In Part 1 I outlined 10 tiny habits you could start picking up in your 20s; that could change the way you lead your life in the next few decades.
Are you currently in your 20s? The 20s can be a confusing time for many of us. It’s always when we have lots of things going on in our lives – college/getting an education work, starting a family, finding a life partner, purchasing your first house and so on. It’s also that time in our lives that we are discovering ourselves in a much deeper way and establishing our identities. 20s is also the time of youth. And like it or not, it’s usually dubbed the “golden era” of our lives and This will be the decade where you are at the prime of your life – the most energetic, the best looking, little responsibilities, and tons of opportunities at your feet.
So how then can we make the most of these 10 years? And not just that, what sorts of habits could we establish in our 20s that will set us on a good path for the rest of our lives? I outline some of my thoughts in these series of posts (more to come in the near future), gathering observations from strangers, friends and most of all, my own life.
Hi everyone! Here’s my May Study Challenge. The tag for this challenge is #maysc. Please tag your posts for it with this tag so I can see them! Please don’t tag #heynay in your posts, as I’m reserving that tag for non-maysc posts that people want me to reblog! I’ll also be being a little more selective with what I reblog this month than I was with the April study challenge, but if you put it in the tag I’ll probably reblog it! Have a great month of May!
1 (M). Describe where you want to be right now (academically or otherwise).
2 (Tu). What’s your life philosophy, in one paragraph or less?
3 (W). What are your goals for this month?
4 (Th). May is AP Exam season! What are your tips for studying for tests?
5 (F). How do you sit while you’re studying? What’s your chair like where you study?
6 (Sa). How much of your stationery and study materials travel with you to class? How much is left at your study space?
7 (Su). What is one good experience you’ve had within the last week?
8 (M). Have any teachers changed your life?
9 (Tu). How do you keep yourself motivated to study for a class when the teacher or professor is bad (i.e. mean or doesn’t teach effectively)?
10 (W). How long do you spend studying and doing homework each day?
11 (Th). What is one thing that you did within the last month that you’re proud of?
12 (F). How has the studyblr community affected your studying in real life?
13 (Sa). What’s your favorite song at the moment?
14 (Su). What tips do you have for other students who are in your grade specifically (i.e. for high school or college freshmen/sophomores/juniors/seniors)?
15 (M). What subject is hardest for you? How do you go about studying for it?
16 (Tu). What’s your favorite study method?
17 (W). Do you prefer group projects or individual ones? Why?
18 (Th). Do you like background noise while studying, or do you prefer it to be silent? If you listen to music, what’s your playlist?
19 (F). What’s your daily routine?
20 (Sa). What’s something you enjoy doing outside of school? Do you ever have any conflict between academics and hobbies?
21 (Su). Do you prefer to write with pencil or pen? Why?
22 (M). Who do you consider a role model? Why?
23 (Tu). What type of learner are you (visual, kinetic, etc.)? How does this translate to your study methods?
24 (W). At what part of the day do you usually study?
25 (Th). What’s something you’re trying to improve on (academically or otherwise)?
26 (F). What’s your style?/What do you like to wear?
27 (Sa). What subjects do you find the easiest?
28 (Su). What’s your dream life like?
29 (M). Why did you start a studyblr?
30 (Tu). What inspires you?
31 (W). Look back at your goals from day 3. How did you do?
from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2oWvcp3
HOW TO START A BLOG IN 5 SIMPLE STEPS
Before we get into the details, you should know the most important thing about starting a blog: write because you have a passion for something. If you are starting a blog with the intention of getting rich and famous, you’re probably better off trying something else.
But if you have something to share with the world, whether it’s tips, photos, writing, your interests, or hobbies, I say go for it. I mean, really, what are you waiting for? Here are five simple steps to make it happen!
1. Choose a domain name
Coming up with a domain name can be one of the hardest tasks. After all, it’s going to be the identity of your blog. I’m talking about a .com that is all yours. You could go the simple route and use your name, but if you want a little creativity/anonymity, it might take a little bit of thinking over.
