What a weird tradition it is to start every January with a list of personal goals we’d like to achieve over the next twelve months, only to lose steam and completely give up by February. Our new year resolution here at Spy is to keep you on track in 2023 by recommending some books that will help motivate, inspire, and encourage you to stick with your goals all year. Whether your resolution is to reduce anxiety, pick up a new hobby, be more adventurous in your sex life, or even quit your job, we have a book on this list for you.
While we don’t have a book for *every* resolution out there, these books will give you a place to start regardless of what you hope to achieve, especially if you don’t have a goal picked out for 2023 yet.
How to Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing
If your resolution is to be less messy:
Without a doubt, How to Keep House While Drowning is the single most transformative book I have read in years. Written especially with neurodivergent people in mind (those with ADHD, autism, etc.), this book offers the most practical advice for staying organized and tidy in your living space. This revolutionary approach to cleaning and organizing helps free you from feeling ashamed or overwhelmed by a messy home.
Unfuck Your Brain: Using Science to Get Over Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Freak-outs, and Triggers
If your resolution is to reduce stress and anxiety:
This Wallstreet Journal bestselling book is for anyone whose new year resolution is to give their mental health some TLC. Unf*ck Your Brain has many follow-up books and workbooks, but this book started it all and became a mega-bestseller. It’s a no-nonsense, practical guide to reducing stress and anxiety by offering grounding techniques and other helpful tactics to teach you to retrain your brain to respond appropriately to the non-emergencies of everyday life.
I Didn't Do the Thing Today: Letting Go of Productivity Guilt
If your resolution is to stop feeling guilty when you take a day off:
This one is for the chronic overachievers who have trouble letting themselves be unproductive. If your new year resolution is to take a step back and get better at taking some downtime for yourself, look no further than I Didn’t Do the Thing Today. This self-help book is an inspiring call to take productivity off its pedestal—by dismantling our comparison to others, aspirational routines, and unrealistic notions of what can be done in a day.
The Ethical Traveler: 100 Ways to Roam the World (Without Ruining It!)
If your resolution is to be a more conscious traveler:
If you are full of wanderlust but question whether your trips abroad are leaving too large a carbon footprint and you’re looking to be a more sustainable traveler in the new year, this book is for you! The Ethical Traveller offers one hundred tips, aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, that help us protect the planet, support communities, and explore the world while preserving everything that makes it so very special.
Slow Birding: The Art and Science of Enjoying the Birds in Your Own Backyard
If your resolution is to get into bird watching:
If you’ve resigned yourself to finally embrace the hobby you’ve been making fun of your parents for years, Slow Birding is the book to get you to embrace the birder-life formally! This book isn’t about the technical equipment you’ll need; it doesn’t care about exotic life birds in hard-to-reach locales that *true* birders need to see. No, what this book is about is the stories behind those basic-but-secretly-cool everyday birds you see all the time in your backyard and have never thought twice about.
A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns
If your resolution is to understand personal pronouns:
I think I’ve gifted twenty copies of this book to various friends, family members, and coworkers. A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns is a gentle, illustrated guide to all the various pronouns people choose for themselves, how to politely ask someone their pronouns, how to use them in standard conversation and what to do if you screw up and use the wrong pronouns.
The Book of Boundaries: Set the Limits That Will Set You Free
If your resolution is to set boundaries:
Learning to say no, especially if you are a people-pleaser like me, is one of the hardest lessons to learn but with this book, you’ll be well on your way to establishing boundaries in your professional and personal life. What sets this book apart is author Melissa Urban offers nearly 100 scripts to help you clearly communicate your needs in a compassionate yet effective way.
You Will Be Able to Draw By the End of this Book
If your resolution is to learn how to draw:
Maybe you are entering the new year wanting to be more creative; perhaps you’re even interested in picking up a new skill. Maybe you’ve always felt like you are one of those people who could never draw. Well, now is the time to set aside your doubts and go for it! Not your ordinary art book, You Will be Able to Draw by the End of This Book is a combined tutorial and sketchbook that teaches you the fundamental steps required for you to be able to draw, but just a heads up, you might need a cat.
Make Thrift Mend: Stitch, Patch, Darn, Plant-Dye & Love Your Wardrobe
If your resolution is to stop buying new clothes:
We can no longer deny the fact that fast fashion is one of the major contributors to climate change, and the only way to step up and make a change on an individual basis is to embrace slow fashion. If your resolution this year is to stop buying new clothes, Make Thrift Mend provides all the motivation you’ll ever need to recycle, update, and care for the clothes you already own.
The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships, and Other Freedoms in Sex and Love
If your resolution is to try polyamory:
Have you been a little curious about trying a nonmonogamous lifestyle but aren’t sure how to go about it? Don’t worry; we got you. 2023 will be the year you finally dip your toes into polyamory with the help of this incredibly popular book, The Ethical Slut. For 20 years, this “Poly Bible”—has dispelled myths and shown curious readers how to maintain a successful polyamorous lifestyle through open communication, emotional honesty, and safer sex practices.
How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life
If your resolution is to spend less time on screens:
Let’s be honest; we could all stand to reduce our screen time. So if you find yourself endlessly doomscrolling on your smartphone day in and day out, and your new year resolution is to kick that habit, this book is a must for you.
Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book On Novel Writing You'll Ever Need
If your resolution is to write a novel:
If you’ve been sitting on an idea for a book for years but have never tried writing it because you don’t know how now is the time to take the leap and do it! There are a lot of writing books out there but Save the Cat! is the definitive, one-stop-shop practical guide on how to put together a whole novel.
What Color Is Your Parachute?: Your Guide to a Lifetime of Meaningful Work and Career Success
If your resolution is to change careers:
Do you hate your job? Do you feel like your career is stuck in the mud and want to do something else with your life, but you have no idea what? What Color is Your Parachute? has been transforming people’s professional lives for fifty years, and it just may be the book that gets you to finally hand in your two weeks’ notice at that job you’ve been quiet-quitting for years.