Are you a self-help junkie? Look, there’s nothing wrong with self-help. I bet it’s been beneficial in your life. And this question is not about how many Louise Hay books you own or how many Tony Robbins videos you’ve watched. Rather it’s about asking if you’re a bit stuck in a cycle of reading and watching self-development content. Or are you moving beyond that to implement what you’re consuming?
If you’re stuck it’s likely that you don't need any more information, you need lasting habit change to finally create the life you want.
Here are seven ways to end the cycle of learning but never doing.
How to move beyond just reading about self-help tip #1
1. Start small, leap less.
Small hinges swing big doors! Self-improvement content can be overwhelming because it contains so many good ideas. Trying them all at once is difficult so just pick a tiny one and get going. My pro tip is to make the thing you start with a very pleasurable thing because your brain will always choose pleasure over pain and your brain needs pleasure to create habit loops.
Another way of starting small is to start a micro-habit (for example three push-ups a day) rather than committing to something that’s going to involve a lot of time and effort. You’ll always have time for at least three push-ups and once you’re down there, you’ll probably do more.
How to move beyond just reading about self-help tip #2
2. Act before you're ready.
More specifically fast, messy and imperfect action. If we don’t act quickly on an idea, we can easily forget it or allow our brain to crush it with feelings of self-doubt. Remind yourself that we don’t learn effectively through simply consuming content. We learn by putting it into practice.
It’s ideal to take action as soon as you get an idea because that is when you are feeling most excited about it. Motivation has a half-life so when we don’t act quickly on something, we lose our motivation.
How to move beyond just reading about self-help tip #3
3. Measure to sniff test your honesty.
What gets measured gets improved, so record your results. For example, some people lose weight simply by committing to keeping a food diary or wearing a Fitbit. Recording your progress is in part an honesty test that removes biases and forces you to face the truth about where you’re starting from. Remember that you can’t get to where you want to go without being clear about where you are so it’s important to know exactly where that is.
And ultimately the point of self-improvement is to improve your life so you need to measure that by deciding on some benchmarks or goals and checking in with them on a regular basis.
How to move beyond just reading about self-help tip #4
4. Go for "good enough".
There is no perfect solution or magic bullet to the problems that you’re facing. Part of you might be searching for the perfect book, the perfect guru or the perfect system, but the important thing is to just commit to something that resonates. The more you look, the more criteria you place on finding the right thing. Essentially it’s a self-sabotage tactic. Waiting for the perfect solution is like waiting for the right time to start a journey of change. Instead you should choose a time and make it the right time.
How to move beyond just reading about self-help tip #5
5. Count on someone that counts on you.
There are many places to seek accountability. You could hire a coach, join a group of people seeking to make a similar change, or partner up with a friend. Unless you are accountable to someone else, you won’t follow through all the time. My dog is a great accountability partner because he loves to be walked. It lights him up! That joy gives me extra motivation to walk nearly every day.
How to move beyond just reading about self-help tip #6
6. Invest in yourself.
People who are serious about change allocate serious time and money to it. What do your current investments of time and money tell you about what is important to you right now? When you stretch yourself by investing larger amounts of time and money than you have invested before, you push yourself to create a return on that investment. The amount that you invest represents your faith in yourself and your commitment to create change. You want to invest like you have never invested before to change like you never have before.
How to move beyond just reading about self-help tip #7
7. Go deeper, not wider.
Sometimes people accumulate a lot of self-help knowledge, but don’t put the real energy where it’s most needed - into investigating themselves. For real results you need to find out what drives you, what serves you, and what your blocks are. For many people there is just one missing piece that is stopping them achieving what they really want. To find that missing piece you’ll need to go deep inside yourself.
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