How I Use the #LoveBlog for Self-Growth

This was my second year co-hosting the #LoveBlog. Each year I’ve discovered more about myself through the challenge and have expanded on my writing. The prompts are thought-provoking and motivating. I absolutely love reading the other participants points of views on the topics and seeing other perspectives. It is such a growth opportunity! 

Through participating in the #LoveBlog, I expand my ways of thinking and discover new views on the world, relationships and life. I am pushed to spend time for deeper thoughts and self-discovery. I am inspired to make my writing style more personal and connected. And the deadlines organize me to be more disciplined with my time.

Today I wanted to share some of my favorite posts from this year’s link up. I am looking forward to next year’s #LoveBlog!

Some of my favorite Posts from #loveblog2018 Link-Up:

Solitude; Let your toes burrow the sand from Sarah Nderi

Intent vs. Impact: The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions from Belle Brita

What I love about solitude from The Blonde Pond

Balance from Sarah Nderi

When Life is Unbalanced from Belle Brita

The Six Dimensions of Wellness from The Blonde Pond

When Your Self-Care Routine Looks Different from Enduring All Things

Love & Wellness: Secure Yourself Before Assisting Others from Join Me In Transit

Self-Care: Lessons from a Chronic Illness from Belle Brita

7 Guilty Pleasures That I’m (Mostly) Not Ashamed Of from Provocative Joy

Why I Don’t Feel Guilty about the Small Pleasures in Life from Belle Brita

Is Self-Care Selfish from Mrs. Imperfect

Round-Up of My Favorite Posts (That I wrote) in the 2 years of #LoveBlog:

The Truth in the Vulnerability of a Break-Up: A Story of Loss and Finding

10 Awesome Things I Do for Health, Happiness & Balance

Setting Healthy Boundaries: Simple Tips for a Happy Life

10 Signs of a Healthy & Happy Friendship

How Indulging in Your Guilty Pleasures Keeps You Happy

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Looking Back at the Blog in 2017

As crazy as 2017 was it rounded up to be a huge year for me for growth and discovery. I learned a lot about blogging such as better promotions of my posts and my blog, ways to grow my followers and some ways to work towards monetize my blog. I went from having a blog for a hobby to focusing on starting to build a business from it.

Overall Stats from 2017

28,935 blog views

17,848 blog visitors

509 comments on blog posts

Referral Traffic

This was a lesson for me. When you decide you want to get serious about blogging, you’ll find yourself learning how to read your data. I learned a good a bit about where my blog traffic comes from and also several ways to help grow traffic from social channels.

28.5% of my blog traffic came from Pinterest. It did help that I had a pin go viral (Setting Healthy Boundaries:Simple Tips for a Happy Life) but there were other tips and tricks I picked up along the way to help increase traffic from Pinterest. My followers base grew from 192 followers to 901 followers in 2017.

1.) Join Group Boards – this is an awesome place to share your content with like-minded bloggers

2.) Learn how to create Pinnable images. Canva made this pretty easy using templates they had and I learned to create my own over time.

3.) Participate in Pinterest. Don’t just share your content only. Create boards of interest to you and your goals and mix your content posts in with others. This not only creates a better experience for your followers but it also motivates the folks of the pins that your sharing to return the favor.

StumbleUpon brought 14% of the traffic. This was a completely new channel to me. I had heard of it but had never used StumbleUpon until I came across a mention of it in a Blogging Facebook Group. This is an easy to use yet great driver for traffic.

Facebook brought 11% of the traffic to my blog. This I have seen grow over the year and I predict it will continue to grow in 2018. I have developed plans for more activity on my blog Facebook Page – which grew from 174 page likes to 1,701 during the year. My goal for this coming year is to double that and to drive more traffic to my blog from this page.

In October of 2017, I launched my blog Instagram account. This is a unique platform compared to the others lacking the opportunity for clickable links making it not a huge traffic driver however I believe this is a great opportunity to build followers, engagement and loyalty. I was at 146 followers at the end of the year and am looking to triple that in 2018 through engagement challenges such as my monthly art challenges and more behind the scenes posts.

Twitter only accounted for .3% of the traffic to my blog, which surprised me a little so I’ll be diving more into learning about the way Twitter works this year however I did obtain some great relationships through Twitter including sponsored posts opportunities and my Twitter followers grew from 394 to 861 in 2017.

Engaging with My Readers

My email subscribers grew from 19 at the beginning of the year to 181 subscribers. I didn’t put as much focus into this growth in 2017 as I hope to this coming year but I did find that promoting some giveaways was a great way to build your email list. Giveaways are pretty easy and quick and I was able to use Rafflecopter to set up the forms and manage the entries.

