body brain alliance visualization

3 Common Self-Help Mistakes

In the era of Instagram and TikTok, the increasing number of creators discussing personal development, there is a wealth of advice circulating in this space. 

It’s inspiring to witness the growing interest in leading intentional and fulfilling lives, as well as the education being shared among individuals. 

However, as a mindset and health behavior change expert with a PhD, I want to shed light on certain misconceptions that may hinder the effectiveness of these popular self-help tips. 

While these tips are rooted in science and seem correct on the surface, there are specific errors in their explanation that might cause them to fall short for thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people. 

In this blog, you’ll learn about three of the most common mistakes I see people make when following online self-help advice. By understanding these errors, you can optimize your personal development journey.


Let’s get started! 

Mistake 1: Visualization without Embracing Obstacles 


One prevalent piece of advice out there is to visualize your day or imagine yourself achieving success. Even I have advocated for visualizing a productive day the night before. 



While visualization has scientific backing, it often misses a vital aspect—accounting for obstacles. 



Let’s put this into context. When visualizing, it’s common to picture waking up with boundless energy, going through the day effortlessly, and achieving everything on the to-do list. 


However, this type of visualization fails to prepare you for the actual obstacles that are likely to arise for you the next day. 


Instead, consider visualizing scenarios where you encounter resistance, such as struggling to leave the cozy bed, but ultimately finding the strength to overcome it. 


By incorporating obstacles into your visualization practice, you enhance your resilience and preparedness, making it easier to navigate real-life challenges.


Mistake 2: Idealizing Your Future Self without Action 

The notion of envisioning your future self is frequently discussed in online platforms, and it holds tremendous value. 


The mistake I don’t want you to make is I don’t want you to do all this work to visualize your future self if you are not strategically and intentionally isolating actions that are helping you embody your future self right now. 


One of the cornerstones of our Body Brain Alliance coaching program is that at the beginning of the program, every person meets individually with their coach and they do a future self mapping session. 


So what they actually do is they identify 4 habits their future self has, and four qualities their future self embodies on a daily basis. They start doing those things immediately when they enter the program. 


And because they’re acting as their future self, they start thinking as their future self. They make different decisions. What results from different decisions? Change, my friend. Change happens! 


We are currently in the process of coming up with a completely free mini course that is going to walk you through the exact process that we use with our clients at the beginning of our program. Click here to join the waitlist for it. 


When you’re visualizing your future self, it’s also crucial to avoid unrealistic expectations. Many people imagine a flawless version of themselves, free from frustration, sadness, or obstacles. 


Yet, this idealized perception can have adverse effects. Instead, strive to visualize a more authentic and realistic future self—one who encounters challenges but possesses the qualities and behaviors to overcome them. 

It is essential to identify the habits and qualities your future self embodies and intentionally cultivate them in your present reality. 


Scientific research demonstrates that when future self visualizations are coupled with concrete actions and habits, they have a profound impact on personal growth. 


By strategically focusing on behaviors aligned with your future self, you create a pathway for meaningful change.


Mistake 3: Neglecting the Power of the Bare Minimum 


Practicing Bare Minimums like, “I’ll just run for two minutes” or “I’ll just do one exercise” is a valuable technique for overcoming resistance and initiating action. 


However, many individuals fail to allow themselves to fully embrace the concept of the bare minimum. For instance, my personal bare minimum is driving to the gym and entering the premises. If, after completing this bare minimum, I still feel tired, fatigued, or resistant, I give myself permission to sit in the hot tub or even go back home. 


However, if I feel motivated, I proceed with my workout. 


The mistake lies in never actually enacting the bare minimum. By consistently disregarding this option, you erode the trust between your conscious and subconscious mind. 


Over time, your brain begins to perceive the bare minimum as an illusion, diminishing its effectiveness. To maintain a healthy relationship with yourself, challenge yourself occasionally to stop after completing the bare minimum. 


This reinforces the validity and effectiveness of this approach and strengthens the trust within your mind. Embrace the power of the bare minimum while occasionally honoring its completion.




As online self-help tips continue to gain popularity, it’s crucial to approach them with discernment. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can optimize the effectiveness of the self-help techniques you encounter. 


Remember to visualize while embracing obstacles, envision a realistic future self while taking action today, and honor the power of the bare minimum approach. 


These adjustments, rooted in scientific principles, will empower you to make substantial progress on your personal development journey. 

If you found this blog insightful, I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments section below. 


Additionally, consider subscribing to our email community to stay updated on future blogs and join our Change Academy membership for a deeper understanding of evidence-based change psychology. It’s only $35/month. 


Together, we can refine our self-help practices and unlock our fullest potential.




⭐️ 1:1 Help + Accountability (Alliance Coaching) 

📚 Monthly Workshop + Education (Change Academy) 



🗺 FREE Future Self-Mapping Mini-Course

📧 Get weekly behavior change tips, delivered to your inbox. 


BODY BRAIN ALLIANCE: Compassion-First Change Education

📮 Subscribe on YouTube

💻 Read more on the Blog

🎙 Listen to the Podcast 

📲 Follow Body Brain Alliance on Instagram

🎓 Follow Karin on Instagram

🌐 Website: https://bodybrainalliance.com/

Share this >

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hi, I'm Karin

I’m a funfetti flavor super-fan, a loving dog mom, a PhD expert in mindset and behavior change… and I’m here to help make personal development and transformation a process that’s actually fun.


Get behavior
change tips