9 Books to Read for Personal Growth

9 Books to Read for Personal Growth

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9 books to read for personal development. Picture of an open book sitting on the sand and looking out at beach water.

The pace of daily life seems to pass at warp speed. Before you know it, a particular season of your life is just about over. We all know that transitions present daunting challenges. These 9 books to read for personal growth are recommended for creating the growth you seek.

The Kids are (Almost) Gone……..Now What?

Sometimes you are dragged kicking and screaming into the next season.

Possibly you cannot wait to get on with it.

Realizing that your children are almost grown can arouse lots of confusing feelings.

Maybe the kids are already grown and flown.

You might be thinking: the kids are (almost) gone……..now what?

Well…………NOW you take care of you. These 9 books to read for personal growth are an essential part of your self-care strategy.

Time to Turn the Spotlight on Personal Growth

After all, if you launched your child into the world, you know a lot about growth.

Maybe you did a great job of balancing self-care with your family and career responsibilities.

More likely, you did not.

Like most of us, you probably are somewhere in between.

9 Books to Read on Personal Growth Provide the “How-To” Manual

Remember when you wanted to know how to take care of babies, toddlers, school-age kids, and teenagers? You probably read a few how-to books. The books probably made you feel like you were not alone in this challenging task called motherhood.

The books helped you get your mind around the joys and realities of being a mom.

Reading gave you some tips on how to have good relationships with your kids.

These manuals provided instructions on the kind of actions that were likely to get you your desired results.

You are fast approaching the Empty Nester season (if not already there) and it’s time to learn how to soar like an eagle during this season of your life.

The following 9 books to read for personal growth will help get you there. You might enjoy it even more if you gather with a group for built-in discussion partners. Learn how to organize a book club here:  How to Make New Friends:  Book Clubs for Women.

Maximizing personal growth requires a focus on your mindset, your relationships, and right actions.

Happiness is an inside job, so let’s start by addressing how to control your mindset.

Change Your Thoughts to Change Your Life

1. Mindset  by Carol Dweck will help you adopt a growth mindset. The Big Idea behind this landmark book is that you need to ask yourself whether you operate out of a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

For instance, if you are trying to get fit and healthy, your belief about yourself might be that you are just not a coordinated or energetic person. This is why you avoid physical exercise. This is a fixed mindset about a particular trait.

A better story to tell yourself is, “I am not coordinated or particularly energetic YET, but I am becoming more of a graceful Energizer Bunny each and every day.” A person who engages in this kind of self-talk is demonstrating a growth mindset. The key word here is YET. Learn to use it often.

According to Carol Dweck’s research, those with a growth mindset have a much greater chance of reaching their personal goals and aspirations. The ability to approach life with a growth mindset is a skill you can learn and this book will help show you the way.

2. Loving What is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life by Byron Katie left me stunned and speechless. This book will introduce you to the concept that some of the roadblocks you experience might derive from the stories you tell yourself.

We all have stories. Some of those stories are not serving us well. Furthermore, we are often so busy trying to find all of the answers and we have not really been asking ourselves the right questions. Byron Katie outlines those all important questions.

The best part of this book is that the author provides a simple, repeatable process that you can follow to begin the process of creating a new story line. Byron Katie will teach you to tell a better story because the old scripts are just not serving you well anymore.

3. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero is simply a fun read! When you need someone to shake your shoulders and snap you back to your awesomeness, this is the one to read. If the prescription for what ails you is a heavy dose of motivation coupled with a swift kick in the pants, open the pages of this book.

4. Surely it is no surprise to you that most of us are our own worst enemies. We manifest this reality through the negative scripts that keep playing in our heads.

However, stopping the negative self-talk is easier said than done. The basic premise of Negative Self Talk and How to Change It by Shad Helmstetter is that we were all programmed at birth and throughout childhood with scripts. Like good actresses, we say our assigned lines. But we might need to follow a different script if we want to change the story line.

The author provides a how-to manual that will teach you how to monitor, listen, edit, and practice better self-talk. This book should really be on the bookshelf in every home.

5. Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than I.Q. by Daniel Goleman is a primer on improving your E.Q.

What is emotional intelligence? According to Daniel Goleman, it is the ability to recognize, understand and manage our own emotions. Another piece is the ability to recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others.

The author makes the case for developing a strong E.Q. and offers tangible ideas to improve E.Q. Not sure if you are leading with emotionally intelligence?  Take the  Harvard Business Review emotional intelligence quiz here.

Achieve Personal Growth Through Better Relationships

A well-accepted truism is that the quality of our lives is largely dependent on the quality of our relationships. Everything you need to know to improve your relationships is found in the following two classic books.

6. Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend certainly addresses a hot topic. The authors first spotlight how a person’s family of origin affects their ability to have appropriate boundaries…or not. Next, they explain how a lack of boundaries is the root cause of many dysfunctional relationships.

It is likely that you will have lots of aha moments during this read. If you are a parent, you will be convicted with the importance of teaching your children how to establish boundaries.

The real value is realized when you begin to navigate your relationships differently purely based on the new perspective you have on appropriate boundaries.

7. If I were in charge of the world, I would make it a requirement to pass a test on the The Five Love Language (by Gary Chapman) before you could get a marriage license. I would also require a re-test before they let you take your firstborn baby home from the hospital.

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is quite possibly the most important book on relationships ever written! Just as someone speaking English to a Spanish speaker encounters much confusion, if you and your beloved have different love languages, you will encounter many struggles.

We each show love in a particular way. Who knew? Typically, we feel most loved when those we love demonstrate their love in our preferred mode.

For instance, if your love language is Acts of Service, you probably experience the glow of contentment when your spouse helps out around the house. However, if your spouse demonstrates love through a different love language, it is likely to be the crux of much misunderstanding in your relationship.

The words in these pages outline the various love languages and provide insights into why those in relationships are often so confused by each other. The outcome is that you will understand yourself and others better. Strategies are provided so that you can develop the skill of asking for what you need from those closest to you.

An interesting side note is that the author wrote two other versions that address the love languages of children and teenagers. You will find yourself taking a look at all of your relationships through a new lens. With a little tweaking here and there the picture will get much rosier!

Take the Right Actions to Move Forward

8. Most of us are perfectly aware that our habits can make us or break us. We truly want to consistently practice good habits, but we aren’t so sure how to make that happen. Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear explores neuroscience research. He uses this knowledge to design the types of strategies that result in better habits. The best part of this book is that the ideas are presented in bite-size pieces that are easy to put into practice right away.

9. What is the hardest part of the day? Waking up! Especially when you don’t want to.

Mel Robbins’ The 5-Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage  will have you catapulting out of bed like a rocket ship! I swear this writer makes you feel like you can do anything. The beauty of Mel’s advice is in the simplicity. There is nothing here that is too terribly complicated, but the pieces of the puzzle have been rearranged to help you create a new and better picture for your life. If you only have time to read one of these books right now, make it this one! You won’t be sorry.

So there you have it. Start reading and produce the kind of growth that allows you to live your best life!

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