Anna Maria Locke

the best personal development books for beginners

November 2015Anna LockeComment

Over the last 18 months, I've become quite a personal development junkie.

To be totally honest, I never really knew what "personal development" was before I became a Beachbody coach. Discovering personal development and self-help books was kind of like discovering blogging for me: a WHOLE NEW WORLD opened up that I didn't even know existed.

I never really thought of myself as someone who needed self-help...because we're all supposed to have our shit together, right? But it's changed my life more than anything else, and is the number one secret to how I've had the confidence to quit my job, chase my dreams, and show up every day to build a coaching business.

Why personal development is important

Let's face it. We aren't born to be 100% confident, energetic, and instant masters at what we do. We know we have to take care of our physical bodies by eating right, working out, getting sleep, etc etc but we don't really talk about how we need to take care of our mental and emotional selves. 

The more you learn about yourself, the more you'll be able to understand your quirks, strengths, and capacity for dealing with life, and it's so important to work on our mindset every single day!Have you ever felt like you're stuck, spinning your wheels, in a life rut? It's probably because you haven't been challenging yourself on the inside. If you don't put work into your emotional and spiritual growth, you're going to stay stuck.

Whenever you're going through change in life, whether that's losing weight, starting a new job or relationship, or moving to a new city, it's important to grow and evolve on the INSIDE. If we don't match our inner growth with our external growth, we're never going to feel satisfied with our accomplishments or like we're "good enough." 

You can only go as far as you grow. Your success in life will always be limited by your confidence, skills, and level of self-awareness.

Personal development is heavily encouraged in the Beachbody world, but I think it's important for everyone, regardless of what you want out of life!

Putting myself on a mental/emotional "diet" of personal development books and podcasts over the past 18 months has helped me deal with my perfectionism, anxiety, and low self esteem. I'm still a work in progress but I've learned so much, and helping other women get to know themselves is now my purpose in life.

The more I share about my own journey and inner transformation, the more people have been asking me about my PD book recommendations, so I'm finally going to start sharing more reviews and suggestions on the blog.

Today I'm sharing the five books I started out with that had the greatest impact on my life!

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My top 5 book recommendations for personal development newbies!

PUSH by Chalene Johnson

This was the very first personal development book I read after becoming a coach! It’s not revolutionary, but it will probably change your life.

What I learned from PUSH

  • That wanting more from my life isn’t wrong.
  • That I have the power to control my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.
  • How to set priorities so I know I’m spending my time on what matters most instead of drowning in overwhelm.
  • That I need to stop playing victim and reacting to life, and take ownership and control.
  • How to turn dreams into goals, and then how to develop the confidence to make them happen!
  • Basically, PUSH set the foundation for my entire philosophy and coaching business.

Quotable quotes:

“You don’t need another diet. You need a simplified way to organize your life...a way of living and eating that gives you joy.”

“Balance is possible only when you know how the scales should be set for you.”

“A fit foundation will give you confidence, assurance, and the self-love you need to stop looking outside yourself for acceptance.”

“Happiness is knowing who you are, what you want, and how you want it. Happiness is knowing you are doing the right things for yourself and the right people.”

The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte

I read this book alongside PUSH and I think they complement each other really well, especially if you’re a right brain/left brain combo person like me.

PUSH is about taking the reins and getting shit done. The Desire Map is about leaning back and letting your values and core desired feelings take the lead.

It’s about a creative, soulful approach to success and goal setting.

Whenever you start freaking yourself out or feeling overwhelmed and intimidate by your own plans and goals, The Desire Map is like a sigh of relief that will remind you you’re already good enough, and exactly where you need to be.

This book is half inspiration, and half workbook that will guide you to discover your own Core Desired Feelings, and then help you create a plan to manifest those feelings in all areas of life.

What I learned from The Desire Map:

  • That it’s ok to be a creative, super sensitive, emotional person.
  • That it’s ok to struggle with impolenting routines or systems. Sometimes we don’t NEED systems, we can simply trust ourselves and our intuition.

Quotable quotes:

“Wanting more for your future is not a betrayal of your present or past.”

“Awareness is realizing that our life could always be better. Growth is doing what it takes to make it better.”

“When you respect the darkness within yourself without any guilt trips, you’re becoming truly free.”

“Goals can perpetuate overplanning, and overplanning kills magic and possibilities.”

“You can ease up on yourself without shrinking your dreams.”

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

The title of this book says it all.

It’s the first book I read that I felt SPOKE directly to me when I was going through my first spiritual crisis/awakening in the spring of 2014.

Brene is a writer and research professor who specializes in topics like shame, perfectionism, vulnerability, and authenticity.

What I learned from The Gifts of Imperfection

Brene has helped me learn how to accept myself for who I am, and encouraged me to share my dreams, my story, my ideas, my vision.

