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A Whole New Plan for Living by Jim Lucey

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | Non Fiction

By Swirl and Thread

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A Whole New Plan for Living by Jim Lucey is published with Hachette Ireland. Adam Clayton describes it as a book that ‘will empower you to update your strategy for a healthy and fulfilling life’ and it is a guide to life that is accessible to all. Jim Lucey’s decision to write this book was inspired by his father some years back. When Jim had to explain to his father that he was dying, his father embraced the news asking that Jim design him a whole new plan for living. Here was a man who wanted to live his remaining time the best he could so he turned to his son for help. Covid19 has changed the lives of us all. Our physical and mental health has been battered day-in day-out with the constant barrage of news. The media is relentless of its coverage and it can be very difficult to switch off. Jim Lucey had just retired as Medical Director of St. Patrick`s Mental Health Service in 2019 and, as the pandemic loomed, he was being constantly asked to recommend books to people, to help folk deal with this catastrophic trauma in their lives. Unable to find any book that he felt would do the job, and with his brother’s encouragement, he set about writing one himself. Using his father’s instruction to make a new plan for living, he set about putting together a book that would be practical and helpful, one that would provide hope and meaning to people.

Jim Lucey is a great believer in the importance of recognising the person and more importantly that we as people recognise ourselves. With a blank piece of paper by our side, we are reminded that this is a new beginning for ourselves and with this book’s assistance we can sketch out a picture of who we really are using a few basic questions:

Who am I? What am I?
What is my life? What is in it?
What is my identity?

Identity is a very important factor in our overall framework for recovery, which Jim Lucey refers to throughout the book as CHIME.

“Many years of experience in healthcare have taught me that our plans for health are more likely to succeed if they CHIME!”– Jim Lucey

CHIME represents an acronym that brings together the five very important elements of –
Connectedness
Hope and optimism
Identity
Meaning and purpose
Empowerment

They are repeatedly referred to throughout the book and are very central to Jim Lucey’s Whole New Plan for Living. Self -care is very important but in today’s busy world we sometimes forget to look after ourselves. We need to prioritise as individuals more and then as a society because ‘if as a society we fail to invest in the collective sources of good health, we are in a collective nightmare’

Jim Lucey recommends a ten-step plan and devotes a chapter of the book to each one, threading them all together to create a new way of living. He devotes time to specifics as well as the general giving every reader something to dwell on, something to consider and hopefully embrace. We all carry inflammation within us which can be of a physical or mental nature. We all carry stresses in our lives and at some point we will all be distressed. Using Jim Lucey’s methods, we can change ourselves to be more appreciative of who we are and what we can be. He provides the tools while also recognising that many of us are struggling at the moment. As mentioned earlier the accessibility was really important to Jim Lucey when assembling his ideas and words. He tackles the basics of diet, sleep and exercise but then he delves a little deeper and pokes around a bit more, providing clarity and insights that feel authentic and practical.

When reading a self-help guide I always hope to come away from it with one very salient piece of information that could change how I deal in the everyday and I found it in Step Three ‘Finding Ways to Greater Emotional Wellbeing’. In a section entitled ‘Letting Things Go’ Jim Lucey refers to our emotional stresses and learning the ability to let things go, to rise above the conflicting situation and just walk away.

“Before you start to do battle over any perceived slight, or to fight for any emotional agenda, ask yourself, ‘Is this the ditch I want to die in?’”

What an incredibly powerful statement. Imagine acquiring the power to just let things go? Imagine the feeling of relief, the removing of a distressing situation, the ability to choose your own emotional reaction, the strength this provides….

A Whole New Plan for Living has one objective and that is for us all to ultimately be happy and resilient with hope for the future in our hearts. An intriguing and fascinating guide, A Whole New Plan for Living is an astute and practical book, an opportune read for us all during these extremely stressful days.

(c) Swirl and Thread

Order your copy online here.

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