Five months before my 31st birthday in 2010, I launched operation 30 x 31, a personal mission to lose 30 pounds by my 31st birthday. I’d read that I should tell everyone about my decision to keep me accountable, but I work best when I keep my plans closely guarded. If I fail, no one is the wiser. If I succeed, everyone is caught off guard by my triumph.
I gave up what I referred to as FCS—fries, chips, and soda. (I actually chanted in my head: “NO fries! NO chips! NO soda!) I tracked my eating online with Weight Watchers. And I worked out no less than three times a week. I’d also read that it takes 21 days to start a habit. Once I’d gotten through one month of my mission, I figured I was home free.
By the time I turned 31, I’d lost 25 pounds. I eventually hit my goal of 30 pounds a month or so later.
I was reminded of this goal a few weeks ago while talking with a woman I met at the April Executive Women’s Roundtable luncheon in Tysons Corner. She explained to me that her colleagues saw a need to start a company blog, but no one had the time to devote to it. Blogging, like weight loss, has also been a lingering mission taunting me to accept its challenge. Once I saw the parallels between both goals, I was able to apply the same nuggets that helped me lose weight to maintaining a blog.
Determine a blogging frequency that’s reasonable for you.
One reason why resolutions to lose weight fail is unrealistic goal setting. Don’t say, “I’m going to hit the gym every day this year.” Because you won’t. And when you don’t, you’ll feel bad for not hitting that goal—a goal you were destined not to reach. When I started working out, I told myself that if I could get in the gym twice a week, then I’d be winning. I began there and eventually added one or two more days. You’ll catch the “experts” saying you should blog every day, but you should start with a weekly goal that’s reasonable for you. With my blog, I set the same goal that I set for my exercise. If I post twice a week, then I’m winning.
With any goal, only a few stand by to cheer you on. But a whole heap of folks wait patiently for you to fall off. If you tell yourself you’ll post to your blog twice a week, try to post on the same days each week. Once you get into your rhythm and you have readers checking for your posts on those days, you won’t be the only one noticing that you’re winning!
Keep your blog in the forefront of your mind. Always.
Just like I chant to myself, “NO fries! NO chips! NO soda!”, I’m constantly thinking about my blog while reading anything online, while watching TV, and while in conversation. Blog topics pop up in everyday life. You just have to recognize them and assess their value.
Plan blog posts ahead of time.
A physician friend recommended James Orvis’s Weight Training Workouts that Work instead hiring a personal trainer to encourage me to pick up a dumbbell. I’ve worked through volume one twice and am starting volume two. If I work out four times a week, then I’ll focus on cardio two days and weight lifting the other two. Plan your blog posts the same way. When ideas pop in your head, jot them down. Write 10 or more blog posts even before you launch. This head start will buy you time to think of and write 10 more posts. You want to prevent that weekly “What will I write about?” internal struggle.
Keep yourself accountable.
Now that I’ve gotten accustomed to exercising throughout the week, I beat myself up a little when I don’t. You want to have this same feeling about blogging. Remember, there is a hater(s) waiting to take pleasure in your flaky blogging. Don’t give her the satisfaction.
Weight Watchers is designed to give me a cheat day once a week if I choose to use it. And if I work my points just right, then I get little cheats throughout the week. You should reward yourself, too! What will you allow yourself to do or have if you put in a whole month’s worth of consistent blogging?