This book has also directly shaped and impacted my personal mission and coaching business.

Quotable Quotes:

“Courage is telling our story, not being immune to criticism. Stayiing vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection”

“People may call what happens at midlife “a crisis,” but it’s not. It’s an unraveling--a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you’re “supposed” to live...when you are challenged by the universe to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and to embrace who you are.”

“It’s our fear of the unknown and our fear of being wrong that create most of our conflict and anxiety”

“If we want to make meaning, we need to make art. As long as we’re creating, we’re cultivating meaning.”

“By merely letting go of the list of things we want to accomplish and acquire, we would be actually living our dream -- not striving to make it happen in the future, but living it right now.”

“God lives within us, not above us. Sharing our gifts and talents with the world is the most powerful source of connection with God.”

52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life by Andrea Owen

Oh Andrea Owen, I love you.

This no-BS life coach speaks to women just like us, who battle perfectionism, low self-esteem, and over-achieving. I recommend it to my new coaches and clients because it's not preachy or "self-helpy," so it's a great starter into personal development.

What I learned from 52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life

I love this book because it’s divided into 52 bite size mini-chapters, basically a collection of power-packed essays on topics such as taking responsibility, uncovering your personal values, listen to your gut, have more fun, loving yourself, managing yoru inner critic, and ditching your drama addiction and control freak.

She encourages me to keep going after what I want, with no apologies, regrets, or over-analyzing.

Andrea is teaching me how to love myself.

Her podcast is also amazing!

Quotable Quotes:

“It’s not your circumstances that are making you feel a certain way--it’s your thoughts about them. And believe it or not, you’re choosing to keep those thoughts in your life”

“The thing about life, and about personal development, is that sometimes it can seem to get pretty damn serious. Don’t let al that seriousness and hard work bog you down.”

“Confidence is about believing in yourself. Self-esteem is about believing in your worth. Self-love is both of those wrapped up into one, plus more.”

“You are worth what you want.”

“There are several layers to self-confidence and courage, and one of them is the notion of just taking action.”

“Your goals, aspirations, and to-do list shouldn’t feel stressful or destined for failure...Take back your power.”

“Life balance is a crock of shit.”

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

Can you tell I favor female personal development authors? Sometimes you have to throw some masculine energy into the mix, and The Slight Edge is a MUST-READ for anyone.

This book is about how we can turn simple daily actions and behaviors into long-term success. It's all about starting where you are, with what you already know. In a world that tells us to expect instant results, it can be really discouraging and frustrating to work towards a big dream or goal that will take patience and time, and it’s easy to get derailed from our vision. I love this book because it reassures us that it’s not about big massive’s about the little things we can do to keep us moving forward.

What I learned from The Slight Edge

The Slight Edge taught me how to re-frame my own definition of “success” and gave me a lot of confidence.

Quoteable Quotes

“You alrady know how to do eveyrthing it would take to make you an outrageous success. All you have to do is keep doing the things that have gotten you this far.”

“Successful people fail their way to the top.”

“Work expands to fill the time available for its completion”

“Success is a process, not a destination. It’s something you experience gradually, over time.”

“Courage means to have a purpose and to have heart.”

“Happiness isn’t some big thing you pursue, not something you chase after. It’s something you do.”

“Great success often starts from a tiny beginning-but there has to be a beginning. You have to start somewhere. You have to do something.”

“Leadership is not something you do; it is something that grows organically out of the natural rhythm of learning.”

“You have to start with a plan, but the plan you start with will not be the plan that gets you there.”

“Don’t try to figure it all out. If you want twice the success, double your rate of failure. You start with a plan, then go through the process of continuous learning through both study and doing, adjusting all the time like a rocket ship on the way to the moon, of track 97 percent of the time.”

“Your income will never long exceed your own level of personal development.”

A few tips on reading personal development

If you’re anything like me (which you probably are if you’re reading my blog), you’ll be tempted to binge on personal development, but it’s important not to let your “all or nothing” mindset take over.

A good goal that will keep you moving forward at a steady pace is to read one PD book a month. That will give you motivation to actually finish reading it, and you’ll also have enough time to absorb and process what you’re reading.

Sometimes I check PD books out of the library, but I prefer to buy them because I treat them like a workbook. You want to be able to highlight, underline, scribble notes and breakthroughs in the margins, and constantly be asking yourself "how can I apply this?"

I also love going back and re-reading my favorite books, because you’ll get something new out of them as your life evolves and changes. It’s fun to go back and see my previous notes and take-aways, and how I’ve been able to implement them into my life (or not!)

I hope this post was helpful to you. I'd love to hear your updates or your own book recommendations -- shoot me an email if you have anything to ask, add, or suggest!

xo Anna

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