8 Thoughts from Books that can Help You Stay Motivated

This article points you to some good books to consider when you need that extra spark to keep going. This curated list presents multiple perspectives around the same essential idea, revealing how when the going gets tough, the tough know how to hang in, stoke their own fire, and tap available wisdom to grow in a new direction.

Beginning is Easy, Staying Motivated is Hard.

There comes a time of the year known as the winter doldrums. It’s that span of time between the months of December and March. The doldrums often start piquing in February; the holidays have long passed, and the hopes and enthusiastic resolutions of the New Year may be fading. This is an excellent time to turn to a book for inspiration and some practical advice about how to push through plateaus and resist the things that pull you away from the work of realizing your desires. Here are eight thoughts from books worth considering.

1. Atomic Habits:  An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

If you are the kind of person who does well with a little structure, Atomic Habits supports you in establishing a system to check in with yourself. This book provides a proven framework and practical strategies for those who want to use momentum and push through plateaus with good habits. Clear says,

“When you have your habits dialed in, and the basics of life are handled and done, your mind is free to focus on new challenges and master new problems. Building habits in the present allows you to do more of what you want in the future.”

2. Thoughts and Adventures by Winston Churchill

This book is a wide-ranging collection of essays. While it is not specifically a “career advancement” book, there’s plenty here for readers who enjoy reflecting on history and the view of a man considered one of the world’s greatest leaders. Churchill provides much to chew on in this collection written before the 1940s. Consider this sticky-note-worthy inspiration on motivation,

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

3. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

Impatient with your career progress? Being present is a practice that can bring you some relief. In this popular spiritual book, Tolle extols the path to inner peace by embracing the present moment, ‘where problems do not exist.’ He claims,

“Persistence is an expression of faith in the power of your vision.”

Consider The Power of Now, if you want to let go of judgment and find a way to be okay with what is here in the moment now.

4. The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Ken Robinson

Do you have a fire in your belly? The Element is about fiercely embracing passion as a tool for staying the course. Robinson guides the reader on how to face down limiting beliefs that crop up and threaten to keep us stuck.

“Don’t think of yourself as having a certain capacity or potential. Think of yourself as having an infinite capacity to learn and grow.”

5. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield

Do you feel like going to your job has been a struggle lately? Do you feel like you need to dial in more closely with your purpose? Published in 2002, The War of Art is about breaking through blocks that hold you back and disciplining yourself to do meaningful work and pursue your calling. While the book is aimed at artists and creatives, its message is relevant to anyone feeling blocked about reaching their professional goals. Pressfield says,

“The professional has learned that success, like happiness, comes as a by-product of work. The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come, whatever they like.”

6. Rising Strong: The Reckoning, The Rumble, The Revolution by Brené Brown

If you’re an empath or highly sensitive person, you’re probably already familiar with Brené Brown. In Rising Strong, Brown focuses on managing the emotional aspects of finding grit and determination. Her fans love that she does not provide a formula for facing fears that hold us back. Instead, she opens conversations on bravery, vulnerability, love, creativity, belonging, and joy.

“The process of rising strong is a demonstration of courage that starts with recognizing our emotion and ends with a choice to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability.”

7. The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin

Have you decided to seek more happiness in life? Would you like to incorporate more fun into your day-to-day? The Happiness Project, a best-selling book first published in 2009, draws on cutting-edge science, classical philosophy, and real-world stories. Here’s one of Rubin’s thoughts about sticking to it,

“The only way to make and keep lasting changes is to practice them. And with repetition, something that may seem tedious at first can become a comforting routine.”

8. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath

Are you determined to make a change for yourself this year? Or, maybe, you’re responsible for helping others to navigate through some kind of upheaval. If you’re looking for something more than “everything is going to be okay,” Switch is a book you can sink your teeth into. The book’s authors are brothers and provide many case studies and examples of success across various challenges. They offer potent tactics to change that begins with switching the framework,

“Motivation is an engine, not a finished product…People often make the mistake of thinking that motivation is something you need to find. That’s like deciding to build a house and then trying to find bricks.”

Reach for a Book

Books, like friends, can be great resources when you feel stuck on some level. It’s hard to read a book without learning something new or considering something from another perspective. Many find that the process of seeking inspiration sets the wheels in motion, so you can leave winter’s doldrums in the rear-view mirror and focus your mind on the road ahead.

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