Erin Gobler

  • Why You Should Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

    Why You Should Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

     

    Do you have trouble forcing yourself to step out of your comfort zone? Trust me, you’re not alone. Stepping outside my comfort zone is something I’ve never been good at. And to be honest, my comfort zone has never been all that big.

    Time and time again I’ve opted to stay in my bubble where I knew things were safe and, well, comfortable. It allows me to keep my stress and anxiety in check, among other things. However, I also found myself getting frustrated by my small comfort zone and starting to feel claustrophobic, taking notice of those who took more risks than I did and wishing I could do that. Over the past several years it’s something that I’ve improved on.

    In part, my career has forced me to expand in some areas. Talking to new people and learning about new issues is a daily part of my job, and it has helped to make me feel more comfortable with new and different. Blogging has also done wonders to help me expand my comfort zone.

    Surely all those years ago I wouldn’t have felt comfortable sharing my writing on a blog for anyone to read, but now it has become such a significant part of my life.

    Today I want to speak to those who, like me, maybe have a small comfort zone or don’t feel comfortable leaving their comfort zone. There are so many benefits that come with challenging yourself and trying new things, so I’m sharing a few reasons why you should step out of your comfort zone.

     

    Why You Should Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone

     

    You Might Discover a New Passion

     

    By stepping outside your comfort zone and trying something new, you might find an activity that you love and becomes a passion of yours, but that you would never have experienced had you not pushed yourself. For me, that passion is definitely blogging. I went back and forth on whether I should blog for a long time, and even considered starting the blog anonymously because I was afraid of being judged.

    I’m so thankful that I pushed myself because blogging has without a doubt been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. If there’s an activity that you’ve been considering, but haven’t been brave enough to try, I really encourage you to go for it!

     

    Leaving Your Comfort Zone Teaches You to Deal With Change

     

    Change is inevitable, and many of us (myself included) aren’t all that comfortable with it. But by regularly pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone, we can learn to deal with change so that when other big changes pop up in life, we’re more prepared to deal with them.

     

    You Might Make a New Friend

     

    I’ve never been someone who is comfortable striking up a conversation with a stranger, but on more than one occasion I’ve forced myself to do it anyways and have made a new friend. It might have been someone who sat near me in a class in college or someone who works in the same building as me but who I had never talked to before.

    Not only has stepping outside my comfort zone allowed me to make new friends, but to has allowed me to grow current friendships.

     

    Leaving Your Comfort Zone Leads to Personal Growth

     

    There’s no doubt that leaving your comfort zone leaves room for personal growth. One of the most significant ways I find this to be true is that challenging yourself, in the long run, makes your comfort zone even bigger! This is something I’ve experienced for myself, and I’m eternally grateful for it.

    I find that trying new things also opens my mind and allows me to look at something from multiple points of view, which I’ve experienced time and time again in my full-time job.

     

    You’ll Learn About Yourself

     

    Trying new things and having new experiences can allow you to learn so much about yourself. You can learn about skills you didn’t know you had, passions you didn’t know you had (as I mentioned above), fears you thought you had but don’t, and so much more.

     

    You Can Grow Your Creativity

     

    As a writer, there’s no doubt that stepping out of my comfort zone and having more experiences is good for my writing. Not only does it give me more to write about, but it also helps to expand my creativity. I find that trying something new also gives me a new perspective, which has been nothing but an asset to my writing. If you’re in a creative industry, getting outside your comfort zone is definitely important!

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    I know more than anymore how scary it can be to step out of your comfort zone. Doing anything outside my comfort zone used to give me SO much anxiety, and it caused me to miss out on new experiences for years. But I promise that once you do, it’s SO worth it!

    CONTINUE READING

  • How to Write an eBook That Sells

    In 2016 I wrote my first eBook and officially launched it in October. Writing an eBook had been the #1 goal on my list for that year, and writing a book has been a goal of mine for just about my entire life. When I first got the idea I was grossly unprepared. I had this idea that I would just write something up in Microsoft Word, and surely people would buy it. Well, that’s not exactly how it went, and luckily I figured that out early in the process.

    You see, just when I was getting started on my eBook Abby Lawson at Just a Girl and Her Blog launched an eCourse called Book Boss, which was meant to help you write and launch an eBook in 90 days. Since it was at a launch price that seemed like a steal, I impulsively bought the course. Let me just say – best decision ever. In this post, I’m going to run you through what I loved about the course, and give you some guidance on how to write an eBook.

     

    write an ebook

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

    HOW TO WRITE AN EBOOK THAT SELLS

     

     

    Know Your Audience

     

    My eBook idea changed a LOT from the time I had the idea of writing one until the time I actually wrote one. Part of the reason for that was that my blog changed a lot too! When I first started blogging, I blogged about just about EVERYTHING. I had no clear focus, and therefore no clear audience.

    Finally, when I was really ready to dig into my eBook, I did a survey to find out more about my readers and what they wanted from me.

    At this point, I had become more and more passionate about writing about both blogging and productivity, and a quick reader survey showed me that those topics were perfect! The majority of my readers have their own blog, but most of them also have a job outside the home, meaning they’re balancing the two. The survey showed me that people were struggling to find that balance, and I knew I had my topic.

    That’s how I ended up writing Streamline Your Side-Hustle, to help people balance their blogs, their jobs, and everything in between.

     

    Set an End Date

     

    I set the goal of writing an eBook in 2015 but didn’t really start writing it until July of 2016. I continued to tell myself I would get to it eventually, just not yet. Finally, in July I looked at my calendar and picked a date about three months out that I was for sure going to launch my eBook.

    I hadn’t even started writing yet and I was already running out of time! If there’s anything that will light a fire under you to get something accomplished, it’s having a deadline. It becomes even more real when you announce to your readers months early that you have an eBook coming soon because then you have people waiting and counting on you. Accountability at it’s finest!

     

    Write a Launch Plan

     

    Despite what I thought when I first set out to write an eBook, you can’t just write something and post it online somewhere and assume that people will buy it. The launch is as important as the writing process itself! Book Boss provides a super comprehensive planner of every single task you’ll do in the 90 days leading up to your launch, so it really made it as simple as possible for me.

     

    Have People to Sell To

     

    Writing and launching the eBook is all well and good, but you have to have someone to launch to! I used a free email course on a topic related to my eBook topic to start building my email list months before actually launching my eBook. That way, when the time came to launch, I knew I would have people on my list who were interested in my topic!

    Someone on your email list is going to be WAY more invested in your work than someone reading your blog or following your Instagram account, so getting people onto the email list is key to making sales. And I knew my email subscribers would be interested in my topic because my free email opt-in SUPER relevant to my eBook topic!

     

    So what about Book Boss?

     

    I feel super lucky that Abby launched Book Boss when she did. I can’t imagine what my eBook and launch what have looked like without taking that course. The tips I shared above honestly barely scratch the surface of what the course entails.

    Instead of just telling you to have a launch plan, Abby shares the exact launch plan she uses for her own eBooks, complete with a calendar of events. She gives detailed questions she asks in reader surveys to gauge what it is her readers want to learn from her and gives lots of technical advice on setting up landing pages, shopping carts, and more.

    If writing an eBook is something you have considered (I 1000% recommend it!), then you simply can’t go wrong with Book Boss!

     

    BEFORE YOU GO

     

    P.S. If you’re ready to start or grow your blog, here are some blogging resources I recommend checking out:

     

    And don’t forget to sign up for my FREE 5-Day blog challenge where I teach you how to grow your blog from hobby to side hustle!

     

     

    write an ebook

    CONTINUE READING

  • Tax Tips for Bloggers & How I Manage My Blog Finances

    Tax Tips For Bloggers & How I Manage My Blog Finances

     

    When I first started blogging, I had NO idea that taxes would be an issue. But that’s because I didn’t know you could make money from blogging! I started my blog as something creative to do in the evenings after my full-time job and learned pretty quickly that some people were making some real money from this whole blogging thing.

    It wasn’t until a year after I started my blog that I started making a few dollars here and there. And then when tax season came around, I realized I was going to have to figure out pretty quickly what to do about my blogging finances!

