Self-help can be a great thing. What could be better than attempting to better yourself and improving your lot in life?

A junkie is someone that does something because it feels good, but that action doesn’t provide any benefit. Self-help junkies fool themselves into thinking that they’re helping themselves, but in reality, they’re just absorbing new information. They never actually put any of it into practice.

See if these 8 clues peg you as a self-help junkie:

1. You have a library of self-help materials that would amaze your friends. Many people enjoy reading self-help books, blogs and attending seminars, but have you applied what you’ve learned?

* A useful tactic is to spend 8 hours applying for every 1 hour you gather new information.

2. You’re constantly improving the little things but avoiding the larger issues. Are you obsessed with improving some smaller facet of your life, but avoiding working on the areas that could really make a difference? For example, are you obsessed with increasing your reading speed, yet you consistently find that you can’t pay your bills on time?

* Dealing with the bigger items in your life can make a huge difference. The smaller things are really just distractions to avoid those bigger items.

3. Any self-help topic will do – even topics that aren’t relevant to your life. Do you sleep great, but read about how to sleep even better? Would you read an article about how to have more self-confidence if you were already brimming with that quality?

4. Are you always certain that you just need one more book or program to put you over the top? Many self-help junkies are convinced that they’re just inches from incredible success, and they only lack that final piece of the puzzle.

* You already know enough to get started. It’s time to begin putting your knowledge into practice.

5. Self-help is a pastime for you. Using leisure time to digest self-help materials is certainly acceptable, but do you use it just as a filler activity? Do you really intend to implement the information in a useful way?

6. You use self-help as a tool of avoidance. Are you using self-help materials as a way of fooling yourself into thinking that you’re making progress? Do you use your time on self-help information to avoid dealing with the challenges in your life?

* Reading is not the same as doing. Just like reading about pushups isn’t the same as doing 50 of them every day.

* You’ll feel better if you face your challenges head on. Focus on seeking solutions and taking steps to try out those solutions.

7. You like to talk about self-help without acting on it. Do you enjoy discussing self-help with friends? Perhaps you like to comment on self-help forums. Maybe you even interact with some self-help authors from time to time. This is the same issue as reading but not applying.

8. You use self-help as a distraction or a way of making yourself feel better, temporarily. Some people get a high from reading self-help information. It can be uplifting to read about the success of others or to imagine your own success.

* Achieving success yourself would be even more uplifting.

Don’t let your information gathering fool you into thinking that you’re doing something to improve your life. The gathering of information is just the first step. You must apply the information to get anything out of it.

A great tip is to ask yourself at the end of each day, “If I lived this same day over and over, where would I end up in 5 years?” That’s the best way to know if you really had a productive day.