3 out of 4 stars
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When people think about making significant changes in their lives, they are often paralyzed by the notion of giving up a comfort zone or two. Author Martha Karelius has put together a book that is meant to make tasks more relaxed and less frightening. Readers will find You, Improved to be filled with useful advice and encouragement that focuses on creating healthier and happier individuals.
This highly organized guide takes an incremental approach as page one begins with the first day of January and ends on the last day of December. Participants are encouraged to clean up their space physically, count their calories, and take inventory of their money. In addition, this author addresses the idea of getting rid of tightly held beliefs that are not working anymore and looking outside of oneself to help those in need. There was something fresh on every page throughout the entire book to inspire and put into action a positive change without it becoming overwhelming.
The most impressive part of this material for me was that it covers an entire year without becoming repetitive. I did not have the luxury of taking 365 days to read this because I was on a deadline for this review. However, as I read rather large sections at a time, I noticed that the writing never got stagnant. The creativity this author used to get her points across was well done. For example, when the season changed to fall in September, she focused some of the passages on learning new things as this is the time of year students return to school. When summer rolled in, she mentioned drinking extra fluids to ward off dehydration for better health. Also, at the top of each page, she placed well-known quotes that solidified the topic for that day.
I liked that she also included special days such as National Sibling Day, Tax Day, and World Health Day. These added another layer to the subject matter that she was presenting for the day.
My absolute favorite piece of advice she gave was to plan something in the future. In this passage, she expressed how important it is to have an event to look forward to. It doesn't have to be extravagant or wipe out the budget. The idea is to think about it in anticipation to conjure up good feelings while during everyday situations that may not be so thrilling. It made me think about how I viewed Christmas as a younger person. The actual day was fun, but thinking about it ahead of time was also a large part of the excitement. She wants her audience to enjoy life, and this was just one piece that she shared that I found helpful. A little getaway, a shopping trip, or spending time with a good friend is all that is required to meet this goal.
The way that this author expressed herself was nicely done, but I found more than ten errors that need some attention. Because this book is such a large project, as I mentioned earlier, it is quite understandable that some of these mistakes slipped by unnoticed. However, I am going to deduct one star because they do need to be amended. If that takes place, I would have no problem awarding this the highest score. But for now, I am giving this 3 out of 4 stars.
For those who enjoy self-help books that offer workable solutions for improving oneself, this would be a perfect fit. For readers who do not like daily passages that pertain to growing into a better person, then you might want to skip this one.
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