The Best Books to Start Your Personal Development Journey
It is important to continuously learn in order to continuously grow as a person, even in motherhood stages. Personal development is a lifelong process in which we learn about ourselves, our habits, our belief and more. I believe reading is crucial to learning and understanding ourselves more in this process of self growth and diving deeper into who we are and what we truly need in our lives. As seasons of life change, so must we, on all levels, mind, body and soul.
I have personally found these three books to be life changing. They changed my perspective on myself, self worth, the help I needed, the love I was giving and receiving (or in my case blocking out), and so much more. I was able to truly start working on myself when I started understanding my actions, triggers and reactions. With the help of these books and many others, I was able, and am able to continue down this road of self discovery, recovery and love.
What is Personal Development?
Personal development is going to be a lifelong process, so it has to start now. It will be a lifelong process of setting goals, learning about yourself and your potential, freedom, self care, self love, growing in confidence, in mind, body and spiritual strength. Personal development is the growing and changing of you’re total self so you can change the world.
Is personal development selfish as a full time mom?
No way! In fact it is the opposite of selfish. When you grow as a person in mind, body and soul, your cup is being filled and it will overflow. This overflow of joy, contentment, courage, energy and so much positivity will only pour out onto the ones who matter most in your life, your children. If there’s one thing you need to do on your to-do list today, that is practice some sort of self care for personal development – oh and feed the kids. 🙂
I go more in-depth on this topic in my post The Beginner’s Guide to Personal Development for Stay at Home Moms.
Why Does This Lack of Personal Development Happen to Stay at Home Moms?
We often start out as stay at home moms with the best of intentions and optimism to be able to do it all but we surely find out that it is more than one can do physically or even handle mentally. So, we end up burnt out, overwhelmed, uncared for and lost as to what to do next. We get stuck in this never ending cycle of to do list for everyone and everything else and we forget about ourselves and when we do remember to think about our selves, there is no time left in the day for “me.”
Just a few months ago, I found myself sleep deprived with three under three, one being a newborn. I couldn’t figure out what was going on, all I could do was feed the kids and stare blankly at my phone for some type of human connection (other than with screaming, demanding toddlers). But that blank stare into my phone with no real person on the other end was a reminder and realization that something needed to change… someone needed to change, me. I didn’t want my kids to see me always on my phone. ignoring them, too busy (yet nothing was getting done) for them. I was stuck not knowing what to do and even if I did know what to do (because I too, started reading articles on self care) I didn’t know how, and was already at the point of low motivation – or no motivation at all. But being in the darkest moment of my life made me realize there is light, there are stars and I need to get out of this darkness so I can feel the light on my skin again. I needed a recovery for my mind, body and soul. It was time for a change, again. And it started with a book.
Start Here, Best Books to Start Personal Development
Saying Yes and Saying No
The first book I recommend is Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. They also have another book Boundaries in Marriage, which I would recommend over the original if you are married. These two books teach us, as moms when to say yes and more importantly how to say no. As stay at home moms, we tend to do everything for everyone, but at times it’s just to much. It may be hard for you, as it was for me to just say no to someone, to an event, activity or playdate, but it would have been better off as a no than a yes in some cases.
When I first joined a local moms group, I had mom guilt because where we used to live there were no mom groups, and so my then three year old and two year old daughters didn’t have any real friends. This made me feel an obligation to go to as many playdates as possible. And since I joined in the summer, there were playdates going on almost every other day. Although they were having a great time and making new friends, and I too was making new mom friends and was able to start talking to adults and not just toddlers, it was a lot of work. Get everyone dressed, loading, unloading, packing snacks, loading and unloading again, and most importantly, timing everything perfectly around nap time… you know how it goes. Looking back now, I should have said no to half of those playdates and stayed home so the girls could rest – so I could rest – because if it wasn’t a day of playdates it was a day of crankiness from toddlers who had been over socializing. I mean can image going to a party every other day, running wild and crazy (with juice boxes and snacks galore). This only allowed them to take naps in the car coming home from playdates, short and the opposite of restful. Not attending so many playdates because of mom guilt would have also carved out so much time for myself because I could have been having some real self care time during naps verses sitting in the car while they napped for a few extra minutes from the drive – which honestly in turn made me more anxious feeling having to check on them every few minutes. All in all, I learned the hard way how to just say no.
These next few books truly helped me understand the choices I was making as well as why I was making them and how to change my choices in a positive way. The first of these is Switch On Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf.
This book really helped me understand that any negativity that was going on in my mind from outside sources didn’t have to stay in there. For months I was plagued by lies, deceit, resentment, disappointments, codependency, self imprisonment of my mind really. Nothing I have ever experienced in my life before.
It wasn’t until May 2018, when I had my first panic attack – at four months pregnant – did I finally realize the toll all this negativity was having on my physical and mental health. I went to the emergency room already knowing that what I needed wasn’t a check up but a total mental health and lifestyle change. I heard about Dr. Caroline Leaf’s work before but now I was determined to put her knowledge and work into action. I read the books and started my journey into mental recovery.
The last book to jump start your personal development journey as a stay at home mom is one truly focused on self discovery and learning about who we are, our behaviors, characteristics, how we react and why and how to change the negatives. This book is an amazing resource for learning about the enneagram. Taken from the Narrative Enneagram, they explain that “the enneagram is a powerful tool for personal and collective transformation as well as for relating to the self, others and the world. Each Enneagram type has a different pattern of thinking, feeling and acting that arises from a deeper inner motivation or worldview. The Enneagram fosters greater understanding through a universal language that transcends gender, religion, nationality and culture. While we are all unique, we share common experiences.”
This was one of the best things I used to help me learn more about myself and what helped me to change the most drastically as a person, mother, spouse, friend and in all areas of my life.
Common Questions/FAQ About Personal Development Books
- How do I know which book to read?
- Find what area of your life is most crucial to change right now.
- If it’s mental health or physical health, find a book on that topic to start.
- Doing this will allow you to be motivated to start and finish the book.
- Will reading books really help me grow as a mom and individual?
- Yes! I will definitely help you start your journey of self discover as a person and a mom. It can help guide you in making better life decisions for yourself and your family as a mom.
- Reading is learning, and learning is growing. There are no negative to reading any of these three books.
- How will reading books help with personal developemnt?
- Reading will allow you to learn about the habits, the way you think, the way you live life. It will also allow you to see what you have been doing to stop yourself from growing.
- You will learn things about yourself that you don’t want to know or face, but these are the things, when faced with support and love and understanding will allow you to succeed and change as a person.
The Last Thing You Need to Know about Reading and Personal Development as a Stay at Home Mom
Reading has allowed me to change in so many aspects of my life. I am still on this never ending journey of self discovery but am so happy to share that these are some of my favorite books that have truly changed my life. They have allowed me to change my actions, reactions and more. All I can say from my personal experience is that reading can and will change your life when you start this journey of self discovery.
Here is a recap of the books I mentioned above and a few others.
Learning to say yes and no in healthy ways for all aspects of life.
Growing in Mental Health
Enneagram: Self Discovery, Personalities and More
If you read any of these books, I’d love your feedback and story of how it helped you on your journey to personal development as a stay at home mom. What other books have you read and how have they helped you? Leave a comment below so other readers and moms on their journey may learn from your experience.
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