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

“Have you ever come up with amazing New Year’s resolutions like losing weight, starting to save money, setting up your own business, exercising regularly, changing your career, eating more healthily or quitting smoking?”

Ah yes, New Year’s Resolutions – and as the intro says, come February most of them will be long forgotten or guilty regrets.

This book is about change, and understanding the ways that you can help yourself make those changes you want in different areas. Three sections – Self, Results, Relationships – have three chapters each, covering topics including emotions, productivity, decision making, and communication.

The underlying theme is that better understanding of how your brain works will help figuring out how to work with it, not against it. I find psychology the closest thing we have to an instruction manual for ourselves, both absolutely fascinating and a huge dose of “why does no one tell you these things?!”

A lot of it was familiar from other reading, things like the ‘lizard, monkey, and human’ brain layers (the former controls e.g. breathing, the middle is our survival instinct, and the latter is what lets us use computers – to paraphrase badly!). But it was an excellent reminder of why life feels like such a struggle at times: under enormous stress this past year (as have so many of us been), it was hugely comforting to read that this pushed me into survival mode, so of course logical and creative thinking became so, so much more difficult.

I enjoyed the early chapters best, that covered more general topics applicable to everyone. The more specialised areas, such as leadership and relationships, felt a little more distant. Still globally relevant, but a little harder to connect with? I did like the use of an example or two, but sometimes it made the entire topic a little one faceted.

The language used is fairly intellectual, while still staying accessible. It’s not pop-science, but nor is it an academic paper. It suited me well, not talking down while at the same time challenging me to think and expanding my knowledge – without being too dense to even attempt!

Change is hard. There are a million books out there trying to push you through those New Year Resolutions, but I think starting with a ‘this is how the brain works’ is an absolute essential first step towards success in any area!

NetGalley eARC: 350 pages / 9 chapters
First published: 21st January 2021
Series: none
Read from 17th December 2020 – 5th January 2021

My rating: 7/10

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