There’s something about a new year that feels like a brand new notebook, an opportunity to create something from scratch. Whether that looks like polishing up goals and dreams for your career, creative life or even the way that you relate to the world or yourself, a new decade and a new year is an ideal time to embark on an experimental something-new for yourself.
However, there’s a big gap between getting out of bed on January 1, bright-eyed (or, more realistically, hungover) and ready to make big changes, and actually creating realistic goals and structures for your success. We’ve gathered up some books by Latino authors that should help you set and meet goals, whether you want to be a success at work, tone down some of your people-pleasing ways, take better care of yourself or just find new frames of looking at the world.
"The Likeability Trap: How to Break Free and Succeed As You Are" by Alicia Menendez
Alicia Menendez is a journalism superstar — she hosts a podcast, Latina to Latina, and a TV show, Amanpour & Company — so when she talks about the obstacles professional women face in the workplace, you know to listen up. In The Likeability Trap, the Cuban-American author describes an inescapable conundrum: too vocal about your ambitions, successes and needs? Unlikeable. Too ready to help out a colleague or please your superiors? Not ambitious enough. She gives women in the workplace tools and tricks to thread the needle between both states and also offers some tips for organizations to rely less on this kind of implicit bias.
"The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care" by Anna Borges
While oftentimes the conversation around self-care can look a lot like a description of retail therapy — buy a bath bomb, get a mani-pedi, splurge on a fancy dinner! — taking care of ourselves actually encompasses a huge range of activities and habits that we do to, in the words of Anna Borges, “soothe and fortify us against all the shit we deal with.”
The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care is an A-Z index of all the things that might fall into that range, and Borges is a funny and frank chaperone through it all. Also helpful is a flow chart toward the back of the book that allows you to determine which self-care practices may be right for you, whether you’re dealing with the long-term apathy of a depressive episode (hello, therapy!) or you’ve just had a kind-of stressful day at work (actually, a long bath with your favorite tunes sounds great for that).
"Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader" by Herminia Ibarra
“Think before you act” is a solid piece of advice in many cases — before you get a tattoo, go cliff-diving or move in with someone, to list a few examples. However, in Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader, Herminia Ibarra suggests that to really become a leader in your work, you have to flip the order of things. By practicing leadership in your day-to-day life, whatever your actual responsibilities are, you can learn how a good commander acts, strengthen your networks and be able to advocate for yourself — all of which helping you to gain more leadership positions and, most importantly, teach yourself the habits you’ll need to be successful.
"Inward" by Yung Pueblo
Diego Perez is a speaker, poet and activist who goes by Yung Pueblo on Instagram, where he has thousands of followers. Inward, his first book, is full of affirmations, mantras and poetry that can help you move through your day with just a little more beauty. The minimal, spare poetry and the expanses of white space on every page are as soothing to the eye as Perez’s words are to the mind. Use Inward as prompts for journaling and starting points for deeper reflection or as a book to carry around when you need a little nugget of insight.
"Inner Witch: A Modern Guide to the Ancient Craft" by Gabriela Herstik
If you’re looking to get more in touch with spiritual practices this new year, Gabriela Herstik’s Inner Witch is a fantastic place to start. The Mexican-Jewish author covers both the past and future of witchcraft and helps readers find a practice to connect them with their force. The way that witchcraft becomes modern in Herstik’s book is in its approach to power structures. While witches of the past used their practice as a way of fighting patriarchal structures and giving women agency over their spiritual lives, Herstik argues that finding your inner witch can provide you with that very same power today.
"You Don’t Have to Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out and Finding Feminism" by Alida Nugent
While Alida Nugent’s text is technically a book of essays and not actually instructional, her candor to subjects, like growing up biracial, figuring out that “feminist” isn’t a bad word and dealing with the weird expectations that society has for women’s bodies, makes for a downright illuminating reading experience. Nugent is a hilarious and irreverent guide, and You Don’t Have to Like Me is a fantastic read for both a teen who’s figuring everything out or someone older who still has a few things to learn.