Last New Year's Day, as I was taking down Christmas decorations, I listened to Andrew Mellen's "Unstuff Your Life! Kick the Clutter Habit and Organize Your Life for Good" (2010). I had decided 2013 was the year I would work on organizing my home, starting with holiday lights, ornaments, and decorations. It ended up taking me a week to box it all, but at the beginning of December, I knew it really worked. The house was festive, and thanks to the other tips in that book, it's well on the way to being uncluttered.
That was such a success, I decided to start 2014 out with another self help book, listening as I put decorations away (just a few hours this year). I chose M J Ryan's "This Year I Will: How To Finally Change A Habit, Keep A Resolution, Or Make A Dream Come True" (2006). I have some habits I'd like to shed, along with a few pounds; some habits I'd like to establish; and a dream or two that's been simmering on the back burner as I dedicated myself to raising kids who are finally old enough to make themselves dinner and get to and from practices.
"This Year I Will" is a really practical guide to looking at what you would like to do; establishing reachable goals; the methods for reaching those goals; and, most importantly for me, what to do if you fall out of the Keebler Elf Tree House and eat a cookie or five. Ryan talks about how to handle temporary setbacks without turning them into permanent failures. She also discusses different motivations, and why what works for some (a reward or treat) isn't necessarily going to work for people who are motivated by other factors, like the joy of competition.
I'm very hopeful that the techniques I learned listening to this book will work for me.
Ryan narrated the book, and I liked her voice. The production quality was a little rough and it could have used an audio proof listen - but it didn't distract from the message.
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As I write this review, I have eight bankers' boxes of Christmas ornaments, decorations and lights sitting near my door. I've labeled each box on all four sides, so I will be able to open tree lights first. The boxes will go to overhead storage in my garage, away from the risk of flooding from a heavy storm, or damage from too-high temperatures. I didn’t run out to Target or Walmart and buy expensive Christmas red and green storage containers and try to jam my treasures into them. I used what worked.
This is the first year that I've been confident that next year, getting decorations will take a few minutes, not a few hours. The year is looking up already.
I actually purchased this Audible book back in July, and I've listened all of it at least once, and to some parts several times. I go back to it so often, it's the only Audible book I haven't removed from my iPhone. Every once and a while, I need motivation or ideas, and so I listen to an especially helpful part.
I've only misplaced my keys twice since I listened to this book, and I haven't done that since I found the right place to keep them. The right place wasn’t a special key fob or an out of the way place the author demanded. It’s a place that I thought of myself, and I use automatically now.
Since the beginning of the school year, my children have known where their school supplies were. It turned out I had so many stashed all over the place, I didn’t have to buy anymore – and we donated some to my daughter’s school.
This isn’t a book for someone with a compulsion that makes them a candidate for A&E’s Hoarders. Mellen purposely avoids delving into pop psychology analysis of organization and messiness, which makes it guilt free. My house gets messy because I’m busy and I didn’t know how to organize, not because I collect swizzle sticks or can’t get rid of old makeup.
Definitely a good start to the New Year – or even mid-year, like I did.
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According to Pamela Meyer each person, on average, is subject to 200 lies - a day. I was astounded – I don’t see 200 people a day. Some days, I only see my family and my co-workers in the small branch office I work at.
Where are the lies? I started thinking about it: it happens when several of my Facebook friends ask to “Add my birthday.” They’ve been duped by an advertiser seeking personal information, and it gets passed along. The lies are in the ads I get to enlarge a certain body part. The products can’t work – I don’t even have the requisite body part. The lies are on CNN, Fox News, during interviews of people later found guilty of horrible crimes. And there are white lies I hear, when I ask my son or daughter how school was, and they say “fine” to deflect me from asking about an Algebra or Physics test they may have tanked. Sometimes, I’ll never find out things weren’t really “fine” – the test turned out well, and I’ll chalk the crankiness caused by stress for teenage hormones.
People lie, and Meyer’s book is a great guideline for realizing when that happens. I am a litigator, and I learned a lot of the techniques she outlines by years of experience. For example, if someone uses the phrase “To tell you the truth,” what comes out next usually isn’t the truth. It might have a little bit of truth, someplace, but it might be a complete fabrication. If someone smirks while testifying, they are lying and expect a judge or jury is too stupid to catch it.
I wish this book had been available 20 years ago.