I know it sounds dramatic and a bit far-fetched to say that a book changed my life but hear me out.
You see, this past year didn’t exactly pan out the way I had anticipated. After a rough couple of years spent in my twenties, I was hoping that turning 30 would open new doors and bring more excitement into my life. But what I experienced was quite the opposite:
- for starters, my boyfriend and I called it quits, and while being single certainly isn’t the worst thing in the world- the break up meant that I lost contact with his young daughter, a little girl whom I cared (and still care) deeply for.
- my job started to feel stale, and that scared me because my career has always been such a large part of my life. I wasn’t sure how to proceed, but I knew something had to change. After all, I wasn’t growing, I wasn’t building a future for myself. I was merely surviving.
- what’s more, I experienced a few unexpected hiccups with my health and I can’t begin to explain how defeated it all made me feel. I experienced some pretty intense levels of exhaustion. On all accounts I felt drained. I’m talking physically, emotionally + mentally- I was just done.
I’ll be honest, life was far from how I had pictured it in my head. And all I could think was ‘is this it?’ ‘Is this as good as life is ever going to get?’.
Now, I’m not one to be dramatic, and I’m definitely not the type of woman to wear her heart on her sleeve but for one reason or another life felt like it was spiraling.
Deep in my heart, I just knew that if I didn’t take the initiative to bring change into my life, I was going to crash and burn completely.
And so one night, sitting on my back porch after a long day of work, I came to the realization that while I may not know exactly how to fix my life, if I didn’t at least make an effort to change something- then in the end nothing would change.
I took I shot in the dark and I promised myself that I would stick to a few rules moving forward: namely, no boys and no booze- at least for the foreseeable future. After the crazy roller coaster of a year I had just faced, I wanted time to get my mind right. I wanted time to heal.
And I needed time to heal on a deeper level. I knew that putting a superficial band aid on the situation wouldn’t help me in the long run- hence the ‘no boys + no booze’ rule.
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I’m a firm believer that life will keep repeating itself until we learn the lesson that we are intended to learn. While I can be stubborn, the one thing that I was certain of was the fact that the emotion that I was feeling in the moment- I promised myself that I never wanted to experience a ‘low’ quite like this again anytime soon.
I’m not exactly sure why I turned to reading shortly after this ‘a-ha’ moment. I think there was a part of me that knew I needed some sort of guidance, but I was a little scared of finding that guidance through social interaction. Let’s be honest, the idea of putting myself together + talking to people- well that sounded like more work that I could manage at the time.
But I was pleasantly surprised by what I found hidden between the pages of these inspiring books. You see, I may have underestimated how powerful of a tool reading truly is. The truth is books are a short-cut to gaining perspective; they allow us to buy into an experience that we’ve never had to go through personally. And that’s some pretty powerful stuff.
Sure, my life didn’t drastically change overnight. Just like any sort of transformation- this type of change is a process + it took time- but I stayed committed to reading ten pages a day. And looking back, six short months later I feel like an entirely different woman. Everything that has happened in my life since- the mental shifts, the healing, my newfound clarity on life- I owe it all to the stories that I was fortunate to have experienced through reading.
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If you’re a woman who wants to improve her life but doesn’t know where to start, then keep reading, my friend. I’m sharing with you the entire list of books that radically transformed my own life this last year and that gave me new perspective that I didn’t even know I needed.
This post may contain affiliate links, for more information, see my disclosures here.
21 Best Self Help Books that Helped Me Find Healing After a Troubling Year:
1. The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson: This book was the starting point for my self-improvement journey. It helped me to understand how small change could still have a big impact on my life, and it really inspired me to take action toward my goals.
Without exaggeration, this book is truly the reason why I am such a firm believer that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things- it just takes some persistence and a little bit of passion
2. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy:This book is very similar in concept to the title above up, but in my opinion, it’s still worth the read. Again, the author shares some very powerful lessons for creating significant + impactful change in your life.
3. You are a Bad Ass: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero: I’ll be honest, I originally read this book over two years ago. Back then, I thought it was a good read; but I failed to put any of the author’s insight into practice into my own life. I just recently picked up my copy of this book to re-read and after fully embodying everything that Sincero talked about, that’s when I saw my life begin to change. She helped me to see just how big of a deal it is to be ME and to be living this life!
4. You are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero I think this book is so important because money is one of those topics that we just don’t talk enough about. We tend to think of money as a taboo subject- but it’s not! I can’t praise Sincero enough for the way that she talks about it in this book. Whether you’re a boss babe with a side hustle or a stay at home mom, I think this book has something to offer everyone and I couldn’t recommend it enough.
5. Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza: This book was the connection that I needed in order to understand the science behind spirituality. For me, while I love the idea of meditation + psychology, I needed a little bit more concrete evidence to really buy into some of the ideas + theories that are shared within the self-development world. This book did just that!
Dr. Joe Dispenza shares such a unique perspective in the power we have to transform our own lives- and he uses science to support everything that he shares. This book was truly the instruction manual that I needed in order to learn how to break free from the grip of my emotions + to create a happy and abundant life!
6. Girl Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis: I think everyone needs a little Rachel Hollis in their life! This was one of those books where I felt like I was having a chat with one of my close girlfriends. She offers such great advice without sugar-coating anything. I’ve never related so closely to a book as I did when I read this one.
7. It’s not Supposed To Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered by Lysa TerKeurst: This title spoke to me! And in full disclosure- it’s because of the title that I even picked up this book.
All I can say is that if you are experiencing a season of suffering (for any reason), then reading this book is a must. While there are far too many lessons for me to list here + now, I must say that I appreciated being reminded that sometimes God breaks us down so that we can be built back up, forming our strongest selves yet.
