Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight: Fifty-Two Amazing Ways to Master the Art of Personal Change

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Press: WaterBrook (December 16, 2008)
Publication Date:2008-12
Author Name:Linamen, Karen


Do you wish something in your life was different? Take heart! You already possess the first and most important ingredient for change. 
Don’t waste your dissatisfaction, wield it! Intimate, humorous, and inspiring, Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight will take you on a journey from where you are to where you want to be.
Do you long for a more rewarding career? A more passionate marriage? A healthier body, brighter future, or happier heart? With her trademark blend of laugh-out-loud humor and sage advice, Karen Linamen introduces you to 52 powerful actions you can apply to any change you long to embrace.In the process, you’ll discover the missing link between dissatisfaction and transformation; learn painless ways to remodel your habits; understand why you procrastinate and how to stop; learn how to generate the energy you need to pursue the life you want, and, above all, discover options and resources you never dreamed you had.
What are you waiting for? No matter what has been holding you back–fear, fatigue, adversity, heartbreak, failures, or even the choices of other people–get ready.
Get set.
Lasting change is possible and its time to get started!Includes questions for reflection and discussion.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Last night I had dinner with four other women at Carino’s Italian Grill. 
Since these were new acquaintances, I dressed up for the occasion, abandoning my fave black boots, jeans, and black jacket for an uncharacteristically neutral white tank, beige linen jacket, and—perfect for first impressions—these really great leopard pumps.Across a table laden with bowls of lasagna, antipasto, and loaves of crusty bread, we introduced ourselves and began exchanging pleasantries.
At first, we offered aerial shots of our worlds, like how many kids we had, how long we’d lived in Colorado, and the kinds of things that we or our husbands did for a living.Gradually we began sharing snapshots of the landscapes of our lives, like when Becky told us about the week she spent bicycling through Europe with her husband and two teenage granddaughters.But I wanted more.
A closer glimpse.
Call me Mrs.
Kravitz if you must.
But, like Darrin and Samantha’s nosy neighbor, I longed for a peek inside the private quarters where these women lived.
I told them I waswriting a book on change and invited their insights.Then I asked if therewere any changes in their lives they’d been longing to make.
I’ll be the first to admit that, as questions go, “What kinds of changes have you been longing to make?” is onionesque, meaning the first layers are opaque and it takes a while to get down to the transparent stuff.
The first round of responses was pretty much what any group of new acquaintances might offer.
Nancy suggested there are seasons when a woman longs for change and other seasons when things are going great and she’s happy with who she is and what she’s got.I leaned forward, careful to avoid the marinara sauce I’d managed to spill on the table besidemy plate (see why I always wear black?).
I probed, “So, you’re all pretty happy with your lives?”There were nods all around the table.I was intrigued.
Most of these women were a little farther along the path of life than I was.
Several had grandchildren the ages of my daughters.
Is this what I had to look forward to? Somewhere in thecoming decade, would I find myself completely satisfied with my life? And if so, would it mean I’d finally learned how to create the changes I’d longed for? Or would it mean that I’d finally given up and let mydesperate longings for change fall by the wayside? I wasn’t too sure about all this.About that time, Becky brought up her longing to relocate so she could be closer to kids and grandkids.
She sighed.
“I wish it could happen next month, but we’ve got to sell our property first, and it’s not evenlisted yet.
It could be a year before we finally get to move.”The conversation drifted then to real estate, children, and even gardening.
After a while there was a lull, and Diane lit up and said, “Well, I’m starting school in the fall! That’s a big change for me.
In fact, I’vewanted to do this for years!”We plied her with questions: “If you’ve wanted to do this for years, what kept you fromdoing it sooner, and whatmade you decide to finally do it now?” “Will you attend classes part time or full time?” “How willyou use all your new knowledge when you’re done?”Eventually someone said, “Well, as long as we’re talking about changes, what woman doesn’t wish she could lose a few pounds?” and we all groaned in wistful agreement.One of the women made a face.
“Why is it so hard? I struggle and struggle.
Look at you,” and she tapped bicycling-through-Europe Becky playfully on the shoulder.
“You don’t have a problem with weight.Then again, I guess you work it off.
But food calls my name.
I wish we didn’t have to eat at all.
If someone wants to stop drinking, I hear they can take a pill that makes them sick to their stomach if they have a drink.Why can’t we do that with food? Instead, we just have to eat less.
I hate that!”That started a humorous exchange of diet tips and stories.
As lighthearted conversation winged all around us, one of the women turned to just me and said quietly, “I long to change my perception of myself.”“You do?”Carolyn nodded.
“I’m too hard on myself.
I know it.
