Reading Change Starts Within You by Cortney McDermott was an eye-opening experience for me; the book was exactly what I needed for where I am in my life. In addition to basic positive psychological principles, Cortney provides fun, simple exercises that you can utilize to change your life and reach an accomplished place of Timbuktu (wherever that might be for you). Here, along with some of my favorite parts from reading, are some of my personal reflections inspired by the book.

"Change starts within you; it’s time to stop looking outside for the solution. You are the answer you seek. If you’re making yourself a better person, you’re making the world a better place." 

To me, the world has become such an ugly place and at times, I'm able to put things into perspective by remembering one of my favorite life quotes: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Every day, I try to be a little bit of that change.

Like Courtney McDermott said, [let’s stop] "operating from our dark places and instead pass our light; for true growth is having the strength to get ahold of your darkness and not pass it directly to or through ourselves onto others."

When I saw the words, "Have you ever filled up to avoid feeling?" in Change Starts Within You, I felt like the book was reading me in a sense — it was the mirror I didn't know I needed. 

Then, this part was not far behind: "Remember who you are." Words that touched me because I had forgotten who I was; I had stopped living my values. Realizing that I had stopped doing what I needed to do for myself and that I wasn't being real, with me, was a hard pill to swallow.

"Realists don’t change the world; unrealistic people do." My family and friends come to me because I give real advice but I wasn’t giving that to myself... I had to learn to walk my talk.

To be the change I want to be, I realized that I can’t be good to others if I’m not good to myself. I couldn’t keep pouring from an empty cup. Cortney McDermott's book was the reality check I needed to see what was holding me back, and it was ME.

"How can you get where you’re going, if you don’t know where you are?" I was required to analyze my past and my current situation. I know what I want, but do I really want to put in the work it will take to chase my dreams.

"What is the next destination?" Whenever I’m asked about my professional goals and desires, the answer is always the same. I want to graduate from college for the first time then go on to pursue all the education I can (I really want a PhD). But I had no idea how to get there or who I would need to help me.

"How do you want to be and feel?" I want to be happy, which is quite subjective in and of itself, but happiness for me is waking up every day on time and maintaining a healthy state of mind. Sometimes, this is easier said than done.

"Begin by having a starting point and a next destination." Reading this book helped me to honestly admit to myself where I am and see where I want to be then helped me to develop a plan for how to get there.

Along with providing tons of good quotes for inspiration, I also loved how Cortney shed light on some of the biggest ways we keep our life unsustainable. Focus is the one that I struggle with the most due to living with ADHD. She provided a great acronym for FOCUS: Follow One Course Until Successful, and includes lots of positive psychology and her own aha moments like: "Multi-tasking is NOT efficient. Your brain can only do one thing at a time. You think you’re being efficient, but you’re being stupid. Scientific evidence proves we cannot successfully multitask. Focused time is used to enter and stay in the gap; that space where you are your most content, productive, and creative."

To put her concepts and lessons into practice, Cortney designed exercises for readers like creating a MAP (monthly action plan) as well as tips on following intuition and taking steps towards a more sustainable life.

If you're looking for some inspiration to start making a change in your life, we highly recommend investing in a copy of Change Starts Within You by Cortney McDermott. You can learn more about this book and Cortney's work by visiting her website:

"Be remarkable. Be unforgettable. Be you." — Cortney McDermott