By Skills

I can’t believe we are halfway through January!

I haven’t been blogging as much because I really took a deep dive this year into my personal development. I’ve been reading a ton of books, going to workshops, and just focusing on the digital agency Paul and I started two years ago. I have also been taking some time to simplify my life and not feel so overwhelmed by growing a business, rapid change, moving (again) and learning while on the job.

I have managed to read almost 30 books in 2019 and 90% of them were audible books that I listened to while stuck in LA traffic or while walking my dog. If you’re looking to add some new books to your reading list this year, here are the best personal development books I read in 2019:

FOR RUNNING A BUSINESS

Profit First – When we first launched Doing Good Digital, I was focused mainly on growth. When you have zero clients to begin with, the only place to go is up and we wanted to grow our client roster as quickly as possible. Now that we’ve been in business for almost 2 years, our focus is now profitability. We used to say YES to everything – and now we think about whether a client or project makes sense for us. 

How can you run a sustainable and profitable business? Profit First was the perfect book to stop me from wanting to grow for growth’s sake and to look at the profitability of the clients, work and type of accounts we were taking on. I highly recommend this to anyone running a business at any point in your journey. The author is super outgoing and funny and doesn’t take himself too seriously! Listen to him narrate the book if you can. 

ON MINDSET

The Big Leap – Do you ever wonder if you are subconsciously sabotaging youself? EVERYONE does it and there are four main reasons why according to The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. If you want to make sure you are getting out of your own damn way, I definitely recommend diving into this book.

I gravitated towards this book because I was going through a lot of change at the time and some really awesome things started happening for me and for our business. Instead of feeling joy – I started feeling super overwhelmed and anxious and I didn’t know why. My perfectionism had kicked in BIG TIME. 

I couldn’t be happy because I was always zeroing in on the thing that was going wrong. I wasn’t letting myself be happy and I couldn’t figure out why.

I could understand that I was anxious because I was going through a lot of change and personal growth. But why was I feeling so anxious in the FIRST place? What was I feeling so guilty about all the time? Why did I feel bad about feeling good and things going well? Did feeling bad somehow become my default emotion? I needed to adjust my inner thermostat for how much happiness I would allow myself to have and feel.

I needed to know the WHY. I needed to know my root causes. This book asked me the right questions to help me get unstuck and moving along again. It made me face my mental baggage and limiting beliefs head on in order to move forward. Why was it so timely for me? I’m turning 40 this year and the same old baggage I was carrying around since my late teens and early 20s was not going to be coming with me into my 40s.

This was MY BOOK of 2019.

FOR PRODUCTIVITY

DO LESS – I am constantly quoting what I learned in this book about saying no and setting boundaries. This book was written with moms in mind and there’s a whole bit in there about cycles, but I still loved her core principles – which I raved about in this post. What are you saying NO to when you say YES to something? If you’re doing ALL the things right now and you’re not sure what to prioritize and why – then you need to read Kate Northrup’s book, Do Less.

ON MONEY + FINANCES

You Are A Badass At Making Money – If you can listen to this as an audible book – DO IT. Jen Sincero has the best mix of humor and sarcasm that makes thinking and talking about money super entertaining. She tackles why we have these limiting and negative beliefs about money and why we have to let that shit go.

By letting go of the myths and negativity we have been taught about money – we are then able to attract more of it into our lives, and that’s not a bad thing. You Are A Badass At Making Money is an excellent book to read at the start of the year as you review your finances and budget after the holidays.

Get Rich Lucky Bitch – I did not realize I had so many money blocks until I read this book. Denise DT deep dives into what  society and media has traditionally told us about money. Is is really the root of all evil?  Is it true that money can’t buy happiness? When a female character gets money in a movie, book, TV show – she often becomes a bitch. Have we internalized these messages? Are they real? Are these money messages helping us or hindering us as women to earn what we deserve? 

