If you are serious about self help, you will have to develop a management approach to your personal development that you can turn to in times of need. Self help is not just about an occasional book or a brief visit to a group. Self help is about ongoing practices and long term devotion to certain principles that will eventually transform you into a better person. For this you will need a long term management policy or procedure to help you mark your progress and outline your plan of action.
A management procedure often involves organizers, calendars, journals etc. These can all be used together to plan out your goals and practical efforts as you set out to improve yourself. Typically, people who are setting out to improve themselves do not have a very good relationship with themselves and can not always trust themselves to follow through on their goals. Just how bad are you at following through? This will be the first question you need to answer before you can make a serious plan for yourself. In fact, answering the question of how well you can trust yourself to follow through may be the central issue of your whole spiritual path.
Let's look at an example. You have a goal to lose a certain amount of weight but you know that every time you have tried this in the past, you have failed. A good self help management procedure will outline daily goals that are actually reachable. You should be able to honestly ask yourself "What is the best eating behavior I have ever exhibited?" Then, after honestly answering this question, you should set a weekly goal to try and achieve something slightly lower than this ideal behavior that you exhibited in the past. Do not shoot for everything right away! You are trying to establish an honest relationship with yourself and this requires setting some reasonable goals first and accomplishing them. This will also involve the use of a calendar and an organizer to show exactly what you plan to do each day and how you plan to mark it off as you complete it. This calendar and organizer will become your "bible" of self help and, as you accomplish more and more, you will develop a relationship with this bible that will eventually become quite sacred!
Self help management is more than just writing things down and keeping track of them. It is keeping track of your SELF! Watching yourself each day and developing a relationship with yourself wherein you can trust yourself to accomplish certain things is the foundation of good character. Along with the help of a coach, you can begin to develop this relationship with yourself and grow into the person you have always wanted to be. Success and failure are all part of the program but the most important thing is to keep a constant watch on yourself and get to know where your strengths and weaknesses are. Very few people actually know themselves or can honestly say what their abilities are. They imagine themselves to be capable of everything under the sun but they have never really kept track of their progress and set up a procedure for self help management. If you follow through with such a procedure, you will be amazed at the new dimensions that begin to open up in your life.
Getting started on a real plan for self help can be a great adventure. There is no need to wait for tomorrow. The pen and the paper are right there so pick them up and get started!