Why People Read Self-Help… And Then Don’t Do Anything

Taking action is the single most important step to succeeding in whatever it is you want to do.

Imagine you want to get into shape, or start a business. Even if you have the worst training program in the world and even if you have the worst business model in the world… you still stand more chance of success if you actually try to execute that plan than if you don’t. And even if you do fail, you’ll have at least learned from the experience which will immediately give you a big advantage again over all those people who aren’t doing anything at all.

How Some People Convince Themselves to Never Take Action

There is a certain type of person who reads a lot of self-help but never actually changes any aspect of their life for the better. These people are keen to improve themselves but unfortunately they lack the actual self-awareness they need in order to get to where they need to be.

Because if they were self-aware enough to understand what was holding them back, they’d realize that the reason they really read self-help actually has nothing to do with wanting to improve themselves. Sure, they want things to change, but if they’re reading self-help and not acting on it then they are probably just using it as a form of procrastination.

When you buy a book on how to improve your life, you may think you then have to read that book before you take action. Thus you have immediately bought yourself time and an excuse not to do anything productive towards your goals. At the same time though, as you read the book you can enjoy feeling as though you’re doing something positive and as though you’re moving towards the results you want. If this is the case then unfortunately your self-help book is actually holding you back rather than being any help.

Similarly, if you’re someone who wants to get into shape and you keep buying fitness books and training equipment then again you’re just putting off actually getting down to working out.

Even just telling people you plan to take action can sometimes make you less likely to actually do it. The reason for this is that telling people here acts as a reward in itself and that then means you feel less motivated to work towards that success. It’s as though simply telling people is enough and you then no long feel the incentive to push forward.

How to Change

So how do you get out of this cycle?

Simple: you recognize it for what it is. If this sounds familiar then don’t stop reading the self-help or buying training equipment, just make sure you are also committing time to trying to make your dreams a reality right now. Don’t wait for the perfect situation to come along because it won’t. Instead, make that situation happen by diving in and learning by experience.

And meanwhile, consider keeping your plans to yourself until you’ve actually made some serious headway!

Keith Hillman

Keith Hillman is a full time writer specializing in psychology as well as the broader health niche. He has a BSc degree in psychology from Surrey University, where he particularly focused on neuroscience and biological psychology. Since then, he has written countless articles on a range of topics within psychology for numerous of magazines and websites. He continues to be an avid reader of the latest studies and books on the subject, as well as self-development literature.

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