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I’ve been thinning out my books to keep them from taking over our house (again), and I realized there were a lot of personal development books in the discard pile. Some of them were so bad I never even finished them.
Have you ever noticed that bad self-help books tend to fall into one of three categories-they’re boring, ridiculously cheesy, or they’re so full of outlandish and unrealistic promises that you can’t figure out how they were categorized as non-fiction in the first place?!
On the flip side, good personal development books are authentic, engaging and most importantly, they’re genuinely helpful.
Most of the books on this list aren’t written for a specific audience, but these are still some of my favorite personal development books for moms who have reached midlife and want to reinvent or rediscover themselves. They helped me make real, lasting changes and provided motivation and inspiration when I needed them most. They aren’t How-To Transform Your Life in 5 Minutes or Less books on this list, but if you’re willing to do the work, these books can help you change your life.
How Can You Benefit From Personal Development Books?
Personal development books can help you develop specific skills or change negative habits, behaviors, or patterns in your life. They can also act as a guide to help you reach your desired outcome.
When you’re going through a rough time, they can also remind you that you aren’t alone. Reading a book written by someone that has been in your shoes and was able to work through the issue not only makes the situation a little less scary, but the author often shares the specific steps or strategies they used to resolve things.
At the end of the day, we all want to become better versions of ourselves and personal development books can help us do that if we’re willing to put in the effort.
5 Of The Best Personal Development Books For Moms (especially if you’re interested in reinventing yourself):
I’m a huge fan of Ruth Soukup and find her story incredibly inspiring, but what I love about this book is that it’s not just a book meant to motivate you to push through your fears; it’s full of practical, actionable solutions. In other words, you’ll actually use this stuff.
I took her Fear Archetype quiz and found that I’m most afraid of making mistakes and what other people think, so I take forever to do anything and always second guess myself for fear of letting someone down or for being judged if something isn’t perfect. Learning how fear manifests itself in my life was helpful, but Ruth also goes on to list specific tools and strategies I can use to move past my fears. And that’s just the first half of the book! The second half outlines what she calls The Principles of Courage, and their job is to help you change your mindset and learn to let go of your limiting beliefs. If you only read one book on this list, it should be this one.
Since I just mentioned perfectionism is a huge issue for me and that making mistakes and being judged are my biggest fears, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a book devoted to helping women work through their fears and follow their dreams is second on the list. Hollis starts by walking through all the excuses we make for not pursuing our most cherished dreams, then she highlights the behaviors that she adopted to help her reach her own goals so we can work on them too. Finally, she lists the specific skills we need to develop to make our dreams and goals happen. She’s also very candid and super funny, so the book is a surprisingly quick read.
Angela Duckworth believes that what determines success is a “special blend of passion and perseverance she calls ‘grit.’” This book will inspire you to keep moving forward, whether you feel like you’re starting over again or are feeling like you’re stuck in the messy middle and want to quit.
I have struggled with changing bad habits and building good ones for as long as I can remember, and I’ll be honest, I suck at both, but this book is a game-changer. The core message of the book is that small changes that are repeated over time yield the most significant results.
Clear explains that all habits, good and bad, are formed through a 4-step process, which he calls a habit loop: Cue > Craving > Response > Reward. Essentially, the cue triggers a craving, the craving motivates a response, the response provides a reward, and the reward satisfies the craving.
Clear then used that habit loop to create a framework he refers to as The Four Laws of Behavior Change, which can be used to develop good habits and break bad ones.
If we want to create new habits, we have to do 4 things:
- Cue: Make it obvious
- Craving: Make it attractive
- Response: Make it easy
- Reward: Make it satisfying
If we want to break a habit, then we have to reverse the process:
- Cue: Make it invisible
- Craving: Make it unattractive
- Response: Make it difficult
- Reward: Make it unsatisfying
Every chapter builds on the one before, and each one covers a particular concept and includes concrete, actionable steps to help you apply what you’re learning to your own life. Seriously, if you’ve struggled with habits and routines in the past, this is the book you need.
For me, this was one of those books that seem to show up in your life with exactly the right message at precisely the right time. It’s filled with personal stories from Cook’s own reinvention journey, and she also provides the steps and how-to information you need for your own midlife reinvention. It probably sounds crazy, but there were times when I felt like the author was in my head and knew what I needed to hear before I ever realized I needed to hear it!
This list isn’t exhaustive; there are a lot of excellent personal development books for moms, but these are some of my favorites, and I feel good about recommending them because they worked so well for me. I’ve read most of them several times, and I get something new out of them every time. I hope that they help you as much as they’ve helped me.
Have you read any of these books or other self-help/personal development books that have worked for you? If so, I’d love to hear about them!