It took me a long time to come up with The Blissful Mind, but it ultimately came from my belief that having a healthy mind is the key to overall health. Once you’ve figured out the name, buy a domain name from somewhere like namecheap.com (prices start at just $0.88 per year which is stupidly cheap).
2. Get a host
A host is basically the place where all of your blog’s files are located. I use SiteGround as my hosting provider, and I have been so impressed with the level of customer support they offer. The SiteGround team are quick to respond to any issues (which I’ve rarely encountered), and they are extremely knowledgeable about hosting.
SiteGround’s hosting starts at $3.95 per month which is perfect for anyone just getting started with blogging.
To start the process, head to this page and click ‘Get Started’ for the plan you want (StartUp is best for your first plan. You can always upgrade later).
Once you’re on the next page, enter in the name of the domain you just purchased from NameCheap and then choose which payment plan you want to go with (trial month, 12 months, 2 years, or 3 years).
Sidenote: To be completely transparent, I started off using BlueHost but found that they weren’t as helpful or responsive with questions that I had about my site, so I switched to SiteGround and never looked back.
3. Install WordPress
There are quite a few platforms out there like WordPress, Blogger, and Squarespace, but I’ve used WordPress since day one. Since I’m only familiar with WordPress, that’s what I’d recommend you use as the place where you write your blog posts. SiteGround offers a free and easy WordPress installation which makes it a million times easier than doing it manually. Once you’ve set up your account with SiteGround, they will prompt you through the WordPress installation process.
4. Find a theme
When it comes to your blog’s appearance, you want it to be user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. Over the years, I’ve used themes from Angie Makes and Station Seven (both found through Creative Market), and I’m currently using a theme I found Themeforest. If you don’t want to spend money on a theme, there are tons of free ones out there if you just do a quick search on Google for free WordPress themes.
SiteGround has some free templates that they can install for you, and it’s easy to change your theme once you’re all set up. Most places that you buy or find themes from will tell you exactly how to install them in WordPress, so you don’t have to worry about messing it up.
5. Start writing
When you’re just getting ready to start a blog, you’ll read a lot of articles that tell you how important it is to have a niche for your blog. Here’s my advice to you: don’t worry about your niche until you’ve written at least 10 blog posts. My blog started out as a mashup of random topics like an apartment tour, pancake recipes, and beauty products I liked. I had no idea what I was really talking about, but I kept writing because I enjoyed it.
It wasn’t until at least a year into blogging that I started realizing what I really wanted to write about and what resonated with other people. Let yourself write about what you want in the beginning and don’t try to put yourself into a box. These things take time.
from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2qv3P1K
STRATEGY 1: WRITE TO HELP YOUR AUDIENCE
Here’s the thing: most people don’t really care about you. Sure, your friends, family, and loyal blog readers love you, but someone who’s just stumbled upon your blog doesn’t love you…yet.
In order to get people to love you and your blog, your posts need to address one or more of the most basic human interests:
I mean, think about it. If you happened to be scrolling through Pinterest and you saw a pin that said “My Favorite Fall Beauty Products”, your first thought is going to be:
“…and who are you?”
If I don’t know who you are and I just happened to stumble upon this post, I’m not really going to be that interested. But, if I saw something instead that said “5 Products You NEED For Fall“, I’m going to want to click on that because it sounds intriguing and I think it could help me in some way.
By rotating the angle of the post to be more about your audience and less about yourself, you’ll get more people interested in what you have to say. You can still share your experiences, but share them in a way that can benefit others.
Remember, people want you to help solve their problems and make them feel like they’re not alone.
The Exception: Posts about overcoming your own struggles or realizing your own mistakes can also do really well, but it’s still because people need help – they want to know how you did it so they can avoid it or overcome it too. For example, ‘How I Overcame My Body-Image Struggles’ or ‘What I Learned From Traveling Solo In A Dangerous Country’ sound intriguing, maybe even controversial, and I think I could apply them to my life.
