We have all been there. It starts with a bored feeling. You decide to stop whatever you’re doing and start ‘surfing’ the internet. Amidst the plethora of cat videos, duck mouths and selfie shots, there will be this one article.
This one article generally comes with an impressive headline (9 things all successful people did before they turned 20, How I gained 1000000 followers in 2 days, 100 books you must read because I say so, etc. etc.). There’s this photo of a dashing model with a confident smile.
And despite all your misgivings, you will be unable to help yourself. You will open the article. And hence starts, what I call the 8 stages of self-help.
- Fast scanning : What exactly is the author promising? Is it more money, lesser work hours, more friends? This is the swipe left or right moment. Either you need what the author promises or you don’t have as much as he things you should. Most people go through this stage unconsciously and figuratively speaking, swipe right.
- Attentive Reading : Mostly, though not generally this is the most time consuming part. You go through each point. You agree with the authors judgement and his experience. You read on.
- Reflection : You’ve just finished reading the article, you feel like you’ve found the solution to your problems. No breakfast tomorrow onwards. Early morning jogging and 10 pomodoros daily. Life seems chill.
- Planning : The most energetic phase of the cycle. You ‘visualize’ yourself following through with the habbit, you ‘visualize’ the outcomes and you gloat in anticipation of the fame to follow.
- Baby steps : Depending on you this is either the first strong step or the last one. Few of us manage to perform the habit for a day or two. Most give up after the first few seconds. The author’s words and promises are fresh in our minds and life seems to be moving for real.
- Interruption ( a.k.a the Death knell) : It’s the third day of your intermittent diet. It’s also the weekend. You pack your bags and leave for that trip. People all around are chilling and partying. You give in. You’ve done 20 pomodoros over the last three days. Today you feel like going ‘slow’. You decide to work without the clock.
- Next-time-promise : After the interruption, you just don’t feel like continuing with the habit. Chilling just seems too tempting, old habits seem like old friends and you don’t leave old friends do you? Thus, you stop and promise yourself. Next time.
- Boredom : And so the cycle repeats.