    I hadn’t set up a separate bank account for my blog and hadn’t been tracking my expenses and income, so it was a huge pain going back and figuring all of that out.

    Things got even more complicated when my income increased enough so that I was earning a full-time income from my business.

    Now I have systems set up in my business that makes dealing with finances and taxes as a blogger SO much easier. You can save yourself the pain of going through what I did by following these tax tips for bloggers!

     

    Tax Tips For Bloggers & How I Manage My Blog Finances

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

     

    Set Up a Separate Bank Account

     

    First things first, if you’ve decided to start making money from your blog or any other online business, set up a separate bank account ASAP.

    When you are making money from your blog, you have to track every single dollar of income you get. And since you report and pay taxes on your income, you’ll also get to deduct your expenses (meaning you need to track those too). The best way to do this is by keeping your blogging income separate. If you have your blogging income going to your personal bank account, you’re sifting through WAY more transactions to figure out which were and were not blog related.

    Aside from making it easier to track, it also helps with budgeting. I like investing in myself and my business with tools and education. However, I want to make sure the amount I’m investing in the business isn’t excessive compared to the amount I’m bringing in. Having a bank account with JUST my blogging income shows me exactly how much I’ve made from my blog so I can get a look at the big-picture of my business finances.

    It also helps when it comes to paying quarterly taxes. QuickBooks (the tool I use to manage my blog finances) keeps track of how much I’m likely to be paying in estimated quarterly taxes. I keep an eye on that number and make sure I ALWAYS have enough set aside to cover that number.

    Then, when I have money left after the amount I need for quarterly taxes and the amount I plan to reinvest in the business, I can transfer that money into my personal bank account.

     

    Track All Income and Expenses

     

    Track every dollar you make from or spend on your blog. That way when it comes time to file taxes, you’re ready to go. As I mentioned above, setting up a separate bank account makes it way easier to do this. So does using an accounting tool like QuickBooks.

    As you’re tracking your expenses, make sure you save all of your receipts so you can deduct them on your taxes. Without receipts to prove your expenses, you might run into trouble with the IRS down the road.

    And when it comes to income, the money you make isn’t the only thing you count as income. If you get free products from companies in exchange for a review, that counts as income and you need to claim the price of the product. The same goes for affiliate credits you might get.

     

    Report ALL of Your Income

     

    The bottom line is that you need to report every dollar you make from your blog. I read articles or Facebook posts occasionally where someone says you don’t have to pay income unless you make a certain amount of money, or you only have to report income you have a 1099 form for. That’s just false.

    The IRS wants to know about and tax every dollar that you’re bringing in. Yes, you may get 1099 forms from some companies you work for. But that is NOT the only income you have to report.

    The pain of having to pay taxes on your blog income is a lot less than the pain of the fine you could be facing down the road if you don’t report your income.

     

    Know What You Can Deduct

     

    Having to report and pay income on your blogging income is a bummer, but the good news is that your blogging expenses are tax-deductible! The general rule is that you can deduct any expenses that are considered reasonable and necessary for your profession.

    You can find a really good list of common tax deductions for bloggers here.

     

    Learn About Quarterly Taxes

    Do you know how at your full-time job there is money taken out of every paycheck for taxes? Yeah, that’s because the IRS wants you to be paying taxes on your money as you’re earning it. Meaning if you’re making money from your blog, they don’t want you to wait until the following April to be making good on that tax bill.

    That is where quarterly taxes come in. Every quarter (on April 15, June 15, September 15, and January 15) you will pay your quarterly taxes. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have an accounting tool for your business, because this tool will estimate your quarterly taxes for you and coordinate the payment (my go-to accounting tool is QuickBooks).

    Don’t start freaking out now – this rule probably doesn’t apply to you if you’re a beginner. Generally, you won’t have to do this if you didn’t have a tax liability the following year OR if you don’t owe more than $1,000 in taxes for your blog. If you’re concerned about it though, I would definitely talk to an accountant.

     

    Find the Right Tools to Help You

     

    Finances and taxes can be complicated. There’s a reason we pay accountants so much money to do this for us. And if you’re new to the whole blogging thing, this probably all seems pretty overwhelming to you. The best advice I can offer you is to find tools that help you to implement these tax and finance tips. Here are my favorites:

    1. QuickBooks: This is the tool I use to do my business accounting. I’ve tried a couple of other tools, and this one is hands down my favorite so far. It connects to my business bank account and PayPal account to track all of my income and expenses. It also tracks my estimated quarterly income. Finally, it connects with TurboTax (the tool I use to file my taxes) so I can just import ALL of my blog income and expenses for the year.
    2. TurboTax: As I mentioned, this is the tool I use to file my taxes. It makes it SO easy to file. You just follow the prompts and answer the questions as it prepares your taxes for you. As a bonus, TurboTax and QuickBooks are owned by the same company, meaning they work together pretty seamlessly. When it’s time to pay my quarterly taxes, I can do that through TurboTax with the help of QuickBooks. And at the end of the year when it’s time to file my taxes, I just import all of my financial information from QuickBooks.

     

    Note: There’s another benefit to the partnership between QuickBooks and TurboTax. Every year that you use TurboTax Self-Employed to file your taxes, you get a free year of QuickBooks Self-Employed!

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    Learning to deal with taxes and finances is definitely one of the most daunting parts of blogging. Even after four years of doing this, I still get nervous that I’ve made a mistake! Just do your research and when in doubt, talk to an accountant. And if you already hire an accountant to do your taxes, then they’ll be able to help you through all of this!

     

    CONTINUE READING

  • How to Improve Yourself Every Day

    constantly improve yourself

     

    If you’ve read my blog before, you know that personal development is a topic I’m incredibly passionate about. I make time every single day to learn new self improvement tips – whether it be a blog post, book chapter, podcast episode, etc. But I also make time every day to actually use that knowledge!

    There are so many small things you can do that will make a big difference in the long run. In this post, I’m sharing 35+ ways to improve yourself every day!

     

    How to Improve Yourself Every Day

     

    Read Every Day

     

    I love to read, and it’s always been something I’ve spent a lot of my free time on.

    For me, reading is a great way to unwind and relax. I love reading both fiction and nonfiction books, so I get a great combination of entertainment and education from books!

    Not only is reading just genuinely fun, but it also expands your vocabulary and makes you a better writer, which is something that could definitely come in handy in your career!

     

    Learn a New Language

     

    After about seven years of studying foreign languages in high school and college, I’m embarrassed to say I can’t successfully speak any of them! However, we are working on brushing up on a language for an upcoming trip we have planned this year!

    Not only is learning a new language a fun way to broaden your horizons and learn about a new culture, but it also might come in handy in a job search someday! Companies tend to pay higher for bilingual employees!

     

    Set Big Goals

     

    Without setting goals for your future, you’ll likely spend much of your life standing still and not accomplishing much. I find that setting goals and actually coming up with a plan to reach them is the absolute best way to achieve new things in life!

    I’m sure there are plenty of us who think it would be nice to travel more someday or retire early. But how many of us actually set a goal for yourselves to get there?

     

    Move Your Body Every Day

     

    Exercise is so incredibly important. Even if you aren’t going after any fitness goals right now, physical activity is essential for long-term health.

    Plus, you’ll feel so much better about yourself every day! I know that I have so much more energy and am just generally happier when I’m making time to move my body every day. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout. Just a leisurely walk will do!

     

    Pick Up a New Hobby

     

    Because I have a side hustle, that’s what most of my free time is spent on. And while I try to make sure to set aside time for fun, there have definitely been times where I fail to make time for hobbies.

    When I’m feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work I have, I find that picking up a new hobby to focus on is a great way to unwind and clear my head! It doesn’t have to be something you’re good at, and you don’t have to share it with the world. Just make it something that is genuinely fun for you!

     

    Read Personal Development Books

     

    I mentioned before that I love reading, and personal development books are some of my favorites! I love diving into an amazing book and feeling like I’ve finally been let it on this big secret that I know is going to change my life.

    If you love personal development books or want to start reading them, check out my list of the best personal development books to read!

