Архив за: март 2015

How Much Do Self-Help Articles Help?

Published by Marty Nemko Ph.D. in How To Do Life

Question mark of books
Almost a year ago, I wrote a PsychologyToday.com article on how to lose weight.
I myself should lose 20 pounds so I decided to use everything I wrote in that article to try to do it. Part of that was to, every day, post my weight in the comments section for that article. I hoped that the pressure of not wanting to fail in front of my readers would motivate me.
I have posted my weight daily for nearly a year – and I haven’t lost any weight despite being someone who is, in almost everything, unusually disciplined. I simply have a predisposition to gain weight – Although I’m 5’11 and exercise vigorously daily, my breakeven point is 1500 calories. So to lose weight, I must be virtually perfect all the time, despite the ravenous appetite that comes from exercising so much.
Obviously, one takeaway is that it’s not enough to know what to do to lose weight. There’s a Grand Canyon of difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it.
A much broader possible implication is to question the value of self-help writing. Advice can be solid but unless the reader is unusually motivated and has the ability/skills, self-help writing won’t achieve its goal: getting the reader to improve.

Published by Marty Nemko Ph.D. in How To Do Life Almost a year ago, I wrote a PsychologyToday.com article on how to lose...

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