Even my husband says so.”She talked a little about being the firstborn in her family, being the daughter of amother she’d never been able to please, feeling bound by the need to be not only perfectly perfect but perfectly nice as well, and chastising herself when she fell short of these impossible goals.Toward the end of our evening at Carino’s, one of the women looked at me and asked, “So what changes do you want to make?”I only gave her the short list, mentioning my desires to…• Become better organized with my finances.• Settle into a committed, long-term relationship with my skinny jeans (replacing all these short-lived flings).• Fall madly in love.• Launch an idea I have for a community-wide monthly event called Second Saturday in the Springs.
The idea came to me when I was sifting through the ashes of a loss in my life.Who knows?Maybe it’s my Phoenix.
All I know is that I can’t seem to get this idea out of my head, so I’m thinking it’s time to rearrange my life to make it happen.
I forgot to mention that I’d love to be a neater eater so I could feel more confident wearing something other than black.As the evening drew to a close, we paid our tabs and went our separate ways.
Driving home, two things occurred to me.
The first was that, sadly, I had a big glob of marinara sauce on my linen jacket.The second was that it had been an intriguing evening.What changes do you long to embrace? It’s an onion of a question, to be sure.
But as you peel away the layers, isn’t it fascinating?Some changes come immediately to mind and tongue.
Other transformations feel so unattainable that we barely admit our longings to ourselves, much less to other people.Truth is, I haven’t met a woman who doesn’t have something in her life she longs to change.
It might be the clutter in her home or the frown on her lips, the shape of her nose or the size of her hips, the balance in her checkbook, the crack in her heart.
Perhaps she’s convinced that her ring finger needs a golden band or her marriage needs a spark.
She might long to trade chaos for calm, bitterness for freedom, or that pack of Virginia Slims for a breath of fresh air.
It’s possible that she yearns to exchange her plus-size polyester for a pair of size-nine jeans.Maybe she longs for a better career.
Or a second chance.
Or a dream she can feel passionate about.What kinds of changes do we long to embrace?The list is endless.We want greater connection with loved ones, the fulfillment of long-held dreams, beautiful bodies, freedom from the experiences and ideas that keep us from living the lives we desire.
We want healthy, committed, happy, passionate marriages.We long for greater control in our finances and greater abandon in our hearts.So what’s stopping us? Why do we stay stuck in the same ruts year after year?I don’t know what changes you’ve been longing to embrace.
But no matter what changes you dream of, there are principles you can use to create those changes.
I’ve thought about the best way to characterize the principles that produce change.
Actually, the word principles would be fine if it didn’t make me think of textbooks.
There’s got to be a better word.Tools? Too much testosterone.Strategies? Sounds like a military campaign.Tips? Mmm…seems wishy-washy to me.How ’bout pillars, as in “the pillars of change”? It sounds established, doesn’t it? Kind of like an ancient Greek temple or maybe the president of the local Rotary (you know, pillar of the community and all that).But I’m the kind of girl who writes notes to herself using lip liner and thinks carrot cake should count as a vegetable, so pillars seems a bit staid for me.Ahhh…I know exactly what to call these principles of change:media.
No, not likeWKRP in Cincinnati.Not that kind of media.
I mean media as in art.Media is what an artist uses to create beauty.
She begins with an image in her mind, a picture or vision of something that doesn’t exist, but should.
Then she chooses her medium.
Watercolor? Acrylics? Skinand pigment? Stone and chisel?How ’bout silver sequins, wooden beads, uncooked spaghetti, Elmer’s glue, and a box of empty toilet paper rolls?She’s also got to understand techniques, like shading and perspective, and maybe even how to wield a can of spray paint.
If she’s sculpting, she’ll need to understand balance and leverage.
If she’s tattooing or welding, different techniques will come into play.Bottom line, if she’s going to bring her vision to life, she’s going to need media, which is a combination of raw materials and knowledge.
It might sound like a lot of work, gathering all that stuff and know-how.And sometimes the process can feel a little messy and random—but it is so worth the effort.
After all, even a baby knows the joys of creating art out of whatever raw materials she has available to her.
Just ask the toddler who is busy finger painting the wall next to her crib with whatever organic substance she had on hand…or bottom.That’s pretty much what this book is about.
It’s about taking the really cool picture that you envision in your head and creating it as a real thing in your life.
It’s about the art of change.Somewhere in your head are wistful images of a more satisfying life, sexier body, more secure future, happier heart, more intimate relationships, more defined purpose, or a lasting impact you want tomake.
In the pages of this book you’ll find the media you need to create the art of change in your life.
Believe it or not, you can begin to fashion the thing you see—starting now.While it’s true that only nuns change habits overnight, you can bring about the change you long for.
And it doesn’t need to happen overnight.
You can learn how to become an artist of change, getting familiar with a variety of materials and techniques you can use to beautify your life.
And, as you and I practice this new art, maybe we’ll actually become talented at this creative thing called transformation.Are you ready to embrace some of the changes you’ve been longing to make? Me too.
Even if we don’t get it right the first time.
Even if it takes a little practice.
Even if the process takes a few unexpected turns and we find ourselves in need of a little help along the way.Speaking of which, does anyone know how to get spaghetti sauce off a linen jacket?


