Meredith Atwood gets out of her own way in new self-help book

David Wilson for the Boston Globe

“In 2017 I had the worst year ever,” said Meredith Atwood. “I had quit my law job to pursue a business, and everything kind of fell apart. I looked around and thought, everything is nonsense.”

As described in her new book, “The Year of No Nonsense: How to Get Over Yourself and On With Your life,” nonsense can be a bad relationship, or an outgrown habit. “It’s subjective,” added Atwood, a writer, speaker, podcaster, and finisher of several marathons and triathlons. “So many of us are on autopilot. Just going forward, doing the same things, wondering why we’re unhappy and unfulfilled and overweight and sick. You know in your gut what your nonsense is. But you have to really listen to yourself.”


Of course, nobody is ever perfect. “Understanding that failure and relapse and roadblocks are a part of life, and just accepting that, and knowing you’re doing the best you can, that’s how you keep going,” Atwood said. “What getting rid of nonsense does it is frees up some space to begin to care for yourself, and to start to love yourself. You’ve learned to trust yourself. Once you trust yourself, you can begin that process of learning to love yourself.”

Self-help books often address women, but Atwood hopes men will read it as well. “Men struggle with many of the exact same things women do, they just aren’t as vocal about it.”

The book’s language is salty at times, and Atwood knows that might offend some who, like her, grew up in a strict religious background. “I think I’m going to get a lot of disapproval, but there’s a whole chapter on people-pleasing and how I’m no longer going to do that in my life,” she said. “Me using profanity in the book is me moving away from the fine art of people-pleasing.”


Atwood will read on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Brookline Booksmith.

Kate Tuttle, a freelance writer and critic, can be reached at kate.tuttle@gmail.com.