What daily blogging taught me: Building a habit

What daily blogging taught me: Building a habit

Blogging everyday is not for most of us. Yet, a lot of us did just that this month with the A to Z Challenge. Daily blogging taught me a few important lessons that I’ve had reinforced, each time I’ve taken up a month-long challenge.

Before you get worried, this blog will continue to update weekly or fortnightly or when the mood strikes me, so you can heave a sigh of relief. But I’d like you to take a few minutes to read this post, even if you aren’t a blogger. Why? Because I had a revelation last night on how building a habit can come from the simplest and most unexpected places.

Now you may be wondering why I am writing this on a parenting blog, but there’s a very good reason for it. You see, as a mom who works from home, managing the cooking (which I don’t really enjoy), the cleaning (which I do enjoy), the handling of multiple assignments and being a parent, it’s worried me that I’m missing something in all of this. I have way too many bad habits that I need to change and blogging helps me understand how I can overcome these in baby steps.

Last year, I began reading Gretchen Rubin’s ‘The Happiness Project’. It’s a wonderful book on multiple levels. It teaches you to find happiness in the small things, give gratitude for the joys in life and perhaps, most importantly, teaches you how to make a habit of happiness.

I began reading the book, nodding along to every point she made and making these grand goals and resolutions:

I will de-clutter my home completely!

I shall lose weight in 3 months.

I shall finish my book in 6 months.

Suffice to say that I’d gotten the wrong idea from the get go! Everything just fizzled out within a week. But you know how it is, right? Sometimes, the timing has to be just perfect for things to fall into place. The book is brilliant, but my understanding of the principles fell flat because I’d over-reached.

So I sat down and wrote out 12 good habits that I need to build. Let’s list them here, shall we?

  1. Stop checking the phone first thing in the morning/ in bed.
  2. Exercising regularly
  3. Meditating for 15 minutes a day
  4. Reading 20 pages a day
  5. Dusting the home
  6. Going for a walk
  7. Eating healthy/Cutting out junk food
  8. Limit laptop use
  9. Work on patience levels/ Learn to respond, not react
  10. Work on my memoir
  11. De-clutter the house
  12. Being Zen

Last night, I read two posts on the art of building a habit. This one on how to be more productive by Lavanya Mohan and this one on how to achieve your goals and that’s when the light bulb went off. I’d been making two cardinal mistakes:

  • I was aiming too high
  • I was allowing distraction to overwhelm me

So, how is all of this connected to daily blogging?

Let me explain. Do you recall my yelling-less challenge? I started with a week of not yelling at my daughter, built it up to a month, slid back to square one, pushed myself again and finally am at a place where I can look at that ‘yell-free’ counter in my sidebar with some pride and joy.

[bctt tweet=”Daily blogging taught me 3 important things about building a habit.” username=”shyvish”]

Daily blogging taught me persistence

Daily blogging taught me

April 2017 saw me take up the A to Z Challenge for the third time. In 2014, I blogged about ‘Introspection in multiples of 11’ and in 2015 I wrote fiction on the theme of ‘Alternate angles’. This year, 2017, I wrote 100-word fiction pieces on the theme of oxymorons. This was also my fourth month-long blogging marathon.

Writing everyday, as opposed to scheduling posts the way I had in 2014 or 2015, was the key difference. And I loved it! Each night, I’d sit and draft the post in my head and within 20 minutes, the post was done and up on the blog.

Even if I was dog tired, I ensured that I made time to blog everyday.

That was the first way I built a habit: By doing it daily.

Small goals led to long-term results

Daily blogging taught small goals

The biggest reason most goals fail? We aim too high and we start with too many expectations. Breaking it down made it simpler for me. I always blog with a word counter for blogging marathons. There are a couple of reasons for this.

It allows me to blog faster and it leaves me more time to do other things such as blog hopping or enjoying life offline. Keeping the posts short helped me focus all my energies on completing the daily target. 100 words? Pshaw, that’s nothing! Easy-peasy, said my brain. That was it.

Remember the yelling-less goals? I started with a week. 7 days. That was it.

That was the second way I built a habit: By keeping my goals small.

Blogging everyday made me happy

The biggest factor that helped me stick with this routine is the personal satisfaction I got from writing daily. I was thoroughly enjoying the writing process and that was it. That drove me to keep writing. I was not worried about the number of readers, the number of comments, or the fact that the blogging visits dropped in the second half of the month.

Why? Because, by that time, I was just enjoying blogging completely! That was it. No strings attached.

That was the third way I built a habit: By finding joy in the process.


So, does this mean you should blog daily to build a good habit? Not necessarily. My biggest takeaway from daily blogging and the yelling-less challenge was this: It worked for me. It may not work for you, but find something that does!

Find something you enjoy doing and stick to it for 30 days. Then we can start working on things we don’t enjoy but need to change.

So, if I can make daily blogging work for me, surely I can reach every one of those 12 goals listed above, right? So, focusing on one goal for 30 days: THAT is the key! Do it so that it becomes part of your routine. That’s precisely what Gretchen Rubin advocates too.

So, who’s with me?

***

Featured image courtesy: Shutterstock

 

556 total views, 1 views today

Comments

comments

Join my newsletter

Get my posts directly in your inbox plus a monthly newsletter with interesting links and features

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

20 thoughts on “What daily blogging taught me: Building a habit

  1. I agree with you, Shy.
    Sticking to a schedule for a particular activity for max 21 days gets you in the habit of doing that thing for life. I realised this when I began practising Yoga. Thankfully for me, I like schedules….I am a bit rigid about doing certain things at a certain time and it becomes a habit. All I now need to do is focus on making blogging a habit, what with the long break I had taken from the activity. Once it becomes a habit, I will be free of the guilt..:)

    1. Yes, so I have heard 🙂 The 21-day rule is pretty solid and I also think it depends on individual self-motivation. External rewards don’t sustain long term, I find.

