Thursday, January 24, 2008

This Year I Will...

I wrote awhile back that I intended to read this book about how to change and make it stick. It's an easy read initially and I finished it quickly. But, it gave me so much to think about that it's a book I intend to keep in my library (those of you who know that I decorate in early, late and modern books.. even to the point of stacking them on the floor may not realize how selective I'm being). I have referred to several chapters again already and intend to re-read more carefully and take notes so I can remember a few of the bits better.
I have begun to hate, loathe and dread the word change because of it's over and insincere use in recent political discussion, so for the point of this post let's just say improve. I would like to improve in many ways that I find quite difficult. I find it so difficult to improve in certain ways that I ask for books like this for Christmas and actually read them.
I was discouraged to find that I can't improve in too many ways at once. You really must choose the thing that bugs the most according to this book or the two things, but not 7 things. Then you make a plan and begin. Suggestions for plan making are quite helpful. Beginning is more difficult. However, "Every successful person I have heard of has done the best he could with the conditions as he found them, and not waited until next year to be better." That is a quote by E. W. Howe that is found in the book and is quite inspiring I think. It would be helpful to me if I remembered all the helpful advice in this book, but I don't have good reader retention (something that bugs, but is way down on the list).
There are even helpful suggestions on follow-though and success and there are cautionary tales of failure.. all helpful. There is the tiniest part about "talking up", something that Alexandra mentions in her new book as well. People want to hear the positive. It's tiring to listen to people complain and groan and say negative things about people and situations. I find it exhausting lately even if I'm the guilty speaker. However, seeing the postive and having a good attitude (even a calm attitude) are not the natural place for me to go. Happily, Ms. Ryan explains that people really can improve. They can improve to the point that they create new and different pathways in their brains, according to this book. We can become our better selves from the inside out.
Anyway, reading this book isn't and doesn't claim to fix whatever it is that needs fixing, but it does act like a hand to hold and a counselor that's seen a pathetic cause succeed. So, that's good. I guess I'll know better how some of it turns out later. But, I think the book is a keeper, it has me thinking. And while some of the advice is common sense, I needed to hear it and will likely need to hear it again.
Your beliefs become you thoughts. Your thoughts become you words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your destiny. ~Mahatma Gandhi