I have not jumped into 2018 with the fervor and energy of years past. Is it the weather perhaps? I’m typing this while huddled underneath a big blanket with a piping hot cup of coffee nearby, and yet it’s still freezing. The first big snowstorm of the season is barreling down, and while I wish I had bounding energy to write down goals and plans for the new year, I kind of just want to snuggle up with a good book instead. Sometimes though, a good book is just the motivation I need to get started. I thought it would be fun to round up a few of my favorite reads over the past few years that have inspired me, helped me make changes and resolutions, and a few that are on my reading list right now to tackle this month!The Happiness Project. I absolutely loved this book and just thinking about it makes me want to read it again. One of the biggest lessons I learned from reading this was that the best way to combat things that stress me out, is to tackle them as they come, just do it now so you’re not worried about it later. That means little things, like piles of paper that need filing or baskets of laundry that need to be put away, are much easier to just put away as you see them rather than letting them linger and frustrate you later. It applies to bigger things too, like issues that come up on work projects. I try to tackle the things that are stressing me out first, like a lingering email I don’t want to answer, or a tough phone call that needs to be made. Do it now!

Better than Before. This book is by the same author as The Happiness Project and is all about habits. I found this book fascinating. It breaks people out into different types of habit-formers and shows how they can effectively adopt (or break) habits based on those personality traits. I’m an Obliger, which means I am most successful at adopting habits when I have external commitments – like I’ll go to the gym if I signed up for a class with a friend who I know is counting on me to be there, or I’ll follow through on goals that I write about on the blog and share externally.

Big Magic. I love Elizabeth Gilbert, and was eager to pick up this book when it came out. I wouldn’t say I learned from this book as much as I was inspired by it, it gave me some motivation and energy to invest more in creating and writing while lifting some of the pressures that come from people judging your work. It’s a really honest look at her own creative process, which helped me be a bit more reflective about my own process and journey in a creative field.

Make It Happen. This book is very motivational, and talks a lot about finding your purpose and the author, Lara Casey’s personal journey. My biggest take away from the book though was about the author’s process for goal setting. I took the plunge after reading it and bought Lara’s companion “power-sheets” to help with some goal setting. They’ve helped me think big about goals and then find ways to break them down into something that is more manageable and achievable.

Grace Not Perfection. This book landed in my lap at the perfect time. It’s written by Emily Ley, who is a mom, a business owner, and was struggling to balance everything on her plate. She realize she needed to simplify her life, organize her days, and prioritize, and this book is about her journey to get there. The best part of this book for me was how relatable her story was, and how she was able to accomplish more by doing less. It’s a quick, breezy read that would be great to tackle if your resolutions have anything to do with finding the elusive “balance” we’re all looking for these days.

No Impact Man. In this book, the author embarks on a year long journey to completely reduce his family’s impact on the environment (while living in Manhattan). It’s extreme, for sure, but it opened my eyes to how much of an impact I was leaving on the environment. More importantly, it gave me some ideas for fixing that. My husband set us up with a compost system at home, and we’ve been challenging ourselves to reduce the amount of trash we create at home. I actually feel like I should re-read this book and revaluate how we can do more this year, it was inspiring and thought-provoking and made me much more conscious of our impact.

Next on my reading list: I have a few books stacked up on my nightstand now that I’m eager to dig into. Here’s hoping I’m able to get a few more in than I did in 2017 (I finished maybe 3 books total, not counting storybooks read to Jane). First up in my to-read stack: In The Company of Women. I actually received this book as a gift last year and it’s been taunting me on the bookcase since then, I need to actually read all of these beautiful profiles of female entrepreneurs and makers. Next on my list: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I might be the last person who hasn’t read this book, but I’m intrigued by it. I’m a very tidy person, but have recently started to feel like we have a lot of stuff and I’m not into it. Having a third roommate (Jane) may have something to do with it? Hoping this book helps me wrap my head around a more minimalistic approach. And the last book that is on my nightstand, recently scooped up from the library, is The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living. Hygee is the Danish philosophy of comfort, togetherness, and well-being, and isn’t that really what we all need right now? Can’t wait to flip through it!

Okay friends, that’s my list. What are you reading now, and what should I add to my reading list next? I’d love your recommendations!