Resolution Revolution: Self-Help Books for 2023

Lose 10 pounds! Give up sugar forever! – Traditionally, these are the types of messages promoted in books to start the year off right. For 2023, new headlines instead suggest foregoing drastic changes in favor of achievable improvements and thorough interior work.

“A January juice cleanse won’t solve your problems,” says psychiatrist Pooja Lakshmin, founder and CEO of digital women’s mental health platform Gemma and author of true self care (Penguin Life, March 2023). “The New Year is a great time to think about commodified self-care.” Lakshmin agrees with the stance other authors take on New Year’s resolutions and beyond: Pay attention to individual needs rather than what social messaging and marketing is trying to sell.

Change your mind, no body

Fitness, wellness and body positivity influencer and coach Chrissy King says true self-care is rooted in self-love in The Body Liberation Project (Tiny Reparations, March 2023), discussing how social and racial justice intersect with the fitness, diet and wellness industry. “Most of our ideas about our bodies are rooted in white supremacy,” King says. She proposes that the energy spent obsessing over an arbitrary ideal weight, for example, would be better spent on higher-stakes collective causes, like working to eradicate racial injustice.

Sociologist Shanita Hubbard ride or diea manifesto for the well-being of black women who TPThe review of ‘s called “a genuine and cathartic call for change”, also argues for the acknowledgment of destructive messages and the pursuit of healing in the black community. Krishan Trotman, vice president and publisher of Legacy Lit, which publishes the book in November, says Hubbard rejects the concept that a black woman must have “a will to literally kill for her man,” be “silent about his pain.” or function as a panacea for conflict or heartache in one’s family. “We all know the ride-or-die chick,” Trotman says. “Or U.S are her, giving our time, our money and our life to others while putting our well-being on the back burner.

Muse more

More titles to come expand the scope of New Year’s resolutions with a little help from philosophy – not mastering Kantian ethics, but instead tackling big questions about moral values, finding the sublime in the everyday and understanding his underlying motivations. Previous Katherine May books include 2020 memoir Overwintering: the power of rest and retreat in difficult times, which sold 107,000 copies in print. His release Riverhead in February, Enchantmenttakes a similar holistic view of engagement with time away from the world, awakening wonder and awe in order to “enter into a more fluid and curious relationship with the world around us,” says Jynne Dilling, editor assistant at Riverhead.

What do you want from life? (January 2023) by Valerie Tiberius, professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota, is an “accessible guide”, by TP, to better understand personal values. Behind the daily goals “are broader and more fundamental questions such as: why these resolutions? said Rob Tempio, editor of Princeton University Press, which edited the book. Understanding these deeper motivators allows readers “to choose the right goals and resolutions for ourselves,” he says, so that “we have a better chance of achieving them or eliminating them entirely.”

Make peace with the past

Some authors point out that future change is rooted in the past, suggesting that this new year may be about doing the inner work of understanding and healing from trauma, whether born in childhood or stemming from a toxic relationship or friendship. Tara Schuster (Buy yourself the F*cking Lilies116,000 printed copies sold), says she hopes her new book, Glow in the fucking dark (Dial, February 2023), helps readers realize that they already possess “the power to change their lives and the world if they so choose,” within. “There’s nothing external they need to look for,” she says.

With the guided journal Recover and recover (Page Street, Dec.), Tara Blair Ball, certified relationship coach, offers strategies to help readers heal unhealthy relationships. Each of the seven steps — for example, “Telling About Your Toxic Relationship” and “Softening the Emotions” — comes with journal prompts that lead readers to analyze the relationship and forge the healing process. The book’s editor, Madeline Greenhalgh, says Ball emphasizes regaining a sense of self and building confidence after leaving a toxic relationship.

A licensed marriage and family therapist, Vienna Pharaoh explores how we recreate patterns learned in childhood in our adult relationships in Your origins (February 2023). Putnam editor Michelle Howry, who edited the title, says “Family patterns affect every relationship in our lives – romantic, platonic, how we present ourselves at work and how we present ourselves”. Because these modes of interaction are so ingrained, notes Howry, such connections are “often invisible to us.”

Maintain focus

In attention span (Hanover Square, January 2023), Gloria Mark, a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine, asks readers to reflect on how we have “developed new cultural habits, expectations, and practices” through technological devices. . “Electronic devices are meant to extend our capabilities,” says Mark, but the flip side is that keeping up with emails, news, social media and work projects thwarts our ability to focus and leaves us feeling exhausted. instead of being productive. The book explores strategies for regaining agency in our complicated relationship with technology, multitasking and the relentless pursuit of productivity, and how to make peace with a rapidly changing world.

Those looking for a creative outlet for their new direction can turn to the the wall street journal obituary James R. Hagerty, who Yours sincerely (Citadelle, December; a “compassionate outing”, by TP‘s review) argues for writing the story of his life. Respond to questions such as “What were you trying to do with your life?” Why? And how did it go?” he says, is “a way to gauge whether you’re on the right track”. His take on New Year’s resolutions is in line with those of the other upcoming titles discussed here. : “It’s never too late to improve the narrative.”

Liza Monroy’s books include the collection of essays Seeing your shoes will soon catch fire (Soft skull).

All print unit sales by NPD BookScan, unless otherwise noted.

Learn more about our Self-Help Books 2023 feature:

Mom vs. the Machine: PW talks with Jessica Grose
In “Screaming on the Inside” (Mariner, December), Jessica Grose, opinion and parenting editor for the “New York Times,” discusses how “morally charged” American cultural narratives and societal messages hurt mothers.

12 tips for a happier year: self-help books for 2023
Here are a dozen lenses that won’t expire or run out in February.

A version of this article originally appeared in the 10/31/2022 issue of Weekly editors under the title: Revolution of the resolution

About Herbert L. Leonard

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