     

    Listen to Personal Development Podcasts

     

    If you love personal development but reading isn’t your book, then podcasts are a great alternative. I LOVE listening to podcasts because it’s something I can do every day while I’m working out, driving to work, cleaning, getting ready in the morning, and more!

    Check out my list of the best personal development podcasts to inspire and motivate you!

     

    Improve a Skill

     

    When was the last time you did something to hone one of your existing skills? It’s not something we often think to do, but it has a huge impact! I’ve taken a lot of online courses to learn new skills, but I’ve also really enjoyed some of the courses I’ve taken to improve a skill I already have.

     

    Find a Mentor

     

    Finding a mentor in your field can really be invaluable. A mentor can be there to show you the ropes early on in your career. They can also provide encouragement and a confidence boost when you need one. Finally, a mentor can be a great resource when it comes to furthering your career, as they might be able to help you move up in your company, or connect you with people who may hire you.

     

    Create a Morning Routine

     

    I haven’t always been much of a morning person. In fact, for most of my life, mornings looked like me waking up late, getting ready in a rush, and arriving at work late and stressed.

    Creating a morning routine has not only ensured I’m on time every day with everything I need for the day, but it has also done wonders for my happiness!

    I love being able to start my morning a little more slowly and make time for a few things I actually enjoy!

     

    Stop Caring About What Other People Think

     

    When I started blogging, I hit it from just about everyone because I was worried about what they would think. In fact, I spent an awful lot of time in previous years worrying about what people think. But honestly, other people’s opinions of me just don’t affect me at all. I just try to remind myself that what they think is about them, not me!

     

    Practice Mindfulness

     

    Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention to the present moment. It’s the ultimate state of awareness. Mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts and feelings. Not judging them, just observing them. It’s something we practice in meditation, but mindfulness is something you can incorporate all day long!

    Being able to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life can help reduce stress levels, help manage depression and anxiety, and allow you to focus on your current experience rather than dwelling on the past.

     

    Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

     

    As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I’ve always had a pretty small comfort zone and have struggled with change. Over the past few years, I’ve grown a lot as a person. I’ve challenged myself to try new experiences and meet new people, putting myself in situations that previously I would have avoided like the plague.

    Honestly, I’m so glad I pushed myself out of my comfort zone! It’s amazing how much you can grow when you challenge yourself.

     

    Ask For Feedback

     

    Asking for feedback can be a bit nerve-wracking because sometimes you probably are going to get negative feedback. But that negative or critical feedback is how you grow! Whether it’s your boss or a mentor or even your significant other, ask them what you could do to improve as an employee, coworker, partner, etc.

     

    Make a To Do List

     

    I can honestly say that if there is one thing that is going to make or break how successful of a day I have, it is my to-do list. I have way too many things running around in my mind, so if I relied simply on my memory, I would never get everything done!

    I like to keep my to-do list short, with just 3-5 important tasks per day. Anything more than that and I’m likely to get overwhelmed, and probably won’t be able to finish everything on the list.

    I also try to write my to-do list a week at a time, or at the very latest, the night before. That way when I sit down in the morning, I can skip the planning and just get right to work.

    Related Article: The Best Planners to Use for Productivity in 2022

     

    Join a Community

     

    Being a part of a community can impact your life in so many ways, some that you might not even expect. You never know who you’ll meet or what opportunities might arise from it! Joining a community is a great way to make new friends, and maybe even open up future career opportunities.

    No matter what your interests, there will be communities you can join. It might be a church, a band, or a local group for moms. I have loved becoming part of the online blogging community and making friends that way!

     

    Ditch a Bad Habit

     

    I think it’s safe to say we all have a bad habit or two we could stand to get rid of. Getting rid of a bad habit is often not an easy goal, but one that can greatly improve your life. If you have a bad habit you’re ready to get rid of, be sure to check out these 5 steps to break a bad habit.

     

    Be Open to Change

     

    Change is scary, but it’s also inevitable. And the more prepared you are to deal with it, the better off you’ll be in the long run. I used to be very averse to change and would worry about it a lot. But your twenties are a time full of change.

    I still have a bit of anxiety when it comes to change, but I’ve learned to be excited about the change because any changes I’m going through are going to take me into the next phase of my life.

     

    Write Down Your Thoughts

     

    If there’s one thing that can turn around my mood when I’m really down, it’s journaling. I can’t even tell you how helpful it is for me to just get my thoughts down on paper. And most of the time, by the time I’m done writing, I’ve written myself right into a better mood.

    Journaling might seem strange or difficult for people who have never done it before. What do you even write about? I like to start with just a thought download and write down all of the thoughts I’m having or things that have been weighing on me.

     

    Watch Less TV

     

    I watch so much less TV than I used to. It used to be that I would get home from work, and mostly just watch TV all evening. Even if it wasn’t a show I really cared about, I would just find something to put on. I’m so thankful I don’t do that anymore!

    If I have a show I really want to watch, I’ll turn on the TV. But even then I try to limit the time I spend watching TV so I’m not spending an entire evening doing so, or watching TV every single night.

    You’ll be amazed at what you have time for in your life when you aren’t spending it watching TV!

     

    Make a Budget

     

    Finances are one of the biggest stressors most of us face in our lives, so it stands to reason that by getting our money under control, we can improve our lives overall. I know that when I’m struggling with finances, it affects everything.

    When I decided I didn’t want to live like that anymore, I created a budget and actually forced myself to (mostly) stick to it. It has brought so much peace of mind, and it turns out creating a monthly budget isn’t that hard!

     

    Give Back to Your Community

     

    Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community while also feeling great about yourself and doing something you actually enjoy. There are so many causes out there that anyone can find one that speaks to them! Do you love animals? Volunteer to walk the dogs at your local pet shelter! Or if you love kids, you could volunteer at a nearby children’s hospital. Whatever your interests, you’ll be able to find opportunities to give back!

     

    Practice Meditation

     

    I was a meditation skeptic for a long time. I heard so many other online business owners preaching it, and it just didn’t seem like something that would work for me. But when I finally gave it a shot, I was so glad I did!

    Meditation has been great for my anxiety because it has taught me to quiet my mind. It has also been really helpful for my productivity because it has taught me to focus on the task at hand and notice when my mind is wandering.

     

    Ask For Help

     

    I don’t know why, but many of us don’t think to ask for help when we’re struggling. I definitely see this in myself. In the past when I’ve gone through a hard time emotionally, I’ve rarely turned to someone for help and opened up about what I was going through.

    Whether is in your career or in your personal life, asking for help is okay! In the long run, things will be fixed a heck of a lot faster than if you try to take on everything yourself.

     

    Drink More Water

     

    You probably aren’t drinking enough water. Seriously, most of us are walking around in a constant state of dehydration. I used to drink almost no water. And when I finally started drinking more, I noticed a huge change in how I physically felt. Now I can feel when I haven’t had enough water – I feel sluggish, my head doesn’t feel great, and everything just feels a little off. It’s crazy to think I spent years walking around like that all the time!

     

    Get More Sleep

     

    This is one of those things where we all know we should get more sleep, but something always comes up that prevents us from getting to bed early. Whether it’s an evening out with friends or just a few too many episodes of your current favorite show, there’s always something keeping us up late. But then the next morning comes around, and we definitely wish we had gone to bed earlier!

    If you struggle with this, try setting a bedtime alarm. Set it for early enough that you’ll have time to do everything you need to do before bed and still get to sleep on time.

     

    Spend Less Time on Your Phone

     

    I think I can safely say just about all of us are guilty of spending a bit too much time on our phones. So often it’s not even intentional – we just subconsciously pick up our phones and start scrolling our social media app of choice.

    I try to make an intentional effort, especially when I’m with other people, of not looking at my phone as often. If I’m spending time with someone, that’s because they are important enough to me to deserve my full attention, without me stealing glances at my phone or scrolling Facebook.

    And when I’m alone, there are definitely more productive things I could be doing with my time!

     

    Practice Gratitude

     

    It’s pretty easy to focus on the negative or frustrating things that are going on in our lives. I’m definitely guilty of this as well. But focusing on those negative things only gives us an even more negative attitude.

