Many of the most successful people in the world share at least one thing in common: they set clear and defined goals, directing their actions toward achieving those goals. By setting clear and attainable life goals, you can go through your day-to-day life with a sense of purpose and clarity. The beginning of this process involves determining the goals that will not only motivate you but inspire you to act. These six books can help in that regard.
1. Creating Your Best Life: The Ultimate Life List Guide (Caroline Adams Miller and Michael B. Frisch)
Life coach Caroline Miller and Dr. Michael B. Frisch take a science-based approach to self-discovery and outline 16 areas that are central to helping readers achieve their goals and aspirations. The 290-page book is filled with dozens of interactive quizzes and exercises, such as “100 Things to Do Before I Die” and a Web of Influence Map,
prompting readers to identify their wishes, ambitions, and needs.
Originally published in 2010, the book pioneered an evidence-based approach to setting and achieving goals and has maintained its status as one of the premier books in this area. It builds upon Miller’s studies in applied positive psychology and weaves the science of happiness with Locke & Latham’s goal setting theory.
Similar to Miller and Dr. Frisch, Michael Hyatt adopts a research-based approach to helping individuals find purpose and establish meaningful goals. However, as evidenced by the title, he prompts readers to imagine their best year ever and outlines ways they can overcome daily struggles to achieve their potential. Not only does it provide a framework for goal setting, but the book also discusses motivation, confidence, and the importance of positive, goal-oriented habits. Most importantly, Hyatt discusses how attaching habits to goals can make them easier to pursue and attain. For instance, if your goal is to run a marathon, you’re first going to have to get into the habit of running several times per week.
A Wall Street Journal Bestseller, Your Best Year Ever is one of four books recommended by mindset and productivity coach Liz Huber, who claims to have read hundreds of goal setting and achievement books. It is also endorsed by Tony Robbins. In addition to science-backed methods, Hyatt incorporates some of his real-life experiences in the book.
A social psychologist specializing in the science of motivation, Heidi Grant, PhD, is the associate director of Columbia University’s Motivation Science Center and global director of research and development at the NeuroLeadership Institute. In her book, she goes into detail about the habits and attributes of successful people and outlines the following nine things readers can do to achieve their goals:
- Be specific
- Seize the moment
- Know the endpoint
- Be a realistic optimist
- Focus on getting better as opposed to being good
- Commit to long-term goals
- Improve willpower
- Don’t tempt fate
- Focus on actions to achieve those goals
Published by Harvard Business Review Press in 2011, Nine Things Successful People Do Differentlywas named to Thrive Global’s 7 Books to Help You Reach Your Goals in 2020 list and Entrepreneur magazine’s list of 12 Books for Goal-Oriented Entrepreneurs.
4. Essentialism (Greg McKeown)
Essentialism is another of the four books recommended by Huber. This book is particularly impactful for those unable to find time to focus on achieving their most cherished goals. Author Greg McKeown discusses how essentialism (i.e., ignoring distractions and focusing solely on what matters most) is the key to sustained success and happiness.
In Rewire Your Brain, John B. Arden offers a comprehensive, science-based approach to overcoming mental blocks that might otherwise prevent you from achieving your goals. Arden explains the science behind changing one’s thinking in a way that can be understood by all readers. He also introduces its four-step process, known as FEED (Focus, Effort, Effortlessness, and Determination).
The essence of Arden’s argument is that through repetition, we can reprogram our brains as desired. For instance, you might not immediately be fully motivated to exercise daily, but your brain can be re-wired to enjoy and anticipate it via repetition.
Like some of the aforementioned books, Keith Ellis offers a useful acronym to help readers set and follow through on their goals in The Magic Lamp. He uses the acronym LAMP (Lock on, Act, Manage your Progress, Persist) to motivate readers and does so with a relatable, down-to-earth approach.