Around this time last year, I was only getting about 20 readers on my blog per day. I have spent many years of my life messing around with online blogs—but never really consistently kept up with them. I would pop into my website once in a blue moon, write something up, and wait for the traffic to just roll in. But to no avail. So as the end of 2019 rolled around, I decided to make a commitment myself: To blog consistently in 2020. Once or twice a week was my goal…with the hope that maybe someday I could work my way up to posting on here every single day. And while I still *sometimes* struggle with getting something up on a daily basis, I feel proud of how far I’ve come. But, of course, there are many things I’ve learned in the process. And whether you’re a blogger or not, I think the lessons I’ve learned after one year of blogging can honestly apply to anyone.
Lesson #1: Don’t give up on yourself.
You are worth the goals you set. There have been plenty of times this year that I’ve just wanted to give up on this blog altogether. On those slower traffic days, or those days I would get rejected from affiliate programs, I wanted to just throw in the towel and watch some TV. But, in those weak moments, I had to remind myself of why I started in the first place, and I would tell myself that I am worth the effort. Which brings me to lesson #2.
Lesson #2: Come back to your “why.”
What’s the reason you started your goal or project in the first place? Part of my reason “why” to blog consistently in 2020 was to simply prove to myself that I could do it. But the other part—and probably the most significant—was to create helpful recipes and content for the readers I already have. Even if I only had 20 readers a day at the time, I thought about those readers and how my work was already making a difference in their lives. And that motivated me to get off the couch and try again.
Lesson #3: Stick to what you love, forget the rest.
Writing, cooking, developing recipes, taking pictures, designing layouts and social posts, connecting with my readers…these are the things I have always loved to do. It’s the thing I have to remind myself when I start to veer off into projects I’m not exactly fit for. Instead, I have to remind myself to stick to the things I love to do, and even in my darkest hour, I still find joy in the activity. Even if I only made a whopping $140 this year. But hey, that’s better than $0 in 2019…right?!
Lesson #4: You don’t have to do what everyone else does.
In the spring and summer months I decided to take a bunch of online courses to learn how to become a full-time blogger and entreprenuer. I was curious, I mean, who wouldn’t like the freedom of running their own website and business, right? Well, like any early entreprenuer, I didn’t realize how much work would actually go into it. And with that, I decided that it wasn’t something I wanted to do.
I love blogging—but as a hobby! This blog is a place where I can work on my writing, cooking, and photography craft with complete freedom from any kind of revenue model. Sure, I love making a little money, but I would rather that finance some of the food I’m buying for this blog instead of forcing that to be my full-time income.
Once I made that decision, things started looking different for me—and blogging became fun again. I decided I didn’t have to follow all of the social media “rules” set for full-time bloggers and deleted all of the social media on my phone. Instead, I focus on connecting with readers in other places and set better boundaries in my personal life. And honestly, it’s the best lesson I learned for myself—and the blog—this year.
Lesson #5: Set small goals every month
Clearly, I didn’t make the leap from posting weekly to daily in just one night. I took time, organization, and a bit of personal development in order to get there. That’s because instead of going from zero to 60 overnight, I decided to set smaller goals. Get at least one blog post up every week in January. Then two in February. Then three in April. And it progressed from there.
At the beginning of each month I set goals for what I would like to accomplish. Kind of like New Year’s resolutions, but on a much smaller scale. Something that feels attainable, and gets me closer to the bigger goal I would like to accomplish by the end of the year.
Lesson #6: Look at how far you’ve come.
Toot your own horn. Yes, seriously! I find it so rewarding to look back and see how far I’ve come. It fuels my fire and gives me that motivational boost I need to keep going the next year.
I just spent the following hour or so reflecting on how far I’ve come with this blog, and honestly, it brought me to tears. I’m no longer at a place where I have 20 readers a day—it’s increased significantly since then. And while the numbers are still small compared to other big bloggers, I feel content with how this year went. And I’m determined to keep going in 2021.
So whatever your goal is in 2021, give yourself some time to reflect throughout the year. Because you’ll be surprised how motivating it is to keep fighting the fight.