Do you feel it? The change in the air? January has always been one of my favorite times of the year. As it marks the beginning of fresh start. Maybe you, like many others, are looking to embark on a new goal, or dare I say it, a New Year's resolution? Okay, okay. I’ll be the first to admit New Year’s resolutions have received a bad rep as never working out. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t try something new or complete a project that has been long abandoned.
Setting attainable goals and planning for the future is one of the best things you can do. Goals can add meaning to your life by giving yourself a sense of direction. You may have a goal in mind but have no idea how to achieve it. That is where self development books come in. Today I have for you, five of my favorite self development books that have added true value to my life. These reads helped me build new habits and skills that eventually made this adulting thing a bit more manageable.
Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Book Summary: Japanese declutter guru Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has revolutionized homes - and lives - across the world. Now, Kondo presents an illustrated guide to her acclaimed KonMari Method, with step-by-step folding illustrations for everything from shirts to socks, plus drawings of perfectly organized drawers and closets.
Why I Recommend This Book: I originally came across the KonMari Method back in 2014. I was browsing the bookshelves at B&N and discovered Marie Kondo’s debut book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The small, minimalist cover caught my eye and after flipping through a few pages I decided to purchase the book. Truth be told, my apartment could use a good tidying. The very next weekend I found myself at the start of a month-long journey of touching and holding every single item I possessed and asking if it sparked joy. Garbage bag after garbage bag was filled with items that did not pass the spark joy test, and I’ve never looked at a single possession the same again. One could only easily imagine the process of cleaning out your entire home to be quite the drag. However, the KonMari Method put me in such a positive mind set about getting rid of all of my junk that I could hardly even sleep the night before I was going to get started.
In 2015 Spark Joy was released, and I just had to have it. It covers the same topics as The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up except Spark Joy includes (are you ready?).... Illustrations! My copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was loaned and never returned, but I still own (and will never loan) my trusty copy of Spark Joy. At the beginning of each year, I pull out my copy to refresh myself on the tidying process and go through ALL THE THINGS. Resulting in only being surrounded by the items I truly love and use and want to take with me into the year ahead.
You can now enjoy watching Marie Kondo visiting and teaching others how to tidy their homes on the Netflix Series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. I just love seeing her in action doing what she does best!
The Curated Closet: A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream Wardrobe by Anushcka Rees
Book Summary: Is your closet jam-packed and yet you have absolutely nothing to wear? Can you describe your personal style in one sentence?
In The Curated Closet, style writer Anuschka Rees presents a fascinatingly strategic approach to identifying, refining, and expressing personal style and building the ideal wardrobe to match it, with style and shopping strategies that women can use every day. Using The Curated Closet method, you’ll learn to:
Why I Recommend This Book: I’m sure you’ve seen her, that stylish woman that always looks amazing on any given day of the week. What does she have that you don’t? A curated closet, that’s what. So that book summary was totally talking to me. My closet was ABSOLUTELY jam-packed, and yet I never felt my best which resulted in me buying even more clothing. The vicious cycle. Many of us simply don’t know how to properly shop for clothing. Oh, we all know how to shop for clothing, but not properly. The Curated Closet offered a concept that never crossed my mind before and that is that our clothing can easily determine our mood throughout the day. Do you wear stretched out bras and constantly have to put your bra strap back into place every time it falls off your shoulder? Are your pants too tight and you're finding yourself pulling them up or down every time you move? These sorts of things are annoying which puts us in an annoyed mood, and we don’t even realize we’re causing ourselves to feel that way.
Working through The Curated Closet took months to complete but was so worth it. By the end, I found my signature style by discovering fabrics, patterns, colors and cuts that made me feel my best. The book also helped me determine what I actually needed in my wardrobe to best serve my lifestyle as it is today. I can’t even begin to tell you how many women I’ve seen holding on to old clothing that no longer serves them. With the help of The Curated Closet I finally said goodbye to all those skimpy party dresses from my 20s and hello to my professional office attire and weekend loungewear.
The Year of Cozy: 125 Recipes, Crafts, and Other Homemade Adventures by Adrianna Adarme
Book Summary: Organized by the months of the year and by categories as “Live,” “Do,” and “Make,” this book offers ideas for activities, recipes, and DIY projects that make the little moments in life just as exciting as the big. Adarme gives us special (but totally doable) things we can do for others and ourselves. From quick recipes to easy crafts, she focuses on simple, inexpensive undertakings that have a big reward: happiness. The Year of Cozy will surely inspire you to march into your kitchen and craft closet to make something you can truly be proud of.
