8 New Self-Help Books That Will Help You Break Your Favorite Bad Habit

There’s a rule of thumb that it takes 21 days to break a habit. That’s three weeks—or about the amount of time it might take the average busy person to read one of these books. In each of them, female authors tackle some of the hardest struggles we have, from finance to food to simple stress reduction. Read on to see which of these books needs to be on your nightstand, right away.

11 Reasons We Love Joan Didion

judgment detox
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Want To Feel Peaceful? Read judgment Detox By Gabrielle Bernstein

This best-selling New Thought leader and speaker has come up with a six-step practice that involves replacing negative assessments of others (and yourself) with a sort of Buddhist Lite acceptance. Meditation, a therapy called Emotional Freedom Technique (in which you tap points on your body to re-train yourself toward positive thinking) and prayer add up to a strictly non-denominational, tricky at first but ultimately rewarding method of self-soothing—no credit cards or Chardonnay needed.

Surprise tip: Someone driving you nuts? Pause, take a few deep breaths and imagine seeing that person for the first time, in order to stop projecting the history of your past disappointments with them on the person standing in front of you.

the joy of doing nothing
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Want To Feel Less Stressed? Read the Joy Of Doing Nothing By Rachel Jonat

Author of a less-is-more-themed mommy blog, Jonat here evangelizes the power of “no.” She encourages us all to say no to social obligations, no to extra chores, no to missing our own lives due to constant busyness.

Surprise tip: In your mind, re-frame “doing nothing” as a form of self-care, not sloth.

the food therapist
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Desperate To Stop Yo-yo Dieting? Read the Food Therapist By Shira Lenchewski

Trust issues, people-pleasing, fear of the mundane, control issues: These are not just topics that affect your psyche; they’re affecting your diet (and, by extension, your energy level, appearance and long-term health). The Los Angeles dietitian and author has learned, after working with clients, that only by untangling core issues people have with food can they begin a healthy (and non-anxiety-ridden) eating pattern.

Surprise tip: The next time you crave sweets, take a moment to imagine your future self without the mood swing/potential binge from a sugar spike. (You’ll find it easier to resist that cupcake.)

get over it
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Want To Stop Fighting With (and Being Annoyed By) Everybody? Read get Over It! By Iyanla Vanzant

This Oprah-endorsed spiritual life coach helps both fearful people who’ve been worn down by life and angry people stuck in their righteous outrage. “What. If. The. Problem. Is…You?” she asks, meaning that it’s our attitudes, not circumstances, that determine whether or not we live a happy and fulfilled life. Vanzant deploys “thought therapy” exercises, a combination of spiritual tools and the science of neuroplasticity, to eliminate dominant negative thought patterns and emotional energies.

Surprise tip: Tapping your sternum while moving your eyes up, down and side-to-side before and after prayer or meditation helps super-charge the practice’s calming and mood-enhancing effects.

the year of less
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Need To Stop Binge-shopping? Read the Year Of Less By Cait Flanders

After paying her way out of $30,000 in debt, only to resume the “earn more, buy more, want more, rinse, repeat cycle” that had put her there in the first place—and realizing none of it made her happy—the author vowed not to shop for an entire year. She de-cluttered. She repaired broken objects. She reduced tech consumption. Along the way, author Flanders realized why she’d depended on shopping, alcohol and food, and how much more fulfilled she feels letting these crutches go. Practical tips and insights abound, in case you’re inspired to consume less, too.

Surprise tip: When de-cluttering, keep track of the amount of stuff you’re getting rid of. You’ll be surprised at the amount of “stuff” you might be using to muffle your feelings.

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Craving The Entrepreneur Lifestyle? Read soulpreneurs By Yvette Luciano

Want to pivot from your current work (or unemployment) to a satisfying healing or creative job—but afraid you’re not talented, savvy or special enough to support the endeavor? This book, by an Australia-based life coach, maintains that through community, collaboration and courage, you can create a sustainable dream life, no plan B required.

Surprise tip: Write down your personal, professional and philanthropic goals and tape them up to your fridge or mirror where you’ll see them every day.

modern loss
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Want To Get Un-stuck From Profound Grief? Read modern Loss By Rebecca Soffer And Gabrielle Birkner

Based on a website that The New York Times says is “redefining mourning” for the social media age, this book comprises dozens of essays about everything from surviving small talk after a loss and survivor’s guilt. Somehow this volume is simultaneously deep and funny (one chapter is called “My husband’s death went viral and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.”)

Surprise tip: Maybe don’t hurry for the tissue when someone’s crying, in case they think you’re signaling for them to stop.

Cover: Harper Design/Background: baza178/Getty Images

Want To Stop Compulsively Working? Read lagom By Niki Brantmark

This book is subtitled “Not Too Little, Not Too Much: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life.” Written by a Scandinavian blogger, this beautiful little book relaxes you as soon as you start flipping through its lovely photographed and illustrated pages detailing how morning swims (so doable in L.A.), biking to work and making time for coffee dates with friends actually increase your happiness way more than they take time away from your career.

Surprise tip: Sleep naked, like the Swedes do, for a more intense rest.

dana dickey
Dana Dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...
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