Go back through your old blog posts and think about how you can make them more about your audience and less about you. For example, I wrote a post that was originally called My Favorite Food Bloggers, but I recently changed it to 5 Inspiring Healthy Food Bloggers to make it more specific and imply that the post could inspire you (not the best title I’ve ever come up with, but it’s a lot better than it was!)
Examples of Audience-Centered Posts:
STRATEGY 2: MAKE YOUR CONTENT READABLE
This seems like a no-brainer, but so many blogs use a tiny, barely decipherable font that makes it difficult to read for longer than 5 seconds. I want to read your post, okay?! Let me do it with ease!
The best things you can have to make your posts more readable (and therefore more share-worthy):
Take a look at your current design and see if you can tweak the font size and spacing to make it easier to read. Go through 3-5 old posts and split up your ideas using subheadings, bullets, and anything else you can use to make it easy on the eyes.
STRATEGY 3: WRITE IN-DEPTH POSTS WITH ACTIONABLE ADVICE
There are so many blogs out there that barely skim the surface of the topics they’re talking about, and I’m always disappointed when I see an interesting headline but the post leaves me wanting more information.
Longer posts allow you to go into more depth and include information that sets you apart from other bloggers. This study by CoSchedule shows that long-form content also tends to rank higher than shorter pages, and they make a great point:
If you are conducting a search on “how to kill zombies,” what kind of post are you going to be looking for? The 500 word overview, or the 2,000 word in-depth article with pictures and examples?
The answer is pretty obvious.
People want advice that they can immediately apply to their lives, and they can do this if you give them more information. You want to get your audience thinking, taking action, and bookmarking your post to refer back to. You don’t want them skimming, writing ‘nice post’ in the comments, and forgetting about what they just read.
Quality Over Quantity
You’re probably thinking, ‘But Catherine, long posts take a long time to write. I need to get content out regularly.’
Welp, my dear. Here’s the thing: Your posts should take a while to write. Most of my posts take me days, maybe even a whole week. Unless you’re one of those people who wrote college essays the night before and still got an A, you’re going to have to give your posts the time they deserve before they can get to that epic level.
Take it slow and realize that more content does not always mean good content. One incredibly epic and helpful blog post a month is better than 5 mediocre, un-detailed posts per week. To beef up your posts and make them even more helpful, include links to other posts, add in research and statistics, work in some quotes, or try your own case study.
Another sure-fire way to get people more interested in your posts is a content upgrade. A content upgrade is basically an extra bit of goodness that adds value to your blog post and gives your reader even more. You could include any of the following:
If you’re worried that you don’t have the skills to make these content upgrades, Canva is a free tool that can basically turn you into a graphic designer in less than a minute. It’s epic.
Speaking of content upgrades…
Here’s a free worksheet to help you write incredible blog posts! Don’t you like how I just snuck that in here?
Examples of In-Depth Posts:
STRATEGY 4: WRITE EVERGREEN CONTENT
So what the heck is evergreen content? I like to think of it as writing content that isn’t time or event specific – it has no expiration date.
You want to write posts that will still make sense if someone found them 6 months from now. Of course, some posts are intentionally seasonal which is totally fine, but you want to have a good balance between evergreen and seasonal posts.
If you want your posts to be shared again and again, it’s going to be worth your time to write evergreen content.
Examples of Evergreen Content:
10 travel wardrobe essentials – Daisy could have made this post about a recent trip she was taking and what she was packing. Instead, she made it about her audience and their needs, and made it appropriate for any season and location.
14 ways to stop living for the weekends – I would usually avoid referencing anything about the day of the week when the post was published, but it makes total sense for Jennifer to mention that it’s Friday because it’s completely relevant to the post (because duh, it’s about the weekend!)
Examples of Non-Evergreen Content:
Find 3-5 old posts where you might have mentioned a season or event in your life that isn’t 100% necessary to share with your reader. Make them more universal and relevant to someone scrolling through your archives so that they can apply your advice to their lives right now.