Denise DT also asks – who do you need to become in order to be someone that attracts money into your life? Do you currently have the work environment of a successful person? Do you have a pitch deck of a successful company? Why not? What is holding you back to take the steps you need to get to the next level? I loved Get Rich Lucky Bitch and I love Denise’s outgoing attitude and her positivity when she narrates the book. It’s like having a personal money coach speak to you.

The biggest thing it inspired me to do was to declutter the crap out of my office, house, and ultimately my life. What was I going to bring into my new life as a happy, healthy, successful person and what did I need to leave behind? My cluttered office got organized, I got rid of things that sparked guilt and not joy, I did the things I needed to do in order to move my life forward.

If you enjoy this book, I recommend picking up her follow-up book on running a business – Chillpreneur.

FOR BUILDING BETTER HABITS

Atomic Habits – I had this worry that my bad habits (like sleeping in, slacking off) were the things holding our business back from growing. So I read at least 3-4 books just on building better habits. There were definitely some mind tricks to take away and lots of science-backed research to help build better habits in all of  these books. The one that stood out to me was Atomic Habits by James Clear.

I really took to the idea of building an identity-based habit as someone that works out and is active and healthy. By adopting this mindset, I was really able to get my workout routine to stick this year compared to previous years. I coupled this with my recent move to LA and LA Lisa is someone who works out – I made it a part of my identity in my new city and used the momentum of my move to make a lasting change. 

There are lots of action items in here, case studies and little experiments for you tro try on building better habits.

The Power of Habit – Gives you the breakdown with lots of case studies of how a habit works. There is always a cue, routine, and reward. My biggest takeaway from Charles Duhigg’s book was understanding that working out was indeed my keystone habit. When I keep a regular workout schedule, everything else in my life falls into my place. I make better food choices, I eat healthier, I’m more relaxed, I’m less anxious, I sleep better, I am less cranky and stress less. When this keystone habit falls apart, so does a lot of other things in my life. I’m slowly getting better of being more protective of this habit.

The other trick I learned from this book was using a major life event to inspire change. Paul and I moved into a new apartment in May. When the moved happened, we simultaneously went Keto to spark a new habit and lifestyle. It was tough to go through the stress of moving while giving up pizza, but we stuck to it for about a month and now we’ve embraced a more low-carb lifestyle instead.

FOR HEALTH + WELLNESS

Why We Get Fat – I was a reducetarian for about 2 years (yeah, it’s a real thing), before I really had to get a grip on my carb intake. Instead of eating meat, I was eating a lot of pasta, rice, grains, and bread. It was making me VERY sleepy all the time. So I decided to read this book on why sugar and flour is bad for us and I really embraced it.

I cut back on my alcohol intake. I stopped eating a lot of fruit and started watching the sugar in my granola bars and snacks. I also don’t really eat as much rice, noodles, pasta, oats, and grains as I used to. It’s more in moderation now. Cauliflower and cauli by-products have become my new best friend.

I did starting eating more lean protein and embraced a very low carb lifestyle instead. We tried keto, but it was way too hard to maintain. I do need some carbs in order to have the energy level I needed to get through my day. But instead of a full bowl of rice, I’ll just take enough to make my chicken taste good.

If you’re doing the low-fat thing and you aren’t seeing any changes, give Why We Get Fat a read to understand how our bodies react to sugar and flour. 

Body Love – Building on that, I picked up this book that was recommended by Rachel Hollis by Kelly LeVeque. I enjoy Kelly’s smoothie recipes and the idea of building a meal around the fab four – protein, fiber, fat, and green. This philosophy helps to keep us fuller longer and is mindful of curbing our sugar spikes that will have us reaching for unhealthy foods. If you’re looking for a reset and you don’t know where to start – Body Love is great jumping off point.

I recommend the print edition so you can use it as a reference for her recipes. If you’re looking for more recipes, she just release her second book – Body Love Every Day.

What did you read this year that was life-changing?

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This content was originally published here.

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