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Comment List (Total:12)

  •     I will urge you, dear reader, to pick up ANY of Karen Scalf Linamen's books, and dive into her wacky, wonderful world of living each day to its fullest!
  •     Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight by Karen Linamen is the perfect book to start reading at the beginning of the year. There are hundreds of books out there that will tell you just how to fix your life: budgeting, diet, exercise, self-improvement, etc, but the reason there are always more of these books is that we find it hard to stick with any plan that requires us to change, even if we desire it! Linamen seeks to help us stick with actual change by determining what holds us back from making changes and helping us overcome those obstacles. Her writing is always funny, yet incredibly smart. Most chapters include the opportunity for journaling and self-discovery exercises. I didn't do all of them, but the ones I did revealed a lot, even to me! There are many reasons why we can't stick with serious change, but Linamen addresses each one with the encouragement to never give up. I do recommend reading this book in the morning or midday. I read it each night before bed, and I sometimes forgot to keep the vows I made to myself the night before, but that's my own fault. I've passed the book on to my husband in hopes that we can both makes changes together.
  •     I haven't finished the book yet, I'm about 3/4 through. The author makes me laugh at the habits/traits I'm usually frustrated with myself about.
  •     As someone who has a pretty strong willpower this wasn't a book that made a tremendous impact on me, though I did think some of the points were really good and would recommend it...
  •     Author Karen Scalf Linamen offers 52 practical ways to change habits that stall women from achieving their dreams and goals.
  •     Karen Scalf Linamen has some questions for the reader. What changes do you want to make in your life? Are you missing out on something? Ever thinK, "I can't do that."
  •     This is the first of Karen Scalf Linaman books I've read and I enjoyed her cut to the chase style of putting it out there. I also enjoyed her sometimes subtle, sometimes in your face humor.If you are looking for some enthusiastic cheerleading for choices you know you need or should make, you could benefit from Linaman's helpful ideas. If you aren't ready to do what you need to do to move forward with lifestyle changes, this book isn't going to make your life better.I appreciated that all her wisdom and suggestions can be applied to all areas of life. You don't necessarily need a handful of how-to books to cover all your resolutions. Hers would be sufficient because her insight covers across the board. Her chapters are short and broken up into quick bite-sized nuggets and snippets of story.Very conservative religious may struggle with some aspects of this book and the author's personal struggles. If you can't accept a Christian remarrying after divorce, then you'll want to pass because Linaman is honest about her own path in life that includes a failed marriage. If you are expecting very deep Biblical wisdom and counsel you might be disappointed. However, the author includes the basic Gospel message and several scripture references. That said, non-religious can find takeaways that will help them to focus on what they could do to move beyond a struggle or bad habit.As with all self-help books if it just ends up on your bookshelf it's not going to benefit you. If you are going to buy it and not commit to pulling out what makes sense to you and using it, don't waste your money. But if you truly want to makes some changes Only Nuns could be just what you're looking for.
  •     This book is meant to help us with the process of change. How do we change a bad habit to a good habit? How long will change take? Why do my efforts to change always fail?
  •     I was intending on giving this book as a gift, but brought it back to the store i bought it from. Because after I skimmed through a couple of the chapters, I didn't feel that the...
  •     Every woman longs for change in some area of her life. Unfortunately, fear, fatigue, adversity, heartbreak, past failures, and even the choices of other people get in the way and make lasting change seem out of reach. Having been there herself, Karen Linamen knows exactly how to take readers from where they are to where they want to be.In Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight, she examines 52 powerful actions readers can apply to any change they long to embrace. Her insights apply to career, finances, personal health and fitness, relationships, faith--in fact, every facet of a woman's life.Blending laugh-out-loud humor and sage advice, Linamen shows readers the link between dissatisfaction and transformation, how to remodel habits, the little-known truth about procrastination, how to generate the energy they need to pursue the life they desire, how to benefit from options and resources they never dreamed they had, and much, much more!I found various portions and chapters to be interesting and humorous. I have found in my life that the title "Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight" is quite true. You can try and try to figure how to change and feel all the more confused when your done trying. This book has some very practical examples for applying change to your everyday routine.
  •     Great how to guide to realistically make changes in your life, taken with a large dose of laughter and humor to soften the discomfort that is inevitable with the afore mentioned change.
  •     Karen Scalf Linamen says she writes humor and self-help - together, not separately. To really understand that description, you have to read one of her books. Luckily, I recently did just that.In light of the quickly approaching New Year and our propensity for resolutions, Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight is extremely timely. Her advice is sound, but her delivery is hilarious. Check out some of these chapter titles:Does the Name Pavlov Ring a Bell?If at First You Don't Succeed, Skydiving Is Not for You.The Next Time You Come to the End of Your Rope, Start Flapping Your ArmsVery Funny, Scotty. Now Beam Up My ClothesA Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins at the Fuel PumpOnly Nuns Change Habits Overnight will give you advice on how to make ANY change you desire. It doesn't matter if your desired change is simple (stop losing my car keys) or difficult (learn how to manage my temper), short term (organize my spice cabinet) or long term (lose 75 pounds). This book will help you identify the areas of your life you want to improve, set specific goals, motivate you to get started and encourage you to persist until you're successful. Karen gives the reader 52 tips, detailed instructions, examples, and anecdotal stories funny enough to make you wet yourself as you nod and think, "Yep, I've done that!" Of course, just as many times you'll say to yourself, "At least I'm not that bad!"If you desire to make any lasting change in your life, Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight is the book you need to truly believe, "Yes, I can!"

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