Hello out there.
It’s a dreadfully rainy and cold day here in New England so it’s was a good day to hit my reading stack. Every now and again I receive books for review so I finished up reading Live Your Life by Ann LeFevre, PhD, LCSW, CMT. Here are my thoughts on this book.
Being a bit of a rebel I am always attracted to anything that suggests it is going to talk about living your life as you–unabashedly. I’m not sure if this book brought me that, exactly. It’s more of a self-help book remix of many of the tips I’ve read in the past but rehashed with this author’s personal experiences thrown in.
The author describes it as a 14-day program to kickstart a new and improved you. Hmmmmm…. 14 days? Really?
Let’s start with the good. She does indeed break the book down into an easy 14 days, however, it should be pointed out that you could read a chapter a day for 14 days and begin to implement changes. You will not completely transform in 14 days. You might come up with a plan, at best.
She also does focus a lot on being true to yourself and what motivates and energizes you. Don’t follow the crowd just because. I like that a lot.
If you are in a rut and have never picked up a self help book before and you do well with conversational style writing, this might be a good place to start. It’s got some good content and some good suggestions for anyone new to the self-improvement scene. I particularly liked the chapter on “Start Somewhere, Anywhere.” For many of us the idea of changing or getting started on ANY new chapter in life can be overwhelming. We can get caught up in the minutia and overthink and, therefore, never actually begin. So to suggest just starting anywhere and doing anything is great advice. Get that ball rolling however you can.
And I liked the chapter entitled Do It Anyway. She could have equally called it “Suck it Up.” It speaks truth. Yeah. Sometimes the things we have to do aren’t fun. Put your big girl panties on and do them anyway. Rip off that bandaid and get it over with quick. Do what you have to do, but get it done.
For someone new to self-help, the stories and narratives in this book might be refreshing and helpful. For me though, an avid reader of all things self-improvement, it was a bit tedious and I kept thinking that most of the information could have been relayed in far fewer words. To be fair, that may be just because I’ve heard it all before.
I also have some real concerns about some of the content. For example, in an attempt to talk about pushing through and completing things you set out to do, the author talks about being in constant knee pain for three weeks of an exercise program she had committed to. She goes on to say that she “pushed through it.” To imply that anyone should push through extreme pain just in the name of finishing what you committed to is a bit irresponsible. What if someone has injured something and doesn’t know the difference? What if you are doing more damage than good? Ignore that part. Also ignore when she talks about how boring walking is. I love walking! I love hiking. You can love it too.
Another bit of irony is that immediately after the chapter on “finding balance,” she talks about being at a point in life where she was completely overwhelmed and burnt out and needed to change things so she ADDED a 20-hour a week class on massage for a YEAR. WHAT?!?!?! While that might have ultimately worked out for her because the class was something she felt passionate about, for others adding that much additional strain onto an already stressed life might be what pushes them to a heart attack.
I feel like she could have written that chapter differently and focused more on the “finding your passions” parts that she meant to stress rather than speaking about the time commitment of her newly added commitments. Her intentions seem good, she just loses something in the delivery.
I did like the points she was trying to make such as how to pinpoint your dissatisfaction in life, how to reduce the risk of stress-induced health issues and how to be more true to you. I just feel like she pushed too hard to include personal anecdotes that inadvertently seemed to counteract the points she was trying to make.
Lastly, some of her personal likes and dislikes seemed misplaced in this type of book. (Had it been a personal opinion blog or similar type of publication I would not have any issue with this type of thing, but this is a self-help book.) I already mentioned her opinion on walking. She also mentions attending a church at one point and goes on to imply that she was only there because it wasn’t too “churchy”. I still can’t see how that line was needed. Why insult anyone else’s preference for spirituality? She sprinkles those types of things throughout the book. So be prepared to turn a blind eye to that if she hits upon something that you value.
To insure that I am being fair in my review I did hop on Amazon to check other reader’s reviews of this book. Most liked it a lot. It has more 5 star reviews than any other. It is possible that my extensive exposure to self help left me a little too pre-exposed to these concepts to see the value in this piece. I, therefore, suggest that if you are seeking changes, give it a try. At best you might pick up some nuggets that make all the difference, and at worst you might read some reminders about things that you’d seen before and meant to implement but never did. A second chance is always a good thing.