    Try to make some time each day to focus only on the things in your life you are grateful for. I like to do this by just making a gratitude list in my journal and writing 3-5 specific things I am grateful for that day.

     

    Say No

     

    If you are a people-pleaser, I’m sure you can relate to the anxiety felt at the thought of saying no to someone when they ask for a favor. But sometimes, saying no is the best thing you can do for yourself.

    Everyone has a lot on their plate, and you’ll burn yourself out if you’re constantly making time for other people’s priorities. Don’t worry about the fear of disappointing people – those who really care about you will understand!

     

    Listen to Music

     

    Music has always been a great source of stress relief for me. If I’m feeling stressed or sad or even if I just need to focus, turning on some music is always sure to do the trick. And there have been plenty of studies to show that listening to music actually does improve mental health and happiness.

     

    Face Your Fears

     

    I think most of us tend to avoid the things that scare or intimidate us. For example, I’ve dealt with a lot of social anxiety in the past, and so I would simply avoid social situations where I wasn’t going with someone. However, forcing myself to get uncomfortable once in a while and putting myself in those social situations has been a growing experience for me!

     

    Improve Your Relationships

     

    I think there are few investments in life as the time and energy you invest in your relationships. Relationships are one of our greatest sources of happiness, and they’re worth putting effort into!

    Doing something to improve a relationship could be something like going on a date night, planning a girls night out with your best friend, or a weekend visit to your mom.

    There are certainly times in life where things are hectic and there doesn’t seem to be enough time to focus on your relationships, but you’ll definitely be glad you did.

     

    Create an Evening Routine

     

    Mornings are always a bit hectic for me when I haven’t done my evening routine. Evenings are when I get the coffee maker ready, pack my lunch, and pick out my clothes for the following day. Having to do all of that first thing in the morning means I’m already off to a rough start for the day!

    Having an evening routine is also a good way to wind down slowly in the morning, as opposed to binge-watching Netflix until midnight and then deciding you should probably go to bed.

     

    Take More Pictures

     

    I don’t remember to take pictures very often – which is particularly problematic for a blogger! But when I do take pictures, I’m always glad I do. I love having pictures around of my fiance and I, our dog, family and friends, or even just a beautiful sunset I had the opportunity to watch.

    I don’t condone interrupting moments for a photo opp, but it’s definitely worth having a picture to remember it by.

     

    Declutter Your Home

     

    Not only does clutter take up physical space in your home, but it can also be stressful and bad for productivity. I notice that when clutter is starting to build up in my home, I start to feel really overwhelmed. And when my desk is cluttered, my productivity takes a hit.

    Set aside a bit of time each week to declutter, and you’ll have a clearer mind for the rest of the week!

     

    Talk to a Therapist

     

    I know there are plenty of people who are a bit wary of seeing a therapist. Maybe it’s because you’re afraid of being stigmatized, or that you aren’t sure it will help you, or maybe you’re just worried about the cost.

    Any time you’re going through something difficult in your life, or even when you’re not, talking to a therapist can be an amazing way of sorting out your feelings and learning to manage whatever is going on in your life.

     

    Honor Commitments to Yourself

     

    Have you ever noticed how we honor commitments we make to other people, but so rarely honor the commitments we keep to ourselves? Honoring commitments to yourself should be your first priority over those you make to others.

    So next time you tell yourself you are going to work out or get up early to journal, actually follow through on it!

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    There are SO many small things you could incorporate into every day to improve yourself.

    By selecting just a few from this list, I think you’ll notice a huge difference in your quality of life.

    CONTINUE READING

  • Things to Do at the Start of Every Month to Stay Organized

    stay organized

     

    The beginning of a new month is always a bittersweet time for me. I’m always excited about entering a new month and making plans for the weeks ahead, but I’m always anxious thinking of how fast the previous month went and how many things I wasn’t able to accomplish.

    Luckily I’ve come up with some routines to do at the beginning of each month to stay organized, stay productive, and stay on top of things! Seriously, just doing these six things makes a BIG difference!

     

    Things to Do at the Start of Every Month to Stay Organized

     

    Evaluate Your Budget

     

    It’s no secret that you should be keeping a budget in order to stay organized with finances, especially if you having savings goals!

    I like to sit down at the beginning of every month and reevaluate the budget, in addition to keeping track of it throughout the month.

    This is a good time to see how you did on last month’s budget, as well as make any necessary changes for the upcoming months. This is the time to identify where I’ve wasted money and where I’ve done a good job of saving it.

     

    Create Monthly Goals

     

    In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I love creating goals for myself. I also happen to love talking about goal setting!

    I write personal goals for myself, as well as goals for my blog and business. Writing them down is a great step, and revisiting them every month helps create some accountability, rather than just the set it and forget it approach that WAY too many people take when it comes to goal setting!

    You can’t set goals for yourself and hope they come true without taking real action. You have to set goals the right way to make sure you reach them!

     

    Set a Fitness Goal

     

    So many people set ultimate fitness goals (lose X number of pounds, run a 5K, etc), but they don’t set small goals to help them reach that larger goal.

    Every month sit down and reevaluate your ultimate goal and figure out what steps you can take this month to get closer! The nice thing about monthly fitness goals is that they can be really SMALL and manageable!

    For example, you might set a goal of trying one new workout class this month, or prepping meals for the week every Sunday. Totally doable, but still something that keeps you moving toward your great fitness goals.

     

    Create a Meal Plan

     

    I don’t always write a meal plan, but I guarantee I am more diligent about cooking meals in the evening and spend less money on groceries when I do.

    You don’t have to do this a month at a time, but it’s a great time to do it if you do any sort of bulk shopping at Costco, Sam’s Club, etc. Then throughout the month, you can make smaller trips to your local grocery store for your perishable items like produce.

     

    Update Your Calendar

     

    At the beginning of each month, it always seems like I’m going to have SO many free weekends and so much free time.

    Then, as the month goes by, I make new plans or remember plans that I never wrote on the calendar, and suddenly I’m busy every single weekend. I could definitely avoid this if I updated my calendar more regularly and double-checked it at the beginning of every month.

    That way I know what weekend plans I already have, and can be prepared to say no to any last-minute plans that interrupt my precious amount of free time.

     

    Do a Deep Clean

     

    The beginning of the month is a great time to take care of the cleaning tasks that don’t do on a weekly basis. Now is the time to take care of things like cleaning out your refrigerator, cleaning out your car, and mopping the floors.

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    They sound simple, and I know it’s only six things, but I swear doing these each and every month makes SUCH a difference in making sure I stay organized and reach my goals all month long. Plus when I’m super prepared, the months don’t tend to go as scary-fast!

    I would LOVE to know what things you make time for every month to keep yourself organized. Leave a comment and let me know!

     

    CONTINUE READING

  • How to Organize Your Life: 17 Habits Organized People Swear By

    habits of highly organized people

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

    In my crazy life, there is NO room for disorganization.

    For years I was balancing a full-time job and an online business. And even though I’m running my business full-time now, it still takes up far more than full-time hours, and it can be difficult to balance it with the rest of my life.

    For those of you with a lot going on in your lives (multiply that if you’ve got kiddos!) then you totally know what I’m talking about.

    For those of you struggling to stay organized despite a SUPER busy life, make sure to check out these 8 daily habits for how to organize your life. I know they’ve been a life-saver for me!

     

    How to Organize Your Life

     

    Write Everything Down

     

    This piece of advice is first on my list because it’s the one that I adhere to each and every day, without fail!

    I know from personal experience that a task is more likely to get done if I write it down somewhere. In fact, there’s almost NO chance I’m not getting it done if it’s not on a list.

    Organized people take advantage of to-do lists and planners to organize their life and ensure they’re staying on top of all tasks. I may have a slight obsession with to-do lists!

    And it definitely doesn’t have to be a paper planner or to-do list! There are TONS of awesome apps out there you can use to stay on top of your to-do list. Something as basic as the Apple Reminders app works.

