Favorite goal-setting books + resources
My friend Georgia (hi Georgia!) sent me an email recently asking about my favorite books on goal-setting and accomplishment. I had fun thinking of my favorite resources and then realized it would make for a great blog post! Here's a roundup of the books, podcasts, and materials that have been the most helpful to me for making goals and setting myself up for success:
Better Than Before – the author outlines four different "tendencies" and I've found hers to be the easiest "personality" framework to understand. The idea is that once you know your tendency you can work with your strengths and understand your weaknesses. In the book she outlines lots of different strategies that work for the different tendencies. I also like her podcast, Happier, which is where I first learned about the tendencies. On the episode about Upholders I had a light bulb moment when I realized how well the Upholder type describes how I approach life.
Deep Work – I think of this book often! He talks about what a valuable but increasingly rare skill it is to put your head down and work, uninterrupted, for long periods of time. He makes the case for why it's so important and all the ways we are preventing ourselves from doing it.
Digital Minimalism – by the same author as Deep Work, this was a recent read for me. I've read other books about spending less time with devices/social media (How To Break Up With Your Phone and Bored and Brilliant) so I was skeptical about what I'd really learn from another book on the topic. But I ended up really liking the book and it did have an impact on me. I credit this book with inspiring me to spend even less time on social media and to significantly edit my friend/following lists.
168 Hours – I love this book because it's so data-driven. The author has a fascinating view on our time and proposes that instead of looking at fitting what you want to do into a day recommends we look at the entire week (168 Hours). It helps you step back, see how you are spending your time, evaluate whether your time reflects your values and goals, and reorient if needed.
I Know How She Does It – also by the author of 168 Hours, this book is aimed at working mothers and I wrote a post about it while I was working full time. This book challenges the cultural narrative that as working mothers we are so busy and stressed out we don't have time to spend with our families, to exercise or relax, or to have social lives. Using time logs of actual working mothers the author shows the ways that working mothers can find time for the things they truly want to prioritize. A disclaimer is that this book is aimed more towards middle to upper middle class working mothers who are more likely to have the types of jobs and financial resources to put in place the strategies recommended in this book.
Happier in Hollywood – I look forward to this podcast each week and it's related to Gretchen Rubin's Happier podcast. On the show, television writing partners Liz and Sarah discuss strategies for happiness, creativity, and productivity. Plus you get a behind-the-scenes look at writing for and producing television in Hollywood which I find fascinating. As with the Happier podcast I usually finish the show feeling motivated for the work I want to do.
As far as tools and materials go, I have really enjoyed using Get To Work Book (I also love the rainbow sticky to do list!) for the last few years. I love the combination of monthly and weekly spreads with space for project planning and monthly goal reflection. (I love to use these mini highlighters to cross things off.) Plus, the gal who created the brand, Elise, lives and breathes goals. I've been following Elise for years and she has several posts on goal-setting in her blog archives. I also love her approach to five year goal planning. The daily habit tracker I'm using for my 2019 healthy habits challenge is also from Elise/Get To Work Book. To get one just sign up for the GTWB newsletter.
A few of my other posts about goals and getting things done that you might like...
What are your favorite books and resources for goal-setting?