The first step to recovery is admission. I admit it. I’m a self-improvement junkie.

Every day, webinar offers bombard my inbox with promises of a lucrative career as a speaker. Or to get my yet-to-be-written book on the New York Times bestseller list. Or to get me 1,000 “true fans” (that one just came in).

Are you a self-improvement junkie?

Some are silly in their promises. Others, much more practical. Yet, more often than I care to admit, when they come my way, I’m tempted.

I’ve purchased my share of these programs succumbing to their time-sensitive offers. Most follow the same formula. Build up interest before a “registration period” opens. Then limit access and offer bonuses to entice along the way.

How do I know this? I bought that product launch program that explains this formula, too.

It’s not that these programs are bad—far from it. Many are excellent and have helped many people achieve their dreams.

My problem with them? I’m like the guy going down the grocery aisle, loading my cart with all the cereal boxes that look delicious. (And I don’t often eat breakfast.) So, all those self-improvement programs, like unopened cereal boxes, sit there taking mental shelf space. Some even expiring before I open them.

I know I’m not the only one with this problem. (Like most junkies, I hope I’m not, anyway.) So, I’ll share with you the list of questions I now ask myself before I hit the “buy” button:

  1. Will this program help me develop a core skill that I need for an important goal I’m presently pursuing?
  2. Will it help me develop a skill that I can’t outsource to someone else?
  3. Can I seriously (no, I mean seriously) commit the time to the program to get the most out of it?
  4. Will it keep me longer than I want to stay?

Those questions are my safeguard. They keep me from buying a program I might want, but would feel guilty when it languishes on the shelf.

My dad used to say to me, “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach.” Now I know he wasn’t just talking about cereal.

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