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3 Ways Towards Finding Out How to Get Real Self-Help

3 Ways Towards Finding Out How to Get Real Self-Help

What is Self-Help?

Self-help seems to have become a Mecca for anyone, regardless of background or credibility, trying to make easy money. Today, when the currently unemployed put “life coach” as the occupation on their Facebook profile, it is hard to know what that vague term even means.

Everyone needs some coaching from time to time, and the Internet is full of legitimate resources. Tony Robbins’ services are not exactly affordable to all who are in need. So, how do you choose someone that is legitimate and worth your investment.

First of all, remember this, it is called “self-help” for a reason. The idea is an old one. Instead of feeding the hungry, teach the hungry to fish so they can feed themselves. These lifehacks teach you what are 3 “must-haves” in the arsenal of any worthwhile “Life Coach”.

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1. Vision: If you don’t know where you are going, how do you expect to get there?

If a counselor of any sort is offering advice and they don’t first test your vision, then they cannot help you very much. Envisioning your future isn’t some sort of mystical scene, it’s not supernatural by any means. Necessary, on the other hand, it definitely is. Take for example a construction tradesmen, while many look down on physical labor of any sort, the tradesmen know and teach a fair share about vision.

If a tile setter has been contracted to set a floor on the a certain slab of concrete that has existing tile already adhered to it, some challenges are in play right from the beginning of the job. Contractors do not see challenges, albeit, they only see solutions. Not a single profiting contractor would say, “I cannot finish this job.” Because that’s the only way they get paid, by finishing the job no matter what. The contractor doesn’t see cracks in the slab of concrete. They see a need for membrane. They never see a foundation out of level. They see the low places that need to be filled, and the high points that need to be ground down. Your vision must be the same.

2. Take Action: Now that you see the finish, run towards it.

Taking action, is always a necessary lesson taught by any good instructor. Those life coaches’ teaching, that you don’t have to diligently labor to get what you want, are banking on naive, lazy, disillusioned people who believe they shouldn’t have to do anything to have everything. If that happens to be you, don’t feel bad, just evolve your mind, because it’s just not reality.

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Now that you’ve established where you will one day be, it is now time to take the next step. Make sure your next move is something that will line you up with your final goal better than you were before. For instance, if my end goal was to finish the floor that was contracted in the previous example, my next step would be to remove the existing tile floor first.

Once you’ve done the second step, start the next. You should always be moving forward. There will be times you fail, some of the journey will not be easy. You will need, aside from taking action, the 3rd ‘must have’ for any life coach: Perseverance.

3. You must persevere: If you get off track, don’t stay that way.

Without perseverance you will never accomplish your goals. In the words of the one time Austrian immigrant, from humble beginnings, Mr. Olympia himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Don’t be afraid to fail.” Failure should be your fuel, not your foe. If you fall down you stand back up better, faster, and stronger.

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The first person to ever inspire me to never give up was the greatest champion that ever lived, Michael Jordan. When I was a child, I remember the first time I heard the account of Michael being cut from his high school’s basketball team, I thought it was a lie. In truth, he was cut from that team but Michael Jordan persevered. His Royal Airness wasn’t looking like royalty as he vomited into a bucket on the sidelines during game 5 of the 1997 Finals. Years later, I would contract the flu, only then I was truly able to appreciate the 38 points he scored to win the contest, now infamously known as “The Flu Game”.

The year before that, Michael Jordan’s father was robbed and murdered. MJ came out of retirement to regain the title that same season. Time and time again Michael Jordan persevered. When the Gatorade’s promo “Be like Mike” aired, children and adult alike absolutely wished they could be.

If your end goal is a great task, you must have vision, take action, and persevere. If your “self-helper” is not teaching you those three tools, then try a different outlet. Remember, self-help is just that. So help yourself apply those three parts of the self-help lifehack and find the strength you need. In the end, there will be no mentor, no “life coach”, the end game finale has only one hope for help: You.

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Featured photo credit: The University of Chicago Campaign via campaign.uchicago.edu

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system”.

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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The power of habit

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being six hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The wonderful thing about triggers (reminders)

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to make a reminder works for you

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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