      Good luck with blogging regularly, Shilpa. I will be sure to check it out and nudge you if required.

  2. I am convinced of the power of a duly habit. I love routine too. However, forming it is a whole different thing. You begin with something and then slack off. Sometimes I think I am too old already to change a habit that has stayed with me so long but a post like yours makes me want to give it a shot yet again. One can squeeze in so much more in a day if one is organised and makes time for everything.
    Obsessivemom recently posted Of growing children and social etiquetteMy Profile

    1. That’s so true. Organisation and lists are everything for me and I just have to channelise that discipline into all areas of my life. I am sure it will work too 🙂

    1. I don’t blog everyday except for these blogging marathons once in a while, Vishal 🙂 I think it can be quite taxing to do it for 365 days a year. Short term and small goals are the key to habit building. In addition, I have consciously stayed away from outrage/anger online since 2017 began. That has helped me a lot.

  3. I totally agree with what you say, Shailaja. It takes time to change habits and also to make them a part of your routine. Hence, making smaller goals for smaller time periods works much better than larger ambiguous goals. I like your list. Will you keep checking every 30 days how you’ve performed on each one of them? I believe follow up is as crucial as drawing up the plan.
    Rachna Parmar recently posted Summer Vacation Swishes ByMy Profile

    1. I intend to, Rachna 🙂 I have written them all down in a journal and marked dates out as a daily log. I figured I would try and start with one main goal for each 30-day period and see how it goes. Once that habit is set, hopefully I should sustain it and move on to the next one. Starting tomorrow since the first of the month is an easy marker to track. Will do a follow up post in a month, based on my result.

  4. It is interesting that you found you could produce posts in less time on a daily basis. I only post twice a week which I know goes against all the senior bloggers recommended guidelines but I already think I spend too much time blogging and can’t imagine increasing that further with more writing. Although it is the links and commenting that is the most time consuming so it would be interesting to remove those from the equation and just write for a week.

    1. Oh I agree. I wouldn’t be able to sustain this for say three months or a year. But a short term goal with definite end in sight has worked wonders for me. I usually blog once a week, if that. Occasionally, the month long challenges are like a burst of adrenaline which I enjoy.

  5. Smaller goals and a daily to-do list are how I’m spending my days now. It not only helps me in finishing what I intend to do but also makes me feel good because I don’t have to give up on anything that is important to me. Somedays the routine goes a bit awry but the list makes it possible to bring it in control.
    Nabanita Dhar recently posted #FeministMondays | Why Are Women Paid Less?My Profile

    1. So glad to hear that! Thrilled to know that more people feel this way. Especially with a kid or two around it makes sense to keep small, doable daily goals. Thanks for sharing, Naba 🙂

    1. I’ve seen that with your fitness updates and they are truly inspiring! I’ve learnt so much on this journey as a blogger and by reading so much online. I’ll be ever grateful.

  6. This definitely motivates me, Shailaja. I am finding it difficult to blog consistently. Writing is okay. But blogging needs a little more attention what with the pictures and proofreading and all. I am not even able to reciprocate or reply to comments. Making small goals and focussing on achieving that should work, right? I wonder if you have any suggestion for me having read my notes on despair, disappointment, and chaos, Shailaja!
    Vinitha recently posted Let it out! #MondayMusingsMy Profile

    1. Keep it really simple, Vinitha 🙂 Draft the posts when you get time. Keep them short (100 to 300 words). Then later in the day when you get time again, add the image and proofread before you publish.

      Don’t worry about reciprocation or replying to comments at the moment. Start with blogging first. Pick up on the comments later.

      Making small goals will definitely help. My suggestions:

      1. Short posts
      2. Write everyday but blog/publish only twice a week for now.
      3. Keep one day for return visits to other blogs.

      You can do it. I know you can 🙂

  7. Hey, my case is somewhat similar. I have so many posts I have written yet to post, I am busy at the day – cooking and I miss out on cleaning my room sometimes since I am slow. I choose to work after a time limit spent on doing some house chore. I did have young pet to take care and other house tasks that needed tending. So, I missed out on some things like – : reading paper dialy, cleaning room. But I stoped saying I am inefficient, am slow, I just leave it to come back to it later. I do suffer vitamin deficiency so at night I am dog tired to work, but I do try read papers that time. I do write, I can’t edit the same day and I have some posts to edit now. It’s quite a challenge but I have to try it without getting frustrated. Yes, I starting planting and do it regorously, it helped me feel warm and peaceful and I never miss on this. I am working on getting fertilizer by making arrangement to compost home wet waste and in 2 months time I hope my balcony would have cool plants I can eat from. Now I have corriader and Amarantus, have to sow Palak, my chilli plant is growing. For it this really makes me happy(: … taught me patience. I really working on having activities out cooking faster in the mornings… I hope it works I have a lot to learn and do in life. Anyway great points.
    Stefinia recently posted How To Get Rid Of Sun Tan In One Day Using Home RemediesMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

error: Content is protected !!
%d bloggers like this:

Join my newsletter

Get my posts directly in your inbox plus a monthly newsletter with interesting links and features

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.