Resolution Reboot

Has the shine worn off of your New Year’s resolution? Patrick from the Idea Lab at Blasco Library has some books that just change how you learn. If you find yourself stumbling through your self-improvement process, these books just might be what you need.

 If you’ve ever struggled to learn a new language, get into shape, or play an instrument, the problem isn’t you. The problem might just be how you’re trying. Ultralearning is a must read for how to think about and structure self-directed learning projects, Atomic Habits switches the blame from your personality to your behaviors, and A Mind for Numbers gives you strategies to remember. Once you understand learning (despite past failures) you can take the pressure of yourself and begin to enjoy it.

If you question the value or need to learn new things, two of Cal Newport’s books will set you straight. So Good They Can’t Ignore You explores the need and value of specialized skills and Deep Work helps you build those skills. Both are succinct and clearly written – something I appreciate in the often flowery, excessive, and non-specific genre of self-improvement.

For those struggling with self-esteem, The Inner Game of Tennis shows you how to think your own shortcomings and growth. While tennis is the example, the principles can be applied to any domain and help you enjoy the process of challenging yourself to do new things.

Finally, my own resolution for the year is to improve my general strength and flexibility. Yoga Fitness for Men has clear descriptions of what you should feel in each position, which lets you focus on doing what feels right rather than how you should look. The book is equally helpful for both men and women, though the title and manly pictures reveal that it was made with the yoga skeptic male in mind.