Looking for a Good Goals Book? Here are 3 of the Best Ever Written

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If you were to read just three books on a subject then you’d be more knowledgeable about it than 99% of people. Considering that this might only take you a few months, that’s a quick way to get to the top 1%! But with so many books out there what should you read? If you’re looking for the right goals book so you can become an expert on this topic, here are a few of my favorites I’ve found from summarizing over 200 non-fiction books.

Here are my top goals books:

  • Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt
  • Finish by Jon Acuff
  • Think Small by Owain Service & Rory Gallagher

Let’s get right into them and see what they have to offer!

1. Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt

“The first key difference between an unmet goal and personal success is the belief that it can be achieved.”

– Michael Hyatt

What’s in It

I love that the table of contents of this book is organized into steps instead of regular chapters. There are chapters within each of these, but here are the steps that Hyatt will teach you:

  • 1: Believe the Possibility
  • 2: Complete the Past
  • 3: Design Your Future
  • 4: Find Your Why
  • 5: Make it Happen

Why You Should Read It

First of all, if you’ve never read anything by Michael Hyatt you need to pick this one up and get to know his work. Everything he produces is lifechanging. His experience running a leadership development company shines through in his writing, which is always inspiring and actionable. 

This book is going to be perfect for you if you’ve always wanted to do great things but struggle to stick to your goals. It’s easy for a book to motivate you with fluffy promises, but rarely do you find one that delivers on what it says it will help you do as this one does. Its advice for beating all the roadblocks that stand in the way of you reaching your dreams will help you get moving toward your goals faster than ever.

The title of this book really says it all. It really will help you have Your Best Year Ever!

How It’s Helped Me

I began setting goals when I was about 15-years-old. My dad taught me that to be successful, you need to balance different areas of life, including faith, family, finances, and fitness. I’ve been setting my goals with this pattern for over a decade and a half. I know that it’s always worked for me but what I loved about this book is that it confirmed what I already knew, that focusing on a few categories of life is important.

What’s even better is that Hyatt’s explanation of how the different areas all build on each other helped me deepen my understanding of why this pattern is so important. 

I’ve also loved the inspiration this book gave me to get outside of my head and see my dysfunctional thoughts for what they really were. Hyatt’s words have helped me see how I was lying to myself and putting fake limitations on what I could accomplish. After breaking those self-imposed restrictions, I finally feel free to accomplish anything that I can imagine!

3. Finish by Jon Acuff

“Developing tolerance for imperfection is the key factor in turning chronic starters into consistent finishers.”

– Jon Acuff

What’s in It

1: The Day After Perfect

2: Cut Your Goal in Half

3: Choose What to Bomb

4: Make It Fun if You Want It Done

5: Leave Your Hiding Places and Ignore Noble Obstacles

6: Get Rid of Your Secret Rules

7: Use Data to Celebrate Your Imperfect Progress

8: The Day Before Done

Why You Should Read It

Perfectionism is no fun. It makes to beat yourself up and prevents you from sharing your craft and yourself with the world. And whether you’d use that word to describe yourself or not, you do have perfectionist tendencies that hold you back. Finish is the best book I’ve ever read that teaches how to beat perfectionism.

Acuff’s witty writing style makes reading this book a lot of fun as well. It was so relatable that a lot of the time, I felt like he was in my head. And he’s funny, too!

Everyone that reads this book will get a lot out of it and find their outlook on life and goals improved. You’re going to especially love this book if you’re a perfectionist. It will give you permission to kill that voice in your head that tells you everything in your life has to be top-notch. And, as you’ll find in the book, this is the secret to actually sticking to your goals!

After this one, your goals will look much different than you imagined when you set them. But they will also be much more achievable than any you’ve ever set before.

How It’s Helped Me

I got so much out of this book I don’t even know where to start. I’ve labeled myself as a perfectionist for a long time, but after reading Finish, I don’t identify with that way of life anymore!

This mindset shift of seeing how worrying about imperfection is useless and that we must appreciate progress instead has been a life-changing experience for me. I used to be really hard on myself. Getting anything done was a big struggle because of that, and it was especially difficult whenever I messed up. 

Discovering how to embrace the beauty in imperfection and apply that to my goals has made me reach more of my aspirations. It’s also improved the way I treat others as I can learn to accept their faults and weaknesses more readily now. Letting go of the need I felt to never share anything unless it was “perfect” has been one of the most soul-freeing things I’ve ever experienced.

3. Think Small by Owain Service & Rory Gallagher

“It is the small changes you make that will add up to something bigger. But in this case, small doesn’t mean easy. It requires focus, dedication and effort that, over time, will start to pay off.”

– Owain Service

What’s in It

  1. Set
  2. Plan
  3. Commit
  4. Reward
  5. Share
  6. Feedback
  7. Stick

Why You Should Read It

My number one takeaway from this book was how much it focuses on science. Each of these books mentions the research around effective goal-setting, but this one is on another level in that category. I found myself thinking “ooh I need to remember that study!” a lot while reading it.

The other thing I love about Think Small that stands out to me is the title. At first glance, these two simple words don’t seem to carry much power. But when you really consider what it means to Think Small and remind yourself to do it, you open a world of opportunity to do what actually helps you achieve your goals.

If you like organized, step by step explanations of things, this is going to be the best goals book for you to read. I think that’s a large reason why I loved it so much!

How It’s Helped Me

I really enjoy tracking my goals and doing so has taught me a lot of important lessons. One of the most significant of those was that you don’t know if a goal will work or not until you try it out. This book confirmed and reinforced this idea. It helped me realize I’m on the right track by taking this approach with my own goals!

The research presented also improved my outlook on what it really takes to accomplish goals. I’ll share just one of my favorites from the book. 

I’ve recently developed a fascination with the idea and benefits of deliberate practice. Figuring out a good pattern to help myself do this has been a pursuit of mine for a while now, but it’s hard to find and stick to the most efficient way of doing this. Especially because what usually works is boring.

At one point the book mentions a study that compared practice methods for spelling bee contestants. I learned that it’s more productive to practice with the difficult work of solitary study was a big breakthrough for me. It’s helped me realize that even when I’m frustrated with my practice that often means that it’s working. This helps keep going even when it gets boring!

Honorable Mentions & Final Thoughts

I’ll be honest, I have way more favorite goals books than just these three. 

But in the spirit of everything I learned from these few that I’ve shared, and because I had to get this post written, I intentionally limited myself to only three. Soon I’ll go into more detail on my other favorite goals books, but for now, here are the titles of some of them:

Remember, if you want to become an expert on setting goals, all you have to do is pick three of these books and read them. 

Consider how your life would change if you had that power to accomplish any ambition you have. You’d be living at your full potential in every aspect of your life. You could have the best relationships ever, a job you love that makes you plenty of money, and a fit body that lets you do fun things. 

All you have to do to get there is to open a few books and start reading!