    I frequently do brain-dumps of any to-do’s that I can think of. I’d rather have it all on paper than running around in my mind when I’m trying to focus on other things.

    Additionally, I keep a calendar with our upcoming schedule, so we never forget an appointment or event!

    If you have been struggling with staying organized, this is seriously my #1 piece of advice and I think would make a huge difference for most people!

     

    Learn How to Manage Your Time

     

    Poor time management is seriously one of the biggest causes of stress and disorganization.

    It seems like time management is something just about all of us struggle with. Whether you’re balancing a full-time job, a side hustle, a family, travel, etc., it just seems like there is never enough time in the day.

     

    Set Goals

     

    When I think about the times in my life where I was the least organized, it was also the times where I wasn’t really working toward any goals. I was just letting life happen to me, rather than really taking control of it.

    Once I really learned about goal setting, I saw such an amazing difference in myself. Now I really have a focus and determination that I’ve never had before, and it keeps me so organized!

    Achieving your goals takes time, effort, and planning. You can’t achieve goals just by hoping they happen someday. You have to take action. I’ve got a whole tutorial about how to set goals and plan your best year ever, so make sure to check it out!

     

    Focus on One Task at a Time

     

    I used to think I was a really good multitasker. I’ve always juggled a lot of things going on at once in my life, so I thought that was something I had down.

    Except, it turns out there’s no such thing as multitasking. Your brain simply can’t give that kind of focus to two things at once.

    So when you think you’re multitasking, you’re either switching back and forth between two things (which is a huge waste of time because of all the time you’re spending in transition) or you’re completely failing at one of the things you think you’re doing. And that’s when things seriously start to fall through the cracks.

    Organized people know this, and so they give all their attention to the task at hand before switching to the next task.

    If you’re someone who frequently “multitasks”, I really challenge you to narrow your focus. What you’ll probably find is that it takes you even less time to complete everything because it’s easier to get everything done in a timely manner when it has your full attention.

     

    Minimize Your Space

     

    Your surroundings play a huge factor in determining your productivity. Seriously, I can feel my productivity start to slip when I’m trying to get anything done in a cluttered workspace. Clutter stresses me out and it becomes hard for me to focus.

    When you’ve minimized and created a clean, minimal work environment for yourself, you’ll find it way easier to stay organized and focused on what is in front of you.

    You’ll also be less likely to lose tons of time shuffling through piles of stuff to find what you’re looking for.

    Finally, you’ll find that you spend a lot less time cleaning and organizing when you’ve simply got less stuff!

     

    Declutter Regularly

     

    I love to declutter. For some reason, it’s a task I actually find really fun! And I’ve pretty much become a master at it at this point.

    A few years ago, I moved from a three-bedroom house into a studio apartment. That meant that I had to get rid of almost all of my belongings. It was tough at first, but I asked myself some hard questions that helped to narrow down what I should keep and what I should discard.

     

    Create a One-In, One-Out Rule

     

    Once you’ve decluttered your home, you have to actually commit to keeping it that way.

    One way that I have done this is by creating a one-in, one-out rule. This means that anytime I want to buy something, I first have to pick something to get rid of (either donate or sell).

    For example, if I want to buy a new pair of shoes, I must also choose a pair of shoes to get rid of.

     

    Use Tools to Plan Ahead

     

    Organized people know what’s coming.

    I love my daily to-do lists, but sometimes I need a slightly wider scope of what to plan for in order to stay organized. At the beginning of each week, I like to have at least a general idea of what I’m planning to get done each day, if not a specific breakdown of all the tasks for each day.

    It just makes it easier to plan when I’m planning more than just one day at a time. I use a paper planner for this. I did an entire blog post about my favorite planners, so you can find the perfect fit for you!

    In addition to my paper planner that I use for my daily to-do list, I also use Asana for big-picture business planning. Asana is an awesome project and task management system that allows you to create organize individual projects or your entire business. Pretty much everything I do in my business is organized in Asana!

     

    Use a Budgeting App

     

    One of the areas many of us struggle the most to stay organized is our finances. I was in my early twenties before I even made my first budget, and it was quite a few years after that before I actually got organized with my finances and stayed on top of that budget.

    Getting control of your money will make a huge difference in ensuring you are organized everywhere else in your life as well. You can check out my list of the best budgeting apps to figure out which one is right for you.

     

    Stop Over-Planning

     

    Anyone guilty of over-planning just about everything? It sounds like something that would make you even more organized, but it’s really not!

    In reality, over-planning is usually a form of perfectionism, helping you to procrastinate and avoid actually taking action on projects.

    Rather than helping me to be more organized and more prepared, over-planning actually stresses me out and prevents me from getting anything done!

     

    Set Clear Priorities

     

    Organized people know how to identify priorities and stick to them.

    Picture this: you’re sitting at your desk, knowing you need to knock a few things off the to-do list today. You’re not feeling particularly motivated, so you choose a few of the easy, nonessential items and knock them each out in a few minutes.

    And then by the end of the day, you haven’t really accomplished your most important tasks!

    Sure, it might feel good to cross those things off the list, but are those real priorities? Instead of ordering your tasks by which are easiest, order them by the level of priority so you’re knocking the essential tasks out first, even if they’re more time-consuming.

     

    Creating a Cleaning Schedule

     

    I’m a relatively clean person now, but that wasn’t always the case. For many years, I would leave things until they reached the point of being unbearable, and then I would finally clean. And it always felt so overwhelming!

    Eventually, I got so sick of always feeling behind and overwhelmed by housework, and I made a cleaning schedule for myself. I identified which tasks needed to be done daily, weekly, monthly, etc. and I put them on my calendar to make sure they would get done.

    Cleaning is a lot more bearable when it takes 5-10 minutes per day instead of hours at a time!

     

    Know When to Say No

     

    Organized people can acknowledge when their plate is full and know to say no when appropriate.

    We all only have so much time in the time jar and organized people know that overflowing the time jar is counter-productive, not to mention can have a negative effect on your mental health!

    When you overcommit, you’re ensuring that you basically live in a constant state of stress and disorganization.

    I have always been (and still am to an extent) pretty uncomfortable with saying no, so I understand what a challenge it can be for people. But the more time you spend saying YES to those around you and their priorities, the more you’re really saying NO to your own priorities.

     

    Create a Morning Routine

     

    Creating a morning routine is super important for organizing your life. Creating routines in my life, especially a morning routine, has allowed me to become healthier and way more productive.

    I’m not telling you that you need to get up at 5 AM every day to reach your goals, but it is essential that you implement some sort of routine that allows you to start the day on the right foot!

    I really find that when my morning is organized, so is my entire day!

     

    Commit to Tasks and Follow Through

     

    If I’m feeling particularly disorganized one week (or day or month), there’s a good chance it’s because I’ve fallen behind on some tasks and am scrambling to catch up.

    A great way to get more organized all the time is to make sure that if you’re committing to a task, you’re following through on it.

    You can set reminders in your calendar or download a to-do list app on your phone that will remind you of your tasks.

     

    Synchronize Your Calendars

     

    If you’re anything like me, you’ve got calendars and planners everywhere.

    I have Asana that I use for my blogging planner. I have a Google calendar for both of my two email inboxes (personal and blog), and I have a work calendar. Then there’s the running calendar in my head of events and commitments that I’m aware of, but will probably forget within 24 hours if they aren’t written down.

    I know I’m not alone here! So many people I know are running on multiple calendars and can hardly schedule anything without looking in three different places to make sure they’re free. Or they’re letting meetings and commitments fall through the cracks.

    That’s why it’s so important to synchronize your calendars so you aren’t letting anything get lost in the fray. You’ll feel infinitely more organized when you can look in one place for everything you need to prepare for or attend.

     

    Clean Out Your Inbox

     

    Ah yes, the dreaded inbox (or several inboxes, if you’re like me).

    I can’t remember the last time I achieved “inbox zero” in any one of my email inboxes. It’s not an issue of me not having read the emails. I’m reading emails more times per day than I care to admit. But once I read them, I think that I might at some point need this email again, and then I just let it sit in my inbox.

