January and February can be a tough time for all of us. With the holidays in the rear-view mirror and nothing but bleak winter weather in the forecast, it’s too easy to forget those New Year’s resolutions and settle back into those oh-so-familiar (and sometimes unhealthy) tendencies. But don’t do it! Fight for your right to be happy, healthy, and productive, or whatever it is you’re striving for! You don’t have to go it alone. Here is a list of the eight most inspirational reads to keep you fighting the good fight.
1) Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss. We could all stand to eat a little better and the first step is knowledge. This book gives great insight into why it’s so hard to stay healthy, both as a consumer and as a food producer. Next time you’re craving a bag of Doritos, pick up a copy of this instead.
2) Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection by AJ Jacobs. It’s always a little easier to make those tough decisions when you know somebody has suffered through them before you. AJ Jacobs, an Esquire editor-at-large and one of the current immersion journalism greats, takes readers along for a tumultuous ride as he attempts to become the healthiest person on the planet. Witness his struggles and know how to avoid them.
3) Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer. Krakaeur is one of those writers who can take somebody else’s adventure and make it seem like his own. Unfortunately for him, however, he was actually on the slopes of Everest during the treacherous storm that claimed several lives in 1996. This harrowing tale of survival will give you strength to push on…and make you appreciate the warm safe place from which you read it.
4) How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. This middle-aged mother of two daughters has a few things to say about the current state of womanhood (involving but not limited to G-strings, bikini waxes, Botox and stripping). Her style is witty and sometimes crude (in the best British way possible), and the content is engaging and poignant. It’s the perfect read to re-inspire your feminist views.
5) The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle. If yoga were a book, this would be it. Oprah touted it back in the late 90s, and it has continued to help keep people grounded in the “present moment” ever since. While the snow might have you feeling like you’d rather be anywhere else, this book will help you find the beauty and contentment in your current situation, no matter how dire it may seem. Yes, even in the winter.
6) The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. Not all inspirational books are found in the Self Help section. The Alchemist, one of the best selling and most translated books of all time, is a novel that follows a young shepherd as he travels across the Sahara desert in search of his destiny. It’s a tale that serves to reinforce what we learned as children and forgot somewhere along the way: anything is possible if you want it bad enough. Even the story of how Coehlo wrote the book in just two weeks is inspirational, as he claims the story was “already written in [his] soul.”
7) The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. Whether you’re looking to quit smoking, exercise more or eat better, this is the book to help you get there. At the very least, it will help you understand why you’re not there already. By pairing the latest scientific studies with real-life examples, Duhigg shows how almost everything we desire in life can be achieved by simple changes of habit.
8) How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. If ever there was an “oldie but a goodie,” this is it. Published in 1936, this book is still a favourite amongst first-year business professors. And while the language may sound a little manipulative (ok, a lot), the principles and anecdotes in the book are great resources for anyone looking to meet new people, grow a business or step out socially in other ways.