Dark moments have purpose. They help us to step into the women that we are meant to become.
8. 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris: I’m not going to lie, this was a difficult book to get through just because the author had such an extensive vocabulary. For me though, it was well worth the read.
The author shared his own journey into mindfulness and mediation. In particular, I found his perspective helpful because he was a self-proclaimed critic of the whole meditation process. I related so well to his hesitation + thoroughly enjoyed reading how he was able to navigate some of those roadblocks.
9. Atomic Habits by James Clear:Yes- another book about habits 😉 Perhaps by now, the idea of reading about habits has become a bit repetitive on this list, but James Clear offers yet another intriguing perspective on how to make habits stick. This book was easy-to-read + it offered great ideas on how to implement the strategies taught in this book into your own life.
If you’re a woman that understands what it’s like to become emotionally ‘unglued’, then this book is a must-read! This book not only helped me to understand the reasons for my emotions- but it also helped me to identify coping strategies so that experience life without allowing these strong emotions to completely swallow me up. As the author writes, ‘God gave us emotions to experience life, not destroy it! ‘ and I think that’s a statement that most women can get behind!
I picked up this book only because everyone seemed to be talking about it. I was a little hesitant to read it because it was fiction- and so much of my focus was on reading non-fiction books. But this book surpassed all expectations! It’s the kind of book that works on more than one level – you have your hero who goes on an adventure, learning from a wise mentor, hitting roadblocks, coming to know himself and the world around him before realizing that his true treasure was in himself all along. I think it is well worth it to have this book on your shelf!
I truly enjoyed this book as it offered a new perspective on achieving success- this book was all about prioritizing! There are so many great takeaways that I could write about, but perhaps my favorite is as follows –>
Achievers always work from a clear sense of priority. Instead of a to do list, you need a success list — a list that is purposefully created around extraordinary results.
13. Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life by Gary John Bishop: This was another book that I bought early on in my self-improvement journey. I had hopes that it would help me to get out of the funk that I felt like I couldn’t escape. What I found is that this book is really helpful in explaining how to get out of your head. I thought it offered great advice on how to improve your life by controlling your thoughts. Altogether, I appreciated this simple, no-fluff added approach to self-development.
14. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin: The Happiness Project was another book I was drawn to because of the title. I think that Gretchen Rubin offers such a refreshing perspective on happiness because she attacks it from an analytical mind. I also found it encouraging to hear her stories and reflections- she uses her experience to enlighten us on the topic of happiness without deliberating saying ‘this is what you must do to become happier…’. Overall, I found this book refreshing + truly enjoyable to read.
15. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller:This is the only business/marketing book that I have included on the list. While many of you who are reading this may not be interested in this type of reading, I think it’s worth the mention as it completely transformed the way that I run my own business! Donald Miller helps his readers authentically share stories that actually resonate with readers. For anyone who works with clients/customers, you know how valuable of a tool this is!
16. High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way by Brendon Burchard: I think we often underestimate the power our habits have in controlling our life. But when you think about it, our habits help form our routines which in turn form our days. Our days turn into weeks + this pattern continues indefinitely. With this logic, it’s easy to see why we must first control our habits if we want to experience change within our life. The author’s attention to research that identifies which habits are linked to high performance + success is especially helpful, and it proved to be a starting point in my own self-improvement journey.
17. Becoming Supernatural: How Common People Are Doing the Uncommon by Dr. Joe Dispenza: Another book from Dr. Joe Dispenza, and another great read! In full disclosure, had I started this book prior to last year- I’m not entirely sure that I would have made it all the way through. You have to have an open mind if you’re going to entertain thoughts about consciousness + frequencies + quantum physics. But even for the most harden skeptics, I can’t recommend Dr. Joe Dispenza enough- he has a way of incorporating factual, scientific evidence to support the spiritual side of self-development.
18. Gene Keys: Unlocking the Higher Purpose Hidden in Your DNA by Richard Rudd: This is book is a great resource to help deepen your self understanding and self mastery. It’s so complete + so useful. The author’s explanation of how “gene keys” are an inner language designed to transform our core beliefs about ourselves and raise us to a higher level of consciousness is unlike anything I have ever read. As a bonus, there are some great online resources you get access to just for buying the book 🙂
19. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman: Whether you’re single or in a committed relationship, I think this book has something to teach everyone. This was one of the first books I read after breaking up with my boyfriend + it gave me some insight as to what went wrong in my own relationship. I think that we often take for granted the simple fact that not everyone thinks + communicates the same way that we do. And that oversight can have some pretty significant consequences. Moving forward, this book has changed the way in which I interact with people
20. Law of Attraction: The Science of Attracting More of What You Want and Less of What You Don’t by Michael J. Losier: In full disclosure, it took me a long time to buy into the idea of the Law of Attraction. Everyone on the internet kept talking about ‘manifestation’, ‘frequencies’ and ‘mantras’… for me, it was a bit much to try and wrap my mind around. But allowing myself to be open to the ideas discussed in this book, helped me to take back control of my life. For the first time, I truly understood that life wasn’t happening to me, it was happening for me. That little distinction has made all the difference in the way I live my life today.
21. The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life by Janice Kaplan: As of late, gratitude seems to be a popular buzz word. The internet tells us to maintain a positive attitude and to practice gratitude but no one really explains to us why this is important. The truth is, gratitude is a powerful emotion- it’s the kind of good feeling that supports our good thoughts. And when good thoughts + good emotions mix- the result is truly tranformative change.
I would love to know which books have helped to better YOUR life. Leave your favorites in the comments below so we can all benefit from these truly life-changing stories!
Here to support you!
XO- Britney (ms.fit.farmer)
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