Obvious Advice Is (Not Always) Obvious

Some advice is ace. You know it’s going to change your life for the better. Even if the change saves you one second a day, or helps you do an easy task easier still, you know you’re onto a winner.

Some advice is awful. It goes against everything you want, everything you know, and everything you feel. You don’t care if it works for some people, it won’t work for you.

photo by dvs

photo by dvs (CC BY 2.0)

And some advice is obvious. You struggle to see how you can benefit from something the whole world should be doing.

At that point, you realise that a lot of obvious advice may be coming at you loud and clear, but that doesn’t mean you take it up and action it.

Be honest with yourself. You’re told to have five or more fruit and vegetables a day. It’s not a mystery, but do you follow the advice?

You’re constantly reminded to exercise every day. Just a brisk walk or a short workout to start your day. How often do you do this?

Tutors tell you to start working on your assignments straight away. Don’t wait until the last minute. Despite this, have you got another all-nighter on the way?

For all the quick fixes and life hacks that give us a warm and fuzzy feeling, there is a bunch of clear and actionable advice that falls by the wayside. You’ve heard it all before, but you’re resistant to such a change.

The first step is to ask yourself why you find it so hard to alter your ways. What stops you from making a positive move toward a potentially huge change in your behaviour?

For some, the goal isn’t being broken down to manageable chunks. For others, there isn’t enough commitment in whatever is trying to be sorted in the first place. To make any change, you need good reason, clear goals, and some sense of enthusiasm. That boost of energy can come from what happens AFTER you’ve dealt with the not so awesome stuff. No matter, you need to find a way through that you’ll actually adhere to. Any less than that and you’ll hit a brick wall.

The biggest changes in life are rarely the result of a magic bullet. However hard you look for an easy solution to a big problem, you’re unlikely to find it.

The essay won’t write itself (cheating isn’t a magic bullet, it’s cheating). The exercise can’t be delegated to someone else. You’re responsible for managing your life as a whole and any little hacks are a nice bonus, not a suitable alternative to effort.

When you next hear obvious advice, don’t dismiss it straight away. Before you discount it, make sure you’re using that advice or have an even better approach to hand. If you know it, but don’t do it, obvious advice isn’t quite as obvious as you first think.