Become the best version of yourself in 2021

New year, new you? You bet. A new year gives us a chance to define, commit and achieve the personal goals that help us grow into better versions of ourselves. If you're looking for resources to help you set obtainable goals, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has you covered. 

Below, you'll find our list of recommended reads to take your 2021 resolutions from thoughts to reality. Click here to find the books on this list online in our catalog.

Self Care

The Self-Care Solution: A Year of Becoming Happier, Healthier and Fitter—one Month at a Time by Jennifer Ashton
Dr. Jennifer Ashton is at the top of her field as an ob-gyn and news correspondent. But even at the top there's still room to improve, and with The Self-Care Solution, she upends her life one month at a time, using her own experiences to help you improve your health and enhance your life.

Dr. Ashton becomes both researcher and subject as she focuses on twelve separate challenges. Beginning with a new area of focus each month, she guides you through the struggles she faces, the benefits she experiences and the science behind why each month's challenge--giving up alcohol, doing more push-ups, adopting an earlier bedtime, limiting technology--can lead to better health. Month by month, Dr. Ashton tackles a different area of wellness with the hope that the lessons she learns and the improved health she experiences will motivate her (and you) to make each change permanent. Throughout the book, she offers easy-to-comprehend health information about the particular challenge to help you understand its benefits and to stick with it. Whether it's adding cardio or learning how to meditate, Dr. Ashton makes these daily lifestyle choices and changes feel possible--and shows how beneficial a mindful lifestyle can be.

Financial Wellness

Bounce Back.  How to Rescue Your Finances During Tough Times by Mitch Horowitz

The five works abridged and introduced by historian and New Thought scholar Mitch Horowitz in Bounce Back give you the greatest possible opportunity to navigate economic crisis and poise yourself for recovery.

Revolutionize your budgeting skills and be ready to take advantage of economic upswing with George S. Clason's classic guide to personal finance, The Richest Man in Babylon.

How to Attract Money is Joseph Murphy's most effective program of visualization. Offering specific prayers and affirmations, Murphy brings you closer to your goals and helps you attain the life you want.

Russell H. Conwell's motivational classic, Acres of Diamonds, teaches you to think in practical ways and transform seemingly modest ideas into large returns.

Transcendentalist philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson offers his principles for self-directed living in Power and Wealth, helping you focus and exert your will in the world.

Think and Grow Rich, the world's greatest book on successful living, provides Napoleon Hill's famous 13 steps to wealth and achievement. Open the door to financial empowerment and bounce back from challenging times with these great primers of self-potential.

Personal Development

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown, a leading expert on shame, authenticity and belonging, shares 10 guideposts on the power of Wholehearted living--a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
Gottlieb (Marry Him) provides a sparkling and sometimes moving account of her work as a psychotherapist, with the twist that she is in therapy herself. Interspersing chapters about her experiences as a patient with others about her work, she explains, "We are mirrors reflecting mirrors reflecting mirrors, showing one another what we can't yet see." By exploring her own struggles alongside those of her patients, Gottlieb simultaneously illuminates what it's like to be in and to give therapy. As she observes, "Everything we therapists do or say or feel as we sit with our patients is mediated by our histories; everything I've experienced will influence how I am in any given session at any given hour."

From "John," a successful TV producer who has walled himself away from other people, to "Julie," who has a terminal illness and is struggling to find her way through her life's closing chapters, Gottlieb portrays her patients, as well as herself as a patient, with compassion, humor and grace. For someone considering but hesitant to enter therapy, Gottlieb's thoughtful and compassionate work will calm anxieties about the process; for experienced therapists, it will provide an abundance of insights into their own work.

Adult Fiction

The Alchemist by Paul Coelho
This is a special 25th anniversary edition of Paulo Coelho’s extraordinary international bestselling phenomenon--the inspiring spiritual tale of self-discovery that has touched millions of lives around the world. Combing magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations. Paulo Coelho's masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different - and far more satisfying - than he ever imagined. Santiago's journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams. 

My Grandmother Asked me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
From the author of the internationally bestselling A Man Called Ove, this charming, warmhearted novel is about a young girl whose grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters, sending her on a journey that brings to life the world of her grandmother's fairy tales.

Young Adult (YA)

Top 10 tips for Developing Money Management Skills by Larry Gerber
Readers are encouraged to think about money as a tool such as a Swiss Army knife that can be used for many different tasks, to create things we want in our lives. Money is like a tool, in more ways than one. It is an all-purpose survival kit, because life gets tough without it. If we handle money carelessly, it can do serious damage. And just like any tool, sometimes it works great, sometimes it doesn't. The ten tips found in this book are ideas shared by many people, from billionaires to working-class moms, dad and kids. Readers will learn about spending, saving, investing, setting financial goals, budgeting, borrowing and seeking financial advice. Some tips involve doing specific things: writing, adding and subtracting. Others suggest ways of thinking about money and what we do with it. This volume is intended to help readers get the most out of this tool we call money, whether dealing with a lot of it, or just a little. Readers are encouraged to think further with 10 Great Questions to Ask an Economics/Finance teacher and Myths & Facts.


B is for Breathe: The ABC’s of Coping with Fussy and Frustrating Feelings by Melissa Monroe Boyd
From the letter A to the letter Z, B is for Breathe celebrates the many ways children can express their feelings and develop coping skills at an early age. Through fun, cute and exciting illustrations, this colorful book teaches kids simple ways to cope with fussy and frustrating emotions. This book will inspire kids to discuss their feelings, show positive behaviors and practice calm down strategies.

If you Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall
Meeting children from around the world gave Caldecott Medalist Blackall (Hello Lighthouse) a vision of a book "that would bring us together," she explains in an author's note. This exquisite catalogue of human experience is the result. A child with an elfin red cap, white skin and black hair frames the story, addressing a "Visitor from Outer Space." Magnificent spreads journey through the solar system and descend toward the Earth's surface, zeroing in on a quilted landscape. Fragmentary, often droll descriptions of Earth-side existence follow, about bodies and aging, home and travel, eating and drinking ("Some of us have more food than others"), and relationships ("Sometimes we hurt each other. It's better when we help each other"). Wide-eyed human characters of varying shapes, ethnicities and abilities show kind regard for each other: a librarian offers a tissue to a man overcome, dinner table companions share animated conversation.

Even for the accomplished Blackall, the artwork is dazzling. Encyclopedic paintings of the natural world--birds, sea life, an acorn and more--are rendered in painstaking detail and brilliant colors. It is a book that can be shared with strangers, visitors, friends old and new--a work in which differences build to reveal an inclusive human family on a single, precious planet. 

A Year in  Our New Garden by Gerda Muller
Anna and Benjamin move with their parents to a new house in the middle of a busy city. The wonder of this house is that it includes a large garden among the tall apartment buildings. Muller explores the design and planting of this city garden through the eyes of the children. This title can be read to younger kids as the story of a family creating a garden.

Older readers will appreciate in-depth explanations about the actual components needed to design a real garden. The narrative follows the family as they move from planning to planting to harvest. Multiple illustrations cover each page. Larger drawings that show the garden as a whole are combined with small framed and unframed insets that highlight specific details. The beautifully detailed paintings invite close inspection as the seasons change and the children play, picnic, plant, harvest and enjoy the garden's wildlife.