Why I Recommend This Book: The Year of Cozy was gifted to me from my sister a few years ago, and I have to agree that it is a great book to gift. The book is filled with seasonal crafts, recipes and activities broken out by each month. But this book isn’t just another collection of DIY’s. It's about developing a mindset that allows you to find joy in the tiniest of moments. The book intro sucked me in as Adrianna described a mundane time in her life, post-college, working in an undesirable job. She couldn't help but to focus on all the things that irritated her. Then one day, after listening to David Foster Wallace’s famous commencement speech “This Is Water”, she realized that even though she couldn’t change every faucet of her life that was causing her unhappiness, she could still choose her thoughts and actions carefully. At that moment she decided to dedicate herself to living every day with intention.
I needed this message at the time. I, too, was slugging through the day to day monotonous tasks and this book helped me realize that I could do daily little things to make my life so much more enjoyable. It wasn’t long after I found myself drinking afternoon rose green tea in my tidied office cubicle, or listening to some of my favorite podcasts or audiobooks while sitting in traffic to help pass the time. Anything I could do to make my days that much more enjoyable, I did. And it has made all the difference.
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat
Book Summary: Master the use of just four elements—Salt, which enhances flavor; Fat, which delivers flavor and generates texture; Acid, which balances flavor; and Heat, which ultimately determines the texture of food—and anything you cook will be delicious. By explaining the hows and whys of good cooking, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat will teach and inspire a new generation of cooks how to confidently make better decisions in the kitchen and cook delicious meals with any ingredients, anywhere, at any time.
Why I Recommend This Book: There’s a funny thing about cook books and that’s that most of them don’t really teach you how to cook. Salt Fat Acid Heat on the hand offers a deep-dive on how to actually cook. In fact, you’ll never need another cook book again! There, I said it. This cookbook is dense. If you work your way through it and practice all the exercises, cooking will soon be second nature to you. Samin starts with kitchen basics, works through recipes in a sequence that naturally builds the reader's knowledge, and then continues on with additional cooking lessons. Throughout the book, Samin’s charming personality shines through as she tells hilarious stories about her past and own struggles while learning how to cook.
In addition to Samin’s Cookbook, I also recommended checking out the 4-part Netflex series also called Salt Fat Acid Heat. I just know you’ll love following Samin around the world exploring regional cuisines. By the end you’ll be wishing she was one of your best friends. What can I say, I finally learned how to properly season foods, balance flavors and make actual tasty meals thanks to Salt Fat Acid Heat, and will always have Samin to thank.
The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey
Book Summary: Okay, folks, do you want to turn those fat and flabby expenses into a well-toned budget? Do you want to transform your sad and skinny little bank account into a bulked-up cash machine? Then get with the program, people. There’s one sure way to whip your finances into shape, and that’s with The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition.
Why I Recommend This Book: Well, here is a topic many of us hate to talk about, Debt and Budgets! I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve spent a couple of years avoiding my back account and credit card statements because my finances were such a mess. Every time I spent money, the feeling of guilt crawled all over my body. Thankfully, the day finally came that I decided it was time to slay this debt-monster, but I needed a strategy. The Total Money Makeover was recommended to me by a co-worker. It seemed as if a lot of people had success with the strategies the book offered, so I ordered it and devoured it over the following weekend.
Today, I’m happy to say, I’m one of those people who had success too! I was finally able to pay off thousands of dollars of credit card debt I incurred during college. Admittedly, it was one of the most freeing experiences of my life. Along with creating a budget, setting up retirement accounts and spending money intentionally, educating myself in the area of personal finance has helped me break bad money habits. I finally feel as if I have control over what comes in and what goes out.
While going through my self develoment book recommendations, you may feel as if they contradict one another. Marie wants you to throw out all your tired clothing in one go while Anushcka wants you to release and bring in new clothing slowly. Dave wants you to pinch pennies while Samin wants you to buy the best ingredients you can afford. Each book in my list served me at different points in my life, and I recommend focusing on one item that you want to improve on at a time. Now it's your turn. If you’ve read a self-development book that has made a positive impact in your life, let me know in the comments. It may just be my next read!
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