If you aren’t where you want to be, you need to take action towards your goals. And I’m sorry to tell you, but reading self-help books and watching inspiring content is not taking action.
Here’s the thing: goal achievement is just like climbing a mountain. There are only 1-3 things you truly need to be doing each day in order to get closer to your goal. When you wake up and make that call or hit that workout, you take a step towards the summit of that mountain you are climbing. It doesn’t matter if “taking action” for you means you only take one step each day. Progress is progress.
Reading or watching personal development content, on the other hand, is you circling the mountain. It’s a lateral move, not a step forward. You’re not getting closer to your goals by reading instead of taking action on them.
6 Things You Should Do Instead of Reading Another Self-Help Book in 2017
The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.
– Walt Disney
Chronically reading self-help books is you trying to find the perfect entry point to the trail that will take you to the top. It’s mapping out the route you believe no one else has taken so you’ll get to the top faster. But it’s also you delaying taking action. Self-help books can be useful, in that it’s not uncommon that a self-help book will help you get to the summit faster once you start climbing. You might generate motivation or learn a strategy that will help you along the way to the summit from reading a self-help book.
But you won’t get any closer to the top until you start climbing, AKA, doing the work that actually matters.
Here’s a challenge for you. Below you’ll find six action steps in the most common areas where people set their life goals. Every action step offered is something you can do right now. Spend another minute reading this article, and then close your phone or computer and get to work.
1. Go make three phone calls to the right people
Your goal is to grow your business?
Cold calls are only boring when you don’t truly have a way of bringing value to the person on the other end of the line. Get excited at the prospect of striking gold, and meeting someone that can take your business to the next level.
2. Ask your supervisor or boss to schedule a meeting
You’d like to be further along in your career?
Call or send an email to your supervisor right now. Schedule a time to meet with them as soon as possible. Make your boss aware of your goals, and ask if there are any opportunities within the company that are aligned with your vision for the future. What do you have to do or what could you be doing to move yourself along?
Career opportunities are a great reminder that whatever you want is never too far away. It’s often the people willing to go out on a limb and be seen that get ahead. Most people are too afraid to hold themselves accountable, instead choosing to martyr themselves towards the service of others.
3. Go for a walk and schedule your next three days of healthy habits while you do it
You need to improve your health?
Go outside and walk for thirty minutes. Bring your phone. If you aren’t a member of a gym, or haven’t signed up to take that class you like in a while, that’s your goal by the end of the walk. Sign up and put it in your schedule. Call a personal trainer. If you’re already a member of a gym, pick the next three days you’re going to work out.
The weather is too bad to go outside for a walk? Go cook a healthy meal and make enough so that there are leftovers for the next three days. No excuses.
4. Budget your money — right now
Your finances are a wreck?
Get a sheet of paper and write out your budget. Money will control you if you choose not to control it yourself. When you know where your money is going, you are in control. See where you can cut costs, and make it happen right now.
5. Lead by example and tell others how you feel
The people in your life haven’t heard from you in a while?
Go tell someone in your family you love them. Be someone that leads others. There are enough people in the world who always expect to receive without giving back. Don’t be one of them.
6. If time permits, read a self-help book
Guess what, you can read another self-help book in 2017. You’re free to watch inspiring content. Just don’t make it the only thing you do. Whatever you do, don’t replace it with the things that truly matter in moving you closer to your goal.
This is at the bottom of the list for a reason. There is a ton of work to do before you sit down and read. Once you’ve reached your goal for the day and done the things that matter, read away. Watch videos that inspire you. Discover a new angle from learning about someone else’s journey, so that you can use it when you’re in the trenches tomorrow.
If you want to grow, quit talking and start doing
Remember: personal development upgrades you — but without the skills and hours spent acquiring the first-hand knowledge you’ll need to succeed, you only become more conversational at your current skill level, whether it relates to your business, health, or any other area of life.
Without spending time in the trenches, all you’ll ever do is be able to talk. Now more than ever, the world is full of people talking. Very few of us are choosing to actually do.
The important thing to remember is that reading self-help books should be a reward for doing the work, never a replacement for the work that must be done. Follow that, and you’ll be successful.