We’re all just works in progress, right? At the library, I generally see the greatest demand for self-improvement books in the lead up to and immediately following the New Year. It makes sense. All those resolutions – to keep a cleaner house, to start exercising, to meditate – you may as well begin with the start of a fresh year. Except that you’re tired from the holidays or school break, and winter has already been going for two months, and the book you want isn’t checked in and by the time it arrives on hold for you in February you really don’t care about improving your habits anymore. So hey – start now! Here are four books to help you find creativity in everyday life, create good habits, move beyond failure, or tidy up.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
The author of both memoirs and novels, Gilbert’s latest is a rousing call to live a creative life. In short essays Gilbert coaches the reader on giving themselves permission to create regardless of what others think, work creativity into day-to-day life, and more. I saw Gilbert speak at a Seattle Arts & Lectures event in September, and she was hilarious and inspiring; my favorite quote was when she said creativity is like an energetic border collie – if you don’t give it something to do, it will find something on its own, and you probably won’t like what it comes up with. Gilbert is also a very active podcaster, so you can hear her advice in action.
Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin
Our lives are built on habits. Rubin breaks down the concept of habits – how we form them, why we break them, and how to change them. Ultimately, she argues that you’ll have greater success if you choose habit change strategies which fit your personality and the way you interact with the world. In this book you can figure out if you’re a Questioner, Upholder, Obliger, or Rebel, and then strategies for changing some of your habits. You can also go to Rubin’s website to listen to podcasts and take quizzes.
Rising Strong by Brené Brown
Brown advocates for people’s ability to dare and do great things, while recognizing that there will be failure along the way. In Rising Strong she presents a three-step approach to move you through failure and back to daring: The Reckoning, when one identifies the emotions from an experience and how those emotions impact our thoughts and behavior; The Rumble, which is all about examining the stories we tell ourselves about our failure; and The Revolution, when you have the energy to get back up.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
You’ve probably heard of this one, which has the goal of helping you declutter your home once and for all. This compact little book takes you step-by-step through the KonMari Method, with its central maxim to hold each item in your house and see which ones “spark joy,” and then get rid of those that don’t. Even if you never do anything except your closet, you’ll probably still feel great.
~ posted by Andrea G.