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Reading Is Believing: Five Books To Change Your Life

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They say that we should always try to read something that if we died in the middle of reading it, we’d look good. That is, it would be a reflection of what we think and who we are.

They say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ however there’s nothing said about not judging a reader by the book.

I’ve never been much of a reader, at least not since my primary school days. The teacher would ask us to read a book per week, do a book report and then move onto the next. I can remember finding this a little annoying as a child and therefore, recognised it as taking the fun out of it so it turned me off reading for pleasure. Apart from the compulsory school assignments, I didn’t do it. Fast forward to 2016 and here I am with a list as long as my arm of books I cling to on my night-stand: reading for pleasure with (thank god) no book reports. Joyously, I often celebrate the fact I’ve got overly-packed book shelves and some instagram posts to reflect upon.

I read nowadays not for entertainment or for the laugh but rather, to better myself, learn from others and develop particular skill-sets.

Narrowing a list down to a mere five is a difficult feat however one that must be done.

*Susan Jeffers: Feel the fear and do it anyway.

After going through a difficult time with my post-teenage mental health, my sister gave me a Susan Jeffers book that would go on to change my thoughts forever. ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ is still the best book in self-help I’ve read. It’s simple, straight to the point and has some inspiring stories including Susan’s battles with illness, divorce and her own self-doubt.

*Paul Arden: Whatever you think, think the opposite.

Having spent years working as the Creative Director at a famous advertising firm in London, Paul narrows down a bunch of short case studies of business success. He also points out the fact that often, making decisions differently to everyone else is inevitable scary however life-altering in every way. It’s short, sweet and will get you moving in all the right directions.

*Louise Hay: You can heal your life.

We are what we think. Therefore, if we become ill, have pains and are not enjoying our lives then it makes sense that this is because of our thoughts, right? This is Louise Hay’s take on life and she goes through her own life experiences that demonstrate this fact while supporting the reader on a journey of self-love, affirmations and living a real life.

*Mitch Albom: Tuesdays with Morrie.

So technically, this is a story. It is truly heart-warming, inspiring and will make you feel all warm (and sad inside). This tale of an ill man telling his past student of what he’s learned along his journey will remind any reader exactly what life’s all about. We’re here for a good time, not a long time and as such, we can make a difference to everyone we come into contact with. A must-read.

GirlBoss

*Sophia Amoruso: GIRLBOSS

It’s one of those you’ll have heard loads about. It’s funny, motivational and will get you moving towards your goals faster than you can hashtag the words #GIRLBOSS. This is one of the only books I’ve ever read in less than three days and the reason is that it’s super compact, straight to point and incredibly addictive.

Any recommendations similar to these? Pop them in the comments field below or comment on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and #jointheconversation.

Dealing With Your Inner Critic Right Now

Some give it a name, others tend to pretend it isn’t there. Meanwhile, I prefer to be constantly aware. If you don’t acknowledge what’s happening, how can you deal with it? We all look for support. This can be from family, friends or work colleagues. How about ourselves?

Sarah Doyle recently launched a book called ‘Be your own best friend’. This short interactive journal encourages self-love and acceptance. It involves focusing on self-support rather than self-deprecation. Activities in the book encourage celebrating wins and successes and what seems like, combatting the inner critic.

In the book, ‘The inner game of tennis’, author Timothy Galwey addresses the relationship with the self. Internally, there’s a voice that we engage with and which influences who we are, what we do and most significantly, how we view ourselves. They say that mastering the relationship with the self is the most relevant of all. If you don’t love yourself, how do you expect someone else to love you?

That niggle that pops up when you’re exercising and thinking, I’ll quit. That’s the inner critic. The one that tells you you’re not good enough when you so clearly are, that’s the inner critic. When there are positives about yourself and your performance in any given situation and yet, there’s a voice from inside picking out the negatives – yes, that’s him/her again. They say that your own thoughts are what influence your life so why put up with the negative ones?

