A Simple Way to Be Happier in 2014

Anna in Brighton

“The point of life is happiness.”- The Dalai Lama

In just a few hours we are starting a new year. As I spent the past few days celebrating on how this year has been with my travels, life and personal goals, I can’t help but be so very grateful. I’m grateful to know that people like you take time to read what I have to say. It is a joy to be writing here for all of you.

This year is a very special for me as this was the year that I fully committed to discovering myself. A big personal project that I have been working on ever since I set out to venture the world on my own is my personal happiness project. While traveling is one of my life’s passions, my biggest passion is and will always be my personal life.

The places I traveled to, the people in my life, the inspiring books written by amazing people living on this planet  and my life experiences are constant sources of inspirations that make my inner world rich. An inner world that is so rich that even my around the world travels would pale in comparison. I’m quite a happy woman.

It is my New Year’s wish that all my readers have the best that the coming year has to offer both in travels and in life. And as you set goals for the coming year, I want to inspire you to do one thing you can do more to be happier- read more.

In here I share with you few of the most amazing books that you can add to your reading list for 2014. They all were transformational to my growth and helped me live my best year yet. I wish you the same for the coming year. Enjoy!

1. Strengths Finders 2.0 by Tom Rath

If you have 30 minutes to spend to get to know yourself better and learn your key strengths that you are actually born with, are you willing to invest the time to take a test? The Gallup Institute conducted a study and found that people who focus on their strengths are more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life compared with those who do not. Three times!

After taking the test, I can’t help but agree. It’s so accurate. It’s important  to know your key strengths so you’ll be a more effective person whether at work, business, relationships and life. Knowing my specific strengths combination helped me to be much more effective in my everyday decision making. It actually felt a lot more natural since taking the test.

2. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

When Susan Cain said on her amazing TED Talk that when she was writing this book for seven years, she was in absolute bliss, I knew that every other introvert would fully understand this. This book is a gem.

As an introvert, I could relate so much to this book. I also liked the fact that she expanded on one whole chapter about the Asian culture together with societies trying to ‘correct’ naturally born introverts to fit in the so-called extrovert ideal. The book is backed up with research and also featured powerful influential introverts including Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, Gandhi and Warren Buffett.

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert or both, you will get to understand yourself better and also how you relate to introverts, which actually makes up a third of the population. If there’s a key takeaway that one could get from this book is to not live a persona the way you think you’re suppose to be. Because claiming who you really are is where your greatest gifts can shine.

3. Choose Yourself! by James Altucher

This book is one of my absolute favorite books of all time. Not only because James Altucher is an excellent writer and an incredibly funny man but most of all because he speaks the truth. He speaks from the heart.

This book is not your typical self-help/ business book, it’s an inspirational guide for the times that we are living now. The foundation of which is as the title implies- taking care of ourselves in all areas of our physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health. Ignore one area and everything suffers.

After reading this book, I’ve started choosing myself and aligning the four pillars of living a healthy life. Don’t be deceived by this simple book. It’s backed up with wisdom, beautiful insights and humor that will make you literally laugh out loud as you read it. I have no doubt that it will inspire you to choose yourself too.

4. The War of Art: Break Through The Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield

If there was a book that slapped me in my face to wake up too many times while reading it, it’s this one. It’s an absolutely brilliant book that every adult should have.

Steven Pressfield says that we have two lives, the life we’re actually living and our unrealized life- the unique calling of our souls and where our true potential shines. However to get to the other side, we have to deal with resistance, a very strong force that comes in many different forms. If you have a pulse, you are not exempted from resistance. We all face this enemy and how we can deal with it, he shows us how. He wrote about how he did it with his, and inspires us how we can handle ours.

5. Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark and Live Like You Mean it by Kris Carr

Kris Carr was diagnosed with cancer at age 31 with only a few months to live. After ten years, she writes a book on how she fought the cancer through a vegan diet and shows in her book how you can heal your body and have the optimal health you want by employing a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle.

Though I’m never going to convince anyone to become a vegetarian, I’m here to tell you that you too have the power to consciously choose what you eat.  While I’m already a vegetarian, after reading this book, I was so inspired to lean more towards a vegan diet. In two weeks of going mostly vegan, I lost the extra weight gain from my travels. But it wasn’t the weight loss that I was after. I was after the feeling of vitality in my mind and body and that’s what I got. As a bonus, my skin became clearer, my hair shinier and I’m overall happier. Healthy minds reside in healthy bodies, it really is as simple as that.

6. Money,  A Love Story by Kate Northrup

I’ve always liked learning about money so when I was in college majoring in finance was a no brainer. But here’s the honest deal, you don’t have go to school in order to be financially literate. In fact 90% of what I learned about personal finance was not in business school. I learned it on my own by reading tons of books and applying it in my real life. This has allowed me to have peace of mind and self-finance my long-term travel. 

I thought I probably won’t need another personal finance book to read but even the most financially literate ones have areas to improve. I’ve read tons of books on the topic of personal finance yet I have to find something that will be as close to going from the inside out approach that this book examined. This book shows a wonderful way to re-examine how you deal with finances.

What I also loved about it is that this book was that it was written by a woman. A woman who has freed herself financially and is living an quite an inspired life. I loved how she also touched on women’s bodies and how it relates to our relationship with money. I dare you where else can you find one with both chakras and money in one chapter? Yep, money affects your chakras. This book is just fabulous!

7. Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence by Rick Hanson

If I tell you that you can actually train your brain to program happiness, will you be interested? Well, this year I found the book for it. In this wonderful book, Dr. Rick Hanson shows us how we can turn simple and ordinary experiences to lasting happiness and inner strengths. This book is no woo-woo type as the the author is a neuropsychologist and this book is backed up with the latest findings in the neurosciences. And in just a few minutes a day, we can actually have greater happiness, peace and well-being in our daily lives.

The thing is, I haven’t finished reading this book yet I’ve already been applying the techniques here and it works.  When I started training my brain to take in the good, I even learned to love every season. I found that even a simple breeze brushing over my face on a cold winter day can actually make me feel deliriously happy. This book is a miracle.

The cultivation of happiness is one of the most important skills anyone can ever learn. If we can learn how to take in the good, we can then see the good in ourselves, the good in other people and the good in the world.


I hope that you read the ones that interest you and find the learning experience as enjoyable as I did. If it means you’ve got to stop reading my blog to make time to read more books, do so. And if you want to read more, here is a list of my favorite books on travel, personal finance, business, simplicity and spirituality.

Whether you use my suggestions or not is always your choice. This is your life and I hope you spend your time on things that matters to you most- doing things you love.

Thank you for being a part of my 2013 and I wish you the happiest and most wonderful adventures for the coming year ahead!

With Sparkling New Year’s Love,


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2 Responses to “A Simple Way to Be Happier in 2014”

  1. Tania Damha
    December 31, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    Dear Anna! Happy New Year – and I agree – Steven Pressfield’s book is excellent. Keep searching and creating magic. Love xxx

    • December 31, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

      Hi Dear Tania! Thank you so much! Sending you some New Year’s Love! xoxo