A Novel Idea

By Barbara Bellesi

New Year’s resolutions are so overrated. Don’t wait for January 1: Let one of these authors help you take the first step towards self improvement today.

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“The Happiness of Pursuit”• Chris Guillebeau

Talk about crossing items off a bucket list – Guillebeau visited every country on the globe by age 35. Suffice it to say, this New York Times-bestselling author knows a thing or two about setting and achieving personal goals. Through his world travels, he learned that happiness indeed comes from the continuous pursuit of goals. His book, based on his interviews with hundreds of fellow “questers” across the globe, focuses on what motivates people to achieve great things for themselves and for others.

Make Up Your Life final cover

“Make Up Your Life” • Michelle Phan

Ipsy creator, beauty and style expert and YouTube sensation Phan can now add author to her resume. If you hear a roar, it’s her 6.3 million YouTube subscribers cheering for this beauty of a book, which combines expert advice with inspiration for living your best life. Sure, makeup can make you look great on the outside, but imagine what your newfound confidence can make you feel like on the inside!

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“Walking Home: A Pilgrimage from Humbled to Healed” • Sonia Choquette

World-renowned spiritual teacher and author Choquette has helped countless people reclaim their lives, but she found herself temporarily at a loss when her own life began to fall apart. Her solution? Embarking on a 820-kilometer odyssey across the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain. In her book, she describes how the intense experience allowed her to learn, grow, and transform into an even better version of herself.

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“Sacred Success®: A Financial Course in Miracles” • Barbara Stanny

The foremost authority on women and wealth discusses how women’s financial difficulties are related to their fear of power. By using exercises and glimpses of her own tumultuous experience with personal finances, Stanny teaches readers that money can be a tool – though not the only one – to help you build a full and meaningful life.

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“The Practice” • Barb Schmidt

You already know the lyrics to the song “Let It Go,” so how about living it instead of singing it? In her first book, the internationally renowned expert and philanthropist gives readers the tools for practicing better living through her three-part daily structure of waking up, living present, and letting go. Proceeds from Schmidt’s book will support the non-profit organization she founded, Peaceful Mind, Peaceful Life, which upholds her firm belief that “outer peace begins with inner peace.”

Barb Schmidt

Zero to Zen in Five Minutes

Looking to have less zip and more zen in your life? Achieving a deeper layer of consciousness doesn’t require hours of intense concentration or outlandish contortions. In fact, speaker, philanthropist and first-time author Barb Schmidt is a firm believer that all it takes to center yourself is about five minutes.

For the past 30 years, Schmidt has conducted workshops and seminars to help others manage stress and live purposefully. In her first book, “The Practice,” Schmidt takes much of what she has taught over those three decades and presents it to readers in easy-to-swallow doses, starting with daily meditation upon waking up.

Schmidt is a firm believer in meditation – even just a few minutes – is enough to center yourself for the day. “Distractions are always going to be there, but we have the control and we have the empowerment to be able to handle how we’re going to react, how we’re going to function in a given situation and rally to take charge of our own lives and feel empowered and worthy,” she explains.

She also reminds readers that meditation is a practice, and that it’s natural to have distractions during that practice. While it’s impossible to stop yourself from thinking about other things during your meditation, Schmidt says, “We can learn to stop engaging the thought.”

The result of those five minutes each day? Quite simply this: “You feel so empowered. You feel so good.”

When Stars Shoot for the Moon 

Award acceptance speeches can run the gamut between eloquent and unintelligible. At this year’s Academy Awards, Matthew McConaughey’s Best Actor acceptance speech bordered on eloquent and inspirational. He talked about his future, more improved self as being his hero.

“[My] hero’s always 10 years away. I’m never going to be my hero… and that’s just fine with me, because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.”

Good advice, McConaughey. Your theory of self-improvement is “All right, all right, all right” with us!

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