Life... Health... Reviews...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Books to support resolutions

At the beginning of this year I made commitments to myself, which most people call New Year Resolutions. For me, referring to them as commitments to myself, i.e. promises, makes them more solid and permanent. I've noticed when I make commitments and reveal them publicly (like when I kept you abreast of my weight loss) there is a better chance that I will succeed. In fact, that's true for most people.

It's the support and the accountability that makes succeeding at one's goal possible. If we operate in a box then we conduct ourselves on a narrow path without input, variety and encouragement. Another way to receive the support necessary for success is to make use of books and other written materials to get perspective, encouragement and motivation.

There are quite a few books that may assist you in meeting your New Year goals. Here are a few I've seen recently:
  • The Happiness Plan: 7 Simple Steps to Make the Life You Have the One You Want by Carmel McConnell
  • The Law of Forgiveness: Tap in to the Positive Power of Forgiveness and Attract Good Things to Your Life by Connie Domino, MPH, RN
  • The Triangle of Truth: The Surprisingly Simple Secret to Resolving Conflicts Large and Small by Lisa Earle McLeod
  • You are the Reason: A Survivor's Guide to Ultimate Strength by Johnathan Craig

McConnell is a social entrepreneur, and author of The Happiness Plan, who believes that most of us have the capability to be happy with everything we have right now (regardless of the condition of our finances, work status, etc.) by making happiness a priority on our agenda. She offers seven steps to help in the achievement of happiness, which ultimately results in a flexible plan readers can apply to their lives.

The first step is to decide to be happier using the ABC approach: Allow more room for happiness. Begin by doing something in the here and now. Continue the process. What I like about this book is that it's interactive. You have to really think about the questions, annotate your answers in the spaces provided and each item is reiterated.

The Happiness Plan helps you to realize the best definition of happiness, which is YOUR definition of happiness and how you have control of making yourself happy based on the plan you develop using this book. It isn't a quick read - if you're serious about doing the work - it's a process to putting your plan into action. I'm still reading and absorbing this book. It's my goal to add my happiness plan to my vision board for a complete view of my goals, where I want to be in life as well as the type of person I want present myself as and be on the inside.

One of the things a lot of people believe is that harboring un-forgiveness has a negative impact on the person with the ill feelings not the person it is directed to. Sometimes it takes some self work (delving deep into one's feelings and thoughts) to identify that you haven't forgiven someone. The Law of Forgiveness explores the power of forgiveness from various angles including scientific, religious, individual and societal. Once it has been explored and the reader has a true understanding, Domino gives guidelines and affirmation-based techniques to forgive others and themselves. The steps also include helping others to forgive them.

Personally, I haven't realized any areas where I haven't forgiven someone ... well, that's not exactly accurate. There's a lot in my own life I haven't forgiven myself for so I suppose I need to rethink what I was about to write. I believe that The Happiness Plan and The Law of Forgiveness are going to be two tools that I use in the process of bettering myself. It's not perfection I seek to achieve, but a true knowledge into my thoughts, feelings, process and the keys to unlock the success that is trapped within me.

One of the things I've learned about myself over the past couple of years is that I hate unnecessary conflict, drama and arguments. And, thankfully, I've done a fairly good job of minimizing that in my life at least to the degree where I can minimize my response to it. I try to resolve disagreements with conversation and/or resolution, and if that doesn't work then I prefer to walk away. I think this is a new thing for me, but it's one I am committed to perfecting (if there is such a thing).

The Triangle of Truth seems like the ideal book to help with that. McLeod describes The Triangle of Truth as "the ability to hold two seemingly conflicting ideas in your mind at the same time, and assimilate them in a way that makes their whole greater than the sum of their parts." She, of course, didn't invent that, but once it was pointed out to her she saw it everywhere. I believe I do a pretty good job of doing this because I like to see the gray of every issue. I've talked to a couple of people - mainly men - who only see something as black and white. They don't think there's a way to merge the two ideas to make them both real and possible. That is where I think the book is leading.

There are seven core principles that McLeod offers as a model for resolving conflict. Envision each side of the triangle as a point of view: One side is your view, the other side is the person's view and the apex is the solution that's bigger and better. Make sense now? McLeod says it's more than compromise; it is collaboration, which is right up my alley.

You'll have to check this book out to see if it works for you because at first I wasn't sure even though it presents a viewpoint that I already embrace. Why? I thought it would be boring. (I just have to be honest.) But McLeod is known as a insightful and humorous person so getting through it should be a pleasure.

Finally, speaking of pleasure, You Are the Reason, is touted as heartfelt and motivational. It's a memoir that was written to help others find their strength, hope, peace and purpose. The author was diagnosed with HIV about 27 years ago and when he got the news he had to make a choice: find the courage to fight or resign to die. He ends of falling in love with life after learning from some of the world's greatest thinkers. Now he has a determination and passion for life that is a model for others living with terminal illness as well as those looking for a reason to live. He shares that model through motivational speaking.

Last month was AIDS Awareness Month, which would have made that a perfect time to talk about the book, but I believe that the New Year can bring new perspectives for some people. If you need to discover your ultimate strength then I would suggest reading this book first. If, on the other hand, your will to live is strong and you're seeking happiness then try the other three first ending with You Are the Reason. After putting in the work on yourself, ending with Craig's book will be the motivation to keep you on the right path.

Whether you choose to read one of those books, and I hope you do, or find another one to assist in your personal growth be sure not to operate inside of a box. Seek support, advice and motivation from outside sources. And remember, I'm here - at It's a woman's world! - to support you. Come back and share your progress - or your books - with us.

I received review copies of the above books to facilitate this post; no other compensation was received. The opinions expressed are my own.
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