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Have a New You by Friday by Dr. Kevin Leman
Revell, 01 September 2010

You can change your life–in just 5 days!
How many times have you tried to change your own habits, only to find that changing yourself is even harder than trying to change someone else?

Now, what the bestselling Have a New Kid by Friday has done for families and Have a New Husband by Friday has done for couples, Have a New You by Friday will do for you. With his signature wit and commonsense psychology, Dr. Kevin Leman walks you through your own personal five-day action plan. You will come to

  • Accept the truth about yourself
  • Boost your confidence by identifying the lies you’re telling yourself . . . and putting them to rest for good
  • Change your life by concentrating on becoming who you really want to be 

This is the first of Dr. Leman’s “Have a New … By Friday” books that I have read – though I have read a couple of his other books.

I enjoy Dr Leman’s no-nonse, conversational writing style.  He calls a spade a spade, and he does so in terms that mere mortals can understand.  He provides loads of pratical, real life examples.  And quite often illustrates things through unusual imagery – for example in this book, he defines personality types in terms of dog breeds.  Crazy? Maybe.  But it seems to work.

The book is meant to be read over five days – Monday through to Friday.  And I actually did read it the way it was intended.  Each day looks at a different aspect of yourself, with the goal of learning more about yourself so you can make the changes you’ve always wanted to make.  These principles are meant to enable you to make any sort of changes – from losing weight, to not talking so much.

I discovered that the material covered on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday were familiar to me.

Monday covers personality types – which I already know a lot of about due to my fascination with the subject, and my love affair with Florence Littauer’s Personality Plus books.  (The Book Review Sisters have even covered this subject in two MMMs: Peaceful Phlegmatic and the Popular Sanguine and Monday Morning Musings: Are you a Powerful Choleric, Popular Sanguine, Perfect Melancholy or Peaceful Phlegmatic?)

Tuesday covers understanding your birth order.  Dr. Leman is a renowned expert on this topic, and has a whole book written about it – The Birth Order Book. (Again, I’ve read this.)

Thursday covers love languages – made famous by Dr. Gary Chapman and his The Five Love Languages book. (Yep, you guessed it … I’ve read that one too …).

All three of these studies I’ve found very insightful and practical, and Dr. Leman provides a nice summary of each of them.

The other days – Wednesday and Friday – were new concepts to me.

Wednesday, Dr. Leman talks about using your earliest childhood memories to discover your “private logic” – and how this determines your unconscious rule book.  It helps to explain why people react or perceive certain events differently to other people.  It also looks at how your parent’s parenting style influences your rule book (Authoritarian, Permissive, Critical, Authoratative … these may be familiar concepts to many of you …).  Most importantly, this Wednesday study outlines seven steps you can take to reprogram your rule book.

Friday finishes the book by challenging you to break patterns and execute your personal makeover.  It outlines six steps to take in order to set and achieve realistic and managable goals.

Have a New You by Friday is a great summary of tried and true psychological studies and principles.  If you’ve always wanted to learn about love languages, birth order and/or personality types – but never got there, this book would be a neat and easy way to start.  Afterwards, you could decide if you want to take your learning journey further.

Did this book change my life in a week? Actually, it did.  Even though a great deal of the material covered in this book wasn’t new to me, Dr. Leman provided easy and practical ways to implement all these studies to make real changes in my life.

I decided to focus on changing one thing about myself that always drives me crazy – my inability to say NO!  Doesn’t sound much, right? But trust me, I feel the difference.  I’ve cut back on my social commitments, cut back on some obligations … and what do you know, the guilt didn’t hang around too long, and I realised how much happier I was with my life.

I think it’s important to say that if you have serious issues – such as depression, anxiety, addictions, abuse etc. – this book is not a substitute for professional counselling.  Dr. Leman is adamant that in such cases individuals should seek professional help.

Can this book change your life in a week? It could. It’s really up to you.