From the bookshelf...March - the month of self improvement


Over the past few weeks I have fallen in love with reading books again. I read whenever I can fit it in and recently I've tried to make it a more prominent part of my daily routine. I read whilst travelling to work by train, when I get home instead of watching TV, and I try to read before I go to bed to take my head away from screen time. I thought it may be great to tell you about the books I currently have by my bed that I've recently discovered.

You may have noticed by the titles of these books that they are about self-improvement. My collection of these types of books seems to grow each year and many that I have read have led to profound changes in how I see and do things, sometimes bringing about a shift change in my life. I enjoy reading the ideas, approaches and tips and trying to apply what I've read and see if it fits with me and my life. Some of them help me work through things on my mind, and others inspire and deliver great ideas and concepts to weave into my life. I'm always looking to expand my skills and learn new things so these books provide a great way of doing this. I enjoy finding different ways of thinking, hearing about different perspectives, and expanding the way I understand the world and how we as humans deal with what life throws in our path.

In the past month or so I've read a number of books...let me tell you a little bit about them..

The One Thing - The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, is about asking yourself, "what's the one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?". It encourages you to ask yourself this question across the areas of your life that matter the most for you, so for example work, relationships, health, spirituality, personal life etc. It's about looking at the one thing you are hoping to achieve and working backwards from that, giving you a certain level of focus to reach your goal. It's about taking small steps. When I read the book it came at a particular time for me when I really needed it, it gave me a great focus on a few areas of my life. I found that by asking myself the question in these areas it has turned a few things round for me and has got me closer to finding a path to results. It's a book I plan to re-read and pick up frequently, so it's not going onto the bookshelf, I'm leaving it firmly next to my bed so I can pick it up and refresh myself. Having the book out will be a daily reminder for me to think about 'what is my one thing?'. I will dive in deeper and work with this book over the next few months so keep an eye out if I mention it again.

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks is a book about moving beyond a problem that is holding you back from achieving your true potential, in the book it's called your 'upper limit problem'. The book is all about making a big leap, and understanding the personal and hidden barriers we create that stop ourselves from moving forwards. The book talks about making a move from the zone of excellence and to the zone of genius. For me this book didn't have as much impact as The One Thing, but it certainly highlighted a few takeaways for me that I will take time to think about and implement where I can. It is probably a book I will return to in a few months to see if there are any new takeaways.

The life changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo has been one of the books that I've most recently finished reading. The book was recommended to me by my friend Ruth (thank you lovely!) who told me about it after commenting about my blog post about Simplify, my One Little Word for the year. I was intrigued by a book like this and popped it on my wish list. Soon after Ruth's recommendation the book started cropping up across blog land too, so it seems to be a book of the moment. It's a pretty little hardback book with a gorgeous cover, inside the book talks through in depth the approaches to tidying and working through clutter, approaching it by category instead of location. I wasn't too sure about the main premise of the book at first but upon finishing the book I decided that I wanted to attempt the methodology that Marie Kondo uses to simplify her belongings. The main method of sorting through belongings is to hold the item in your hands and see if it "sparks joy" and "speaks to your heart",  if it doesn't then you have to discard it. From her experience you have to start with clothes, then books, paper, miscellaneous then mementos. I got my first taste of it last weekend when I decorated our spare room and when putting my clothes back into the wardrobe I started to see how I felt about the items I was great to make a start but want to dedicate more time to really focusing on this. I'm sure I'll be telling you more about the book as I use it this year to simplify our home.

Another book that I've also recently finished reading is The Fringe Hours, it arrived mid-week and four days later I had finished reading it. I whipped through it and couldn't put it down. I'm pretty excited about this book and will be telling you more about this book in a few weeks in a short book review. I'm love it, perhaps it's because I smiled so much reading this book. I feel a huge connection to the author in many ways and I already seem to be using the 'fringe hours' in my life. Despite seeing how I already have started to fit things into my fringe hours, the book has still helped a little with a few take away ideas. It's the book I wish I'd written!

The final book is Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy. The book is a collection of short inspirational essays, one for every day of the year. It's a beautiful read and many of the essays spark daily reflection for me. It will take me the year to read as I'm taking it day by day and I'm enjoying the slow reflective routine that I've started by reading this book. Already I've felt inspired and am really enjoying it.

I have a few more books on order arriving soon and have started reading The Art of Happiness by HH Dalai Lama and Howard C Cutler, which I'm very much enjoying but I'll tell you about these when I'm finished reading them!

I always love finding out what people are reading. Have you got any recommendations of books that you think I may like?