5 Books to Read to Jumpstart the New Year

Looking for some inspiration to get you going this year? I read some great books last year that challenged both my faith and creativity and motivated me to pursue good work and cultivate a deeper devotion. If that’s what you need as you work through goal setting and resolutions, then consider the following titles. These are great books to read to jumpstart 2016.

5 Books to Read to Jumpstart 2016

(this post contains affiliate links)

Start by Jon AcuffStart: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work that Matters by Jon Acuff

I love Jon Acuff! In Start he challenges you to face your fears and pursue awesomeness. We all want to do work that matters in this world and that can only happen when you determine to ditch the mundane and start on the journey to awesome.

I HIGHLY recommend the audiobook (or any of his books on audio for that matter) because Acuff reads his books really well and it’s an extremely entertaining listen!

The Art of Work GoinsThe Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do  by Jeff Goins

Jeff Goins is another of my favorite authors and in his latest book, he talks about looking at calling and creativity and what it takes to pursuing what you were meant to do in life.

When you can take a passion, that thing that you wake up dreaming about every day, and pair it with the mission to to fulfill the needs of others, you’ve got something wonderful. But it takes rising above the status quo and chasing something more than what society expects of you. No gimmicks here. Just hard work, passion, and a love for your fellow man. I read the hard copy I have (which was great cause I did much underlining!) but you can get the audio as well. Goins reads it himself and it is a pleasure to listen to as well!

Tortured for ChristTortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand

Okay, so let’s shift gears to something a bit more intense. I lie — way more intense. I listened to this as an audiobook and amazing doesn’t do this book justice. I’m going to take the liberty and assume that your spiritual life could use some bolstering. Mine always does.

I don’t spend enough time truly considering the religious freedom I enjoy and what Christians have suffered and continue to suffer for the cause of Christ. Don’t start another year forgetting what being a Christian truly means. Start off the year with a spiritual awareness, humility, and boldness to live for Christ in all you do. This book isn’t for the faint of heart but I HIGHLY recommend it. It will give you a series kick in the pants and should send you to your knees in prayer.

Radical David PlattRadical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt

This is another kick-in-the-pants kind of book. Not quite as intense as the previous title but inspiring nonetheless.

It’s easy to get comfortable in our microwaved, mega-sized, over-hyped, suburban church culture. But is what we have what Jesus had in mind when He was here? No doubt our experience is worlds different from that of the 1st-century church.

This year, take a counter-cultural look at your Christian experience and challenge yourself to embrace the walk Christ set out for us. I listened to the audiobook version of this one and it was quite enjoyable!

Make it Happen CaseyMake it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take a Leap. Live on Purpose by Lara Casey

This one’s for the ladies. Casey tells the story of her life before she truly got a life. I remember listening to this audiobook in the car and thinking “Yes! I so needed this!”. Life is full of surprises and takes turns that we couldn’t have anticipated. Living in fear isn’t the answer. Embracing purpose and taking chances, trusting God leading and timing is the way to live a meaningful life. If you’re nervous about starting something new, if you’re tired of being stuck in the mundane and don’t know how to get out, if you need encouragement and the assurance that you’re not alone, then read this book. If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a heavy audiobook listener and can definitely recommend this one!

Lara Casey also has a great website with some great products that are definitely worth checking out!

What titles do you have on your book list this year?

Happy Reading! 


The blogger at Purple Ink Studios is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com


The 2016 Reader's Notebook Page

How to Jumpstart Your New Year’s Resolutions | December Boot Camp

The year is quickly coming to a close. In the midst of all the wonderful holiday bustle, something else is jumping around the corners of our minds: New Year’s resolutions. *Dun dun dun*

In past years, my resolutions came as sort of an after thought. On January 1st, I’d make a list of the things I wanted to accomplish and change in my life and then, well, that was pretty much it. By the time February or March rolled around, I had either forgotten my list or hadn’t made any real changes that turned into progress. I had good intentions but no real action. This year, I decided something had to change or 2016 would just be a pathetic repeat of the past. My solution was to do a boot camp.

What is a boot camp?
In episode 33 of one of my favorite podcasts, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth discuss the benefits of tackling a project in the form of a boot camp. The idea is to set up a specific amount of time to tackle something that may be difficult or not necessarily enjoyable and have some fun with it in order to get it done. It’s a short amount of intensive concentration on a particular project. I love this concept! You can make anything into a boot camp from cleaning the hall closet to potty training your child. In my case, I decided on a December boot camp. 

How does it work?
First, you have to define the problem you want to solve or the task you want to complete and then work out a process to solve the problem or get the job done.

I have 2 problems to address:
  1. Not having a plan for taking intentional, actionable steps toward my goals.
  2. Bad habits hindering my progress.
So I need 2 solutions:
  1. Figure out the ways I best engage with a project or task and then use those things to thoroughly engage with my goals and tasks.
  2. Tackle the bad habits that are keeping me from getting things done, thus jumpstarting the new year.
Now that we know the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of a boot camp, let’s set set up.
new year's resolutions

1. Decide How You Best Engage with Tasks

As a paper addict and nerdy planner girl, it’s a no-brainer that planners and notebooks are the key to keeping me on track. The acts of writing things down and being crafty keeps me engaged and helps me keep lists and priorities in check. If you’re not the creative type, decide how you best engage with task completion. Maybe it’s a simple to do list and reward system. Maybe you need an accountability partner or a buddy to work alongside with. If you’re not sure what your tendencies and preferences are, then you can use the boot camp to experiment with different ways to get things done. 

2. Create a Dashboard

Lister extraordinaire, Corie, The Reset Girl, did an awesome scope where she showed her master planner list (your can watch the replay on katch.me/theresetgirl). My mind was blown and something inside me clicked–I needed to create a planner system. I’ll go into detail about my master planner system in another post but basically it is my dashboard from which I operate. Again, you don’t have to be into planners and all the bells and whistles for this to work but I HIGHLY recommend getting a simple notebook and calendar to keep track of your objectives and progress throughout the boot camp.

3. Determine Resolution Objectives
Since I’m tackling my New year’s goals and resolutions,  I need to know what my goals are. What do I want to accomplish next year? What are my short term projects? What are my long term lifestyle changes? You don’t have to figure out everything now, you just need to figure out what direction you’re going in so you can determine how to get started.

4. Determine Bootcamp Objectives
Now that you know where you want to go, now you have to decide what you want your boot camp to accomplish. I want my boot camp to lock down the necessary habits I’ll need to accomplish my goals. Things like tracking health and fitness, sticking to a sleep schedule and committing to regular prayer and Bible study require good, healthy habits. During my boot camp, I’m going to experiment,  research and practice the things that will help me lock down those habits, giving me a jump start for the new year.

5. Set a Time Frame
I’m doing my boot camp for the 31 Days of December. Yeah, it’s kind of the craziest time to be doing this but it’s also the perfect time because when January 1st comes, I’ll have a running start! If you want to do a December Boot Camp but your schedule is super jam packed, then try a week or 10 days. 

6. Do Your Research
Read. Watch YouTube videos. Ask questions. Do what you have to do to know what you want to know. And then…

7. Take Good Notes
Track your progress, note what didn’t work so you know to try something different. Keep tabs on what you responded well to and what made you tick. You’re going to want this information later on, believe me!

8. Give Yourself Some Grace
This is a time for practice and progress, NOT perfection. So if you skip something or a plan doesn’t work out the way you want it to, don’t stress, just keep going.


A new year means new goals & new challenges. As you think about your new year’s resolutions for 2016, be intentional about finding the best ways to keep yourself on track! Make it a boot camp and jumpstart your resolution success!

Happy planning!