Step Away From Self Help, Into Your Own Life.


 (Picture by Andrew Chin)

There’s so much material available these days on self help and self improvement. So many books, so many online magazines, so many blogs. And it’s great. Truly. I’m so happy that all this information is out there. I really believe it can do a world of good.

But as is the case with the Internet, you can get lost in all this information. You start with one little LifeHack article but before you know it you get sucked in. When you finally snap out of it HOURS have passed. You’re hungry, you’re late and that deadline is drawing near.

Let’s look at a different way of self help reading or even less self help reading in order to really self help.

(…Talk about shooting myself in the foot, but oh well)

Don’t get me wrong, it is GREAT to get inspired by all these articles and people around you. The self help articles, bloggers’ lifestyle, models exercise regimen, whatever else that might motivate you.

Just don’t get sucked into the Vortex! Don’t zone out and lose sight of what’s right in front of you, like your due essay, your healthy lifestyle changes, or your company. It’s a big risk of reading (on-line): You dive in and won’t come out for a while.

Best case scenario? You dream away for a little while browsing through this information or diving into someone else’s life and you lose an hour or so of your day but leave inspired. Okay, fine. That’s reasonable.

But worst case scenario? You completely zone out. The more you read, the bleaker your life and your capabilities become in comparison, and you lose faith in yourself. The more information you read, the more it becomes a big blur instead of concrete easy-to-use stuff. You feel like change is unattainable, and out of reach, and you’re way too ordinary for this. Damn your humanity, your flaws and that one time you ate tuna straight out of the can because you were really hungry!

So how about doing self help a little more goal and action oriented?

Because you know when I do my best self-helping?

WHEN I’M SELF ABSORBED (in a good way) When I’m completely pre-occupied by what’s going on in my own life, I do my best self help work. This is usually when I’m busy, when I’m working on something, or something personal is going on.

When I’m very busy at work, I work best with my habit of to do lists, prioritizing and a slightly modified Pomodoro technique.

When I do a yoga challenge, you better believe I have my shit together: Food and yoga gear prepacked the night before, early nights in and lots of green juice.

Try it. Get self absorbed. Get into your own life. What does YOUR LIFE really need?If you need to shut down your habit of reading everything online, so be it (I’ll miss you).

WHEN I THINK ABOUT IT BEFOREHAND When I have a topic, goal or question in mind, I find that I read more selectively.

So before you start reading your next book, before going on a blog or website about a certain topic, really THINK about it:

What do I want to know? What part of my life could use improvement? Do I have a particular goal to reach that I want info on?

WHEN I JUST FINISHED A BOOK When I’ve just put down a really great self help book, I can look at my life with a new perspective.

Say you’ve just read a really good self help book, you browsed through a bunch of articles about effective studying or you discovered a gorgeous fashion blogger with brilliant outfits.

Now take a look at your life, your study habits, your wardrobe. What can you apply from what you’ve just read or seen? Try to do that.

WHEN I WRITE ABOUT IT To me, writing about a self help topic is how it really gets into my system and becomes useable.

First of all, it makes me go out and do things. It motivates me to experiment and try out new things, like Pilates, other types of yoga, and productivity tricks. And when I write about it, I learn about it on a deeper level. It becomes easier to use.

But it doesn’t have to be on a blog. I also have a personal journal, lists and several Word documents on different topics.

You can try this technique too. So you want to become more productive? Why not write about productivity in your journal and your experiments with different productivity tricks and apps?

You want to exercise more? Write about it on your blog or keep an Excel sheet with your fitness regimen, your trials and tribulations.

TRUTH TIME The BIGGEST secret of successful self help is that you don’t really need us. In my opinion all a good self help writer does is use their words to unlock what you had inside you all along anyway. It triggers something in you.

You need to find your own way, wade through all these techniques and success stories from other people and use what resonates with you.

Just take everything you feel is useful for you and start using it. If it doesn’t work, try it in a different format until it works. If it never works, try something new.

As I write here “Figure out your very own, special, customized, brilliantly individually engineered plan. For life, exercise, love, health, spirituality, for EVERYTHING.”

So go forth and be wildly curious about your own life. Have a great week, in which you truly look at your own life and what you can do to make it better. Love you guys. Bye.

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  1. Well hello, did you write this for me?! Because this is exactly my problem..I read too much, I’m interested in too much, I want to do too much. Oh and I have a baby, so: I have no time for myself. Pretty much. So I will take this article to heart.

  2. Your writing style is refreshing! I love the way you write and the way you put things in perspective. Thanks!

  3. Hi Lianne, ben weer eens op je blog komen kijken en je schrijft echt superleuk! Vind het ook heel leuk dat je Happiness in the Making hebt gevonden, past wel goed bij elkaar hihi. Ik vind dit ook een hele goeie post, beschrijft ook precies waarom ik ben begonnen met HITM: je kunt zo ontzettend veel vinden over self-help in boeken en online dat ik juist eens mensen wilde aansporen om happiness en self-improvement in henzelf te zoeken en te vinden, omdat je daar uiteindelijk – heb ik ervaren – het meeste aan hebt. Oh ja, en ik vind je headerfoto echt ontzéttend leuk!

  4. This is so great. I am a self-help junkie as well, and I can tell you how easy it is to get sucked into the self-help world that I actually started carrying around my self-help books with me. Thanks for the great advice 🙂