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As a new year approaches, many of us will attempt to reflect on the past and plan for the future. However, if the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that all the planning in the world can’t always stand up to what gets thrown our way.
That’s why setting broad intentions — rather than specific goals, which can make us feel trapped — at the start of the year (or indeed any time of year!) can be so useful: these intentions make us more resilient to life’s unpredictable hurdles, helping us stay focused on the present.
If this is a new way of thinking, don’t worry; you don’t have to go it alone! Whether it’s talking to friends or listening to audiobooks and podcasts, there are plenty of places to seek out intention-based inspiration. In this post, you’ll find five self-help books to help you set your intentions as we transition into 2022.
1. No Such Thing as Normal by Bryony Gordon
If you’re tired of the overly commercialized “wellness” and “self-care” industries, No Such Thing as Normal will feel like a breath of fresh air. Bryony Gordon, founder of Mental Health Mates, offers practical advice on subjects ranging from daily anxiety to therapy and boundary-setting, with the aim of reassuring readers that they’re not so alone in their mental health struggles. If one of your intentions for the new year is to take charge of your mental health, Gordon’s book will give you a solid foundation upon which to build your confidence and feel more empowered.
2. Sensitive is the New Strong: The Power of Empaths in an Increasingly Harsh World by Anita Moorjani
Empaths experience overwhelming feelings that come with strongly sensing, and sometimes even absorbing, other people’s emotions. But in Sensitive is the New Strong, inspirational author Anita Moorjani argues that empathy can be harnessed as a powerful tool to help build stronger connections and live as your most authentic self. She includes personal anecdotes, meditation guidance, and self-care mantras to create an inspiring handbook for anyone looking to embrace their sensitivity and express their emotions more freely. Dive into this book to tap into your inner empath in 2022!
3. The Lightmaker’s Manifesto: How to Work for Change without Losing Your Joy by Karen Walrond
Praised by Brené Brown for breaking activism down into small and intentional steps, The Lightmaker’s Manifesto is a hands-on guide for anyone who wants to enact meaningful change in the world. And who better to trust for advice than leadership coach, lawyer, and activist Karen Walrond? In this book, she lists practical journaling and mindfulness exercises that you can implement into your everyday life, plus advice from fellow activists and thought leaders to help you become a true “lightmaker”. The result will inspire you to find causes close to your heart and lead a life of not just integrity and advocacy, but genuine joy.
4. Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined by Scott Sonenshein
It’s also common to set professional goals in the new year — perhaps you’re gunning for a promotion, or maybe you want to get started on an ambitious new project. Whatever the aim, it’s important to have the right attitude to achieve it. In his groundbreaking self-help book Stretch, Scott Sonenshein debunks common myths around how to succeed in business and life. He explains that instead of striving for more and more assets, we should appreciate and stretch the resources we already have. If one of your intentions is to shift towards more of a growth mindset, then this is the book for you.
5. Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski
Ready to put an end to constant cycles of stress and burnout in 2022? Sisters Emily and Amelia Nagoski have co-written Burnout to address the particularly severe ways that burnout affects women. The book covers scientific causes of stress, as well as holistic approaches and lifestyle changes to combat its effect on our everyday lives. Entering the new year with this wealth of knowledge will help you minimize the burden of societal expectations and leave you feeling empowered to tackle whatever the world throws your way — especially as a woman, but honestly as anyone determined to avoid future burnout.
Reading self-help books is, of course, only the beginning. But hopefully these books have given you a good starting point to go into the new year with strong, meaningful intentions! Good luck.
This article was written by a freelance writer.