    But there’s an easy way to rectify that. If you have to hang onto an email you’ve already read, fine! But put it somewhere. Don’t just leave it sitting in your inbox. Utilize folders to make your inbox as organized as possible and make sure you aren’t scrolling through pages of emails to find one you need. Make it your goal that the only emails sitting in your general inbox are those you haven’t read yet.

    If your problem is that you’re lazy about actually reading your emails, allot a certain amount of time each day to going through emails and either deleting them or relocating them to a different folder.

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    Staying organized isn’t always easy, but seriously life goes SO much more smoothly when you do! Adopting these habits is sure to help you do that. Leave me a comment and let me know how YOU stay productive!

    CONTINUE READING

  • 22 Ways to Challenge Yourself Every Day to Live Your Best Life

    challenge yourself

     

    When was the last time you challenged yourself and did something outside of your comfort zone? For me, it used to not happen very often. I’ve always struggled with change and had a pretty small comfort zone.

    Over the past few years, I’ve grown a lot as a person. I’ve challenged myself to try new experiences and meet new people, putting myself in situations that previously I probably would have avoided.

    It turns out, challenging yourself can lead to a lot of personal growth! In this post, I’m sharing 22 ways to challenge yourself to live your best life, as well as sharing WHY you should challenge yourself.

     

    22 Ways to Challenge Yourself Every Day to Live Your Best Life

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

    Why You Should Challenge Yourself

     

    It can be tempting to live our lives just staying in our comfort zone. I was like that for years! But I also now know the value of challenging yourself and getting outside of your comfort zone.

    There are so many reasons to why it’s important to challenge yourself. First of all, you’ll discover that you are capable of things you didn’t think you were. This is a big one I found out about myself. You have so many skills that you could have if you just gave yourself the chance.

    By challenging yourself, you’ll also reach new goals you never would have previously thought to even reach for. Things that never would have seemed possible for you could be within your grasp.

    Sure, you could just stay in your comfort zone and never grow beyond that. No one can force you out of it. But I promise you’ll be happy you took the leap!

     

    How to Challenge Yourself

     

    Set a New Goal

    I can’t think of any better way to challenge yourself than to set a new goal for yourself and really create a plan to follow through on it. There is so much power in goal setting!

    If you find yourself hoping to see something change in your life, set a big goal for yourself. But don’t stop there! Once you’ve set your goal, break it down into actionable steps and put them on your calendar.

    Check out this blog post for my comprehensive guide to setting goals and planning your best year ever!

     

    Learn a New Language

    Learning a new language is such a fun way to challenge yourself by expanding your horizons. Even better if you love to travel, and can learn the language of some of the places you’re going to be visiting!

    When it comes to learning a new language, the Duolingo app is my favorite place to start for at least learning the basics.

     

    Take a Class About Something That Interests You

    I am a lifelong learner and I really love and look forward to being able to learn new things. But not everyone is like that. For some people, learning something new is outside their comfort zone.

    Taking a class to learn something new is such an amazing experience though! First of all, you might end up like me, creating a business that never would have occurred to you before.

    You also might end up making a new friend or finding a new favorite hobby!

     

    Wake Up Earlier in the Morning

    Mornings can be an amazing time of day. It’s a peaceful time to do something like meditate, do yoga, or just sip a cup of coffee before the chaos of the day sets in.

    It’s also amazing how freaking productive your day can be if you start off on the right foot in the morning.

    I know mornings used to be terrible for me. I would turn off so many alarms and stumble into work a little late and a lot stressed. Finally committing to waking up earlier and doing a morning routine made such a big difference in my productivity and mood for the day!

    Related Article: How to Create a Healthy Morning Routine

     

    Set a Bedtime For Yourself

    Going along with the idea of waking up earlier in the morning, I really challenge you to set a bedtime for yourself!

    I always tell myself that I need to start going to bed earlier. But the only time I actually do is when I set a bedtime for myself and commit to it.

     

    Reach Out to Someone You Look Up To

    Since starting a business, I have come across so many people I look up to. People I would love to connect with or have a conversation with.

    But I never did anything about it.

    But once I started reaching out to people I looked up to, I was so glad I did! Sometimes it was to ask for advice, other times it was just to say hi and let them know I enjoyed what they were putting out into the world.

    Find something who is kicking ass at what you want to kick ass at and just shoot them an email and tell them how much you admire them! If a relationship doesn’t form, at least you’ll be able to give them a self-esteem boost.

     

    Unplug From Technology For a Day

    We are so reliant on technology these days, it’s almost a little scary. I mean, have you ever found yourself opening your phone, only to forget why you picked it up in the first place?

    So many times a day we check our phones just out of habit!

    Not only is it often just a waste of time, but we’re shutting ourselves off from connections with the people around us.

    I challenge you to turn off the smartphone and close down the computer and TV for an entire day. Instead, just focus on interacting with people and enjoying activities you don’t normally make time for like reading a book, having a deep conversation, or spending time in nature.

     

    Set a Savings Goal

    Setting a savings goal can definitely be a challenge, and an especially uncomfortable one if it means cutting your spending to reach your goal. But in the long run, you’ll be so glad you challenged yourself in this way.

    When I have a trip or another large expense I’m planning for, I always like to break it down and determine how much I need to be saving every month in order to reach my goal. Sometimes I can fit that within my current spending, but often times it means cutting spending in other areas.

    If you’re reading to set a savings goal for yourself, check out my comprehensive guide on creating a monthly budget!

     

    Write in a Journal Every Day

    As a kid, I kept a journal pretty regularly. As an adult, however, I struggled to stay consistent for a long time.

    And yet I’ve found that when I consistently journal, or at least journal when I’m having a lot of thoughts running around in my head, that it helps keep my anxiety at bay.

    If you’re someone who has a lot of anxious thoughts, I challenge you to start writing in a journal every day, at least until you have time to figure out if it’s helpful for you.

     

    Reconnect With an Old Friend

    We all have those old friends who we still consider friends, but who we probably don’t reach out to all that often. Sometimes, it can be easier to just let things be than it is to put in the effort to revive the friendship.

    As someone who has had a chance to reconnect with old friends, I can say it’s been an amazing experience for me! Those people were in your life for a reason, so it’s worth working for those friendships!

     

    Start a New Workout Routine

    Sticking to a workout routine can be so tough! We have the best of intentions, but then we talk ourselves out of it after we’ve had a long day. Or we just forget about it altogether!

    The best way I’ve found to stick to my workouts is to prepare everything ahead of time and make my intention know. For example, if I wanted to do yoga in the morning before work, I would tell my boyfriend my plan, and then I would get my yoga mat set up the night before so it’s there waiting for me in the morning.

    I also love using habit trackers to motivate me to stick to a new habit!

     

    Travel To a New Place

    I know a lot of people who take annual vacations or weekend getaways but always visit the same location. It’s great if you’ve found a place you love so much you want to keep going back, but I also think it can be amazing to travel to new places. And you never know, you might find your new favorite!

    Some of my favorite experiences have been being able to travel to new cities, states, or countries, and I’m definitely looking forward to exploring more new places in the future!

     

    Talk to a Stranger

    I’m not a super outgoing person, and more often than not I’m the one to pull out my phone to avoid talking to the stranger sitting next to me or riding in the elevator with me. It’s not great, but hey, I’m working on it.

    When I remember, I occasionally challenge myself to talk to one new person. I especially try to do this if I’m attending an event alone that I’m not super comfortable going to. Jumping into a conversation with someone always helps ease the discomfort!

     

    Ditch One Bad Habit

    Let’s be honest, we all have at least one or two bad habits we’d like to ditch.

    I know how difficult it can be to kick a bad habit. I smoked for years, which I’m definitely not proud of! And then in 2018 I finally quit. It was one of the most challenging things I’ve done, but also one of the most rewarding.

    My favorite source for learning about all-things habits is James Clear and his book Atomic Habits. In the book, he outlines a roadmap to eliminating bad habits, and creating good habits!

     

    Downside Your Belongings

    When I got divorced, I moved from a three bedroom house to a studio apartment. As you can imagine, that meant getting rid of most of what I owned.

