Your Life only a Gazillion Times better!

Your Life only a Gazillion Times better!

I must confess to feeling somewhat Brigit Jonesesque when picking up this book. I imagined that I might need a bottle of Chardonnay to wash it down with. And so prepared, big knickers pulled on, glass in hand, soft music on the CD player, I settled down for a read to see how I could make my life a Gazillion times better or least a little bit.

The book is written by Cathy Breslin and Judy May Murphy. It is billed as a revolutionary owners’ manual on successful living which would speed me along to making outstanding changes in my life. As I puffed my Marlboro light (had to keep in character) I wondered if in fact smoking was an issue I should deal with using their energetic encouragements.

If you like lists, then you will love this book. Each chapter has lists to make, lists to consider and lists to share. Half way through I regretted not gathering a gaggle of girlfriends around as the shared list-making sounded the most interesting. Speed writing and much laughter over the options would make it better game than Scattergories.

As I read my scepticism waned, and not in direct proportion to the emptying bottle. The authors present a series of thought provoking activities that involve speaking out loud or creating said lists and then plastered key statements all over the house. It reminded me of the popular Volkswagen Diesel television advertisement. Diesel Golf owners are seen sticking the word diesel on their fridge doors, on the steering wheel, in their wallet, just in case they fill their feisty car with petrol instead of diesel.

Common sense is a strong underpinning of this book and I found many truisms I have encountered before from knowledgeable people represented here. And I found some new.

‘Follow the word’ is an approximation of their advice in the early chapters. For the record, as I lit my next cigarette, I said out loud ‘I am not a smoker.’ I also wrote it on several sticky notelets and pinned them to the fridge and to my pc. I did feel better about it but have yet to record definitive follow through.

In the section under Your Best Health they outlined various health giving activities. I like in particular their relaxation technique on page 98. It involves squeezing various parts of your anatomy vigorously including your face, fists and toes. What a lovely feeling and you can do it in the comfort of your own living room. I especially enjoyed scrunching up my facial muscles and then relaxing them. It was quite a buzz. At the end, you repeat a mantra such as ‘Feeling at ease’ or ‘All is safe in my world’ or Relax now’. Genuinely, and without recourse to the Chardonnay, I did feel pretty relaxed after that exercise. It would have been fun to have done it with girlfriends however.

The other section that I particularly liked was the Troubleshooting at the end. They had a great piece on procrastination. They call it the ‘Sloppy Five Minutes’. Imagine a task that is bothering you. Something horrible like cleaning out the basement or writing that report. They advocate making the picture smaller. Decide to spend five minutes doing the task but not worrying about doing it properly. At the end of the five minutes there is a worse scenario and a best one (and naturally shades in between). The worse is that a few things got done or a few lines were written. At least you have alleviated the guilt. Forget the contradictory advice that says a good start is half the battle. Believe me, any start is half the battle when procrastination is in place.

The best scenario is that you create a feeling of momentum and actually finish the job. It wasn’t so hard to start – no pressure – and it was easy to keep on going. I used the same principle when beginning this review. I had read the book but wasn’t sure where to begin. So, I thought of Brigit Jones and 700 words later I am nearly finished and quite content! Believe me it works!

Finally the authors advise that you read the book cover to cover and then return to the bits that interest you. If you excuse me, chardonnay finished, I am going back to chapter seven – Show me the money!