It’s easy to feel energized and excited when you stumble on a new self-help idea that you’re convinced is going to be the missing piece to the puzzle of your life.
Unfortunately, you’ve probably felt this way many times before. In fact, there are people that refer to themselves as “self-help junkies.” They can’t wait to add another self-help book to their library.
It’s very easy to find information you don’t already know. It’s much more challenging to apply it successfully to your life.
Put your self-help knowledge to work with these strategies:
1. Emphasize taking action. The natural inclination of many people, especially those that are intelligent, is to put too much emphasis on knowledge. We’d rather read another book or do more pondering on the subject than actually put the information to use.
• Whether you need to make more money, lose weight, add to your social circle, or strengthen your communication skills, it’s not complicated. You’re better off practicing what you’ve learned already than reading another book on the topic.
2. Start slowly. Drastic change is exceptionally difficult to maintain. A few small changes each week is enough to drastically alter your life over the next year. Avoid feeling like you have to completely revamp your life overnight. Not only will you be miserable, you’ll almost certainly fail miserably.
• Set an easy goal for the next month and reach it as gently as you can. Run with that momentum and be a little bolder the next month.
3. Focus on building habits. 99% of the less desirable attributes of your life didn’t happen overnight. The painful areas of your life are the result of poor decisions repeated for an extended period of time. The solution is to make more effective decisions over a long period of time.
• With the proper set of habits, any result you desire can be virtually guaranteed.
4. Focus on the area of your life that will have the biggest impact. Suppose your income was sufficient to meet your immediate needs, but you were 100 pounds overweight and suffering from Type-2 diabetes. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense to focus more on increasing your income.
• Attend to the part of your life that’s furthest removed from being tolerable. Get every aspect of your life to a tolerable level before reaching for anything above average.
5. Ask yourself how you can apply the information to your life. Many self-help materials are very theoretical. They have great ideas, but it’s not always clear on how to apply them to your life. As you’re reading, listening, or thinking, ask yourself how you can use the information to enhance your life.
• Understanding the information is necessary, but insufficient. It must be applied to be useful. Brainstorm ways to use what you’re learning.
6. Create a routine. It’s easy to get all excited at first and then realize a month later that you haven’t done anything for the last two weeks. Develop a self-help routine just like you would a workout routine. Make applying the information you learn a regular occurrence.
Most of us know how to solve the majority of our most pressing issues. We just can’t figure out how to get ourselves to take action consistently.
Learning how to apply the information you know is a skill in itself. Start slowly and build habits that bring results automatically.
In the end, success is about using your time wisely each day. You can’t help but get great results if you perform effective actions over and over.