    For someone who always struggled to declutter previously, I thought this would be so much more difficult for me, but it was actually a breath of fresh air.

    If you’re struggling to figure out where to start, I always like to start with my clothes! And if you really want to go all in, pick up a copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and get to work!

     

    Try Cooking a New Recipe

    In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a good cook. I’m not terrible, I just don’t really know what I’m doing in the kitchen. Plus I’m spoiled because my boyfriend loves to cook, so he does all of our cooking.

    That being said, every once in a while I get the urge to whip up a new recipe for myself. It doesn’t always go great, but it’s fun and helps me work on my cooking skills a bit.

    Bonus points if you actually can cook well and use this challenge to grow your cooking abilities to an even more expert level!

     

    Volunteer For a Cause You Care About

    We all have causes that are near and dear to us, but I’m guessing most of us don’t actually make the time to donate our time to those causes. Sure, a monthly donation is great. But so is showing up to help at a local nonprofit!

    Volunteering is not only a great way to contribute to your community, but it is also a great way to meet new people and possibly make some new friends.

     

    Learn to Meditate

    For years I saw people I followed online raving about meditation. It wasn’t just self improvement bloggers either. All of the most successful online business owners I followed talked about their meditation habit.

    Then I read Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss, where he interviews some of the most high-performing people in the world. And in interview after interview, the subject talked about the importance of meditation.

    My meditation game is still a little rough, but it’s been a fun challenge, and I really have noticed a difference during the weeks I meditate regularly.

     

    Make a New Friend

    I remember one of the biggest changes when I graduated from college and moved out of my college town was that I suddenly didn’t have all of my friends around. Since I’m not all that outgoing, it’s more of a challenge for me to make new friends, and it really forces me to put myself out there.

    It’s so worth it though! Every time I have put myself out there and made a new friend, I’ve been so grateful that I did. It can be a lot of fun to make new friends who have similar hobbies or interests.

     

    Ask For Help

    Asking for help is scary for a lot of people. Maybe you’re like me and you’re a perfectionist, afraid of admitting to someone that you can’t do something just right. Or maybe you’re afraid of looking stupid. Or afraid of putting yourself out there and talking to someone new. Or afraid of bothering someone with your problem.

    There are so many reasons you might avoid asking for help, but most of us do find a reason. I challenge you to ask for help next time you are struggling with something!

     

    Start a Gratitude Journal

    Starting a gratitude journal was a challenge for me! First of all, I thought it was kind of a dumb idea. I really didn’t think it would have any effect on my outlook on life.

    But even more than that, sometimes you’re just in a mood where you want to be negative. You want to focus on the things that are going wrong. And challenging that by forcing yourself to look at the GOOD is uncomfortable.

    But writing down things I’m grateful for has actually had such an amazing impact, and it can turn my bad mood right around.

     

    Create a Vision Board

    At first glance, creating a vision board doesn’t seem like something that you challenge you. But you’ll figure out that it really is!

    That’s because creating a vision board requires you to do a couple of uncomfortable things. First of all, it forces you to actually create a vision for your future. If you’ve just been letting life lead you rather than leading your life, it might be scary to create a vision for what you want your life to look like.

    Second, creating a vision board forces you to confront your big goals each and every day. So many of us have a big pie in the sky goal that we’ll probably never really create a plan to reach. But by creating a vision board, you’re constantly reminding yourself of that goal and daring yourself to take action on it.

    It’s honestly a way of tricking yourself into going after your big scary goals!

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    There are so many fun ways you can challenge yourself to grow as a person. And the great thing about this list is everyone can find at least one thing on it that sounds like something they can do! And bonus points for doing a bunch of them!

    As someone who has always been reserved and had a small comfort zone, I’ve tried to challenge myself more as an adult to expand my horizons and come out of my shell a bit.

    It’s made such a huge difference for me, and I know it can do the same for you!

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  • 12 Habits to Help You Boost Self Esteem

    12 Habits to Help You Boost Confidence

     

    For years of middle school, high school, and even college, I struggled with low self-esteem. I constantly felt self-conscious and like people were judging me. I struggled to help myself boost confidence.

    As I got older, I realized that the only one really judging me was me. I let my low self-esteem hold me back from trying new things, making new friends, and truly expressing myself. Do I still get self-conscious sometimes and feel my self-esteem slipping? Absolutely! But now I know I can beat those fears and boost self-esteem, and that they’re just a temporary roadblock.

    I know I’m not alone. I know everyone struggles with their self-esteem at some point, and some people struggle with it a lot. But when you’re in the thick of it, it definitely feels like you’re alone. And this is something we have to get away from!

    Not only does low self-esteem harm us mentally, but it also holds us back from life experiences. By boosting our self-esteem, we can become happier, more stable individuals. So today, I’m sharing with you 12 habits to boost your self-esteem and feel better about yourself!

     

    12 Habits to Help You Boost Your Self Esteem

     

    Find Something You’re Passionate About

     

    I can’t even truly express to you how much blogging has helped me to boost confidence. I’ve always loved to write, and I wanted an outlet to do that. But I had no idea how beneficial blogging would actually be mentally and emotionally. It truly has turned me into a happier, more confident person.

     

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    Make Goals for Yourself

     

    I regularly write out goals for myself. It’s a major confidence booster when I cross things off that list. But it also gives me a sense of purpose to have something to strive for.

     

    Create Your Own Definition of Success

     

    If you spend your life trying to reach the definition of success that someone else sets for you, you’re never going to feel fulfilled by it. Instead, set your own definition. It gives you something to strive for and it feels awesome to do something that makes you feel successful.

     

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    12 Habits to Boost Your Self-Esteem

    Review Your Accomplishments

     

    We’ve all accomplished something, but we also seem to forget in the moments when we most need a pick-me-up. If you’re feeling down on yourself, run through a mental list of all the awesome things you’ve done. Even better, write them down!

     

    Don’t Criticize Yourself

     

    If we want to feel better about ourselves, we need to start with treating ourselves better. We wouldn’t walk up to another person and insult their appearance, so why do we do it to ourselves?? Stop looking in the mirror and picking out all the things you dislike about yourself. Instead look in the mirror and pick out what you love about yourself!

     

    Take Care of Yourself

     

    I know that I always feel better about myself on days that I’ve put effort into my appearance. I’m not one to spend a ton of time doing my hair and makeup, but just generally looking presentable definitely boosts my self-confidence.

     

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    Exercise

     

    I may not see the outward benefits of a workout right away, but I definitely feel great about myself afterward anyways! At the very least, you’ll know you accomplished something and made yourself a little healthier.

     

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    Don’t Dismiss Compliments

     

    When someone tells you that you did an awesome job on a project at work or that you look great, believe them! I don’t know why we are so quick to dismiss compliments others pay us, but it’s a habit we all need to break!

    12 Habits to Help You Boost Confidence

    Don’t Fall into the Comparison Trap

     

    I fall into this trap a lot. These days, it’s probably the biggest hindrance to my self-esteem. It’s so hard to look at someone else’s blog who has more page views, or makes more money and wonder why I’m not where they are. We all have to stop doing that. Stop thinking about where everyone else is and think about where you are!

     

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    Don’t Strive for Perfectionism

     

    If you strive to be perfect, you’re going to fail. There’s just no way around it. But what you can do is strive to do your best and be the absolute best version of yourself.

     

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    Be Kind to Others

     

    There are few better feelings in life than doing something awesome for someone else. You know how, once you become an adult, it’s so much more fun to give gifts than it is to receive them? This is why! The feeling that you’ve made someone else’s day or made their life better is one that can’t be beaten.

     

    Don’t Dwell on the Past

     

    We all have things in our past that made us feel self-conscious. We have things that we regret or are embarrassed by. But it’s so, so important to let those go. They happened, and there’s nothing we can do about them now. But we can move on from the past and not let it affect our happiness in the future.

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    As someone who suffered from low self-esteem in the past, these are 12 methods I KNOW have worked for me when it comes to boosting my self-esteem. Everyone is different though, so you have to find what works for you! I know these 12 can be a great starting point for you though.

