15 Movies That’ll Help You Reach Your Self-Improvement Goals This Year

by Amen Oyiboke

We look for forms of inspiration in different places — books, music podcasts. But, if you're avid movie buff — and a visual person — it might be a film that brings you the boost you're looking for when you're trying to achieve something and better yourself. There are films that can be transformative in the way you look at health, wealth, and wellness, or even give you access to a more creative side of yourself. Whether it's a biopic that inspires you to turn the world upside down for the betterment of society or a documentary that helps you declutter your life, certain movies can serve as catalysts for personal change. These 15 films will help you reach your self-improvement goals this year.

Experiencing different stories can ignite new ideas for your self-improvement. Maybe your goal is to eat healthier. Maybe you have aspirations to travel more, or foster healthy relationships. Maybe you'll discover something you hadn't even thought of, and go after it.

Some of these films may seem like unusual sources of inspiration, (yes, Bird Box has the capability to make you a better person), and others may be a little more obvious. But improving yourself, in whatever matter you choose, is what life's all about, right?

So grab your notepad, put on one of the movies below, and start writing down your short and long term visions for this year.

1. Minimalism

Want to declutter and live a minimalist lifestyle in the new year? Living with a surplus of items, in many ways, may seem like the American Dream — and that’s what our society has thrived on for so long. Minimalism explores the way material items and consumption can't and don't provide us with long-lasting happiness.

Stream it on Netflix.

2. Southpaw

Jake Gyllenhaal plays a boxer who sets out to get his life back on track after experiencing a personal tragedy. There’s little here you haven’t seen in other boxing movies, but it's the type of film that will get you back on your feet after facing personal defeat.

Stream it on Netflix.

3. The Greatest Showman

Yes, this is the year to continuously declare that you are who you are! If one of your goals is to live fearlessly and be in control of your own thoughts, this is for you. Be inspired to be you even in the face of someone or something who criticizes your personality.

Stream it on HBO Go.

4. Happy

In the pursuit of personal happiness? Directed by Robo Belic, Happy looks at what makes individuals happy on all levels, including the scientific.

Stream it on Netflix.

5. Living On One Dollar

Setting financial goals can help you examine your spending. Living on One Dollar follows four friends in rural Guatemala, who battle illness and hunger as they experiment with living on just a dollar a day for eight weeks.

Stream it on Amazon.

6. Private Life

Do you have struggles that you've been afraid to share with other people? Or feel alone in your daily battle to get what you desire? Private Life is a movie that will help you shift your thoughts on the difficult things you want so badly. Whether or not you can relate to this couples' experience with fertility issues, this movie will put things into perspective.

Stream it on Netflix.

7. Bird Box

Yes, you've read that right. Let me submit for your consideration the deeper messages that Bird Box includes: The film honestly speaks on multiple levels about confronting your worst fears, trusting your gut, walking by faith, and shutting out the noise of the negative.

Stream it on Netflix.

8. The 15:17 To Paris

This movie is all about true-life heroism: during a 2015 Thalys terrorist train attack, three American passengers (which are the stars of the film) leapt into action. This movie will motivate you to stand up for whats right this year, no matter the cost.

Stream it on Amazon.

9. Fittest On Earth

This documentary follows some of the world’s fittest athletes as they compete in the CrossFit Games, to prove that they are the best at what they do. This documentary will light a fire under your feet to get moving.

Stream it on Netflix.

10. My Left Foot

This is a true story of Christy Brown (Daniel Day-Lewis), a boy diagnoses with cerebral palsy, who grows up to become a famous author and painter. Christy learned to use the one body part he could control for almost everything, so this film with remind you that what you have is exactly what you need to reach your goals.

Stream it on Amazon.

11. I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore

This movie will definitely increase your faith in humanity, especially if getting to know the people around you is a 2019 goal. A fearful nursing assistant (Melanie Lynskey) teams up with her neighbor to hunt down the robbers who broke into her house.

Stream it on Netflix.

12. Julie & Julia

This film will inspire you to pick up one of Julia Childs' cookbooks and learn some new skills in your kitchen.

Stream it on Netflix.

13. The Intouchables

When a Parisian aristocrat becomes a quadriplegic after a paragliding accident, he hires a young man to be his live-in caretaker and the two end up developing a very close friendship and challenge one another to live better lives. The plot might look a little familiar to you because the remake, The Upside featuring Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston, just released this year.

Stream it on Amazon.

14. A Good Year

If you're looking for a change in scenery, this movie will inspire you to broaden your horizon. A Good Year follows a London-based banker Max Skinner (Russell Crowe) who inherits his uncle's (Albert Finney) vineyard in Provence, Italy.

Stream it on Amazon.

15. Never Back Down

A young man named Jake (Sean Faris) moves to a new city to live with his mother (Leslie Hope) and brother (Wyatt Smith). When he goes to his new school he gets pushed into a fight and humiliated. But, he finds a new found confidence when he takes on martial arts to stick up for himself.

Stream it on Hulu.

This is the year to push past fear, fight for what you want, and empower others, all while you accomplish your own goals. So do your part, and open yourself up to newer and deeper resolutions by watching these inspirational films.