I love reading and I find it very peaceful. I used to love reading fanfiction and sci-fi books when I was younger, and I still do to some extent, but now I enjoy reading self-help and personal development/growth books. Reading books that are life-changing can help you grow and become the best version of you, that you want to be.
There is something about a new year. It calls for new goals and resolutions, and reading life-changing books is always on my goals list. Physical books. Not books you can read on a phone or a kindle. Those are not for me. Unless it’s a workbook or eBook of course, then I do read it on my phone or computer.
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However, reading an actual physical book is said to be very relaxing, once you get the hang of it. If you are not used to reading every day, you shouldn’t expect too much of yourself.
You can start by reading 10 pages every night before you go to bed. Do this for the first two weeks, and then increase those numbers to 15 pages every night.
Slowly you will get used to reading for 1 hour or even 2. When it comes to reading for this long, I usually spread it out during the day.
When I eat my breakfast I usually either listen to a podcast or a TED talk, or I read whatever book I am reading at the moment. This is something you can do as well.
Atomic Habits is my absolute favorite life-changing book. This book is the number 1 book when it comes to habit change. It’s sold as a bestseller on Amazon as well, so I am clearly not the only one who thinks so.
Are you having trouble changing your habits? The problem isn’t really you at all. The problem is in your system. It’s not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for it.
James Clear breaks habit creation into four sections: creating and maintaining a new habit should be easy, satisfying, attractive, and obvious. Let’s do an example. Do you want to implement a relaxing and soothing evening routine in 2020? You should make it:
Easy by starting out with changing just 1 habit and doing it for 5-10 minutes.
Satisfying by doing something that makes you feel amazing – does yoga make you feel relaxed? Do it. Does reading before bed making you relaxed? Do it. But you should do something that is good for you – this doesn’t include Netflix or social media!
Attractive by rewarding yourself, once you have done something good for a week straight. Buy yourself something you have been wanting to buy – maybe the new sweater!
Obvious buy putting your clothes out the night before to save time in the morning, prep your breakfast and lunch the night before to save even more time in the morning.
James Clear guides you through a way that will completely reprogram and reshape the way you think about progress and success. He gives you the tools and strategies you need to transform and change your habits. You will see why this book is life-changing in an exciting way.
The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dreams – by Paulo Coelho
This book actually comes in the form of a story and is not truly a self-help book. It is life-changing though It’s the story of an Andalusian shepherd boy called Santiago, who goes on a journey and quest for treasure to realize his “personal legend”. The journey turns into an adventure, as Santiago runs into many obstacles.
I found that the first theme in “The Alchemist” is to pursue your dreams and never give up, by following what your heart desires.
I generally found 4 powerful life lessons from reading this book:
No matter what you do in life, you should do it, because you are following your heart and soul.
“You will never be able to escape your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say” – Paulo Coelho.
You will fail. Failing is a part of life, but that doesn’t mean you should give up in the process.
“To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation” – The Alchemist.
Maktub: it is written
“I saw that everything really was written there before me and that the doors had only been closed before because I hadn’t realized that I was the one person in the world with the authority to open them” – Paulo Coelho.
This demands a little explaining, I think. This is another theme I found in the Alchemist, or rather it’s a saying: Maktub, which means it is written. In other words, it means that your actions are in the context of faith, which has been written by God.
Because if we think about it, we are no more than participants in this life. That doesn’t mean that we still don’t have a duty to ourselves to pursue all and everything that is unique to us, and us alone. If you read this book, you will quickly realize why it’s so thrillingly life-changing.
It’s the simplest things in life that are the most extraordinary
Being different is the greatest thing that we can do, as being different is being yourself. You are not being like anyone else, and therefore you are different. Being different is realizing that you are unique to this world and that your personal legend is yours, and yours alone.
When I look at society, I don’t believe that a lot of people are actually doing what they want to do. Instead, they strive for status and participate in the rat race and hamster wheel. A major part of our lives are spent trying to please other people, but not ourselves.
Pursue your dreams and listen to what your heart and soul tells you to do. If something doesn’t feel right, it is most likely because it isn’t. Do what makes you happy, live the life that you want to live, and have the job that you want to have. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it either!
“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find treasure” – Paulo Coelho.
The Power of Now – by Eckhart Tolle
Do you spend time worrying about the future or regretting your past? Every minute spent doing exactly this is a waste of your time and a minute lost. This book is life-changing.
Because let’s face it, you can’t change the past – no matter how much you regret something. You can’t do anything about the future, which means that all you are left with is now. The present.
The reason why we regret and worry about things comes from the way your mind works. Our mind is usually preoccupied with 2 things: the past and the future.
The only important time is the one we neglect: the present. This exact moment. 2 seconds ago is already in the past. Crazy huh? However, everything happens in the present. Not the past. Not the future. The present.
Tolle says it well: “the past is nothing more than all present memories that have gone by, and the future is just the collection of present moment awaiting to arrive”.
How to Win Friends and Influence People – by Dale Carnegie
According to Dale Carnegie, there are 3 ways and techniques to handle people:
- Don’t criticize, condemn or complain
- Give honest and sincere appreciation
- Arouse in the other person an eager want
Carnegie says it like this: “Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment. …. Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”
Carnegie also mentions 6 ways to make people like you better:
- Become genuinely interested in other people
- Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language
- Be a good listener – encourage others to talk about themselves
- Talk in terms of other person’s interests
- Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely
He also teaches you 12 ways to win people over to your way of thinking and how to be a great leader.
All in all, I can definitely follow the lines of the “rules”, as it makes sense to make people want to feel good in my company. I love how this book is also completely life-changing.
You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life – by Jen Sincero
This is a book to read if you want to become more self-aware and figure out what you want in life. It also teaches you have to kick other’s opinions to the curb and focus on what will make you happy.
I have come to realize, that the older I become (I am only 26 though), the more I care less about what people think of me. It has always seemed amazing and amusing to me that a lot of older people are very direct and unapologetic, but now I get it. I truly do. They have been around long enough to figure out that opinions don’t matter.
Jen Sincero is rebellious and doesn’t give a crap about what other people think. Excuse my language, but it’s the truth. “You are a badass” is about helping people transform their lives to happiness and success.
3 life-changing things I learned from this book:
- Decide that you will stop caring what other people think.
- Find out what you want from life, but don’t obsess about how you’ll get there.
- Do you have habits and friends that are toxic and don’t support you the way you deserve? It’s time to change your surroundings!
“You are a badass” is 90% motivation and 10% tactics and calls to action to help you become a badass. It’s worth a read in my opinion!
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- 10 mindful habits that will transform your life in 2020
- 7 habits that helped manage my life
- How you can build habits that stick!
- 7 daily habits that will improve your mental health
- 8 toxic habits you need to quit immediately!
If you want to change your habits or become a more likable person in 2020, these books are definitely the right place to start. The truth is though, that you can read as many books you want, but the books aren’t going to change you. You are.
You are the one who has to start accepting what the books are saying and start doing something about your life if you want to become the best version of you, that you can be. Only you can change you.
What books are you going to read in 2020? What books have made a huge impact on your life so far? Let me know in the comments below…