I also launched my Facebook Group ‘Journey to a Life You Love‘ which I have to be honest I fell off track a bit with during the year and it didn’t quite grow like I planned but I held on to who I had mostly and have big plans for it this year!

What’s to Come in 2018?

I’m really excited for this year. I spent some time thinking of what worked and what didn’t work in 2017 and how I wanted to proceed. This year I’ll be focusing a lot more on engaging with my followers and build my social media channels. You can look forward to healthy living posts, challenges and just some random thoughts about what’s happening in life. Let’s get happy and healthy and have fun doing it this year!

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How Participating in the 30 Day Blogging Challenge Changed Me

Well I’ve reached the end of the challenge. I didn’t do too shabby…missed some days…but learned a lot in the process.

1.) I burnt out a bit. – I started out the month ahead of the game. I had my editorial calendar all planned out and I had a few posts written ahead of time but I slid and lost control of my time management. I found myself staying up late to write a blog post for the day and eventually it caught up to me. I am looking forward to going back to 3-4 posts a week in November. I love being able to create so much content but with my busy schedule it’s hard to keep up with a daily post.

2.) I diversified my content. – With having so many days to write for back to back, it pushed me to expand my content. I loved that. I found new ways to look at things and to write about. I think this also helped to expand my audience. That’s the benefit of being a lifestyle blogger because life incorporates so many topics.

3.) I learned more about affiliate marketing in this challenge. – A portion of this challenge was affiliate pins on Pinterest. I learned how to create them and how to market them within my Pinterest boards. Through this process I also built the confidence and more knowledge to market more in general, both myself and my affiliates. This will be a larger focus in my November goals.

4.) I learned more about life balance.I was burning out because I gave too much at the beginning. I was working all day at the office and then coming home and sitting in front of the computer more into the night. Sitting in front of a computer that long can suck the life right out of you. I was staying up late to get posts written, I was working in blog sharing into my lunch breaks – I wasn’t taking a break from it. I know I  have to put in the extra time to reach my goals but I still have to keep my work-play balance in line so that I can recharge.

5.) I didn’t beat myself up so much. – Hey I got 22 posts out of 30 up…that’s 73%. That’s like a C right? Okay, so yeah I prefer A’s but I did this while working a high-demanding full time job, working on some paintings for upcoming art shows, spending quality time with my son and my mom and scheduled activities with my friends, started cleaning out my closet, and while starting a fairly involved fitness training program, so heck yeah I’m feeling good about where I landed at the end of the challenge.

Lesson 5 was my biggest take away from this. I can be so hard on myself but I was able to see my progress instead of my pitfalls in this challenge, I was able to accept that even though I was missing a couple of days I came out of this with some great lessons and discoveries.

Through this experience I’ve come up with a little schedule plan to try out in November:

2 Days Blogging – one day to write up posts for the week, one day to build marketing images and schedule

5 days working out per week, 2 rest days – 3 days running, 2 days weight training, 1-2 days yoga practice – this will vary depending on the week with class schedules, also some of those are combined (I know that added up to more than 5 – i.e.: run and do arms kind of thing)

2 Days Class/Labs for Health Coaching Certification

3 Days for activities/relaxing/time with friends and family

My goal is to build a routine that allows flexibility. A schedule that allows me to work towards my goals and to keep me on track but still allows me to live my life while I’m at it and to also put an end to the burn out cycle! 

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5 Easy Ways to Promote your Blog

Ready to get your blog out in front of more people? Here’s five ways that I’ve tried and are true to help grow your audience and increase your blog traffic.

  1. Promote on Social Media
    • Build a Facebook Page to share your content with. By sharing my content consistently I was able to grow my Facebook Page from 174 followers to 1313 followers in less than a year.
    • Don’t be afraid to share some of your work on your personal Facebook Page too.
    • Share on Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon and Instagram. 28% of my blog traffic comes from Pinterest, 17% comes from StumbleUpon, and 13% comes from Facebook. I just started promoting my blog on my Instagram account but I know several other bloggers that have had great success with Instagram.
  2. Join Share Groups – This is a great way to connect with other bloggers and to promote your content. These groups work as a share program – you share their work and they share yours. I have founds some wonderful groups on Facebook and Pinterest.
  3. Guest post on another blog – Building relationships with other bloggers is a wonderful way to expand your following and audience. Partner up with like-minded bloggers and swap guest posts. The key to this is to promote both blog posts (yours and theirs).
  4. Promote your posts through an e-newsletter – This helps build more loyalty with your readers, keeps them coming back. It creates an easy way for your subscribers to connect with your blog and see new posts.
  5. Host a giveaway – Creating a giveaway is a wonderful engagement tip. People love to win stuff. Use this to collect new email subscribers and drive people to your blog and Social Media accounts. I grew my email subscriber list from 19 to 180 subscribers with the help of a giveaway.