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  • The 18 Best Lifestyle Blogs for Women in 2021

     

    I love reading blogs! I first discovered lifestyle blogs in about 2013, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I have some favorites that I’ve been reading since then, but I’m always finding new blogs to check out.

    From a practical standpoint, I love reading blogs that share business and personal finance tips. But I also love reading lifestyle blogs where I can get amazing inspiration.

    In this post, I’m sharing 18 of the best lifestyle blogs for women to check out in 2021!

     

    The 18 Best Lifestyle Blogs for Women in 2021

     

    What Is a Lifestyle Blog?

     

    Before we dive into the best lifestyle blogs on the internet right now, let’s talk about what a lifestyle blog actually is.

    A lifestyle blog is a curation of interests and activities based on the blogger’s life. These blogs are usually a combination of the blogger’s personal experiences and valuable, informative content for their audience.

    It’s important to note that a lifestyle blog is not the same thing as a personal blog. While a personal blog is just a diary of the blogger’s life, it doesn’t necessarily share the informative and inspirational content of a lifestyle blog.

    No matter your age, location, the season of life, and personal interests, you’ll be able to find a lifestyle blogger you can relate to!

    Some topics you’ll commonly find on lifestyle blogs are:

    • Fashion
    • Beauty
    • Home Decor
    • Food
    • Hobbies
    • Travel
    • Motherhood
    • Family
    • Self Care
    • Health & Fitness

    You’ll notice that most lifestyle bloggers have a few categories from that list they focus on most often, but they certainly might sprinkle in other topics as well!

    Lifestyle blogs also tend to change over time. As the blogger goes through different seasons of life, so does her blog! And her blog often reflects what’s happening in her own life.

     

    The 18 Top Lifestyle Blogs for Women

     

    There are so many amazing blogs in the lifestyle niche that it’s honestly impossible to cover even all of the most popular blogs. That being said, I’ve tried my best to curate a list of lifestyle blogs that are very popular or successful or that I have been a big fan of at one point or another.

     

    The Everygirl

    The Everygirl is a blog I’ve been reading for years, and it’s definitely one of my favorites! This site provides just about everything you need to know about as a millennial woman, including career, finance, wellness, travel, relationships, and so much more. Their content is super helpful and relatable!

     

    The Financial Diet

    The Financial Diet is a lifestyle blog with a major emphasis on personal finance. Not only do they offer general financial advice, but they also share personal stories and advice for life situations that any millennial woman could find herself in. As I have had to start over both personally and financially over the past couple of years, I’ve found myself taking away more and more from this site.

     

    Advice From a Twenty Something

    Advice From a Twenty Something shares tons of advice that any millennial woman will love. The blog covers all aspects of 20-something life such as dating, friendships, career, personal development, and fashion. I find the content on this site to be super relatable. Plus I love that she answers questions from her readers on the site!

     

    Wit and Delight

    Wit and Delight is a lifestyle blog that shares personal stories. They share the fashion and home decor advice you’ll see on other, but somehow in a more real and relatable way. I really love the wellness articles and personal stories.

     

    Barefoot Blonde

    Barefoot Blonde is a more personal blog, where the blogger, Amber, shares a lot of what is going on in her life. But on top of that, she also shares tips on hair, beauty, fashion, and more.

     

    A Beautiful Mess

    A Beautiful Mess is one of the OG lifestyle blogs. Founded by two sisters, Elsie and Emma, this blog is my go-to for anything creative. They have an amazing collection of home decor projects, receipts, craft ideas, and more. If colorful and creative is your style, you will love this blog!

     

    Cupcakes and Cashmere

    Cupcakes and Cashmere is one of the first lifestyle blogs I found when I started reading blogs years ago. The blogger Emily shares articles on fashion and beauty, recipes, home decor, and personal stories. She has also written several books and has her own clothing line.

     

    Gal Meets Glam

    Gal Meets Glam is a fashion-centered lifestyle blog where the blogger Julia shares really fun and unique southern style. She also shares some beauty, travel, and home decor content.

     

    A Cup of Jo

    A Cup of Jo is one of the most popular women’s lifestyle blogs out there. She covers the content you’ll see on most other lifestyle blogs, such as fashion and beauty. But I also really love that she dives deep into some deeper, more personal topic such as dealing with different relationships and women’s issues.

     

    Corporette

    Corporette is a fashion and lifestyle blog for women in high-achieving careers such as lawyers, bankers, MBAs, and consultants. As a woman who works in a very professional work environment, I love getting fashion advice tailored toward similar careers.

     

    The Skinny Confidential

    The Skinny Confidential is the perfect blog for anyone focused on health and fitness, among other things. The creator also has a podcast where she brings on guests to share health and fitness tips and tricks.

     

    Lauren Kay Sims

    Lauren Kay Sims is a blog written by, you guessed it, Lauren Sims. It’s a pretty lifestyle blog that covers just about everything, including fashion, beauty, travel, motherhood, fitness, and more. She’s also super active on Instagram stories and shares a lot of tips on there. Some of my personal favorites from her are her skincare tips!

     

    Pink Peonies

    Pink Peonies started as a lifestyle blog, but it’s basically turned into an empire. On the blog, Rachel shares advice and inspiration for fashion, home decor, beauty, and more. She also has her own women’s clothing brand.

     

    Sincerely Jules

    Sincerely Jules is a lifestyle blog that shares personal style and beauty advice for women. Most of her posts are fashion-related, and she shares amazing photos!

     

    The Blonde Abroad

    The Blonde Abroad is a great lifestyle blog for anyone who loves travel! For years Kiersten has been the go-to resource for solo female travel. She shares advice on every step of the travel-planning process. She also shares inspiration and beautiful photos who are just looking to live vicariously through someone else’s travels.

     

    The Stripe

    The Stripe is a fun lifestyle blog for women where the blogger, Grace, shares daily inspiration on personal style, beauty reviews, DIY projects, travel, wellness, and more. I also love what an avid reader Grace is, and she has a “book club” where she shares reviews of the books she reads each month.

     

    Alyson Haley

    Alyson Haley covers mostly fashion and beauty on her blog. I’ve been obsessed with her personal style for years, and she’s one of my favorite go-to sources for inspiration. She also does a lot of traveling and shares some incredible travel guides.

     

    A Girl in Progress

    A Girl in Progress is a lifestyle blog that focuses strongly on personal development. They share great advice on fitness, mental health, career, and money. And like most lifestyle blogs, they share the occasional fashion and beauty post as well!

     

    How to Start a Lifestyle Blog?

     

    When I first started reading a lot of lifestyle blogs, I became super inspired to start my own! You’ll notice my blog is not a lifestyle blog anymore, but that’s what it started out as!

    Now that you’ve been able to explore so many lifestyle blogs, you might be interested in started one for yourself! But how do you get started? Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to get you started.

    1. Decide what to blog about. This part can be hard, but you can always change it later! Just think about what topics you’re interested in, and topics that you already know a lot about.

    2. Choose a domain name. Try to choose a domain that matches your niche or your own name. I just use my own name!

    3. Secure your social media handles. You’ll want to make sure your social media handles match your domain, so grab those ASAP.

    4. Sign up for a hosting plan. If you’re starting your blog in WordPress (which I highly recommend), you’ll have to sign up for hosting. The provider that I recommend and personally use is SiteGround. I’ve never had an issue with them and they have amazing customer service! Plus their plans start at only $3.95 per month!

    5. Install a theme. Your theme is the framework for your blog design. Pretty much all themes are super customizable, so it’s best to just choose one and get started. My favorite choice is the Divi Theme because it’s a drag and drop theme that allows you to design your blog however you want without knowing any code.

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    I just love reading lifestyle blogs, and that love has only grown the longer I’ve been blogging myself. I love discovering women online who have so much to offer, whether it be some amazing advice or a personality you just can’t help but love.

    I’ve also been able to get to know many other bloggers over the past five years, and I can tell you they are some of the most genuine and positive people I have met!

    I hope you loved this list, found a new favorite blog, and maybe are even considering starting your own lifestyle blog!

     

     

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