackle our obstacles. When you realize that you are your own mountain and take the time to conquer your own self, you will open up a world of potential.
If you need to feel more empowered
You may be familiar with Cara Alwill Leyba’s previous work, Girl Code. As a followup to its predecessor, Girl on Fire is your wake up call to stop waiting for the world to take care of you. Leyba explains that if no one’s going to do the work for you (which they won’t), you need to do it yourself. As a self-published author herself, she proclaims, “Gone are the days of waiting to be chosen by an agent, a record label, a company, or a publisher.” Instead, as women, we must choose ourselves. She believes that we can build the careers we want without permission from anyone, and after reading Girl on Fire, you may just believe it too.
If you want to increase productivity & more
It’s no secret that your productivity can increase if you wake up earlier in the morning—you quite literally will have more hours in the day. Beyond productivity, Robin Sharma’s book, The 5 AM Club, explains how you can also increase your happiness and elevate your health by waking a few hours earlier each day. Learn how some of the world’s most successful people begin their days, exactly how to use your extra hours for exercise, growth, and reflection, and learn how to wake up feeling inspired and ready for your day (yes, please!). Once you join the club, there will be no turning back.
If you feel stuck and want to figure out what to do with your life
I can’t be the only one who hit 25, realized I wasn’t living the life I wanted, and started to wonder if there was something different I should do for my career. That’s why the The Quarter-Life Breakthrough spoke to me. Adam Smiley Poswolsky gives practical advice and exercises to help 20- and 30-somethings find a career that is both fulfilling emotionally and financially.
If you want to become the best version of yourself
If manifestation has ever felt out-of-reach or too confusing to you, this book by Roxie Nafousi has you covered. The personal development coach and viral "Queen of Manifesting" shares her essential seven steps to becoming empowered and creating your dream life. Nafousi's guide is tangible and actionable, making it a fantastic read for anyone looking to level up in their day-to-day. Read all about how to be clear in your vision, remove fear and doubt, turn envy into inspiration, and much, much more.
If you want to set yourself up for financial success
Tori Dunlap, host of the #1 finance podcast for women in the world, has always been good with money. She's dedicated her life to closing the gap of financial knowledge that exists between men and women, and in Financial Feminist, she breaks down her shame-free approach to saving, spending, budgeting, investing, and more. With everything from journaling prompts to expert perspectives, this book has everything you need to take control of your own financial power.