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The Meaning Behind My Blog Name

I got into the blogging world several years back when I launched a crafting blog. Then I migrated to a foodie blog, and finally finding my home in launching Do Five Things A Day in 2010. When I started Do Five Things A Day I was going through a bit of a rough patch in life. I was struggling greatly with my Rheumatoid Arthritis on top of other life challenges and found myself many days with a lack of motivation and energy to make it through my day. I started taking a step back and focused on slowing down, taking into consideration that I had more on my plate than I could handle at the time. I developed a plan to focus on tackling just five tasks or goals a day. This is where my blog name came from. The theme I was developing for my blog was to build confidence in the things I did accomplish each day rather than only seeing what I didn’t get done. I wanted to learn to accept myself for where I was in life and build my self esteem up to feel proud of the steps I was taking to move forward, no matter how big or small they were. This was the beginning of a transformation for me and for my blogging career. Over the past seven years I have come and gone to the blogging world through Do Five Things A Day. I have shifted and I have twirled many times in life and in careers as I sifted through learning more about myself and what I wanted out of life. My blogging style and posts have followed suit as I migrated through these changes and discoveries within life and within myself. 

What started as a journey to find myself has bloomed into so much more. I still to this day follow my philosophy of doing five things a day and now most days I find myself doing much more. This blog has taught me to see myself and my life differently. It has taught me to be more forgiving and more compassionate to myself and to accept that there are big days and there are little days but each day I am making progress and each day has meaning. In the beginning I started this blog for myself, for a place to escape. Today it holds a purpose to share my stories to inspire others, to help others accept and grow as I did (and to continue growing). I’ve grown to understand that some days I’ll do five big things but other days I can be happy that I just got out of bed. I’ve learned that each day brings new opportunities and that personal growth and discovery is a life long journey.  

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Why I’m Participating in a 30 Day Blogging Challenge

For October I’m making my mantra “Set goals and don’t let anyone or anything get in the way of reaching them”. I had some great wins in September which is just fueling me for an even bigger month in October. I want to finish up the year with a bang! 

Blogging Wins for September:

Hit 1000 Facebook Page Likes – Woot! Woot! – Actually exceeded my goal by 269 page likes

Hit my halfway mark for my payout minimum with Shareasale

Got an e-newsletter out every week to my subscribers

So this month I’m setting some higher bars for myself. I’ve joined a 30 Days of Blogging Challenge which means my goal is to get a blog post up and live every day – whew, this took some planning and prep but I’m game to make it happen.

Blogging Goals for October:

Hit 5000 views on my blog

Hit 1500 Facebook Page Likes

Get more weekly content up on my blog, and some more variety

Make $100 from blog income lines

Get one paid sponsorship

So down to the gritty with my real time thoughts of why I’m doing the 30 Days of Blogging Challenge

The surface reasons are of course to publish more content, build more traffic and expand my audience on my blog but layered under those there are the deeper goals I hope to bring out of this challenge. I want to use this challenge to not only develop myself more professionally but also on a personal growth level.

Growth Goals in October:

Develop more discipline and consistency in my tasks and schedule

Build better time management skills

Develop more clarity and confidence in my blogging style

Increase my commitment level to my blog and to my goals

Help myself get back on track to my goals and back in good rhythm

So here’s to a big month for me both professionally and personally – cause when you’re focusing and exceeding at something you love to do, everything else has a way of falling into place. 

 

All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive payments for leads/sales. For more information please reference my disclosure page
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I Hit The Pause Button

It’s been such a while since I’ve written, shared, or to be honest even visited my blog. It wasn’t that I was turning my back on all of you or my dreams. I just found myself overwhelmed with all the things going on in my life. I tried hard at the beginning to stick to my routines and to push through the chaos but I kept sliding, feeling like I was in the middle of a meteor shower with all space rocks being hurdled at me. I learned quite a lesson about how self-care can mutate in our lives depending on what’s going on in our lives. At first, I lectured myself and felt guilty for not sticking to my tasks and my daily habits. I felt down and out and so stressed then I started letting things fall off my plate. (I had quite the process of the last few months happen in my mind). I started wondering that if by holding myself so strict to all of my habits and to my task list was hindering my ability to get through this stressful time in my life. I started allowing myself to let go and convincing myself that it was okay and I could come back to all the things I loved and get back on plan again once things calmed down. As good as I like to think I am, my brain just didn’t have the capacity to process all that was running through it. I needed to set some things aside. This was another lesson in my life about self-love and self-care. Giving up didn’t mean I was quitting, in actuality I was just putting some things on pause. The truth is that even if we are practicing amazing daily habits that are getting us closer to our goals, life still can throw some big curve balls at us and sometimes we need to shelf things…and that’s okay! It doesn’t mean we quit on our dreams or abandoned anyone or anything. It just means we are taking the time and space to deal with what’s in front of us at that time. I still have some hectic weeks ahead of me (I am sooooo looking to some slower schedules come fall!!!) but I’m able to see the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter so I’m slowly adding my habits, my tasks, and my goals back to the planner. I am looking forward to getting back to my routines and with a new perspective on life I am excited to go after them in new light! 

