New books for a new you

Setting goals is challenging enough — but following them? That’s another story. Sometimes it’s good to have a little help to create a plan and stay motivated.

If you’ve got some big goals in mind this year, here are some titles to help:

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong

It’s been over two years since renowned author Karen Armstrong and Ted EX came together to form The Charter of Compassion — a call to treat others with compassion and empathy, whether friend or foe. (Since then, over 82,000 people including big names like Deepak Chopra and the Dalai Lama have signed it.) In this title, Armstrong builds those ideals out into 12 sections covering themes like “Look at your world”, “empathy”, “mindfulness” and, perhaps the most difficult, “love your enemies”.  Like the charter, the book doesn’t focus on any particular religion and is accessible to everyone no matter his or her background.

Unconditional Forgiveness by Mary Hayes Grieco

Life’s too short to be weighed down by past hurts — but letting go can be difficult. Teaching people how to genuinely forgive is psychologist Mary Hayes Grieco’s life’s work. In her book, she covers the themes and techniques from her practice and training sessions. It isn’t just about expressing emotions and letting go of hurts and expectations. Grieco also shows how to heal and how to learn to see the good in someone who has hurt you. She covers a variety of issues from more mundane slights to very difficult situations — even forgiving yourself. Forgiveness may seem like an unconventional goal to set, but arguably it’s one of the most worthwhile.

Prime Time by Jane Fonda

Best seller My Life So Far told Fonda’s story, now this “A-Z guide for living and aging well” shares her secrets. As you might expect, there are chapters on fitness, diet and healthy lifestyle habits — but the scope also includes upbeat takes on sex, friendship, brain health and dating. There are even some topics you might not expect, like doing a “life review”, planning for “the inevitable” and leaving a legacy (or “footprints”, as she calls it.)  If you haven’t already picked it up, Prime Time is set to make its paperback debut in March.

YOU: Stress Less by Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet Oz

Less stress is something we could all use in our lives – and how often do experts tell us to reduce stress for better health? If you’re familiar with this duo’s YOU: The Owner’s Manual series (like YOU: Losing Weight and YOU: Being Beautiful), you know they’ve got uncomplicated advice you can use. In this latest installment, Roizen and Oz cover the three main kinds of stress — both good and bad, ongoing or single-event — and offer strategies to deal with it. You’ll learn how to evaluate your lifestyle and employ strategies like eating the right moods and meditation. It’s a short read, so you don’t need to stress over your growing reading list.

Meals that Heal Inflammation by Julie Daniluk

We’ve all read about the damaging effects of inflammation in the body, and we’re familiar with foods that can help fight inflammation… But how do you go from lists to a healthy diet you’ll actually enjoy? Registered holistic nutritionist Julie Daniluk’s book is part guide to eating well and part cookbook. The first part of the book covers the main causes of inflammation and health consequences, then it’s on to setting up a healthy kitchen and recipes that will make you forget you’re eating well. (Yes, desserts are included too!)

(Want to see some samples? Check out this excerpt, “Your Cravings are in Your Genes”, and recipe for Ezra’s Herbed Quinoa Risotto.)

Looking for more healthy eating advice? Some other recent titles include The Supercharged Hormone Diet, The New Atkins for a New You Cookbookand Rick Gallop’s G.I. Diet, 10th Anniversary.

Organize for a Fresh Start by Sue West

We all have different reasons for getting organized — that’s why you won’t find a one-size-fits-all solution here. Instead, professional organizer and coach Sue West helps you tackle transitions such as helping aging parents, downsizing, empty nests, health issues or starting a home business. She’ll tell you how to clear out the clutter and optimize what you have, but also how to set goals, understand your emotions, find time for the change and stay motivated through it all. Once you’re organized, West has a chapter devoted to staying that way too.

Count on Yourself by Alison Griffiths

You may remember this author and financial wizard from Maxed Out, the TV show that helped people transform their finances. However, this book isn’t about getting out of debt or living a frugal lifestyle. In an era where people continually turn to someone else for money advice, Griffith’s approach is to offer the know-how needed to take charge of your money. If you think investing is too confusing or you know someone who is just starting out, this guide covers everything from setting up a portfolio to asset allocation — all while avoiding fees and coming up with a manageable plan.

The Worried Boomer by Derek Foster

When it comes to retirement, Foster’s focus is simple: how to invest so you can live well without relying on a job. (Foster himself “retired” at 34 — or, more accurately, reached that enviable point where work is a “want”, not a “need”.) His previous best sellers Stop Working and Stop Working Too explain his strategies, but this latest book is tailored to baby boomers getting ready for retirement. Foster offers tools and strategies you can use — without the complex calculations. Best of all, you don’t have to be wealthy or have a pension to retire comfortably.


The Procrastination Equation by Piers Steel

Perhaps you’re having a hard getting started on your goals — or motivating someone else? “This book is about every promise you made to yourself and broke,” says Steel in his introduction. Actually, procrastination is an issue that affects all of us and this guide on “How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done” looks at the many reasons why. With a mixture of humour and research, Steel looks at all the ways we procrastinate and what effect it’s having on our lives — and what actually motivates us. Of course, the book isn’t just theory — there are tips you can put into practice too.

Any titles you think we should include? Share your suggestions in the comments!

Photo © Pierre Chouinard

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