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Nine self-help books to set you off on a new beginning

It's a time of year when many make a resolution to change their life - or at least an aspect of it. Tanya Sweeney rounds up some inspirational reads


New year, new you: start off 2019 with an inspiring book

New year, new you: start off 2019 with an inspiring book

New year, new you: start off 2019 with an inspiring book

Once upon a time, self-help books had unfeasibly long titles such as How To Land A Great Guy, Make Millions and Have A Wonderful Life in Every Way, All While You Sleep At Night. Their words promised much, but they ultimately failed to deliver.

However, Januarys are now so filled with inspirational books that the self-help industry had to seriously up its game.

When it comes to spending those Christmas book vouchers, you could do worse than give these new titles a go.

The Money Doctor 2019

John Lowe (Gill Books)

Financial adviser John Lowe returns with a no-nonsense bible on how to resuscitate bank balances or make the most of whatever money you do earn. This current edition includes details of Budget 2019, as well as advice on a host of modern dilemmas, from being accidental landlords to pension neophytes.

Best for: If your finances need an overhaul.

The Hollywood Body Plan: 21 Minutes for 21 Days

David Higgins (Headline Books)

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If anyone knows about how to turn people into action superheroes, it's David Higgins. The trainer has celebrity testimonials coming out his ears (among them, Colin Firth, who said: "His unique approach taught me to be conscious of my postural habits and to control my movement so as to maximise strength and ability"). If you want to follow in the slipstream of some of the A-list's biggest names, Higgins suggests the sort of exercise plan that takes just 21 minutes a day - and he has written with readers who have built up years of sedentary living in mind.

Best for: If you want to look like Claudia Schiffer (but are a bit strapped for time).

The Power of Small

Aisling Leonard Curtin and Trish Leonard-Curtin (Hachette Ireland)

Written by the popular psychologists, The Power of Small proposes taking tiny steps as opportunities to change your life, one decision at a time. Mixing their own personal anecdotes and story-telling with the latest psychological research, the authors reveal how changing the small things can really count.

Best for: If you're feeling overwhelmed.

Calm the F*** Down

Sarah Knight (Quercus Books)

Knight is the bestselling author of a book with a similarly colourful title: The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F***. This new book has already been described as "100% practical and 0% Pollyanna-ish". In short, bad stuff happens, but it's the approach you take, both practical and realistic, that will determine how quickly you are able to bounce back.

Best for: Self-help sceptics.

The Unexpected Joy of Being Single

Catherine Gray (Aster Books)

In the follow-up to The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, Catherine Gray writes about taking a year off dating to fall back in love with herself and unearth the true satisfaction behind singledom. Tapping into the single revolution, Gray examines how cultures shame single people, and talks to neuroscientists about how breakups can sometimes feel like a drug withdrawal.

Best for: Calling off the search for a partner.


Philippe Tahon (Aster Books)

Psychotherapist Tahon certainly puts his money where his mouth is. He has created a set of psychological tools that helped him to lose five stone himself. In Shrink, Philippe shares his programme and teaches readers to eat mindfully, intuitively and, of course, positively.

Best for: Throwing away the diet rulebook.

The Miracle of Vinegar

Emma Marsden & Aggie McKenzie (Harper Collins)

We've long known that vinegar is a bit of a wonder ingredient, from cleaning windows to sprinkling on chips. Here, the wonder elixir gets its dues with 150 ways to get the most out of vinegar. And it seems to be having a moment, with Victoria Beckham and Katy Perry all reportedly using it as part of their daily beauty regimes.

Best for: A health book with a difference.


Bryan E Robinson (Harper Thorsons)

Offering a meditation for every day in 2019, Robinson wants his followers to upend their work-life balance and stop the struggle with work addition and the demands of family life. Robinson himself writes of once being a chain-smoking, caffeine-addicted work junkie with no time for proper friendships. If he can leave that life behind, he notes, anyone can.

Best for: Workaholics

The Freelance Mum

Annie Ridout (Fourth Estate)

Is it any wonder that a growing number of women are choosing to be freelance mums (a 70% increase in the last decade alone)? Often, it means more time with your kids and a better work-life balance. Writer Annie Ridout spoke to a number of successful freelancers who have made family life work, and delivers a brilliantly practical how-to guide.

Best for: Women wanting a career change.

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