Review of This Year I Will...:
How to Finally Change a Habit, Keep a Resolution, or Make a Dream Come True
by M.J. Ryan
Review by C.S. Clarke, Ph.D.
What I like best about M.J. Ryan is that she is a compassionate writer. She is writing about something that is very difficult to do: change. It is clear that she understands that change is hard; nobody is perfect, and people will slip. Her acceptance inspires your own acceptance of the perils of change and your personal foibles. She encourages you to take the leap into change despite your doubts. She makes you believe that change may be hard but with her advice it is possible and even probable.
Her advice is clear and precise; the book is jam-packed with information but without an excess of words. She looks at all the essential issues involved in making changes. She begins with the basics, the things that you must do to make a change and make it last: You must be specific. You must plan. You must prepare. You must really want it. You must make a commitment. You must take action. You must re-evaluate when things aren't working. You must get back on track when you slip up.
Yes, all of that sounds very familiar. What isn't so familiar is her analysis of exactly how all that works, why it works the way it does, and precisely what to do to assure that it works the way it should. She also tells you the probable reasons for your efforts going awry, as well as what to do when you do run into trouble.
Like any good writer who compels your attention, she illustrates her points with apt examples and anecdotes. As with the rest of her writing, the stories are made most effective by their brevity. I am reminded of a textbook I was once assigned in college. It was called The Force of Few Words and was about how poetry achieves its powerful effects. M.J. Ryan is not writing poetry, but her words are full of "rhyme and reason" and her advice together with her stories will make you believe in your power to change.