30 Insights from 30 Days of Blogging - Part 1
Today marks the 31st article since the start of the Just Hit Post Challenge. And whilst it did end up carrying over for much longer than 30 days, I couldn't be happier at the progress I've made in that time. So I'm writing this post to outline exactly what I gained from the practice of getting up everyday, with the simple goal of writing for the internet.
30 lessons, for each day that I posted: treat it like a blog post to summarise 30 blog posts. In part 1, I'll cover the first 15 days.
Let's get into it!
1: When you haven't made a habit of something, starting is the hardest part.
You've most likely had it in your mind to do something for a while - you've known all the benefits of doing it, you've tried to get yourself to, but it just hasn't worked. (For me, it was writing online.)
To break that barrier, make yourself accountable. Once I started the JHP Challenge, I felt obligated to write regardless of how I was feeling, because I'd told everyone I was doing it. I didn't need motivation, I needed discipline. Once you finally start, and treat it as a daily, 'must do' practice, rather than just a goal, you can get the ball rolling, and the friction of doing that thing becomes less and less.
2: Figure out what you want from what you do.
The best thing you can do when setting out in any new venture (apart from actually just getting stuck in and doing the thing) is to establish goals. At what point will you have succeeded? When will you be satisfied?
Naval Ravikant describes desire as a contract that we make with ourselves to be unhappy until we get what we want. If you aren't happy right now - what do you want?
Define a goal, and start moving towards it. It might change as you go on - for me, it started as '30 posts in 30 days' and eventually just became '30 good posts'.
3: Get going before you get good.
If you really want to get into a new habit, don't focus on making it perfect. Go for quantity over quality. As long as you can end the day saying you did it, you can treat it as a win.
My first few posts in the challenge were a real eye-opener in getting me to let go of everything I thought a blog post was meant to be. I stopped myself from poring over drafts for hours, or thinking for ages over the right words to say. I just spoke from the heart, and whatever came to mind at the time. And when I posted, I was done with it.
4: Double down on what works for you.
Just for a moment, step back. Ignore the guides, ignore the practices that everyone tells you on the internet (including me). Once you've clarified where you are, what you want, and tested things out to try and improve - ask yourself:
'Is this working for me?'
If you answer 'no' to that question, for any practice you've been following for a while - scrap it, and move on.
I think too many of us see what's worked for other people who've achieved these amazing things, and assume that if we just follow the exact same steps, then like a cooking recipe, we'll end up with a finished product that will look exactly the same.
The truth is, life is messy, and people are vastly different. What's worked for me might not work for you, and vice versa. Follow your intuition, and value your own feedback on the process. Going along with that, get feedback from others to help you on the way. If they're noticing results when you're not - maybe it really is working.
5: You're playing a finite game; if you want to win at something, you need to invest the time.
It's cliché, but true: we all get 24 hours. The more of those you spend intentionally chasing what you really want, the happier you'll be at the end. It's really that simple. What causes problems for most people, is either:
- Chasing something they think they want, but don't really
- Not chasing it for long enough.
6: To play a long term game well, you need a long term strategy.
Once you know what it is you want to do, you have a goal to achieve, you know what direction you're headed, and you're prepared to be working towards it for a while - only then should you start considering a long term plan.
It's often really easy to fantasise about the full strategy of doing something big - whether that's starting a new workout routine, building a business or coding an app. But when you start small, the last thing you need to worry about is what you're going to be doing way down the line. Again, life is messy, and there are too many variables that mean the plan you lay out now won't be viable in the long term.
Only when you've clarified the initial aspects of your habit or goal is it a good idea to think about how you'll progress over a long time. But when you do - work with the information that you have, and be prepared to adapt.
7: It's natural to doubt your abilities, even when you're good at what you do.
Imposter syndrome affects everyone. If you're dedicated to learning or doing something new, you're bound to encounter it eventually. It will always be there, and you'll always have to overcome it, but take consolation in the fact that it's generally an indication that you actually know your stuff.
Perfectionism only affects people who know what to do to be perfect. And if you know exactly what to do to be perfect, it means you've already passed what it takes to be good.
8: Embrace your personal uniqueness, and be authentic in chasing your goals.
Your personal touch is often your biggest selling point. Nobody else is as good at 'being you' as you are. Rather than cutting out aspects of yourself to make room for what you want to be, use your traits as strengths to help you reach the goals you want to achieve.
Don't be deterred by what society says you should do (as hard as that can be). If you really want it, it will be more important than what anyone else thinks or says.
9: Think about your thoughts, and improve by introspecting.
It can sometimes be very easy to keep doing: continually acting and getting results, repeating the process because we can clearly see that what we're achieving is working. But often, stepping back and actually considering how we've gotten where we are is one of the best ways to improve. A recalibration, so to speak - that tells us how best to move forward, and gives us a chance to actually appreciate our progress.
10: Start speaking about what you do to find out who you want to be.
Once you actually step up and share your ideas with others, you start to realise what really matters to you. You carefully consider what it is you have to say, and how you want to be portrayed. In that way, you'll find out what really matters to you, and how you really want to be seen by society for your achievements.
11: Uncertainty is a part of life. All you can do is continuously adapt.
Just like that timeless Forrest Gump quote:
“Life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you’re gonna get.”
The faster you can recognise that you're only ever entitled to your actions and reactions, the better you become at adapting to any situation life throws at you, regardless of what it is. Truly appreciating the uncertainty of life helps you become unstoppable in finding fulfilment.
12: Don't be afraid to redefine yourself.
Realising that what you're doing just isn't working or making you happy can often be disheartening. Something akin to the 'sunken cost fallacy' - seeing as you've invested so much into something that hasn't worked, it almost feels like you need to keep going until it does.
The thing is, failure is a part of life, and although it can be turned into success, that sometimes involves a big change. Don't worry about taking that step just because you've assigned some labels to yourself or what you do, and feel you need to stick to them for whatever reason.
13: Structure your goals, and share them with others.
Sometimes all you need to reach a goal fast is to lay it out plainly. Adding to that, the more people you tell about it, the higher the chance that you meet someone who can help you get to exactly what you're after.
14: Share advice you'd give to your past self.
One barrier I hit early on when blogging was that I just didn't know what to write about - I didn't feel like I had any useful ideas. But the truth is, everyone can talk about things they've done in the past, and now have hindsight knowledge on how they've improved.
The easiest lessons to teach are the ones that you've learnt yourself. So share the advice that you learnt first hand. You'd be surprised how useful people find it.
15: Overthinking is paralysing. Overcome it by doing.
For a lot of people, it's much easier to get stuck in your head and paralyse yourself, vs being stuck in your work and acting too much. Think of your work as an experiment - don't take it too seriously, and let the fear guide you.
The insights I got from writing my thoughts out over these last few months has given me more takeaways than I could ever have imagined - which is the interesting thing about writing so much. I looked back through each of my posts and remembered just how much I actually managed to achieve. If you've ever considered creating content online - treat this as your wakeup call to get it together, and Just Hit Post!
On the off chance that you've read something on here and loved it, or want to read more, feel free to shoot me a message on my socials:
The feedback helps massively. Thanks!