When flicking that proverbial negative angel off your shoulder, here are some ways that can help you get on track and feeling more positives overall.

*Don’t hate on it. Just like scrubbing a sore wound won’t make it better, neither will berating your inner critic. Be sound, understanding and have a gentle influence on it. Start by sharing three successes with yourself if a negative thought pops up.

*Remember where you started. Things change and maybe you’ve come a long way. There are going to be days where we’re harder on ourselves than others. Give yourself a break every now and then!

*Be aware – this all comes from you. No matter what, you have the power. If you’re not happy with your internal thoughts, then change them. That starts with loving yourself and celebrating your successes. After that, it’s about acceptance. Here’s my list of books that might be helpful.

*Use physical reminders. Stick up quotes around your apartment, listen to the relevant Podcasts (Try Model Health Show or Oprah) and journal. It could be a blank book or a specific self-focused journal. In any event, recording your thoughts and positives in a particular place will help encourage your self love and acceptance.

Support yourself first.

Five Ways To Start Preparing For 2018 – Now

I’ve said it before. Who cares about new year’s resolutions? If you’re going to make a change, why not now? I’m guilty of it myself. I’ve got a busy couple of months ahead with Christmas in retail and so, it would be easy to throw my fitness plans to the side. However for many reasons, I will push through with them now. I need to get the benefit of it now (not in three months from now) and besides, it’s better to start sooner rather than later. In three months from now, I’ll have wished that I started today.

Considering 2017 as a year, it hasn’t been bad. It also hasn’t been the best year of my life. There have been so many things I’ve said I’d do and they haven’t happened. I wanted to see more of the world – that was limited. Meanwhile, I had some health challenges and had some personal situations pop up that hadn’t been invited around. It all worked out and I feel on track however I can’t help but think that 2018 needs to be better. The way for me to do this is being pro-active and being clear on where I want to be.

As mentioned above, I’ve taken a better stance on my fitness. To be honest, I haven’t had a choice. Visiting a physio again last week brought me and my sore back right down to earth – I need to take care of myself. Other goals have been to grow this blog (yes, again) and thirdly, I want to travel more. Hence why I booked my first holiday of the year for April next year (watch this space). It doesn’t need to be a challenge, it just needs to be organised and realistic.

So there’s a whole new year ahead, have you thought about what you want it to be like for yourself? Are you a planner or do you like to take things as they come?

*Firstly, the reason I got planning for next year was financial. For one, I realise that booking holidays super close to the time means that I spend way more on the trip than I need to. Sometimes, this means I don’t go at all as I don’t want to part ways with lots of cash. So basically, planning for 2018 now will save some cash.

*Being clear on goals means you aren’t flapping about in the dark. I am personally happiest when I know where I stand and where I’m headed. This is why I know what holidays I’ll take, how fit I want to get and how much money I want to save. These are all the areas for me to work on so these are the examples I’m using. For yourself though, perhaps it’s to do with diet, a career move or a hobby you’ve been dreaming about? Get journaling, planning and taking action NOW.

*Is there something you need to put in place now in order to reach a certain goal in 2018? Perhaps, you need to enrol in a course, put down a deposit on a trip somewhere or start researching something that will move you in the direct of your calling.

*How many times have you worked on this before? Did it work out or has it left you at square one? If there’s a goal you want to reach that you’ve failed to reach before, learn from your mistakes. Why didn’t it work out? What can you change this time? You know your self better than anyone.

*Work on yourself and everything else will follow. I’m a huge believer in the self-help movement. I believe if we work on ourselves and how we value ourselves then we’ll be more likely to reach our goals. If you’re not feeling as great or as confident as you could – spend some time on the why. Read some books, watch Ted Talks or discuss with a life coach. I promise you’ll be glad you did – no matter the reason.

Whether it’s for 2018 or right now, being clear of goals and intentions is more likely to move you in a direction that suits you.