I love journaling and goal setting at any time of year, but there’s something about reaching the end of December and celebrating the start of January that always inspires me to take stock of where I am.
Whether it’s reflecting on the last twelve months or setting my priorities for the year ahead, books can be one of the best tools and resources to guide you on your way.
Featuring new personal growth books and productivity planners, these are some of my most recommended books to help you set your resolutions for 2024 and make progress on the goals that matter most to you.
(In addition, I also love the free downloads and printables from Passion Planner, which includes an End of the Year Reflection and Passion Roadmap to plan your goals – and their journals are fantastic too.)
Favourite planners and books for goal setting in January
Productivity Planner by Intelligent Change
If you treat yourself to any productivity planner in January, I’d choose this bestselling planner by Intelligent Change. I was given a copy years ago and still use it most days to narrow my focus and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Each day, you set a most important task followed by secondary tasks that aren’t quite so important. (This perfectly complements the philosophy of The One Thing, another book mentioned below.)
There’s also space for gratitude, your intention for the day, and a quick review of how the day went. I love how simple it is.
There’s also a desk pad version which is a great choice if you work from the same desk and don’t need the planner to be as portable. I love the tear-out sheets and extra space for notes and thoughts.
Feel-Good Productivity: How to Do More of What Matters to You by Ali Abdaal
Just released in December 2023, Feel-Good Productivity is the anticipated new book by popular productivity expert Ali Abdaal.
As Dr. Ali Abdaal explores, productivity doesn’t have to be at the expense of your mental health. In fact, with feel-good productivity, you can get more done while feeling better than ever.
Together with inspiring stories of founders, Nobel Prize-winners, and Olympians, Ali draws on decades of psychological research to show that the secret to productivity and success isn’t hustle and grind – it’s feeling good.
Best Year Journal by Intelligent Change
Also made by Intelligent Change, The Best Year Journal is another excellent book to treat yourself to at the start of a new year.
There are six guided sections to plan your year, including weekly and monthly reviews as well as space to reflect, plan, and celebrate. As it’s undated, you can start the twelve-month journal at any time of year (that said, I choose January when I can.)
I have the digital PDF version of the journal (available directly from Intelligent Change) on my Remarkable tablet and loved using it to plan my 2023 – I’ll almost certainly create a blank version for the year ahead too.
The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
So much of successful goal setting is down to focus. One of the best books I’ve ever read about the power of single-tasking in life and work is The ONE Thing.
I read The One Thing early in my twenties and still think back to it when I find myself overwhelmed and unfocused – it’s such a powerful read that’s ideal to pick up at the start of a new year.
This bestselling productivity book is ultimately about narrowing your focus to find the one thing that will make everything else easier or unnecessary. As the authors show, if you can do that – over and over again – you can create extraordinary results.
Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman
Four Thousand Weeks is one of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in the last decade. In this gently life-changing book, Oliver Burkeman writes beautifully about productivity, but with a different definition than the one you’re probably used to.
Burkeman defines productivity as prioritising what matters to you in the grand scheme of things: the four thousand weeks you have to live your life.
Featuring gentle philosophical encouragement to think about what’s most important to you in the grander scheme of things, it’s a fantastically thought-provoking book to pick up if you want to think more deeply about your life.
For more inspiring books to read at the start of the new year, you might also like: