A life free of online advice columns … in three easy steps

Another one hooked me. An online advice column with some kind of headline about the secrets to waking up early so you have time to exercise or drink coffee or read more advice columns.

I’ve fallen into a running rut — an erratic exercise schedule ever since my marathon in October. It’s as if my body said, “Yo man, we’ve run enough miles for the entire year. Let’s just kick back, eat cheeseburgers and get to know the next notch on our belt!”


And once you’re out of your exercise routine, it’s murder getting it back. I thought the secret to running more regularly was returning to a morning schedule. But first I would have to conquer my addiction to hitting the snooze button 72 times each morning. I hit the snooze button so many times I’ve developed a callus on my palm, and I think I’ve dislocated my wrist.

That’s when I saw it! The online post promising me I could wake up early if I did this one thing.

I eagerly clicked on it, ready for this heap of mind-blowing, transformative knowledge that would change my life FOREVER! (I wondered if I needed a seat belt and a neck brace to protect me from the revelation.)

Because that’s what advice columns do, right? They make big promises about how a couple of ridiculously easy steps will change everything about our lives and make us better people. Only, more often than not, we find out we’ve been bamboozled and that the advice is so obvious, my 11-year-old daughter could have come up with it.

Want to get up earlier? Try going to bed earlier, the article said.

Thank you, stupid advice column! Hadn’t thought about that one. If you were really smart, you would realize I CAN’T go to bed earlier because I’m binge watching a series on Netflix and have another 32 episodes to get through. Why don’t you stop giving out worthless advice and actually pay attention to my problems … LIKE HOW I’M ON THE NEXT STINKING BELT NOTCH!!!

I’m sorry, I get a little out of control without enough sleep. But I hate feeling scammed by advice columns. Like when I see one that promises it will help me retire early by following three easy money saving tips. When I click on it, I realize I’m already doing them, yet nowhere near to sitting on a beach in Tahiti while laughing at the rest of the world for not reading more advice columns.

Why didn’t it work?!?

So, I’m giving them all up. Not clicking on anything that promises me a stress-free life by accepting “mindfulness.” Avoiding anything that claims I can get six-pack abs with four easy exercises done on the couch. And certainly skipping any article that promises it has the secret to breaking snooze button addiction, no matter how many steps. (Unless, of course, it’s only two. Because, who knows? Maybe that one will do the trick!)

Also published on Medium.

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