With the new year and the fresh smell of hope in the air, we’re all looking for new year’s resolutions to cling onto. If you are looking to improve your mental health, be stronger than you’ve ever been before, or want to build better habits as the new year continues on, these 3 self-help books are for you.

Didn’t See That Coming

Rachel Hollis

This is one of the newest in this collection of books that will get you up and moving toward a life you want. Rachel Hollis released Didn’t See That Coming in the middle of this pandemic which makes the title quite fitting for the content of last year. This book is meant to give you tools and real-life experiences to learn from and grow from. From learning how to be okay with not being okay to figuring out the difference of perspective and thriving in it to building healthy habits that will make you feel able enough to take on life, Hollis lays it all on the page. 

One of the stories she shared that I clung onto the most was a story of her youth. She explained how her brother committed suicide when she was 14 years old and how she was left to mature and be her own parent from then on. As a 14-year-old, she had to learn how to navigate life by herself because her parents detached from reality. 

She explained how angry she was and still is about that. She went on to explain that her anger fueled her future. It motivated her and it made her stronger. It made her able to conquer the things that she wanted to, that she needed to. She said that even though it was the hardest thing she ever had to do, she had to show up for people. She had to be there and be present and be an active member of her loved one’s lives. So, regardless of the hard part or the current crisis you are going through, still be present. 

If you are looking for something that will knock you out of your chair and get you moving to the life you want, this book is a must read!

Atomic Habits

James Clear

This book focuses solely on the aspect of making good habits for yourself. Making tiny changes that will later leave you with amazing, jaw-dropping results. From learning how to change perspective to looking forward to a future of positivity and growth, Clear gives you tools and the motivation to start making healthier habits. Whether your goals are about fitness or becoming a successful entrepreneur or even becoming a teacher, there are tools in this book that will get you there.

One of my favorite examples he uses is in the very first chapter of this book. He went into the details of British bicyclists that were competing in the Olympics way back in 2007, and he mentioned how they hired on a new performance director to figure out what they were doing wrong. They lost every competition that they were in, and by “lost” I mean weren’t even close to finishing “lost.”

With this new director, the team of British cyclists improved overnight—or what seemed to be overnight. This director made small improvements in everything the bicyclists used to train, something Clear called a 1% change in a positive direction. Clear made a point to say that if you are changing your habits everyday by 1%, your life will improve in the future. It may not be overnight, but it will be life changing. He went on to explain that this 1% change can be both good and bad.

Although you may not see how much it affects you right now, this instant, eating a chocolate bar after you eat a salad will result in no progress in the future. So, to build healthy habits you must begin and continue your journey every single day going forward. He went into more detail, but the gist of it is you must realize that (1) the journey never happens overnight and (2) never stop reaching for your goals and never stop creating new goals.

Iron Cowboy

James Lawrence

This book was one of the most motivating books that I have ever read. Not only did it showcase passion and drive and how to use that in your life, but it showed that the human body is capable of literally anything. 

James Lawrence is a triathlete who has competed in the Ironman, which is a series of long-distance triathlon races. In the Ironman, you have to complete a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bicycle ride, and a 26.22 mile run in that order, in one day. And Lawrence completed 50 Ironman’s in 50 consecutive days in 50 different states. He literally put his body through hell because he wanted to do it and he wanted to finish it. He had all of the odds stacked against him, but that still did not stop him from doing it.

And his entire journey was recorded on the pages of this book.

One of the huge takeaways that I got from this book was not to give up and to never stop. There were many, many times when Lawrence had everything going against him. From the weather to the people to even himself at times, he had to push through the difficulties to accomplish his goal. He showed that if you give into the darkest parts of yourself and the negative talk inside your head, you will not accomplish what you have always dreamt of. But if you hone in and laser focus on the thing you are working toward, you will have nothing in your way.

What are some other self-help books we should check out in 2021? Let us know down in the comments.

This article originally published on GREY Journal.