Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bookworm Week Giveway #2: Stop Praying CLOSED

When I set goals for myself, I always have the best intentions of following through. I say "this is it, I'm fed up with [insert frustration here] and I'm really going to make a change". But, if you've been following my "progress" in the Body After Baby challenge, you'll know that I don't always follow through on the goals I set. Perhaps I just set my expectations too high and when I don't reach them, I get down on myself and it just spirals downward from there until I no longer have the will to work on myself anymore. Or perhaps I haven't reached my tipping point yet and I'm just not motivated enough to stick with a program. Either way, I have a habit of not fulfilling many of my goals.

I've read several self-help books over the years dealing with issues from health to business. I have a love/hate relationship with these books. On one hand, I enjoy learning more about myself - the positives and the negatives - and finding opportunities to better myself. But many self-help books provide nothing more than vague generalities that are difficult to apply to my life.

So, when I was approached to review a new book, Stop Praying, which promises a new life in just 21 days, I was skeptical. It reminded me of those wacky infomercials that promise you can lose ten pounds in a week just by taking a pill when in reality, they are superimposing and altering the photographs to lure you in. But I kept an open mind, decided not to judge a book by its cover and agreed to the review.
Like Rich Dad, Poor Dad; Who Moved My Cheese; What Color is Your Parachute and The One-Minute Manager, STOP PRAYING is an innovative and original book. And just like those best sellers, it is changing the lives of the people who read it. If you want a better life it's time to be honest with yourself. Your "prayers", which can range from sweet requests to all out begging and bartering, have done nothing for you in the past and will not do anything for you in the future. Do you really think God wants to answer your prayers and fix your problems? Would you say yes to every request you got from your kids? Do you think an almighty god would be happy if you spent all of your time sitting around, praying or kneeling? No, he would say that he gave you life and would ask what you did with it. STOP PRAYING for a better life and START LIVING one. Good news, it's easy. This book outlines the easiest method for turning your life around and living a better life in the shortest time possible. The daily disciplines in this book are by far the simplest way to start a more successful, fulfilling and healthy life.
I admit I was a bit turned off by the title initially. As a Christian woman, I believe in the power of prayer. I've seen the church rally together in prayer to make the impossible possible. I've even seen what some would consider to be miracles on account of prayer. I think prayer is an important piece of the spiritual puzzle. But as I read on, I realized that the author wasn't encouraging you to stop praying. Instead, it was about putting your goals into action rather than sitting around waiting for your problems to solve themselves. You have to put in some elbow grease if you want to see results, which I totally agree with. I think I was just misled by the title.

To turn your life around, Stop Praying outlines five daily disciplines and challenges you to do them faithfully for 21 days straight. The principle is that it takes just 21 days, or 3 weeks, to break a bad habit or create a positive one. The disciplines are:

1. Read for 30 minutes everyday
2. 50+ push-ups everyday and 30 minutes+ of cardio 3x per week
3. Eat healthier foods (no sweets, soda or hard alcohol) 6 days per week
4. Be more aware of your choices (don't always choose what's easy or convenient) everyday
5. Keep a simple journal everyday

After successfully completing these daily disciplines for 21 days, the author claims you will feel like a new person - you will jump out of bed in the morning with gusto, you will be healthier and you will feel happier.

I really liked the overall message of this book. I like how it clearly explained each discipline and spelled out the tools you needed to succeed. The steps are simple and easy to follow. Stop Praying reads like a workbook, with short exercises to help you learn more about who you want to become. For example, one of my favorite exercises was to make a list of people you admire and the attributes you like about them. Likewise for people you dislike. Then, you had to make a list of your positive and negative characteristics (be honest!) and compare them to the people you listed. It was a real eye-opener to see the similarities between me and the people I didn't really like. It definitely made me want to fix that! There was also a 21-page journal and list of resources in the back of the book that were really helpful.

But I encountered the same problem I've had with other self-help guides. Although the book is peppered with inspiring quotes, short and concise with no nonsense, there is practically no emotional support. You won't find strategies that address the resistance you may feel as you begin your journey, or tips on how to stay motivated. The author assumes his words are enough to inspire you and move you to action. As a matter of fact, there were times I felt it was almost condescending. Like if I didn't follow through on these easy, idiot-proof disciplines, there was something wrong with me. But hey, maybe this tough love approach really works for people.

Some of these disciplines are the very same ones I've tried to put into place with the Body After Baby challenge. More fitness, better nutrition. I've tried to adopt them over the past few days, but I seem to lack the motivation or determination to continue on the path to a healthier me. It's too easy for me to give in when I'm content right where I am. I'm not overweight, although I do have a few pounds I could stand to lose to fit in my jeans better. I do have a sweet tooth and I don't exercise as much as I should. I'm not perfect by any means. But I am happy. Maybe this book would appeal to me more if I were at a point in my life where things were bleak.

If I really want to make a change and stick to it for more than a week, I can't just depend on pages in a book. I personally need face-to-face accountability. I need to pay for a monthly gym membership - being hit in the wallet is a major motivator for me to haul my butt to that step class. I need to have a buddy - someone eating healthy alongside me. If my husband or friends are not on board, and I feel as if I'm alone, I will, without fail, fall off the wagon. So, while I found this book to be an awesome starting point, it is not the magic answer I was hoping it would be, for me. I think it would best be put to use if you are very strong-willed and have no problem committing to a program solo or if you have a great support system in place. Both of which I personally struggle with.

That being said, I do plan to start over in the New Year and try to recruit the hubby or friends to join along - even if just for 21 days. After the magic number, I may be ready to do it all on my own. No better time than a new year to try and make those resolutions come to life.

I should also note the book contained quite a few spelling and grammatical errors, and the sentence structure was at times confusing. I had to go back and read over some lines to completely understand. But as this was a review copy, these errors may be corrected in the final version.

Bottom line: While I do think the message and exercises in the book are great, I would like to see more emphasis on the often overlooked emotional and mental aspects of changing an ingrained habit. It may not be the magic solution for everyone but there is definitely some valuable content.

BUY IT: You can find Stop Praying online at (ARV $12.95). is a venue for you to find and purchase books published and produced by the people who wrote them. Think of these books like handmade goods, produced in small numbers, instead of the mass-marketed stuff you'd find at a super store. Every book on the IndieReader site is reviewed prior to acceptance, guaranteeing that you'll find the "cream-of-the-indie crop".

You can also learn more about the book and the author at

WIN IT: Are you curious yet about how you could have a better life? Want to get started on those daily disciplines I mentioned? IndieReader is offering 3 copies of Stop Praying and a reusable tote bag to some lucky Goodie Goodie Gumdrops readers!

To enter, just visit IndieReader's entry form and use the exclusive promo code 'gumdrops'. All winners will be selected and contacted by IndieReader.

Giveaway will end on November 11, 2009 at 11:59pm EST. Open to U.S. and Canada.

Disclaimer: I was sent a review copy of this book from Jon at AHE PR to facilitate my candid review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are purely mine. You may have a different experience upon reading this book.


lisa said...

I entered.

Mark said...

Thanks for the review. I hope you try again and succeed in completing the 21 days. Please watch and join me as I do the 21 days.

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