It’s been an incredible week! From sunbathing in Shasta to jumping out of an airplane, I have taken celebration to a whole new level. Our country turned 241, my bestie turned 29, my husband will turn 42 on Saturday, and my blog turns 1 today! When I sat down to write today, I was planning to write about our week at Shasta Lake and surprising my husband for his birthday with skydiving, but that changed when I realized that a year ago TODAY I hit publish for the very first time on my first blog post. Instead, I decided to reflect on the past year and share how blogging has changed my life.
1. I think in posts
I used to travel, workout, eat healthy, cook and just do me without so much as a thought about what or how I was doing any said thing, but almost immediately after launching the blog everything became a blog post. I was constantly asking myself, could this be a post? Is it interesting? Is it helpful? Is it adoptable for the average reader, and if not, how can I modify for broad adoption? In some ways this allows me to live more in the moment. For example, I’m much more present during my workout thinking about the exercise, how I’m performing it, why it’s beneficial, and how I can write about the movements in a way the reader will understand. Yet, in other ways it’s intensified my already short attention span, dreamy state of mind. I’m always thinking about the next post, the next workout, the next milestone.
2. Views, and Likes, and Followers, OH MY!
I’ve always been an overachiever. I don’t do anything half-assed, and if I’m competing I’m winning, otherwise, I’m not having fun. 🙂 It’s this reason I vowed never to play Monopoly with anyone whom I value a relationship with. It’s a terrible game, and if you lose, you lose slowly and painfully. It brings out a side of me that I’m not proud of.
This competitive side of me is even stronger when it comes to personal achievements. The person I love the beat the most, is myself. I want to be the best at my job, make the most money, lift heavier, run faster, and now…have the best blog. Not quite sure what that means, but what started as a little hobby has now turned into something that I want to be successful. I want it to be important to other people, and most of all, I want it to be helpful.
This new development to become the Famous Fit Frequent Flyer means I am obsessively checking my WordPress stats page to see how many views, likes or followers I’ve gotten. It’s addicting, and can either be cause of the greatest feeling of achievement or instantaneous self-doubt.
3. I have a New Favorite Sound
Related to number two is a little sound that now chimes from my cell phone when someone interacts with a post. A like or a comment, for example, will trigger the most perfect little sound. I’m even giddy if the chime displays a push notification showing I have a new follower! It’s completely self indulgent and ego driven, but that little chime gives me a sense of validation and happiness. Let’s make my phone sing to celebrate the blog’s birthday? What do you say? Give us a like and I’ll be doing a little happy dance with every chime.
4. I Have So Much to Learn
They say you don’t know what you don’t know, and let me tell you, I had NO IDEA how much there was to know about blogging. Nor did I expect to work this hard. I naïvely thought I would log on to the blog occasionally and bust out a post that everyone would love and share. I was wrong! Like any new venture I had a lot to learn. There are so many tools, resources and other bloggers that all contribute to your success, and all of which take time to learn. For instance, see these cute little images in this post? They come from an online site called Canva. My images and content dramatically improved after discovering this resource, and I’m still learning how to use it. In fact, currently deciding whether or not to pay a monthly fee and upgrade to Canva Pro. If anyone has any insight, please comment!
I also decided that resting on a Personal Training Certification from 10 years ago that has since expired, isn’t good enough anymore, so I’m working on getting re-certified with NASM to be a certified personal trainer. I forgot how much anatomy is required, and relearning it is time consuming and challenging, but I think it’s important to the integrity of the blog.
5. I’m part of a community
When I decided I wanted to grow the number of followers I needed to find out how others had so many, and what I learned was that the most successful bloggers are also the most interactive, supportive and involved bloggers. The secret is, in order to get more followers you have be a good follower. It means being an active member of the community by following, liking, commenting and sharing with other bloggers. This has become a fun new past time, and it’s not even about gaining followers anymore. I truly enjoy reading posts and learning from others. I’m constantly reading. Let’s just say I play a lot less Candy Crush than I used to.
6. It’s a Social Game
All roads lead back to Social Media. It’s the engine by which we operate these days. Whether you’re the silent consumer of social media or a Kardashian you are influenced by social media. And, if you have any type of brand and are not on social media, you won’t have a brand for very long.
Starting an Instagram and Twitter account for The Fit Frequent Flyer has also been an interesting learning process, and I’m still trying to figure out how one gets thousands of IG followers, but again, it’s part of the process and I’m enjoying the process.
Oh the #! To master social media means mastering the hashtag! #ugh!
It wasn’t that long ago that I thought hashtags were for #teenagers, and that #matureadults didn’t need to speak in hashtags. Now, I spend so much time experimenting with hashtags that I’m #exhausted. Which hashtag will get the most views? Which hashtag will attract my prospective follower? Which hashtags do I want to view? It’s a thing, and it’s definitely something that has 1) changed and 2) become relevant since starting the blog.
8. My office is my studio
A year ago my third bedroom was my office – I work from home if I’m not traveling. Today, it is my office, a guest bedroom and my creative studio. I purchased a camera, a real camera not my iphone, and am often staging blog pictures out of my office. The room is now home to rolls of contact paper, marble looking shelf liners, photography backdrops, etc. It’s all about a good picture.
Are you starting to see a theme? Not only does the blog post itself have to have quality pictures, but so do the pictures that make it on to social media. The people who do this best are ones who have a consistent theme across their accounts. I’ve founds two bloggers that do this effortlessly. The first is Lauryn Evarts Bosstick of The Skinny Confidential, I just love her use of pinks and whites. Her Instagram is so clean and pretty. The other is Sally & Molly Miller from A Piece of Toast. I love their fashion blog too, but again, their Instagram is flawless. #goals
9. I found my Passion
Creativity is the intelligence having fun, Albert Einstein.
I love my job, and I enjoy what I do. I feel so fortunate to have stumbled into technology sales 10 years ago and built a career that I am truly proud of, and I hope to continue to grow and succeed in this industry. But, writing my blog is a different type of joy. I don’t find myself looking forward to Friday so I have two days off from work, I find myself looking forward to the next time I can write, or create a workout, or share a recipe. I can sit down in front of my computer for 8 hours on a Sunday and feel content, accomplished and happy. It may not be a career, but I feel blessed to have found a way to do what I love: write and share health and fitness with others.
10. I will never compromise my beliefs
This last point is not about what changed, but rather, what will never change. I’ve been active my entire life. Exercise and activity comes naturally to me, which is why I’m so passionate about sharing it with you, but I am also a recovering anorexic/bulimic. I say recovering vs. recovered because I don’t believe you can ever be fully recovered from a 15+ year eating disorder. It is something I work at and monitor every day regardless of how far I’ve come.
I don’t want this blog to ever be a trigger for those struggling with and eating disorder, nor do I want to perpetuate the distorted propaganda delivered by the fitness and advertising industries alike. My goal is to share with you workouts, healthy recipes and travel tips. I want to inspire you to be active, even if it’s only for 12 minutes at a time. You will never hear me promise thinner thighs, or bikini ready abs. I won’t promise a workout that will make you sexy, you already are. I will never hashtag skinny to gain followers, or promote counting calories. These are all methods designed to make us feel inadequate, and ultimately, buy something that promises to fix us. We don’t need fixing.
If you want to be healthy, by whatever definition that is, just do these three things: Eat Real Food, Get Active, Find Balance.
Thanks for Reading!
Happy Birthday Fit Frequent Flyer!