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52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You Paperback – Jan 3 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing; 1 edition (Jan. 3 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612181392
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612181394
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 2.4 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 703 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #232,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Brett Blumenthal is co-founder and CEO of Be Healthy, Inc., a wellness promotion company whose mission is to create a healthier America, one city at a time, by holding unique events that educate, inspire, and empower members of local communities to live and maintain healthy lifestyles. She is also founder of Sheer Balance and the Healthy Road Warrior, which provide information, classes, and seminars, along with wellness coaching to educate and motivate individuals interested in living a healthy lifestyle. She earned her bachelor’s degree and M.B.A. from Cornell University and is certified by WELCOA (Wellness Counsel of America). She writes for several online media companies, winning multiple awards for her influential blogging; has appeared on NBC and is a regular contributor on CBS; and is the author of Get Real and STOP Dieting!

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 122 reviews
134 of 140 people found the following review helpful
Create a Balanced Life with 52 Weekly Small Changes Oct. 27 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
For over a decade, every New Year's Eve I make a pact with myself to change my eating and exercise habits in exchange for a trip to Paris in the fall. I usually break my pact by January 4th.

Three days is usually my limit and I am back to treating myself poorly - short sleeping hours, fast food instead of cooking healthy meals for myself, and no exercise except walking from my mail box to my front door.

With Brett Blumenthal's new book, I have got a good shot at Paris in 2012.

Brett's 52 week plan follows three basic rules:

1. One Big Change Takes Many Small Changes

2. Extreme's Don't Work

3. Small Changes Feed Our Need to Succeed

Each week is setup with tips and tricks to help you make one small change that balances your life.

Let's take a look at January:

Week 1 - Hydrate (provides tips and tricks for getting adequate H20 in your life)

Week 2 - Get 7-8 hours sleep (shows you how to create your own sleepy time nightly routine and setup a sleep inducing environment)

Week 3 - Keep off the couch (gently encourages you to create a routine of activities that get you moving)

Week 4- Keep a food journal (teaches you how to keep a food journal and identifies false hunger triggers, etc.)

If you are ready to make a commitment to living a balanced life this book can certainly help you take baby steps to get there.

I also recommend Brett's previous bestseller Get Real and Stop Dieting!
105 of 111 people found the following review helpful
Great ideas to effect change Dec 30 2011
By Luanne Ollivier - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Yes, it's almost the end of the year, Christmas is over, the New Year is fast approaching and for many people, resolutions are being planned. We can make changes anytime in our lives, but for some reason, we see the new year as a clean page to start.

"Many of us yearn for instant gratification, and when something takes too long, we give up or move on. Unfortunately, the instant gratification we crave is the exact thing that hinders us from achieving success in our quest for change. The secret to making change that lasts is to acknowledge and accept that change takes time and that patience during the process is essential."

I agree with Blumenthal that 'small changes feed our need to succeed." To that end Brett Blumenthal's book 52 Small Changes actually spans the entire year. She has come up with one change per week that we can incorporate on our way to becoming a "happier, healthier you." The book has four target areas: Diet and Nutrition, Fitness and Prevention, Mental Well - Being and Green Living.

Week One's topic is water - drinking more of it. A basic tenet that we're all aware of and recognize the importance of, but really don't carry out. By just having the one goal for an entire week and following through, one could achieve a feeling of success and the desire to continue on with other small but beneficial changes.

Blumenthal targets a lot of other 'known' issues such as adequate sleep, food choices, additives, vitamins etc. Some of the suggestions such as breathing right, taking at least a half hour a day for yourself, cleaning products and identifying additives provided lots of food for thought. Each topic is explored and the benefits explained. If you're already following that week's suggestions there are ideas for taking it up a notch.

I think the idea of one small change a week is great. However I think some of the ideas would require greater introspection and thought, such as Participate in Your Life (mindful thinking), Find Your Own Spirituality and Living with Purpose. However, that being said, 52 Small Changes does introduce the ideas for consideration.

The book is cleanly laid out, easy to read and includes pictures, graphs and blurb boxes. I think a reader could pick and choose ideas from the book that are pertinent to the changes they would like to see in their lives. I don't think every idea would work for everyone. Do I think I could make 52 changes this year? No, but I will be making some and 52 Small Changes has given me some ideas.
107 of 118 people found the following review helpful
Some good suggestions, but not completely practical Dec 22 2011
By Kurt G. Schumacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
This book has a lot of good suggestions for making changes to your life. Small changes, one per week, that can add up to some significant improvements in your health and quality of life. Each chapter discusses one thing you can do differentely. At the end of each chapter is a summary of all the provious topics, so you can keep track of how you're doing.

At the end of the book there are some useful charts that you can use to log your progress, and a listing of web sites and books if you want to do more research. Overall, this is an interesting approach to making some improvements in your life.

That being said, I found that a lot of the suggestions aren't very practical, at least for me. For example, in the chapter on keeping dust under control, it says that if you have window drapes you should wash them once a week in hot water. I could probably manage the washing, but not taking the drapes down and putting them back up once a week. But I might consider doing it every three months.

Also if you want to follow this book to the letter, prepare to be "greened". A lot of the chapters have to do with things like eliminating processed food, eating only organic food, reducing dairy and salt, etc. Okay, some of that may be good, if you accept all of the current theories about what you should and shouldn't eat. But like many other books, this one falls prey to the fallacy of "everyone is the same, so the same diet will work for everyone".

