why My Guilty Pleasure is Stressing Me Out

I have a confession to make. I'm addicted to ordering self-help books. Whether it’s a book chronicling an amazing woman’s path or seven tips to succeed faster, you can bet I’m all over it. That it itself wouldn’t be bad. But I counted yesterday and the number of these unread (or half read) books I have scattered around my house is…18!


Downloading e-books, signing up for newsletters, and joining mailing lists isn’t much different. It gives us shiny object syndrome. You know you see it and you’re all, “Ooh I have to have that because it could change my perspective and maybe even my life!”

We start to feel as if we need this information to be successful. This is FOMO at it’s finest.

I know many people with folders of downloads on their computers that they’re waiting to read. The truth is they probably won’t ever feel as inspired to read through these documents as they did when they subscribed to them.

But getting rid of them would feel like defeat.

stack of books
stack of books


You know what this information consumption actually does to us? It makes us feel overwhelmed. We end up feeling bad that we can’t keep up. We keep lists of internet resources we want to re-visit and send articles to Evernote to print out later.

Then the guilt creeps in.

At this point we’re not only stuck with the problem or question we had in the first place - whether that’s how to get organized, how to write a compelling cover letter, or how to reach out to in a networking setting - we’re also feeling pretty crappy for not taking advantage of those things at our fingertips.

How ironic that this is exactly the opposite of how the authors of these resources intend for us to feel?


The truth is, there’s just a lot of stuff out there. People are putting out great content, but a lot of it is general and rooted in opinion.

Here are four simple steps to pull yourself out from the mountain of content and start making action toward your goals:

  1. Work through what you have. Put a moratorium on buying any more books or listening to any more podcasts until you’ve decided to ditch or indulge in what you already own. That might mean unsubscribing to newsletters or unfollowing businesses on Facebook for a while. Whatever it is that you call your guilty pleasure, put it on pause.
  2. Ask yourself what you really want to accomplish right now. This will clarify why you’re seeking advice in the first place. Is it self doubt or are you searching for the answer to something you really don’t already know?
  3. Then ask yourself if a book, article, or webinar will provide specific, actionable solutions to your challenges. Sometimes the advice we hear from other people can sound sexy and appealing when it’s really rooted in theory rather than action. If you’re looking to change something in your life, you don’t need to just understand why you should change it (or hear the pitch to hire someone), you need tailored information on how you can make strides on your own.
  4. If you aren’t getting what you need, find someone who can talk through your unique situation. Often this isn’t friends or spouses. They’re a little to close to whatever is going on in our lives. To get an objective perspective, seek out an online community or meet up group or even expert in that particular field.


For me, hiring a business coach was the best decision I ever made in my business. Yes, it was an investment but she has helped me work through some of my toughest challenges. She’s also pushed me to get out of my own way.

Sometimes it takes another person calling you out on your crappy excuses to ignite change.

Just remember, what’s helpful to someone else might not work for you. And what you need right now could change in the next year. All I’m saying is try to avoid the temptation to overconsume information. There’s the very real change it can bury your goals and your apartment floor in the process.

You got this!