~ Much Love ~ 

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How to Keep Control of Your Inbox

I don’t know about you but the amount of emails I get in my inbox on a daily basis can easily swallow up my whole day. There’s an email for everything and from everyone now a days. I have email for the office, I have my personal email, I have my blogging email, we have messages from social media accounts – we are constantly being hit by numerous notes and communication. Keeping your inbox organized and in control will not only help you feel calmer but it will also improve your productivity. 

1.) Create folders – keeping organized folders will help you assign your messages to projects and tasks.

2.) Set up rules – in most email accounts you can set up rules that will send the email directly to the folders you have assigned them to. I find this especially helpful at the office.

3.) Unsubscribe to junk mail – if it isn’t information that is relevant to you don’t allow it to clog up your inbox.

4.) Use programs to manage promotional emails – I use unroll.me. I’ve been using this for a few years and I love it. It collects all of the emails I assigned to it into one place and then I receive one daily email to link to it.

5.) Set designated times to check emails – schedule out email time to allow you to review your emails. I check my emails once in the morning, at lunch, and in the evening. Though this doesn’t work for me for when I’m in the office because our prime communication method is email this is great for my personal and blog email accounts. This keeps me from getting stuck reading email after email and losing track of time.

How To Stay Positive & Full of Passion as a Blogger

” The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”  ~ Socrates

Blogging takes a lot of work, a lot of energy, time, creativity, and focus. It can be wearing but it has such a rewarding end result. I have been blogging for a little over six years now and I have had my ups and my downs. I have learned through trial and error and I have also had more growth in the past few months than I’ve ever expected. I’ve found that the key to my success is to keep my head up, stay positive, and to stay inspired. 

Find what works for you but if blogging is your dream never give up. You will always be learning and growing and that is what makes blogging such a wonderful career, there is always room to grow and more to share! 

Happy Blogging <3

Sunday Reflection

Sunday – a day for relaxation, refreshment, and reflection.

“A Sunday well spent brings a week of content”

zen garden

I find I do most of my reflection on Sundays… It seems the world slows down a little on these days. I usually get to sleep in a little, stay in the dream realm just a little longer which leaves me awakening with a sense of wonder and in thought. No office to rush to on Sunday mornings, nothing to derail my mind. I am in a peaceful moment, it is quiet in the home…gives me the space to think…

If you’ve been following me for some time, then you’ve seen my comes and go’s…I set goals, I plan, I blog and then I get busy and fall away. For awhile I would beat myself up for not sticking to my set routines but as I grow I come to accept my ways some. I have come to accept that even though I wish I could be, I’m not a super hero and I can’t be pulled several ways. I’m not saying that blogging and art and writing are not important to me because they very much are and are a part of who I am but I can only focus on so much at a time and to be quite honest I get very tired sometimes…no excuses, just facing what is. “Failure is nothing more than a chance to revise your strategy”. I won’t say I’ve failed because today I am still farther than I was five years, or even ten years ago. I am merely working out my “strategy”, what works for me. If being the blogger that comes and goes is what works for me now, than that is who I will be, like a mystery – what has she been doing, what is she up to…and I love mysteries. I’ve been out working hard, playing in my free time, and living life…so I shouldn’t beat myself up. I do want to get better at blogging consistently, I just haven’t found what works for me so I’m growing a little slower than other blogs but that’s okay. I am exactly where I need to be, where the universe needs me to be. I look up to the bloggers that do so well at blogging every week or every day, and I read and watch, and continue to learn.

Advice for me from me:  1. Set shorter timelines for my goals – 30 day Challenges don’t stick for me, try 15 days, or even just a week. 2. Be patient with my success, steps forward are still steps forward even if it’s just an inch. 3. Find a way to enjoy all tasks. Fill my schedule with things I love, and if I don’t love it and it’s mandatory – find something happy in that moment. – but make time to do more of what I love, don’t get bogged down with busywork all of the time.

And a last minute blogging thought – stop trying to write the perfect blog post – it just blocks me from writing at all. If I want to share I sketch I drew, share it. If I have a quote to share, share it…and if I have a whole post of thoughts to write then by all means, share it. Be yourself in your blog and your tribe will find you.

*Artwork is a page shared from my art journal.