Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️ 2 out of 5 ⭐️‘s
This is a review of Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis. This book is a sequel to her first nonfiction book Girl, Wash Your Face, which came out in 2018. This second book came out on March 5th of 2019, and hit the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list this week. Not everyone has gotten on the Rachel Hollis bandwagon; in fact, I know a lot of women who cannot stand her message or her energy, or the fact that she’s literally everywhere and anywhere one can possibly look lately. Others don’t like her because they think she came from a place of privilege and wealth because her husband held an executive position at Disney, which many also assume gave her access and connections to the right people— ultimately making it difficult for some women to relate to her. I will admit that I did like Girl, Wash Your Face, and I actually reviewed it earlier in the year— if you’re interested you can find that review here. I have mixed feelings about the second book. I’ll try my best to explain why and to provide with you with a thorough, concise review.
So, a little side story. Last week, we moved our children to a new school. One that has much smaller class sizes, a more rigorous curriculum, and a unique philosophy on education— one that is more geared towards raising up well rounded-kind citizens who flourish and engage in the community, as opposed to some of the more standard methods of education where the emphasis is placed mainly on the transfer and testing of information. Our decision to switch schools is one of the best we’ve ever made as parents. We’re so happy with the change. Anyway, the point of the story– one of our children, our youngest son, tends to be somewhat of a perfectionist. He likes to do everything just right the first time, and can get frustrated if he doesn’t know how to do something new right away– or if he thinks someone is interpreting that he can’t do something. For example, last night I noticed he was working on some math homework at the dining table. The curriculum at the new school is more challenging than what he is used to so I knew there was a chance he would need some guidance. Sure enough, not much time went by before I could see him start to wince and sigh, and throw his head down in defeat. I went over to him and calmly sat next to him in silence. He was exasperated telling me that he needs help and that he doesn’t know how to do it, that it’s too hard, and how he will never know how to do it. He was laying his head on the table. He had completely given up hope. I proceeded to communicate with him the way I always do in times like this. It’s the way I have talked to myself in times of stress, and as a parent it has transferred over into how I engage with my children. I told him that unless he changes his perspective on the task before him then he is right, he won’t be able to do it. I explained to him that he shouldn’t even pick up that pencil until he reframes how he is thinking about his homework, because otherwise, the homework will own him, and he won’t be able to overcome it. I encouraged him to look me in the eye and to speak affirmations out loud such as– “I know how to do this,” “I can do this,” “I am smart,” and “I will do this.” At first, like usual, he was reluctant to say the phrases. He rolled his eyes and laid his head on the table in full surrender to the homework. But, eventually he started to say the phrases, and the more he said them the more confident his voice became, and the more positive his outlook became— and not before long there was a sweet smile beaming across his adorable face, and he was ready to tackle the task in front of him.
Why is this relevant?
I have always known that a little reframing of one’s mental state is the best way to overcome something difficult. Negative self talk is powerful, and it’s common— and the only thing more powerful than negative self talk is positive self talk. This philosophy is the backbone of Hollis’ message. She talks about how changing your attitude and outlook on life, and little shifts in perspective can direct you on the right path towards achieving your goals. So, you can see why I was initially drawn to her first nonfiction book, Girl, Wash Your Face, and for the most part I really liked it, it validated me and the way I try to live my life. It also gave me a little spring in my step and motivated me to set some new goals in my life. I was optimistic about her sequel, and was hoping for a lot of new information. Unfortunately, the book is almost a remake of Girl, Wash Your Face. There are some unique things but for the most part it’s mainly overlapped material. Which left me a little disappointed, and feeling like I had wasted my time and money because the book was full of things I had mostly already heard from her.
What is it about?
The book is broken up into three parts. Part one is a compilation of the various excuses women use that hold them back from achieving their goals, each chapter is a different excuse. The excuses vary and include things like– I don’t have time, it’s been done before, what will people think? etc. Part two is about changing behaviors, and she addresses things like triggers, and how to teach yourself to engage in new more positive behaviors by first identifying triggers. Part three addresses specific skills and techniques to adopt in order to help you reach your goal— again each chapter has a different skill.
I liked part three. It’s the one section in the book where I learned new information that Hollis hasn’t put out there before. It is also the shortest section in the book so that was a little frustrating. But, nevertheless, the content is helpful. I like how she gives specific advice for what it looks like to make a very narrow and direct path towards reaching a goal. She explains how to identify what the goal is, emphasizes the importance of tackling only one big goal at a time, and also gives practical advice for navigating the path towards the goal— like how to brainstorm ideas properly and how to solve a problem that you don’t have the answer to. If the entire book included tools such as what I listed above– things that are actually applicable to daily life then I would have rated the book much higher.
First of all, I will say, that if you have not read Girl, Wash Your Face, then you should read this sequel, it includes a lot of old material and some new material, so you’d really be getting the best of both worlds by skipping the first one and going straight to Girl, Stop Apologizing. If you follow her on social media, listen to her podcasts, or watch her online videos, and you’ve read the first book, then I definitely suggest you skip this one. She reiterates so many of the same exact phrases that she has said before— there were several times where I wanted to pull my hair out. In fact, if I weren’t reading it for reviewing purposes I would have put it down after a few chapters.
Also, a lot of the book includes an inner monologue of her thoughts as she is writing the book, which isn’t useful, and just takes up space on the page— which I really think was her main goal. She goes on and on about where she is sitting as she is writing, and makes mention of how behind she is on her deadline for the book, and tries to use her tenacity to keep writing even when she is so busy and on airplanes and in busy cafes as an example of her sticking to her goal– which just doesn’t work. I think she would have been much better off asking for an extension and to write a book that is amazing instead of throwing this one out into the world before it’s ready.
And the editing…oh my word, there were a lot of problems with grammar and sentence structure, and she used words like “dang” and “sister” way too frequently, it came off as annoying and informal– it took away the authority of her words.
My Take Away
Overall, I like Hollis’ message about attitude, drive, and goal setting. She includes some great tools that would be helpful for people to use if they’re trying to change their life in some way or another. The first three fourths of the book is basically one big motivational chant “you can do it, get up off your couch” —type of message. I found it to be overplayed, annoying and repetitive— like she was saying the same thing over and over again but masking it in different words. If you haven’t read Girl, Wash Your Face then chances are you might like this one, but if you have, or if you’ve been inundated with her mantras through other platforms, then I suggest you skip it and move on to something else instead.
What did you think about my review? Have you read Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals? If so, what did you think? If not, do you plan to read it? Feel free to share your comments about my review and about Rachel Hollis in general. I can’t wait to hear from you!
If you’re interested in purchasing either of Rachel Hollis’ books, then you can do so through my Amazon Affiliate links below.