Thursday, October 22, 2015

Review: You First

Actress, singer, and author Lea Michele is perhaps best known for her role on popular television show Glee, but she used to be just like the rest of us, working and dreaming of bigger and better things. Michele attributes a lot of her success to the fact that she has spent a lot of time not only defining her goals, but writing them down and holding herself accountable for taking steps to actually achieve them. She's a big proponent of journaling, and her new book, You First, is meant to help others who are interested in keeping a journal but have no idea where to start.

You First is essentially a guided journal, a collection of writing prompts that will help readers get writing! The book is divided into four sections. You is all about--you guessed it--YOU! Michele believes that understanding yourself is essential to happiness in life, and that in order to grow and move forward, we must first take care of ourselves. So this first section covers a few different ideas related to those themes. Michele encourages readers/writers to explore their own personal roots, to learn more about family history and record some stories for posterity.

This section also encourages us to not only start exercising, but to write about how it makes us feel; recognizing the real ways that exercise improves our day-to-day lives will make it easier to keep at it. Same thing with food. Michele does not recommend a particular diet, but she does encourage readers to think about the food they eat and record how that food makes us feel.

"A tree simply can't blossom unless it's healthy and strong. If you're going to achieve everything you want in life--not just today, or tomorrow, but for months and years to come--then you must give those roots love."

Section two is all about Ambition, and it encourages readers/writers to make goals, both short-term and long-term. Michele wants readers to think about our role models and to write about why exactly those people inspire us. Also included are some fun list-making sections; challenge yourself to read more books, explore your city more thoroughly, or to learn new skills!

The Relationships chapter is all about friends, partners, and co-workers. Understanding ourselves better allows us to define what we need from different kinds of relationships, so writing our thoughts out can help us deepen those relationships and attract the kind of people we need in our lives. Michele encourages readers/writers to think about the qualities we look for in friends, the things we want from our significant other (and any deal breakers, too!), ways we can strive to create a harmonious atmosphere at work, and lots more.

"This is about sketching out your dreams, and how you'd like your friends and your relationship to bolster and augment your life. By putting it down on paper, you can grow a current relationship or find one--and, ultimately, deepen your relationship with yourself."

The last section deals with Happiness. This is where Michele really delves into the "you first" mentality. What makes you happy, truly happy? This chapter has prompts for writing about hobbies old and new, charity work, and gratitude. Ideally, thinking about these topics will help readers/writers make some real changes in their lives that will bring about more happiness.

You First is a great starter journal that will help readers get thinking (and writing!) about many aspects of their lives. For anyone who has ever wanted to start a personal journal or diary but needs some ideas on what to write about, this guided journal is a fantastic idea.


I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own!

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