Books that focus on self-help and personal development can offer a really interesting view into the way other people both see and treat the world. It can provide you with a new understanding of problem solving that you might not have considered before.

Sometimes, just flicking through them is enough. Experiencing a new perspective might be all you want from it.

But if you’re reading self-help books because there are actual changes you want to make in your life, then you’re not going to make the most of it by just flicking through it on the bus.

If you want it to make a difference, then you need to take it seriously.

BE PREPARED TO COMMIT TO CHANGE

Don’t even bother thinking about a self-help book if you’re not fully prepared to follow through with the decisions you make. Without the willpower within you, you won’t take anything of value from whatever you read. You’ll waste your time and your money and you’ll only disappoint yourself. You have to commit to your decision before you begin, or there’s no point.

FIND ONE THAT MATCHES YOUR AIMS

There are a lot of different self-help books aimed at a lot of different kinds of people. Obviously, don’t pick up a book about being successful romantically if you want to be healthier or more productive. But also, think about the kind of person that your book is aimed at. There’s no point getting one that has a religious aspect if you don’t believe in God, for instance. Think about what makes sense to you and what feels like you will be able to incorporate it into your life.

VERIFY THE WRITER’S CLAIMS

There are a lot of people who think they have the answers. And maybe they do. But it won’t be relevant if your questions are entirely different from theirs. If there are already reviews, find out what other people have to say. Are there people in similar positions to yours who have found this book helpful? Does the writer have a good reputation for helping people with their advice? The self-help book genre is very over-saturated with people trying to make quick and easy money hoping that people will pay for bad advice with a catchy title.

PLAN HOW YOU WANT TO IMPLEMENT IT INTO YOUR LIFE

Think critically about the advice you are being offered. Think about how it applies to your specific situation. Think about how you can use it to make simple changes in your life that will have the ultimate effect of propelling you towards your goals. Lay out a schedule for yourself, a list of aims based on what you’ve learned that will take you step by step from where you are now to where you want to be.

COME BACK TO IT

It’s really easy to be motivated the moment you put the book down. It’s all there in your head and you’re ready to get right to it. But that feeling doesn’t last. If you’ going to really follow through with this, it needs to. As well as setting yourself milestones to reach, plan time to go back over the book itself. Check that you’re on the right track, that the lessons really are still working for you, and remind yourself what about this advice made you want to follow it.

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.

Author Bio – Kirstie Summers is journalist whose day job takes her to all the most interesting places and events in South London. She also freelances for a number of sites and publications, from gaming and literature reviews to creative fiction. She lives in London and spends as much of her free time as possible making the most of being in such a diverse city. She keeps one day a week to herself to swim, relax and keep the stress of the world at bay.

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