These forthcoming titles ditch the traditional resolution model—superficial makeover; frustrating setup for failure—in favor of achievable change and self-acceptance. Here are a dozen goals that won’t expire or exhaust come February.
Apologize and mean it
Marjorie Ingall and Susan McCarthy. Gallery, Jan. 2023
Ingall and McCarthy have been analyzing apologies in news, pop culture, literature, and
politics since 2012, documenting their observations on their website SorryWatch.com. In the book, they tackle why apologizing is so difficult and why apologies so often fail, breaking down what makes a good apology into six parts. PW’s review called it “an accessible and well-informed resource for navigating difficult conversations.”
Appreciate the little things
Cyndie Spiegel. Penguin Life, Mar. 2023
Spiegel (A Year of Positive Thinking, 207,000 print copies sold) offers essays and prompts about little things that bring great happiness, such as walking into a favorite spice shop, spending time in nature, and finding beauty in perceived physical flaws such as freckles or gap teeth. Microjoys, she writes, are a subtle and accessible “practice of discerning joy in any moment.”
Awaken to experience
Life in Five Senses
Gretchen Rubin. Crown, Apr. 2023
After an eye exam uncovers Rubin’s high likelihood of getting a detached retina that would threaten her eyesight, The Happiness Project author walks New York City’s streets feeling “as if every knob in my brain had suddenly been dialed to its maximum setting.” The transcendent 20-minute walk sparks an undertaking to study her five senses, tuning into these perceptions to connect more deeply to the moment so that readers might also mindfully do the same.
Bet on yourself
Help Is on the Way
Kountry Wayne, with Mim Eichler Rivas. Harmony, Apr. 2023
Comedian Wayne’s prescriptive memoir builds a case for the importance of having faith. Chronicling his journey from the small town of Millen, Ga., to earning over a million dollars a year performing stand-up, Wayne centers his advice to readers on concepts of self-love and trusting that “the universe has got you.”
Cut your losses
Geri Reid Suster. Rowman & Littlefield, Nov.
Releasing old relationships that no longer serve you—collegial, familial, friendly, or romantic—with dignity and compassion is the premise of journalist and business consultant Suster’s book of advice for kinder, more intentional ways of moving on. Suster encourages readers to reflect on how they can thoughtfully sever ties while maintaining their sanity and dignity.
Eric G. Wilson. Penguin, Nov.
Wilson (Against Happiness) returns with a celebration of letting your freak flag fly. In this guide to “welcom[ing] the unconventional with humor and insight” (per PW’s review), he proposes 99 ways to reframe weirdness as, he writes, “essential to a compelling life.” Exercises such as “Forge a New Identity,” “Rearrange Your Childhood Bedroom,” and “Conjure Your Own Medieval Monster” encourage readers to explore “unprecedented, unpredictable, unrepeatable” parts of oneself.
Ken Mogi. The Experiment, Jan. 2023
Nagomi, or “a sense of ease, emotional balance, well-being, and calmness,” is a Japanese concept that anyone can embrace, neuroscientist Mogi writes in this “insightful manual,” per PW’s review. He encourages positive relationships with loved ones, learning new things while staying true to oneself, and finding a sense of internal peace no matter what is going on in one’s life.
Let it go
Katherine Morgan Schafler. Portfolio, Jan. 2023
Psychotherapist Schafler, who works with perfectionists in her private practice in New York City, encourages them to view perfectionism as a “strength” to be harnessed. She outlines five types of perfectionist—classic, Parisian, procrastinator, messy, and intense—proposing tips for each type. Her “thoughtful treatment of perfectionism offers a fresh perspective,” per PW’s review.
Love the mom you are
Jessica Grose. Mariner, Dec.
New York Times Opinion and parenting newsletter writer Grose does away with the notion that the ideal mother is an Instagram-worthy bastion of calm who produces well-coiffed and well-behaved children with seemingly no effort. “Mothers struggling to keep their heads above water will find camaraderie in this empathetic outing,” per PW’s review. (See our q&a with Grose, “Mom vs. the Machine,” on p. 20.)
Mike Rucker. Atria, Jan. 2023
In what PW’s review called a “cheerful debut trumpeting the importance of joy,” organizational psychologist Rucker pushes back against what he calls the “trap” of seeking happiness in favor of loving your life now. His road map is geared toward helping readers inject playfulness and wonder back into busy, stressful lives.
Pretty Sure You’re Fine
David Vienna. Chronicle, Nov.
In this humor/self-help combo, parenting content creator Vienna titles each chapter with excuses and self-flagellations, such as “I Keep Cheating on My Diet,” “I’m Too Tired to Exercise,” and “I Don’t Know What Mindfulness Is,” reassuring readers their as-is condition is probably just great. For 2023, the pressure’s off.
Sheila Liming. Melville House, Jan. 2023
Liming, an associate professor of communications and creative media at Champlain College in Vermont, makes the case for spending more unstructured time with others as a cure for the distraction and isolation stemming from digital devices and online life. She defines hanging out as giving oneself permission to do nothing much, especially in the company of others, which she sees as a daring act in our productivity-obsessed society.
All print unit sales per NPD BookScan except where noted.