This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Balance. All opinions are my own.
I checked last week, the first post on this blog was June 2008, which means this June that this space will be 9 years old. NINE YEARS! How in the world has time flown by like that? Over the years I’ve enjoyed interacting with my readers. I love it when they “stop by” say “hello”, leave a kind comment or ask a question. Over the years those questions have morphed from “how did you put in that zipper”, to “how do you run a blog?” or
-how did you learn to do all of this stuff? (Google, if I don’t know how to do something I just figure it out)
-do you ever get burned out? (a few times a year)
-do you get discouraged? (yes, almost daily)
-do you ever run out of ideas (sometimes, when I have a specific project that I need to come up with an idea for)
Recently I had a conversation with someone that made me realized just how much I’ve learned in the past 9 years of doing this. It’s grown from a creative outlet and a way to connect with like-minded souls, to a full time job and business. It didn’t get there without a lot of hard work, and I still have a long way to go, but I thought I’d take some time today to share with you 5 things that have helped me tremendously over the years. I’m grateful that this project has given me a reason to chat with you guys about some of this “blog stuff”.
1- Rest don’t quit
I think this is the BEST advice that I’ve been given over the past few years. It applies not only to blogging but also to life. I’ve been struggling the last few years with some health issues. I have Sjogrens disease, I don’t talk about it much mostly because I can’t figure out how to bring it up without sounding like I’m whining… but it’s been kicking my butt the last few years. It’s an auto immune disease that’s related to lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Some days I feel like I want to take on the world (and rearrange my entire house) and somedays the call of Netflix and my couch is all too tempting.
I’ve wondered over the past few years if I had the physical stamina to keep up with everything. The blog, my family, church responsibilities, household etc… I’ve also wondered why in the world I’ve at times, given myself so much “to do”.
Then I heard that saying. Rest. Don’t Quit.
To me it means, not to give up on something because of a temporary setback. Ask yourself do you need to quit? Or do you just need a rest? I’ve found at times in my life that yes, I needed to quit something, but most of the time what I really needed was a rest.
If you’re working hard and wondering if you’re not getting anywhere, or not sure if you want to keep blogging, ask yourself, am I making a permanent decision based on a temporary feeling?
Anytime this happens to me, I take a few days off, then feel myself “itching” to get back to work.
2- Celebrate your accomplishments
A few years ago I had a book published. It was a BIG deal to me, did you know that you get a certificate from the Library of Congress when you publish a book? It was one of my dreams and it was A LOT of work. The day that my book came in the mail and I saw it for the first time, I sat down, leafed thru it then went and made dinner. Now I look back and wonder for the life of me WHY we didn’t go to dinner that night? There was no celebrating at all and there should have been. I think I was just afraid that everyone would think I’m “showing off”. I even remember feeling shy showing the finished book to members of my family — WHY??
I think sometimes as women we are taught to hide or lessen our accomplishments, it’s the “modest” thing to do for lack of a better term. While I don’t think you should go around chatting about how wonderful you are all the time to everyone, you do need to recognize and CELEBRATE when you accomplish something! It IS a big deal. Now when big things happen with my business, I celebrate them. We go to dinner, we go out with friends. Sometimes I even go shopping (gasp!).
I think this is particularly important in business. When you celebrate your accomplishments you are more likely to bounce back quickly when the disappointments come your way, (and trust me, if you run a blog, there will be disappointment)
3- Prioritize your Health
I mentioned before that I’ve been struggling with an auto immune disease. One of the things that helped me with the symptoms was regular exercise. Last May I got very busy with the blog (new fabric lines, quit market prep etc.) and gradually stopped exercising. I started out 2017 totally out of balance. I felt sluggish and un-healthy, and I could tell it was affecting me, I’ve had the flu and 2 bad colds since Christmas. I was not taking care of myself. I knew I wasn’t, but honestly it’s hard to get back on the horse.
