Monday, May 30, 2011

A Year in Books: Unlimited

“You will fail. At least I hope so, because it will mean you are really living, really reaching. Failure teaches you how to succeed.”

Anyone who knows me knows that I worship the gym floor Jillian Michaels walks on. I work out with her fitness DVDs; I watch The Biggest Loser like it’s my religion; I even have the Jillian Michaels iPhone app. So naturally when she released UNLIMITED: How to Build an Exceptional Life, I snatched it up immediately.

UNLIMITED is not a weight loss book. There are no meal plans or personalized workouts. UNLIMITED is an instruction manual for recognizing your passion—and the obstacles in your way—and going for it. Jillian outlines the steps in three main steps: Imagine, Believe, and Achieve. In the Imagine section, you identify your passion (what you want to do with your life) and realize that you are worthy of happiness.  The Believe step helps you find your self-confidence and the power to change, revamping your thought process so you will quit sabotaging yourself. The third step, Achieve, teaches you how to master both sides of healthy communication (listening and speaking) and making conscious choices. Throughout each step, Jillian includes thought-provoking exercises (called “Working It Out”) to help you put your new knowledge down on paper and into action.

Written in true Jillian style, (“God that quote pisses me off.” “You are wildly off base and out of alignment with your higher calling—and that SUCKS.” “Okay, yes, I scream at [The Biggest Loser contestants] for a lot of things. But seriously, ‘I can’t” really pisses me off.”) UNLIMITED is a motivating tool to help you gain confidence, a positive mindset, and the courage to pursue the life you didn’t believe you deserved.

One warning: There are no shortcuts in this book. After reading it and completing all the Working It Out exercises (I kept a notebook with me at all times while reading the book), I’ve realized changing your mindset is hard. But it is possible, and Jillian’s book tells you exactly that. There are no revolutionary new ideas in UNLIMITED; on the contrary, everything she says is so obvious once you read it, and you wonder why you’d never thought of it before. That’s what I found so amazing about it. Reading this book made me realize that I have had the power to make my life whatever I want all along—I just needed someone else to show me that I did.

Give this book a chance, even if you’re not a JM superfan like me. This is not The Jillian Michaels Official Autobiography; while she includes relevant anecdotes from her own experiences, the books is whatever you make of it. Personally, I think everybody could use a little slap in the face to wake them up. As Jillian says in UNLIMITED, so many people forget to show up in their own lives. Don’t be like that. You’re not helping anyone by living small, so go for the life you want.

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