Most of us have some interest in improving our lives, whether it be through education or experience. Once you complete your formal schooling, continued education usually comes in the form of reading, seminars and/or formal training such as an apprenticeship or “hands-on” workshop. In this post, I will explore self-learning by using free online self-help or self-improvement social media tools.
In the U.S. alone. Self-help materials generally come in the form of infomercials, audiobooks, books, seminars and personal coaches. Since 2005, many online self-help resources have emerged, seeking to take advantage of the Internet as another vehicle to distribute their materials. In addition, a new group of self-help websites have shifted the entire learning mechanism to the Internet utilizing features common to Web 2.0 web sites.
Here are a few free options to help you along with your journey towards self-improvement. You just might end up changing your life.
This site focuses on goal-setting, utilizing a simple approach that starts with your answer to the question: “What do you want to do with your life?“ If you are having trouble answering this question, there is a tag cloud on their homepage that shows what others in the 43Things.com community are wanting to do with their lives. You can find further inspiration in their Zeitgeist section, where you can search and filter results.
Let us say one of your goals is to Read more books. Here is how you would use 43Things.com to help achieve that goal:
- On the home page, in the text box under “What do you want to do with your life?”, enter Read more books.
- At this point, you will see Read more books in your goals list. Click the Save icon underneath the goal.
- Now it’s time to become a member of the site, as you are taken to the login page. Click the Sign up link to begin that process.
- Once you fill out the brief form, you will be taken to your profile page, which will already have the Read more books goal in your list.
- Optionally, you can click the Add a photo link to add some personality to your profile.
- Now go ahead and click the Read more books item. Here you will find entries from other users who have the same goal. Each entry generally offers some advice as to how they achieved the goal along with comments from the community and Cheers (similar to getting a Digg at Digg.com). Along the right side, you will also find interesting data such as: how long that goal takes to complete on average, whether the community thinks the goal is worth achieving and a list of people who have achieved the goal.
- Once you complete the goal, click the I’m done button.
- At this point you can decide to add your own advice on how you achieved that goal.
If you prefer a more direct approach, ToolsToLife.com offers free online self-help “programs” where a virtual coach guides you step-by-step each day of the program. There are five programs currently available: Body Makeover, Get a Job, Optimal Health, Start Living Green and the flagship ToolsToLife program.
I would recommend that you start with the flagship ToolsToLife program which is designed to help you improve your life in general over a period of 90 days. Here is a step-by-step to get you started:
- Register for an account.
- Now you will arrive at a dashboard where you have several options, select the Work on your profile option.
- I suggest you fill out this profile with as much detail as you feel comfortable with. You do not need a public profile to participate; however, if you want to fully take advantage of the community features, this is the first step to doing so.
- Once you have finished updating your profile, click the Programs button on the menu. From there, click the Start Now button next to the ToolsToLife program.
- Here, you will need to sign a commitment contract with yourself designed to motivate you to complete the program.
- Once you have seen the introductory video and text, you will be entered into the Toolbox. This is where you will login each day to complete the 90 day program. The toolbox contains an audio & video component along with exercises, tips & advice, a checklist and a tool room to help track your progress.
Once you get comfortable with participating in a program, you may want to check out the Challenges and Commitments sections. The Challenges section allows you to work towards a goal/challenge with a group of people, while the Commitments section allows you to work on specific goals alone, but with support from the community.
When you want advice about what products and resources can best help you achieve the results required to improve your life, PeopleJam.com is the solution. They have put together a collaborative directory that attempts to help identify the best resources to achieve specific results.
Let’s say you wanted some help with Stress Management. Here is how you would use PeopleJam.com to help you:
- Type Stress Management into the search box.
- On this page you will find a list of many articles relating to that topic. Click on the Stress Management link under Matching topics for Stress management. Alternatively, you could have scrolled down to the All PeopleJam Topics section on the front page and click the Stress Management link there.
- Here is where you find information relevant to Stress Management along with reviews of each piece of information. For example, scroll down to the Popular Videos section and click on one of the results. There, you will find the video, percentage of people who recommended the video and an area to comment.
- Now go back to the Stress Management page and click on one of the items under Top Products & Services. Most products have star ratings as well as written reviews, similar to what you would find at Amazon.com.
Once you are comfortable using the site as a resource and you want to give back to the community, considerand add your own ratings and comments.
Have you used one of these sites to improve your life? Is there another online self-help tool that you would like to recommend? What is the most important area of your life that needs improvement? Please join the conversation in the comments.
Image Credit: Oddsock