the top 10 books for the top 10 new year’s resolutions

Top10BooksForNewYearsResolutionsAs you know, I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. And from what I’ve gathered from conversations with friends and other posts on the internet lately, it seems that resolutions, with a meager 8% success rate, aren’t quite as popular as they once were.

While this is great news, it doesn’t mean that we cannot still create real and lasting change (for the better) at the start of a new year – or any other time for that matter.

Though we may not be making any “grand proclamations,” I think it might still be helpful to share a few books that I find powerful to help address the most popular new year’s resolutions for 2014.

Because even if we might not be making “resolutions,” these areas are important and benefit our overall wellbeing.


Resolution #1: Lose Weight

Book: Women Food and God, Geneen Roth

As you may remember, I spent nine years of my life thinking about food and my body more than anything else. I ate too little. I ate too much. I was all over the place, letting my ego run the show… until I read this book.

Please don’t be turned off by the mention of God in the title, it’s not a religious book. But it will create a few secular “Come to Jesus” moments.

This book was my first step to weight and body image freedom and I cannot recommend it highly enough for anyone who struggles with this all consuming issue.


Resolution #2: Getting Organized

Book: Getting Things Done, David Allen

Though I have recently shared a complete review of this book, I will quickly share that this book is particularly helpful if you are looking to find a system of planning and organization for work and life.

It’s not geared specifically towards clutter, but it will give you some tools and processes to put in place regarding to-do lists, project planning, and keeping track of everything in your life.


Resolution #3: Spend Less, Save More

Book: It’s Your Money, Eric Williams

This book has been instrumental in my own life in the past year to get more inspired to spend less and save more. Hearing the Williams personal story of reducing their ~$40,000 in debt in 23 months – on average incomes – made me deeply consider what I really want to do with my finances.

This isn’t a hands-on “how-to” book for debt reduction and budgeting, I believe it’s the precursor: it’s the book that makes you want to get more serious about finance and saving.

Meanwhile, the Words of Williams blog is a great resource for the tactics and nitty gritty details of making a budget happen.


Resolution #4: Enjoy Life to the Fullest

Book: The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle

More than anything, I’ve come to believe that being present is the key to enjoying life to the fullest. And the book that has helped me in that area more than any other is The Power of Now. I found that it got particularly helpful towards the middle of the book.

Implementing Mr. Tolle’s suggestions in my life has created more moments of presence and awareness – which in turn lead to joy.


Resolution #5: Staying Fit and Healthy

Book: The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson

This isn’t a book about exercise. It is the book that will explain why it may have been difficult to maintain a healthy fitness schedule in the first place – and what you can do about it going forward.

If you want to make any change in your life, this book is the one to start with.

After reading The Slight Edge, you simply apply these straightforward and powerful principles to the details of the habit you wish to make.


Resolution #6: Learn Something Exciting

Book: The War of Art, Steven Pressfield

Chances are, there may be an exciting new habit or skill lurking in the back of your mind that you wish to attempt. But for some reason or another (time, fear, money, public opinion, Homeland) you haven’t done anything about it… yet.

This book reeks of soul-bearing truth and can be the wake up call that gets you going.


Resolution #7: Quit Smoking

Book: 10 Tips for Quitting Smoking, Leo Baubuta

This one isn’t actually a book, it’s a post by Leo Baubuta of Zen Habits sharing his own tips on quitting. Stopping his smoking habit once and for all actually kicked off his journey to living a zen life.

I recommend diving into Leo’s other books, interviews, and posts to get a fuller sense of what helped him kick the smoking — and kick start so many other positive changes along the way.


Resolution #8: Help Others in Their Dreams

Book: Start with Why, Simon Sinek

This book is a great way to understand the elements of purpose. Once these concepts are understood, it becomes easier to teach and share the principles with those who seek more meaning in their lives.


Resolution #9: Fall in Love

Book: Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts, Regena Thomashauer

I’m not particularly familiar with the genre of dating books out there, I found this one to be pretty helpful and fun to read.

Regardless of whether you are single, dating, or married, this book is a fun read that has a fresh take on a lot of universal principles.


Resolution #10: Spend More Time with Family

Book: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey

What can I say? You didn’t expect me to leave out my favorite book of all time, did you?

Yes, I’m proud to list The Seven Habits as a foundation for any of these resolutions, particularly this one about more family time. When it comes to finding balance in life in all areas, this book (particularly habits 2 and 3) will provide the road map.

Though the content can seem dense at times, it is worth its weight in gold when applied consistently.

Take some time with this one. A month per habit is a good way to approach this valuable material.


As you consider reading some (or all) of these books, I hope you take some time to apply the nugget of wisdom from The Slight Edge:


Reading books is useless unless the concepts are applied consistently.

So go forth and read and then do!


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  1. Definitely adding some of these to my reading list! One book that was a game-changer for me and a client around money is Money: A Love Story by Kate Northrup. Highly recommend! I also just finished The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks and that was a game changer too. All about living up to your potential and moving beyond self-sabotage. Also an interesting bit on time too.

    1. Jess Lively

      Thank you so much, Joanna! I have heard good things about the first book and totally want to read the second one!

  2. Lindsey Richardson

    This is a really helpful list!! Can’t wait to read It’s your money and Getting things done! Determined to find an organization system that I will commit to this year. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Jess Lively

      Very nice! I hope you enjoy them! You might also like the third habit of The Seven Habits, it’s a great/simpler approach to organization. : )

  3. Stacey Beth

    Well…I think you just caused me to spend a bunch of money putting money on my Kindle 😉 In all seriousness, I love the book suggestions and am very excited to check out quite a few of them.

    1. Jess Lively

      Nice! I have only read that book, do you have any other titles by her you recommend, Sage?

      1. Sage Grayson

        Yes! “Lost and Found” was great too. It’s about your relationship with money and food.

  4. Akaleistar

    Wow, I’ll be checking out some of these books 🙂

  5. stef

    Buying The Slight Edge and Women Food and God on Kindle as we speak

    1. Jess Lively

      Awesome. Both of those are stellar. Enjoy! Your 2014 is going to get a whole lot better after those two.

  6. Julie Luong

    This year #1 went away and is replaced by #7… but I’ve never read a book in that genre either. I do want to read Women Food & God – I’ve heard good things!

    1. Jess Lively

      It is so great! In all honesty, I can’t even specifically remember what Geneen “says” as much as the impact and paradigm shift that it created in my life. It shows how a message is so much more powerful than the words themselves.

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