Small Move, Big Change

When I went to PLA in March, one of the sessions I went to was on the most popular kinds of nonfiction books for adults, the Top Five of the Nonfiction 5. Unsurprisingly, self-help is a perennial favorite category (if not one recognized by Dewey), and one of the trending hot themes right now is the power of habit. It just so happened that I’d already put this one (still on order at the time) on hold for myself.

Small Move, Big ChangeSmall Move, Big Change by Caroline L. Arnold. Penguin, 2014.
Most people, Arnold contends, make a few of the standard five resolutions every rear. Every New Year’s they make them, and then, with feelings of deep guilt, realize a few months later that they’ve fallen off the wagon. The problem is that the resolutions – get in shape, lose weight, get organized – are too broad, with no real starting point. Instead, Arnold proposes a series of microresolutions. Pledge to take the stairs, or to let the cookies offered in the meetings go by, or to take care of the mail right away every day. Once this small change is so automatic you don’t have to think about it anymore – usually after a couple of months – you can move on to a new microresolution. Inching your way closer to your goals is ultimately faster and more successful than aiming for sweeping change!!!

Each of the chapters is filled with lots of upbeat stories of real people and how their problems were solved with microresolutions, which I found interesting, but they are also set up to make it easy to skim for the nuts and bolts if that’s what you want. The book starts off with chapters devoted to the parts of successful microresolutions, and then moves on to the most common problem areas, starting with sleep. I’m still looking for that magic bullet of a microresolution that will let me consistently get to bed on time, but overall, I found Arnold’s arguments powerful and convincing.

About Katy K.

I'm a librarian and book worm who believes that children and adults deserve great books to read.
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4 Responses to Small Move, Big Change

  1. Carol says:

    I have heard similar advice before and I think it makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the nonfiction review!

  2. My cousin linked me to this blog the other week: and I went ahead and downloaded her “28 Days to Hope” eBook– and it’s so brilliant! The whole first week is just “Do the dishes.” It’s totally written from inside the mind of someone like me, whose housekeeping is SO bad that most of those “How to get organized! How to keep your house beautiful! Pinterest in general!” articles just make me sob or laugh in despair. But somehow the daily reminder to just do the dishes has already made a huge difference in our house.

    • I’m so glad you found something helpful! and very sorry that WordPress is giving you a hard time posting. I always do wonder at those programs that are like, “In just an hour a day you can do [x] around your house!” because I’m lucky if i can squeeze out an extra 15 minutes most days.

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