So, January is coming to a close and if like me you have already failed miserably at those New Year Resolutions and are looking for a way to re-boot that motivation, live the life you deserve, get fit, get healthy, start your own business, take over the world, blah blah blah (apparently it’s a whopping 88% of us!) then February is a good time to get serious! Many of us look for ways to kick-start some good habits (or are just looking for a bit of a kick up the ass to get going with those goals!). I have always been a fan of a self-help guru and have convinced myself on many occasions that ‘this book is going to change my life’! Usually what happens is that I carry that book around with me for weeks, vowing to read it at every opportunity and invariably what happens is that I don’t even make it halfway through. And guess what? No new habits are formed and life carries on in its familiar, slightly chaotic way!
This year it is going to be different! It is the Year Of The Woman and the feminists are out in force. I’m all for feminism and am incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the last 100 years. But what about the ordinary women amongst us who have to get up every day, sort kids, juggle jobs and businesses, look gorgeous and be all things to all people at all times. And, as much as I would like to add ‘saving the world’ to my To Do list, we simply don’t have the time or the energy.
So, in my experience, women turn to women. Friends supporting friends is invaluable and I find that most problems can be solved over a glass of wine. Female support groups disguised as book clubs, knitting circles, WI, candle parties, clothes parties…the list goes on…We all have them in our diaries and all look forward to the couple of hours where we can catch up on one another’s lives, download our own and take some comfort in the fact that we are all in the same boat. We are all faking it! Some better than others. So for me, 2018 is all about women empowering women and I have my own little acorn of an idea to add my two-penneth to the whole thing…watch this space!
Social media is flooded with female kick-ass support, mindfulness support, entrepreneurial support – all of which I have tapped into and get a great deal of value from. But sometimes, you just need to give yourself time for a bit of self-reflection and a gentle nudge in the right direction. Making time to curl up with a book is the first step. The second is not believing that each book is the key to eternal happiness, but that there will hopefully be something in there that resonates and makes you think. The third is actually reading and getting some value out of that precious ‘me time’.
That is why I have put together a list of the top five self-help books, written by women, for women, to take some of the confusion out of the thousands of titles to choose from.
What is it about women that make us want to be superhuman?? I blame Mary Poppins. The need to be ‘practically perfect in every way’ is thrust upon us from a very young age. We all meet ourselves coming back, trying to be the perfect wife, mother, sister, daughter, having the perfect career and perfectly manicured nails! What we end up with is feeling inadequate and completely exhausted.
In this book, Shauna Niequist takes us through her journey of reassessing her life, finding a calmer version of herself and letting go of the constant need to be perfect. She shares her experiences and paints ‘a compelling vision for an entirely new way to live: soaked in grace, rest, silence, simplicity, prayer, and connection with the people who matter most to us.’
Brené Brown is the author of Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection. She was a regular on the Oprah Winfrey Show and her TED Talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world. So, I’m willing to bet that she has something useful to say. We have all faced adversity and setbacks in our lives and have been told many times to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and get on with it. Easier said than done. This is a book about what it takes to get back up and how owning our stories of disappointment, failure, and heartbreak gives us the power to write a daring new ending. Struggle can be our greatest call to courage and Rising Strong, our clearest path to deeper meaning, wisdom and hope.
This arrived on my doorstep this morning and I am so looking forward to reading it. (Yes, actually reading it all the way through!) I have seen Gabrielle Bernstein on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday show and liked her instantly. I think we could be friends. She has written a number of books and is viewed as a modern-day spiritual leader. This book provides a framework to ‘help us relinquish the need to control in order to relax into a sense of certainty and freedom – to stop chasing life and truly live.’
Words to live by, I’m already hooked!
This isn’t a ‘self-help’ book as such. It doesn’t offer the secrets to happiness and fulfilment, but what it does offer is inspiration and ways to focus on achieving your dreams and turning them into your reality. I am a member of the Female Entrepreneur Association that Carrie started to help empower and support women in business and get them supporting each other. The tools and the support network that she has given me have been invaluable to me in setting up This Lady Writes. And she is British! Whoop Whoop!! She is completely honest about her successes (and failures) and gives practical advice and solutions on how to bring your vision to life.
(ok, so this one is not written by a woman, but thought it was too good not to share)
Now, here’s my curveball. We all love a planner! That beautifully bound book with all of the tools and words of wisdom to get you focussed and organise yourself to within an inch of your life! I have literally spent hours looking for the best planner for me, then I found this little beauty! It is not so much a planner but a tool to guide you to be UrBestSelf. This book helps you to focus on the positives in your life and be grateful for what you have right now. Not what you might have in the future IF you read a certain book, IF you give up your job, IF you take those chances.
It takes 66 days for new habits to become routine. This is a way to help form those habits.
It has got to be worth a go?! Now, go and grab hold of your own 2018 and make it the year of you!
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