Monday, January 6, 2014

Inspirational Books to Recharge Resolutions and Personal Revolutions

It's January 6th.  Have you already dropped your New Year's resolution ball?  I must admit that my husband and I are a bit OCD when it comes to goals and resolutions each year.  For the past 10 years, on New Year's Eve we go out to a different restaurant and come prepared with our typed highlights of the year. We love reminiscing about all that we need to show gratitude for as the year draws to a chilly close.  On New Year's Day, we get out our goal setting sheets (yes, we even made a sheet for other diligent goal setters like us that can be printed out on Stageoflife goal sheet).  After we talk about our goals and write them down, we hang them on the refrigerator and each quarter, we pull down the goal sheets and highlight the things we have accomplished.  Some years we have more goals than others.  Some years we are more successful than others (like last year one of my husband, Eric's goals was to stop eating our daughters' leftovers.  He succeeded in this even though he does get tempted by the occasional last few bites of chocolate chip pancakes).

This year was no exception.  We went through our New Year's ritual, but this year we decided to do something even more drastic than our typical routine.  At my yoga studio, they are running a 40 Days to Personal Revolution program which starts on Wednesday.  This program requires that participants go through a whole life revolution in 40 days which includes mindful eating, daily yoga practice and daily meditation.  Yes, this might be a bit much for some people, but for me it is the perfect way to begin a new year - clear, refreshed, focused and centered.  The book 40 Days to Personal Revolution by Baron Baptiste goes through a week by week program and my husband and I will be attending weekly meetings to talk to other participants about our progress and our failures.

I was a bit surprised when my husband jumped at the opportunity to join me for this program because he really does like eating hotdogs and potato chips.  He'd rather end his work day with a nice frosty mug of IPA than a downdog, but he knows big changes are coming this year and he believes that challenging himself in this program will help with the big transitions.  On top of his willingness to do this program, he also got me the book Hero by Rhonda Byrne (the author of The Secret) to pump me up for change.  I finished the book this morning right before my yoga practice and felt inspired as I selected my intention for the day, "I am powerful."  In Hero, Byrne furthers her visualization strategies for each person to see they can achieve whatever they believe they can achieve.  "There is somethings special about you. There is something you were born to be and do that not one of the seven billion of us was.  There is a life you are meant to live; there is a journey you are meant to take."  With the inspiring advice, wisdom and collective experience of Byrnes and twelve of the most successful people today, I was reinvigorated to achieve whatever I put my mind to.

If Hero doesn't sound like a book you would want to read, maybe one of these books might inspire you or recharge your New Year's Resolution.  Maybe you aren't the type of person who makes resolutions or sets goals each year, but one of these books might just change the way you view yourself and the world.  It's a new year.  Why not?

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne (made wildly popular by Oprah, this book has inspired millions of people to visualize new lives for themselves. "As you learn The Secret, you will come to know how you can have, be, or do anything you want.  You will come to know who you really are.  You will come to know the true magnificence that awaits you in life.")

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (even some of my most skeptical students loved this book which is literally Pausch's last lecture that he wrote for his kids and delivered to an audience at Carnegie Mellon University when he had terminal cancer.  This book will make you think about how you live your life, what you take for granted, and how short life really is.)

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (who has inspired you the most in your life? Morrie Schwartz was Mitch Albom's favorite professor and years after they lost contact, Albom rekindled their friendship when he learned that Morrie was dying.  In their final thesis, Mitch interviews Morrie about what he deems most important in life.  I dare you not to cry.)

The Traveller's Gift by Andy Andrews (my students asked me to read this book for years, and I finally did last year and LOVED it - one of my amazing students even bought me a copy to loan to future students.  It recounts the story of a man who lost his way, and got a second chance to rediscover who he really is and what potential he has inside of him by learning lessons from some of the greatest people in history.)

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (this short book "reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, the Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love." Who doesn't want that?)

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff (an oldy but a goody.  I read this in college when my roommate suggested it to me.  The complexities of Taoism are told through the lens of A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh characters.  Sounds odd, but it is really quite refreshing and eye opening.  Are you a Tigger or an Eeyore? A Piglet or an Owl?  A Rabbit or a Pooh?)

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle (also popularized by Oprah, Tolle urges people to awaken to their life's purpose through transcending our ego driven lives.)

I hope that 2014 brings each of you great happiness, joy, wisdom, and makes you the hero of your own life in whatever personal resolutions or revolutions you embark on this year.

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