Non fiction

Why the F*ck Can’t I Change? by Dr. Gabija Toleikyte

When your New Year resolutions turn to dust by mid January, it’s time to rethink your strategy. This book could be just the answer you’re looking for.

About the Book

Most of us want to change something about ourselves. It might be our response to stress, our weight, patterns in our relationships or our performance at work. Change is hard, and it’s emotional, but it’s not as impossible as you think…

In this groundbreaking book, neuroscientist and behavioural coach Dr. Gabija Toleikyte gets straight to the heart of why we form certain habits and behaviours and shows how we can realistically stop ourselves from repeating the same mistakes.

Gabija takes us on an eye-opening journey through the extraordinary human brain, exploring how it deals with the everyday challenges that face us all. With relatable case studies and practical strategies and tools, Gabija demonstrates in this expertly researched book how you can rethink change, including:

Why you shouldn’t suddenly stop bad habits.

How you can take control of your emotions.

Simple ways to improve your productivity at work.

How you can become a better communicator and decision-maker.

The secret to strengthening your relationships.

How to look after your brain health and why it’s so important.

This transformative, inspiring and empowering book will help you get unstuck and guide you through every step in achieving meaningful, lasting change in every aspect of your life.

What I thought

Why can’t I change? – it’s a question I ask myself on a regular basis, so when I saw the title of this book I couldn’t resist having a read of it. Every year I’ll make New Year resolutions that will last maybe a couple of weeks and then its back to the ways of old. I’ve read quite a few books on either breaking bad habits or making new habits stick or even both. They sound good on paper, it’s putting it all into practice where the problems lie.

This is a fascinating book. When a neuroscientist starts explaining to you in relatively layman terms how your brain works and what the different parts do and how that in turn affects other parts of the brain, you sit up and take note. As you read through the book, as well as being astounded at the cleverness of the brain, you also begin to realise that willpower alone is never going to work. I should mention though that just reading a book is never going to work either, so you need to be armed with a good notebook and a pen and be prepared to put in a lot of work yourself.

I’ve read loads of self help books and I think one of the things that stood out about this particular approach to guiding the reader is the author never tries to ‘sell’ you ideas. So often in self help books I find that the author will keep repeating themselves over and over on a given idea to the extent you begin to wonder who they’re trying to convince, you the reader or themselves. The writing in this book is kept to the point with clear and concise suggestions on how you should go about change with perhaps one real life example to explain the point.  The other thing I liked was there wasn’t the constant citation of research data that you so often see in these kinds of books which I always find distracting.

The book is split up into sections but I would definitely recommend starting with section one which is changing habits, changing emotions and changing personality. The last one perhaps sounds more extreme than it actually is. You’ll still be the same old you, just with a better understanding of what makes you tick, and how you can improve some of the traits you might think you were born with but which you are actually able to work with and change to some extent. Among some of the other chapters are changing your productivity, changing your brain health and changing relationships.

I really enjoyed this fascinating book and will most definitely be going right back to the beginning, this time with a notebook to hand and much more time to digest and put into action some of the suggestions.

It’s time to calm your Amygdala, engage your PFC and trigger that neural plasticity into change, hopefully for the better.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Thank you to Kim Nash and the publisher Thread for an advance copy of the book via Netgalley. If you head over to Thread’s FB page today (publication day) at 12.30pm, there will be a live discussion with the author of the book and readers will be able to ask questions. That should give potential readers a little more insight into what the book is about.

The e-book publishes today on Kindle, Kobo, Playbooks and probably on the iBooks store too.

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