Books That Will Help You Live Your Best Life
Self help gets a bad rap. They’re renowned for being the type of books “losers” or people who eat cheezels on the couch in their tracksuits would read (for some reason, this is how every movie and TV show depicts someone who let’s just say, isn’t living their best life). But it’s so far from the truth! Cheezels are great! Also, self help books aren’t for losers. They’re for cool kids *insert smiley face wearing sunglasses emoji*.
Sure, some self help books can be a bit lame but most aren’t. Most actually, you know, help. Plus Oprah reads self help books, and look at how she’s doing ‒ just sayin’. (P.S. I love Oprah ‒ if you do too, and haven’t listened to the Making of Oprah podcast, please do so ASAP.)
So I’m starting a new category: helpful books. Not self help but HELPFUL. As in they’ll actually help you makes changes in your life, which I personally think it better than saying “change your life”. Because often to change your life, you need to make small, incremental changes over a long period of time. “Success is found in your daily routine” ‒ meaning that often to achieve your goals, you need to take small steps every day. You need to make small changes in your life, in order to ever change your life. (Was that too deep or just deep enough?)
So here are 5 HELPFUL books that helped me make some changes. (Did anyone else just hear the Tupac song in their head as they read that?)
(And yes, I know I have two Sarah Knight’s book but she is the KWEEN of self-confidence and building a life you love ‒ even if she doesn’t mean to be.)
1. Better Than Before By Gretchen Rubin
I always get really attached to a book and start quoting it to everyone and everything. Lately, this book has been the one I quote. (A big soz to all the girls at work, my mum, my boyfriend, and the lady at Foodworks.)
Better than Before dissects how we form habits that help us achieve our goals. Rubin uses a personality framework she created called the “Four Tendencies” to help you find the methods that suit you.
Basically, Rubin’s point is that not everyone can create habits the same way because what motivates, inspires us and keeps us accountable is different. This made PERFECT sense to me as I have always been jealous of people who form habits easily as I try to copy them and it NEVER works.
For example, one of my best friend’s is the most self disciplined person you’ve ever met in your life. If she says she’s going to lose weight, she’ll have lost it by next week. If she says she’s going to go to the moon, she’ll starting saving this afternoon. I’ve always been bamboozled by how she was able to do this and I wasn’t. I’d try to copy the way she did it, but it never worked. But reading this book was my AH-HA! moment. I realised she’s an upholder and I’m a questioner. Meaning we form habits in different ways. Wondering what on earth I’m going on about? Great! Keep reading.
In Rubin’s framework, there are four tendencies (hence the name):
‒ Upholders: meet outer and inner expectations. Upholders are the best at forming habits as they’re people who schedule things and once it’s scheduled, they do it. If they’re scheduled to go to the gym at 6am, they’re going to the gym at 6am. No questions asked. (This is my best friend.)
‒ Obligers: meet outer expectations, but not always inner ones. Obligers are the type of people who always get things done for other people, but rarely for themselves. In order to form a habit they generally need some form of external accountability. For example, joining an exercise group rather than exercising on their own.
‒ Questioners (this is me!): only meet inner expectations. They push back against — and question — all expectations. Above all, they only do something if they think it makes sense. They’re only going to do an exercise if they understand and see all the benefits to what they’re doing.
– Rebels: resist both inner and outer expectations. They value authenticity and self-determination. They’re only doing anything unless they decide in the moment that that is what they want to do.
You can take the Four Tendencies quiz here:
(If you do take the quix, please let me know what you get! I find this stuff SO interesting!)
To sum up: if you’re wanting to do anything that involves a daily change, e.g. exercise more, lose weight, read more, save money, start a side hustle etc, then I suggest reading Better than Before.
It’s helped me change the entire way I build habits.
Just a note: I recommend reading Better Than Before, not the Four Tendencies book. (They are two seperate books, but Better Than Before refers to the Four Tendencies.)
2. Get Your Shit Together By Sarah Knight
If you ever run late, miss a bill, or double-book yourself, you need to read this book.
For some reason, this book just spoke to me. (Sarah Knight has a way of doing that ‒ I think it’s a mix of the swearing, humour, honesty and 100% relatable life experiences.)
After reading this book I realised I don’t want to be the person who’s unreliable and all over the place ‒ so now I’m not.
Knight gives you practical tips, but she’s also real with you about finding the things you actually care about. Intrigued? I hope so.
This book is 5 stars and then some.
3. Am I There Yet? By Mari Andrew
This might seem a bit random, but Mari Andrew has a way of reading your soul, and then drawing it in a way that makes you feel less alone. I find her so inspiring and magical and wonderful. Also I wrote her a fan letter and she wrote back the most beautiful email and that cemented it for me: I’m in love.
If right now you feel a bit lost, aren’t sure where to go or what to do, read Mari’s book.
4. You Do You By Sarah Knight
Do I have a girl crush on Sarah Knight? Why, yes I do!
My boyfriend has started saying “You do you, I’ll do me” every time I want him to do something he doesn’t want to do. But you what, he’s right! Not about taking the bins out, he has to do that. But he is right about being himself.
You Do You makes you feel like it’s OK to not be a certain way, or do things a certain way. It’s about self esteem, owning yourself and see the positive side of what people deem your “negative” traits.
If you do some of the things she suggests, you may find that you feel like you’re being a little more authentic everyday.
5. The One Thing By Gary Keller
The One Thing confused me and overwhelmed me because I was walking round for weeks thinking, “BUT WHAT IS MY ONE THING!”
But he’s got a point.
Gary Keller talks about how any successful business/person/group always hones in one thing. How the best way to operate is do one thing at time, and how by doing one thing, you end up doing more.
That might seem ridiculous, but when you think about it (and read the book), it actually makes perfect sense.
My favourite part is when he talks about how multitasking is the WORST thing you can possibly. It’s completely unproductive. We’ve all fallen for the myth that it saves time, when it does the opposite.
The One Thing helps you in every area possible: work, life, family, personal.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything you have going on, if you want to be more effective and productive, or if you want to make a change, try this book. You’ll walk away with at least ONE helpful pointer. (See what I did there?)