STRATEGY 5: GIVE PEOPLE A REASON TO SHARE YOUR POST
Okay, you just put all this effort into writing an epic blog post, so how are you going to get it out into the world beyond the group of followers you already have?
You make it share-worthy!
Remember that people typically share things for these reasons:
People who participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge didn’t necessarily do it because they cared about the cause – they knew that if they didn’t accept the challenge, they’d look like an a-hole. It was share-worthy because people wanted to make themselves seem like good people.
You want to write share-worthy content that’s to-the-point, easy to read, and helps solve some sort of problem people might have. If you’ve follow the steps above, you’re already on track to having totally share-worthy content.
Here’s how to take it to the next level:
1. Jazz Up Your Headlines
Headlines are everything. Sure, your loyal followers will read anything regardless of the title, but imagine someone has just seen your post shared on Facebook – it needs to have a good headline to catch their attention. ‘My Favorite Blogging Tools’ it’s less shareable than ‘5 Blogging Tools That’ll Save You Massive Amounts of Time.’ That one just sounds like something I totally need.
Examples of great titles:
If you want the most extensive list of topic ideas known to man, this e-book is for you.
2. Make Your Images Pinnable
I started off using horizontal images on my blog, but I knew I wanted to make my images more Pinterest friendly when I redesigned it in July. Horizontal images just don’t do very well on Pinterest because there’s a 554px width limit, whereas there is no vertical limit.
Making my images vertical was probably the best decision I’ve made for my blog so far.
During the month of July (when I hadn’t yet started using vertical images), I had 13 blog sessions that came from Pinterest.
In August, I had 1,065.
In September, I had 2,165. WHAT.
Just look at that percent increase!
You better believe the power of Pinterest for bloggers. I also have to credit the Pinfinite Growth course I took for some of this magic, but making my blog posts Pinterest-friendly was a huge game changer.
3. Add a Click-to-Tweet Message
Click-to-Tweet is an awesome plugin for WordPress that allows you to craft a tweet that links to your post, and all people have to do is click it to share it with their followers. This is incredibly helpful for getting people to take action because it requires zero effort on their part. I would also recommend getting a widget like Jetpack or something built into your design that makes it a piece of cake for people to share your post on social media.
Examples of Share-Worthy Content:
Look at those beautiful graphics and epic titles. You’d be a fool not to share those!
OKAY, RECAP (+ THAT FREE WORKSHEET AGAIN!)
from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2pkZgcN
Think about all the things you have been passionate about in your life. Think about all those passions that you considered making a career out of or building a company around. How many were/are there ? Why did you bounce from one to another ? Why were you not able to make a career or business out of any of those passions ? Or if you have been able to have some success, what was the key to the success.? Was it the passion or the effort you put in to your job or company ?
If you really want to know where you destiny lies, look at where you apply your time.
Time is the most valuable asset you don’t own. You may or may not realize it yet, but how you use or don’t use your time is going to be the best indication of where your future is going to take you .
Let me make this as clear as possible
1. When you work hard at something you become good at it.
2. When you become good at doing something, you will enjoy it more.
3. When you enjoy doing something, there is a very good chance you will become passionate or more passionate about it
4. When you are good at something, passionate and work even harder to excel and be the best at it, good things happen.
Don’t follow your passions, follow your effort. It will lead you to your passions and to success, however you define it.
from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2oSbBWL
And thus another life lesson materialized, with applications to Mustachianism as well. And that lesson is that small efforts, repeated over time, will almost always surprise you.
It’s a natural weakness of the human brain that we don’t recognize this, because we have our leftover instincts of survival in the moment. But a ten dollar lunch each workday compounds to $37,600 every ten years. An extra beer or slice of bread beyond your base calorie requirements adds up to 152 pounds of fat* over the same period. A habit of being just a bit rude to your spouse in certain situations can brew itself into lifelong resentment and divorce, while a slightly different habit of patience and respect can keep you happily married for life.