I'm sorry, but that flies in the face of biological fact. We are NOT all the same. We come from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, and have heritages from different parts of the world where people have lived on diffeent diets based on available resources, and adapted to them over thousands of years. A diet that one person may thrive on, might actually damage another person's health. I have a friend who tried to live on a vegetarian diet and became very ill until she started to eat meat again. Diet can not always be completely a moral or philosophical choice.

I'm 6' 4" tall and weigh 245 pounds. Although current government guidelines would probably classify me as "obese", I am in very good health (aside from some of the side effects of being over 60 years old). This book says that my portion of meat should be the size of a deck of cards, and a serving of vegetables is the size of half a baseball. I can have a slice of bread (whole wheat) and half a cup of grains or starch. I know from experience that I would not do well on a diet like that. But the book only talks about "appropriate portions", with no consideration that one size does not fit all.

So take some of the recommendations in this book with a grain of salt. (No, it won't kill you!) If the organic, whole food, low-fat diet works for you, great! If not, adapt it so that it does work for you while still improving your life.

I've harped on the diet issue a lot because I think it detracts from the rest of the book. Most of the chapters have good suggestions in other areas, such as reducing clutter, exercising, and improving relationships. I recommend this book. Just don't be disappointed if you can't master all 52 changes. If you can tackle even half of them, you should be able to feel a lot better about your life.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Happiness isn't as hard as you think ! Jan. 13 2015
By talalny91 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
As a 44 year-old divorcee, I was far from a happy person. My husband and high school sweetheart decided to leave me for greener pastures, and I had to live alone in an otherwise empty house for the first time in my life. I fell into a deep depression that I thought I would never get out of. Then, I came across 52 Small Changes by Brett Blumenthal. This book has helped me achieve happiness, which is, again, something I didn’t think was possible. It also doesn’t take a lot. The book is essentially a 52-week program that asks you to make minute changes to your daily life. Everything that contributes to wellness is included in this book. Nutrition, exercise, mental health, and everything in between is discussed in 52 Small Changes.

I also used the insights in 27 Quick Life Transformation Tips to change my life for the better. This book is just as extensive and informative as Blumenthal’s. Written by Alvin Huang and Greg Frost, it goes over 27 different ways that we can all improve our lives. Do you have trouble with procrastination, saving money, or achieving your career goals? This books talks about it in length. Huang and Frost also offer valuable actionable plans for achieving your goals. If you’re in the same kind of rut I was in, then I would say that this book is invaluable for you. It has certainly helped me become a more motivated and goal-oriented person. I have successfully moved on from my divorce and I’m focusing on self-care and improving my career.

In total, these books offer 79 ways to improve your life. Together, they can help you make 2015 the best year of your life. I know that I am looking forward to 2015 with open arms. This is the first time I’ve really been excited about a new year, and I can’t wait to make the most of it. I owe my newfound energy for life to both of these books. I am now happier, healthier, and more fulfilled than I’ve been in at least a decade.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Lasting Change Begins With One Small Change After Another Dec 5 2011
By Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Man - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I am living proof of the power of incrementalism when it comes to change. On January 1, 2004 I embarked on a journey to lose weight. Starting out at 410 pounds, I was able to shed 180 pounds off of my body that year, come off of three prescription medications and drop 20 inches in my waistline. When people ask me how I lost such a whopping amount of weight in just one year, my answer was always the same. "I didn't lose 180 pounds. I lost ten pounds eighteen times." Making small changes and attaining small goals quickly added up to the biggest achievement of my entire life. That's precisely what Brett Blumenthal shares within the pages of this book to give you 52 weekly changes that you can implement gradually and over the course of a year's time to make real change take place.

My primary issue with this book is that I tend to disagree with some of the "small changes" she encourages the reader to do. For example, Week 13 calls for you to "Eat Your Wheaties" by consuming whole grain cereal or oatmeal. But grains are incredibly unhealthy for my body based on all we have learned about them from books like Going Against the Grain: How Reducing and Avoiding Grains Can Revitalize Your Health and Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health. The same thing happens again in Week 15 when you "Put the Whole in Your Grains." No thank you! Week 19 encourages "For The Love Of Fruit" to eat all kinds of fruit--regardless of their sugar content. This can be potentially hazardous to people with blood sugar disorders like diabetes, hypoglycemia, and metabolic syndrome. I guess people could just skip the small changes that go against their core beliefs, but it was worthy of mentioning in this review.

Overall, the concept of 52 SMALL CHANGES is a very good one and I applaud Blumenthal for making an effort to provide a means for people to make change happen because it doesn't come about automatically. It requires a little effort on the part of the person desiring change to bring it about. The format of this book is so user-friendly and most of the "chapters" are only a few pages each giving you the background on the topic, how to implement "The Change," and then some "Extra Credit" for you overachievers out there (like me!). You get a running checklist of the changes that you are accumulating over the course of the year as you see things beginning to happen for you each week. There are some awesome resources in the back of the book, including a food journal, accomplishments, activity, commitments and priorities in your personal, professional and social life, budgeting and more.

It's unfortunate that the archaic high-carb, low-fat conventional wisdom is sprinkled throughout this book or I could give it a higher rating. Sure, lasting change begins with one small change after another for people who are willing to commit to doing most of these things and making them a habit. The flaw is in thinking that all 52 are a good idea for everyone when very clearly they are not.