Whether you’re feeling stuck in a rut after a challenging year or you’ve got big plans brewing but you don’t know how to start, our pick of the best motivational books of 2021 promise to bring clarity to any quandary. So, curl up on the couch, open your mind and use the long winter nights to plan your best year yet. It’s never too late to start a new chapter...
If you want to... achieve big goals
PROFESSIONAL TROUBLEMAKER: THE FEAR-FIGHTER MANUAL BY LUVVIE AJAYI (Thorndike Press, 2021)
Luvvie Ajayi Jones was once afraid to call herself a writer, and nearly cancelled doing a TED talk that changed her life because of imposter syndrome. Fast forward a couple of years and she's now a renowned motivational speaker, podcaster and yes, author. In this aptly titled book she argues that in order to do the things that will truly change our lives, we have to become ‘professional troublemakers’. This frank and very funny book is full of actionable prompts and questions to help you face your fears (and if you don’t have time to read the whole thing, there’s always her Professional Troublemaker podcast (2018) on iTunes and Spotify.)
We're all afraid. We're afraid of asking for what we want because we're afraid of hearing "no". We're afraid of being different, of being too much or not enough. We're afraid of leaving behind the known for the unknown.
If you want to... reconnect with who you are
SPEAK YOUR TRUTH BY FEARNE COTTON (Hachette UK, 2021)
A powerful collection of essays by British TV presenter and well-being ambassador Fearne Cotton about finding your true voice. Drawing on her background as a former child star plus her experience of depression, Cotton guides us through how to assert yourself, speak out with confidence and stick up for yourself in challenging situations. Along the way, she thoughtfully explores how we learn to stay quiet for the wrong reasons. Warm and chatty but full of wisdom, this is an easy read underpinned by valuable advice and refreshing vulnerability.
I know there have been moments where I have swallowed words because I’ve been scared. […] I have said ‘yes’ when really I meant a definite ‘no way’. […] I’m sure it’ll be the same for you too.
If you want to... stop feeling eternal guilt
LAZINESS DOES NOT EXIST BY DEVON PRICE, Ph.D. (Simon and Schuster, 2021)
The pursuit of happiness can seem like a lofty goal during a worldwide pandemic, but social psychologist Dr. Devon Price says you can attain it…by not trying so hard. In this science-based self-help manual, Price reveals the sobering fact that we do more work than nearly any other humans in history, yet most of us feel guilty that we’re not doing enough. This motivational read is filled with practical and easy-to-use tips and tricks to help deal with society’s pressure to be more, do more and achieve more. Fed up of feeling guilty all the time, or fear you’re on the edge of burnout? This one’s for you.
The contemporary obsession with “productivity,” both in and out of the office, only makes us feel worse in the long run. It’s time to take a step back […] give yourself breaks whenever it feels necessary.
If you want to... be less hard on yourself
THE COMFORT BOOK BY MATT HAIG HarperCollins Publishers, 6 Jul 2021
After suffering his own breakdown, celebrated novelist and memoir author Matt Haig wrote a best-selling book on mental health, and then another, and another... His latest is a collection of consolations learned in hard times and suggestions for making the bad days better. Drawing on his own experiences plus anecdotes from others, it's a pick’n’mix of philosophy, quotes, thought-provoking reflections and snappy advice. Like a hug from a friend, dip into it whenever you need a pick-me-up on a bad day.
Nothing is stronger than a small hope that doesn’t give up.
If you want to... be more productive each day
THE ART OF IMPOSSIBLE: A PEAK PERFORMANCE PRIMER BY STEVEN KOTLER (Harper Collins, 2021)
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘The first step is always the hardest’. Pulitzer-winner Steven Kotler wholeheartedly agrees. In this book, he explains how all of us can in fact stretch far beyond our capabilities, making impossible dreams much more attainable. Revealing how our brains often get in the way of us completing a task, Kotler blends the latest neuroscience with examples of elite athletes, artists and CEOs to create a practical playbook for super-charged productivity.
If it goes on the clear goals list, that’s a promise to get it done.
If you want to... feel empowered
SET BOUNDARIES, FIND PEACE BY NEDRA GLOVER TAWWAB (Penguin, 2021)
Is setting boundaries something you struggle with, whether that’s in your personal or professional life? Or perhaps you’ve managed to set some boundaries, but you find it more challenging to stick to them? Rooted in the latest research and best practices used in cognitive behavioural therapy, Tawwab presents a simple and powerful guide to help you identify and express your needs clearly and without apology.
End the struggle, speak up for what you need, and experience the freedom of being truly yourself.