For me, the habit of occasionally typing some shit into the computer has resulted in an enormous pile of articles on this blog. 360 of them, or over 1000 pages if you were to make it all into a (repetitive and poorly edited) book. It’s a whole empire now, which automatically brings in readers and generates surprising quantities of money, and all caused by a series of individually insignificant efforts over time. And although things seem slow to me right now, with continued efforts I can surely make this place far better, finish the book that really needs to be written, and reach the right people. Then, of course, we can save the human race from destroying itself through overconsumption of its own habitat, which has been the plan all along.
So how can everyone benefit from this effect? By watching where your time goes, and making small adjustments to make sure most of those minutes are aligned with your real life goals.
Watching TV, for example, or playing massively multiplayer online games, can feel relaxing and even stimulating at times. But those hours spent relaxing and stimulating yourself can really add up, and when you tally the eventual sum of the life benefits, it ends up awfully close to zero. Many other leisure pursuits (complaining, ATV riding, shopping) often end up the same way.
The key is therefore to trick yourself into doing more things that are good for you. Not just more good things, but over time having your life be almost entirely good things.
Tiny things, like learning one new thing you were afraid of trying before. Fixing the screen on your upstairs window. Or taking a very short walk when you don’t really have the time or inclination to go for a real walk. Reading just a tiny amount of the investing book before you eat a tiny amount of raw vegetables. I have some gymnastics rings hanging from straps mounted to part of the high ceiling in my kitchen. When I don’t feel like really working out, which is quite often, I will walk over and do just 5 pull-ups on those rings. Over the past month or two, I’ve done this lazy cop-out routine about 100 times, which adds to 500 pull-ups, which is not such a bad thing after all.
Sooner than you think, you’ll find that your days are starting to change shape. These constant needlings from Mr. Money Mustache seemed annoying at first, but you will end up getting rid of your TV and replacing it with a library card after all, and poking around in the Reading List area of this blog. Over time, you’ll become a Self Improvement Machine, a miniature Dalai Lama with happiness beams shooting out of each of your orifices, which in turn shine onto others and make them happier. All in all, a surprising effect for such a small effort.
from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2plI0kU
Here’s how you do it:
- Choose a specific goal that can be measured. Some examples: lose 20 pounds, write an 80,000 word book, save $10,000, run a total of 100 miles, or meditate 15 minutes a day this month (450 minutes total).
- Pick a realistic completion date. This is key. Choosing a date by which you’d like to finish your goal will let you define the pace you’ll need in order to achieve that goal. Make sure your date is attainable and realistic.
- **Use Excel or Numbers to design a simple, two-lined chart. One line tracks the pace you’ll need to follow to achieve your goal by the date you’ve specified, and the other line tracks your incremental progress towards the goal. Update this second line every week, or however often you choose. (I’m purposely not posting a template here—I have a good one, but the more involved you are in this process, the more likely you are to keep the chart updated.)
I’ve found it helps to print several of these charts and place them within sight—when writing The Productivity Project, I taped a chart of my incremental word count above the computer monitor in my office, another in the kitchen, and one in my bedroom.
I’ve found this tactic works for a few reasons:
You can make adjustments over time. This includes tweaks to your effort—to either work harder if you’re behind pace, or let up a bit if you’re ahead—as well as adjustments to the goal itself, if you’re finding that in practice, your plan is either overambitious or too conservative. (That said, sometimes conservative goals are the best ones because they feel much more attainable.)
You know when you can treat yourself. Goals are fun to make and achieve, but tracking your progress lets you know when you can let your foot off the gas a little, and treat yourself. It’s a pretty great feeling to both treat yourself, and know that you’re on pace to achieve your larger goal.
**Tracking your progress against a pace keeps you honest with yourself. My negative inner dialogue goes through the roof when working towards larger goals. I have the bad habit of talking myself out of achieving larger goals (especially when food is involved). Tracking your exact progress against a planned pace gives you some cold, hard data to reflect on how well you’re doing.
When you track your progress for your larger personal and work goals—especially against a predetermined pace—you’re more likely to achieve them. I’ve yet to find a better strategy to achieving the bigger goals in my life.
from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2n4cVVi
from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2m74mZf