I’ve also had not been eating well. I’m not one to skip a meal, but I have been known to “forget” to eat lunch if I’m really busy on a project. Then I end up crazy hungry and eat too much for dinner. I’ve found that for me, it’s best to PLAN a snack into my day. I have one mid-morning and one late afternoon. If I do that then I’m more likely to make a good meal choice for dinner. So far some of my favorite snacks are rice cakes with a bit of natural peanut butter, almonds and a bit of cheese, or a snack bar.
I’ve also recently discovered Balance bars. I’ve tried a few different varieties, but so far my absolute favorite is the Cookie Dough flavor. I like that they have an ideal balance of great taste and energizing ingredients, which helps to keep me full through dinner. The Original flavors also have 13-15 grams of protein per bar, depending on the flavor. As a part of my “get back into shape” efforts this year I’ve been consciously trying to consume more protein.
Someone told me once that when you’re faced with a series of tasks that you are dreading to do the hardest one first. We psych ourselves out and don’t want to start because of that looming “hard part”. If you start with the hard part first, the rest of the project is a breeze and you’re not dreading finishing. Most people leave the hard part for the end, which is why we end up with so many unfinished projects.
Blogging and building a business is hard work. You need to be prepared to put in long hours. The more you put into it the more you’ll get out of it. This for me, not only includes time spent blogging and designing projects, it also applies to building my skills. I’ve taken photography classes, read business books, learned many software programs (I’m looking at you Adobe Illustrator) listened to podcasts, and reached out for help when needed. All of that took work and time. There is no quick way around any of it.
Most success in blogging/social media is slow and steady. I think that we think it should be meteoric. We all know someone who just started and took off like a flash, all the while we were sitting here chugging away and wondering what we did wrong. Those meteoric rises are the exception not the rule. Most bloggers that I know, will tell you that their success is due to consistent hard work, with a bit of luck thrown in at times. If you’re in for the long haul, it’s a marathon not a sprint.
5- Reward yourself
Along with celebrating your accomplishments I think it’s important to find small ways to reward yourself. Simple things that make a big impact. They don’t have to be expensive or fancy, just something that is to you a reward. We each have something different that we view as a reward. When my twins were babies, once a week I’d “reward” myself with a trip to the drive thru. I’d eat lunch in the car with the kids because they were SO GOOD when they were in their car seats. It was an hour of peace (and French fries!) It was a simple thing, and it got me through those hard years with twin babies.
Now, I spend my whole life in the car, and lunch at the drive thru is at times more a necessity and not a “treat”. I’ve changed the things that I do to reward myself. After I’ve finished a big project, I’ll let myself binge a few shows when the kids are at school (yeah, don’t tell them, they think I work a million hours every day). I’ll also treat myself to a new pair of shoes or cute top once and a while.
I’ve had a Birchbox subscription for 2 years now. My husband actually gave it to me as a gift. Each month I look forward to it arriving, a small “treat” just for me. It’s filled with fun samples that I have a good time trying out each month.
I don’t know if that’s what you were expecting when I said blogging tips, but those 5 things have really helped me MORE than any biz class on building a giant Pinterest following or, tips on managing Facebook. All that stuff comes and goes, and changes (I mean Pinterest didn’t even exist when I started blogging) all the time. That’s why I think it’s important to focus on YOU and the way you look at your blog and business.
To help you out, I’ve created a FREE PRINTABLE of the “Rest, don’t quit” quote. It comes in two sizes. I ran mine thru my foil machine to add a bit of gold foil. There is a black version for that. I’ve also created a watercolor version, if you don’t want to mess with the foil. It looks really good when printed on textured cardstock.
Print one out, and hang it up in your office as a reminder to yourself. To download them for free, just CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE DOWNLOADS PAGE.
If you’re interested in checking out Balance Bars or Birchbox then you should know that:
- Balance is treating their fans with a limited-time on-pack promotion for a chance to win a yearlong subscription to Birchbox!
- Beginning in February, Balance packaging will feature a “golden ticket” with a unique code to enter online at Balance.com/BirchboxWinner for a chance to win.
- Twenty lucky fans will win the year-long subscription to Birchbox.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The Nature’s Bounty Company. The opinions and text are all mine.