Time is a funny thing. When you’re living through it, time can often seem to pass by slowly. But when you take a step back and think of all that has passed you find yourself wondering where time went! This year was full of firsts, milestones, and growth for me. To be at the end of the year now looking back, it’s a surreal feeling.
Along with huge milestones, this year also marks 1 year since I’ve started this blog. When I think back to my earlier blogging days, it is evident that I’ve grown immensely as an individual. Whether you’re looking to start your own blog, venture out into a new hobby, or pursue a new passion – there are 3 valuable lessons I’ve learned this year that I think can also help you realize your true potential.
Sit back, reflect, pop that bubbly and let’s reflect on this year together as we look forward to this next year.
Lesson #1 - It's not a race
One of the hardest things for me to get over when I started this blog, was the constant comparing myself to other, more established bloggers. When I first got started, I wanted to run before I learned to walk.
While being eager is not necessarily a bad thing, it can be harmful when you do not learn to separate other’s success from yours.
What I mean by this is, you cannot measure your success against another person. Everyone is at their own stage in life, facing their own challenges. This goes for ANYTHING – job, family, home, fitness – ANYTHING! Just because Susie can run a mile in 7 minutes, doesn’t negate the fact that you still got out there and ran your mile at your pace. Your success belongs to you, own that.
Easier said than done, right? Well here are some ways I got over the struggle of measuring my success by what I saw others doing…
Set realistic benchmark goals for yourself. Want to work towards running a marathon, but you’re not a seasoned runner? No problem. Start small, and set a goal for the week. Don’t bite off more than you can chew and don’t compare yourself to the runner who has done 3 marathons.
For myself, some realistic goals I set were getting 1-2 partnerships each quarter. Rather than agreeing to every opportunity that presented itself and then doing a lackluster job because I was so overwhelmed, I set a goal to find 1-2 partnerships each quarter that I could proudly stand behind and write about.
Celebrate your wins…no really, celebrate! This is something I still struggle with today. I was the kid in school who turned bright red when the class sang ‘Happy Birthday,’ to me. I was also the kid who would bring home straight A’s and be embarrassed to tell my parents. I, to this day have trouble celebrating myself. I think this is something a lot of women struggle with. If we celebrate our wins, we worry that it might come off boastful, or arrogant. It’s a vicious cycle that leaves many of us feeling less than, when we are more than enough.
When I would hit a benchmark goal, I would make it a point to tell someone…proudly tell someone. Just saying your accomplishment out loud sometimes puts it into perspective. Another way to celebrate yourself is giving yourself a reward. Set your goal, and if you hit that goal, treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure, go to lunch at your favorite spot, or buy yourself something new.
Lesson #2 - If it brings you joy, make time for it
Isn’t it crazy how oftentimes, the things we enjoy doing most are the first to hit the chopping block when our schedules get too full? Say you enjoy reading. Well, I can take a good guess that if your work schedule and other commitments creep up, the first thing to go is your reading time. I’m way too guilty of this!
But this year, I made an effort to make time of the things that bring me joy.
Why was this so important to me this year? Well, I realized that I cannot take care of others, or other responsibility if myself is not taken care of first. Let’s put this into perspective…think of when you are waiting to take off on a flight. The flight attendants are giving their safety talk, and they always instruct you that incase of an emergency, you put that oxygen mask on yourself first, before assisting others. Why? Because, you are not helping anyone if you aren’t functioning yourself.
Simple ways I made time for things that brought me joy:
- Schedule time before bed to do something that makes you happy. For me this was often working on my blog, reading a book, or even watching some horrible reality TV. Somedays it meant baking a batch of cookies in the evening, or doing a Bible study with my husband…whatever it is make sure you make time for it before your head hits that pillow.
- Make time to workout in the morning. Getting a good workout in often sets me up for success. However, if I don’t get it done in the morning, it’s likely that I’ll come up with excuses to not do it later, or something will come up and push my workout to the side. Starting my day with a good sweat is a way to insure that it get’s done, and I’m taking care of myself.
- Make sure you communicate your needs. This is something I am still working on. I am guilty of not being vocal enough about what I really need, or putting my needs off to the side. This year, I learned to be more vocal about what I really need. Sometimes, my needs were just a few hours to myself so I could focus on my blog. Other times, I needed help with wedding planning, or running errands…and sometimes I was just so darn rundown that I NEEDED TO NAP. Whatever your need is at the moment, don’t be afraid to speak up.
Lesson #3 - It doesn't matter if it's perfect, what matters is it's done.
This is a lesson hard learned, especially if you are a perfectionist or Type A personality. When I started my blog there were a million things to learn, and honestly the only way to learn many of these things was through trial and error (kind of like life, huh?).
It doesn’t matter if it’s perfect, what matters is it’s done.
Sometimes, rather than getting caught up in something being “perfect,” it’s important to take a step back and revel in the fact that you attempted something new. For me, it was a challenge to come to terms with things not always turning out “perfectly.” I had several series or blog posts that I tried which completely flopped. But the beauty of it is, I learned lessons from each new idea I tried. I learned to push myself, put myself out there, and how to write about what I’m truly passionate about. I learned to give myself grace, and not measure everything I do by some unachievable standard of “perfection,” that is ultimately made up in my head.
For the longest time, starting a blog was something I thought silently about. I was too afraid to speak it out into the universe…afraid of failure. I was afraid of it not being perfect, not being “right.” Then, one day I woke up and decided to kick that fear of not achieving perfection to the curb. (Well…more like I was finally at a place in my life where I felt supported and encouraged to challenge myself…but kicking things to the curb makes me sound tougher!) I am so glad I let go of my fear, and allowed myself to step out of my comfort zone and welcome the lessons that trial and error can bring.
If you find yourself struggling with this, girlfriend – let it go. Just you showing up and trying is more than enough.
You’ll never know what you’re missing out on until you get out there and try.
I hope these lessons I’ve shared can help you get out there and achieve your goals. Whether it be pursuing a new passion, setting a fitness goal, or just trying to better yourself – there’s no time like the present.
One big takeaway I can share from this past year is that you’ll never know what you are capable of until you try. Make time for yourself, let go of fear, and celebrate your wins, and even those losses – because hey, they taught you something too. Cheers!