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This Year I Will...: How to Finally Change a Habit, Keep a Resolution, or Make a Dream Come True Hardcover – December 26, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Fast forward a few months (or a few weeks) into any given new year, and most peoples' resolutions have been either forgotten or abandoned. As one of the creators of the bestselling Random Acts of Kindness series, author and life coach Ryan outlines a concrete and practical strategy for following through on a resolution while dealing with all of life's other ups and downs: "One of the tricks about change is that we have to figure out how to do it in the midst of everything else." In encouraging, easy-to-read chapters, Ryan tackles the obstacles that keep readers from their goals and provides helpful tools and language to quell negative, self-defeating thoughts. Championing affirmation and cognitive therapy strategies, Ryan urges readers to switch from "why" thinking to "what could be possible" thinking, using "right brain" skills to achieve success: "The right brain is future oriented. It's where our aspirations, our dreams, our longings reside." Ryan's handy self-help will prove welcome for anyone seeking gentle but solid help in achieving personal change.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Advance Praise for This Year I Will . . .
"If you're struggling and think that one more book can't possibly make a difference, think again. MJ Ryan has the rare gift of breaking things down into clear pieces that can be tackled."
—Laura Berman Fortgang, author of Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction
"This Year I Will . . . is the go-to book to learn how to start that self improvement journey---and maintain it for life!"
—Pamela Peeke MD, MPH, FACP, author of Body for Life for Women
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When we set goals for ourselves, we often fail because "we expect too much of ourselves and we expect to change overnight." She lets the reader know from the start that trying to change too much too fast rarely works. Taking a more realistic approach is a much more successful path.
According to Ryan, there are three things that are necessary to achieve any change: desire, intent and persistence. She teaches how to identify what you really desire, how to make it specific and measurable. She also covers how to avoid common pitfalls which will drain your energy causing too many to give up on their goals.
There are some very valuable lessons in this book. One is that "We do what we do because it serves some need." Even our unhealthy actions provide some payoff. If we expect to change our behavior we must understand what we are gaining from those actions and be willing to make better choices to achieve our goals. "We can't make lasting changes unless we recognize it (current payoffs)and meet it some other way."
Each chapter starts with a quote. There is a lot of wisdom in some of the quotes Ms. Ryan has selected. Here are a couple: "It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinions than our own." Marcus Aurelius. "Time is a created thing. To say, `I don't have time' is to say, `I don't want to." Lao Tzu. "The most difficult matter is not to change the world as yourself." Nelson Mandela. I think the quality of the quotes is a good reflection on the quality of the content of the book.
There are plenty of real life examples used throughout the book to illustrate the point the author is making. The author has also included some exercises where appropriate and some specific items for action.
The last chapter gives 12 tips to help you keep the promise you made to yourself. These are concise pointers for helping anyone stay on track.
If you are really ready to make lasting change, this is a great guide.
M.J. Ryan is one of those rare authors that seems genuinely more concerned about helping people than personal wealth. She comes across as real and having lots of personal integrity and experience with the subject matter. She doesn't profess to have some revolutionary new method that makes it all easy. In fact, she credits countless others for much of her advice as most of it isn't new. But that's OK, as she does a great job of presenting it all in one very accessible book.
In This Year I Will... she doesn't ask you to just blindly trust her the way so many self help authors do. She shares plenty of personal anecdotes of what's worked for people she's worked with, friends, family and herself. She also ties much of it, using very simple language, into scientific research and knowledge. Unlike so many authors of similar material, she actually has neuroscience on her side.
Most self help books appeal mostly to either the emotional brain OR the thinking brain but rarely both equally. Ryan nicely engages both without offending either. There's something here for the warm and fuzzy crowd and the more analytical reader.
So many New Years Resolution books cover the same basic things: Set achievable, measurable and realistic goals; watch out for the usual pitfalls; reward yourself when you get it right, etc. Ryan covers those as well. But she's not so arrogant to suggest all of them work for everyone. And she goes well beyond the basics. She encourages, and helps, the reader to find what works best for them.
She also doesn't lure you in by telling you it's going to be easy or fast. She points out major new goals are often hard work and, like most things new in life, take time and practice to get right. Books that make misleading claims to get you to buy them just set their readers up for failure. Ryan does the opposite and is refreshingly realistic.
This book is very easy to read. Nearly every chapter is only a few pages. So it's broken into neat little bite size bits of advice that are easy to digest. She covers everything from serious addictions, to weight loss, to self improvement, to work and family.
I suppose the true test will be to see where I'm at roughly a year from now? But, for now, I feel Ryan has helped put me on a better track than ever before.