It feels like we were just ringing in 2017, but it's already time to pick out our shiny New Year's resolutions for 2018. The end of December always brings a flurry of "New Year, New Me!" declarations on various social media platforms. It's the season for self-reinvention. And, while we may not all instantly become productive, zen world travelers at the stroke of midnight on January 1st, there's nothing wrong with setting achievable goals for yourself and your life next year. So decide how you want to best take care of yourself in the new year, and pick up one of these books to help you stick to it.
To be clear, these books don't lay out the perfect, step by step process for keeping your resolution. Everyone's resolution-keeping looks different. But each of these books will give you a much needed dose of inspiration. They'll make you feel a little less alone as you commit to making your 2018 a year of positivity. This is going to be the year you finally get enough sleep, or start that savings account, or unfollow your ex on social media. You got this. And here are a few great reads to get you started:
Travel More: 'A Field Guide to Getting Lost' by Rebecca Solnit
If you're hoping to wander more in 2018, pick up this collection of singular, beautifully-penned essays by Rebecca Solnit. Rather than dazzle you with imagery of far-off resorts and dream vacations, Solnit investigates the very idea of travel, and the process of getting "lost" in every possible sense of the word. She'll inspire you to wander far afield and to lose yourself in your own backyard.
Manage Your Finances: 'Crazy Rich Asians' by Kevin Kwan
Sure, there are plenty of personal finance books out there that'll give you a clear, step-by-step guide to saving money... but none of those books are going to be as funny as Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians. You'll laugh, scream, and start a responsible schedule for your own savings account, because you definitely don't want to waste money like these people. Reading about the ludicrous, extravagant, excessive wealth of the Singaporean elite will make you want to hang onto your wallet for dear life.
Write Your Book: 'Bird by Bird' by Anne Lamott
Have you been planning to "Write Your Book" for years now? Does it feel far, far too daunting to start? Anne Lamott is here to help. Bird by Bird is part memoir, part meditation on the process of writing. Her advice applies to far more than just writing, though. Whether you're starting a new project or trying to summon the motivation to finish something big, Lamott will remind you to slow down and take it bird by bird.
Get More Politically Involved: 'Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist' by Sunil Yapa
After 2017, many of us are looking for ways to get more involved in politics, find more effective ways to protest, and fight through that hopeless feeling of political burn out. Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist is a breathtaking novel set during the anti-globalization protests of Seattle in 1999. As young Victor finds himself swept up in the movement, Sunil Yapa explores the true power of grassroots activism.
Sleep Better: 'Wild Nights: How Taming Sleep Created Our Restless World' by Benjamin Reiss
At the end of the day, we all just want to sleep more and sleep better. If you're trying to get some effective rest in 2018, you should pick up this fascinating history of humans and sleep. Through literature and medicine, Benjamin Reiss pieces together the story of how we decided that eight hours is the right amount of nightly sleep, and why it's definitely OK to break society's sleeping "rules."
Learn Something New: 'What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions' by Randall Munroe
Expanding your horizons and learning something new is a commendable goal for the new year. What If? is not necessarily going to teach you the most useful facts, but it will answer burning questions like "What if a bullet was struck by lightning?" or "What if the moon went away?" These silly, informative digressions on science and history are a great jumping off point for furthering your education in 2018.
Reduce Your Stress: 'What I Talk About When I Talk About Running' by Haruki Murakami
Running is not for everyone (personally, I can't think of anything more stressful). But even if you're not a dedicated runner, Murakami's memoir on running and reflective thinking will inspire you to find your own relaxing hobby. Whether you prefer crossword, yoga, or meditation, take a page from Murakami's book and find a way to de-stress in the new year.
Find a New Job: 'Seasons of Flight' by Manjushree Thapa
Seasons of Flight is your classic girl meets boy, girl realizes that love cannot solely fulfill her, girl starts a career in lepidopterology (the study of butterflies). If you're looking to switch careers or make a passion into a full time job, read Seasons of Flight for a lovely romance between a woman and her chosen field of science.
Get Over Your Breakup: 'Flaming Iguanas' by Erika Lopez
If you're going into the new year with a fractured heart, you're going to want to drop everything and go on an all-girl road trip with Tomato Rodriguez. Flaming Iguanas follows Tomato on her motorcycle ride across America in search of love, the meaning of life, and the perfect post office. It's a hilarious, exuberant story for anyone who wants to stop moping over their ex's Instagram page.
Stay Positive: 'Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person' by Shonda Rhimes
It's all too easy to let dreary January get you down. If you're hoping to inject a little more positivity into 2018, then you should team up with Shonda Rhimes and try to say "Yes!" more often next year. Year of Yes chronicles Rhimes' journey to get out of the house and have bigger, more positive adventures. Even if you don't say yes to everything in the new year, this book is a great reminder to step outside your comfort zone every once in a while.