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Welcome to This Awful/Awesome Life! My name is Frances Joyce. I am the publisher and editor of this magazine. We'll be exploring different topics each month to inform, entertain and inspire you. Meet new authors, sharpen your brain and pick up a few tips on life, love, entertaining and business. Enjoy and please share!

52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier Year by Brett Blumenthal - A Review by Fran Joyce

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In all fairness I should have reviewed this book for the December issue, so it could be followed from January 1 to December 31, but I had already committed to writing two reviews for that issue.

Quite honestly, this is a great book because you can customize it to your lifestyle as long as you follow the basic program.

Blumenthal earned her B.A. and M.B.A from Cornell University and is certified by the Wellness Council  of America. She is the co-founder and CEO of Be Healthy, Inc and she is the founder of Sheer Balance and the Healthy Road Warrior, which provide wellness coaching, information, seminars, and classes designed to educate and motivate people to live a healthier lifestyle. In addition to being an author, she also blogs and is a regular contributor to NBC and ABC.

Blumenthal has your year mapped out into 52 changes or behavioral modifications based on a Holistic Approach to wellness. Before you begin, she suggests you establish your personal baseline before you begin by taking an online assessment on The URL is This assessment, which is based on things you can and cannot control, will tell you where you stand concerning aspects of your life such as diet and nutrition, fitness and prevention, mental well-being and green living.

Blumenthal stresses the importance of managing your expectations. Don’t expect to complete a 52 week program in 26 or 39 weeks, but she does acknowledge there may be steps in the program that you have already mastered. She recommends you devote any saved time to a harder step.

The program starts with increasing your water/fluids consumption. Blumenthal explains how to establish how much water you should be drinking and when it is appropriate to drink additional quantities of water such as during exercise or whenever you drink alcohol, etc. Other beverages you consume should be included in your daily tally, but as she points out water is the best choice because it has no calories or caffeine. After a week you and your new water consumption plan move onto the next step which is sleep. In week 3 you get off the couch and start getting active and ready for week 4 and your food journal.

I’m not going to give away each weekly step, but I covered the first four weeks because I want you to realize how easy it is to get started.

Later you will be working on developing a more positive attitude, mindfulness,  the importance of laughter, finding time for friends, learning about nutrition (learning to love those fruits and veggies), portion control and determining which if any supplements are right for you.

Blumenthal even encourages you to look at your home to see if there are any hidden allergy triggers or clutter that could be making you sick or unhappy. This includes using greener cleaning products.

In other helpful steps, she encourages us to start or restart a new hobby, rediscover the great outdoors and get regular medical check-ups, including dental, vision and hearing screenings.

Also included in this book are tips for exercise and skin care including the all important use of sunscreen.

I honestly couldn’t think of anything she missed. Her budgeting tips came in handy as I was adjusting my budget for 2019. Yes, she even talks about spending, saving and being a smart shopper.

One of the things I like the most about this book is Blumenthal has divided major topics such as diet, nutrition and exercise into bite-size components spread throughout the book, so you don’t feel overwhelmed by the changes. She also stresses that you may follow the weeks in different order as long as you complete all the steps. For example, you might want to work on portion control or budgeting sooner or consolidate some of her tips for a greener home.

It’s a new year and there has never been a better time to focus on a healthier and happier you, so buy this book and get started.

52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier Year by Brett Blumenthal is available on

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