Last year, my word of the year was “Fearless”. I had a lot of challenges that I felt were holding me back from my true potential, so I focused on being fearless so I can be bold in my pursuits and face challenges head on.
My word for this year is “Intentional.”
Whether it be in my business, being a mom, in my lifestyle choices, in my diet, or in any other aspect of my life, I found that taking action is not enough. I had to take more intentional actions with my goals.
So what is being intentional all about?
In this post, I will discuss some ways that you can take intentional actions and make intentional choices in your life and business.
We’ll start with the definition. What exactly is intentional action?
Taking intentional actions means focusing more on the result and knowing that the actions you are taking are in line with the result you want to achieve.
Set SMART Goals
For example, one goal I have is to lose weight this year. I’ve tried diets in the past and none have worked that well, I eat healthy regularly, and I do yoga in the morning. While these are all very noble things that may help me maintain a healthy weight or lose a few pounds, they don’t have a specific end result in mind.
A better goal would be, I want to lose 15 pounds by June of this year. I will do that by going on the Keto diet because that has worked for me before, dedicating 2-3 days a week to running a mile, and working on building muscle so I can burn fat more efficiently.
Not only is there a clear set goal and a specific end date, but the plan also breaks down exactly what will work for me and how to accomplish it. It’s a well catered thought out solution with intentional goals to reach it.
Cutting Out Distraction
One great way to be more intentional is to cut out the distractions.
The other day I went out for a run with my 3 year old and took her out to Denny’s for breakfast. A little mommy and me date 🙂
I felt like a really spend quality time with my daughter because I was fully immersed in being with her. I didn’t check my phone or think about other things, the main focus was on her.
Whether it be in parenting or in your business, you must fully immerse yourself in what you are doing.
Benefits of intentional action include:
Get more done
Feel like you’ve spent quality time with people
Learn more from others
Feeling heard/listened to
Managing time better
Seeing better results
Don’t Just Throw Spaghetti On the Wall
While some people suggest “throwing spaghetii on the wall and seeing what sticks” I wonder why you would even waste the energy.
Sure, you may land on the one thing that will work for you after you’ve tried a hundred other things, but is that really efficient?
Not at all.
And it’s not intentional either.
Taking intentional action is about having direction and purpose for each action.
Learn what you are trying to accomplish, get an understanding of it
Admit what you don’t know
Find someone who has done it before and set up a conversation or coaching
Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t
Know your end goal and create a plan to get there
Check out my goal planner to break down each goal into easy bite sized peices. Post your goals in a visible place so you can see them each day.
Measure Data and Review Your Actions Frequently
While you may think that you are taking intentional actions towards a goal, how do you know?
Review your progress on your goals and what actions you took.
See what worked and what didn’t work.
Then plan your next intentional action towards doing what works.
If you don’t take some time to review your actions and your progress on your goals, it is easy to get off track and start taking unproductive, unintentional actions.
Keep a journal where you record what you accomplished the previous week. What worked for you, what didn’t, and what can you improve?
If you are persistent, you will get it. If you are consistent, you will keep it.
Practicing consistent intentional actions will allow you to be more productive, less distracted, and get value out of every interaction.
We all get the same 24 hours in the day. How will you spend yours?
What is everyone’s most valuable resource? Time. It is important to learn how to efficiently manage your time so that you can start living actively instead of reactively. When you grasp how to manage your time you will be more productive on your personal long term goals.
Time management can really be broken down into a 3-step process:
Record Your Time
Manage Your Time
Consolidate Your Time
When you learn to conquering these three pillars of time management you will begin to see a more structured and organized life with enough time for every goal.
Lets take a look at how these pillars can help with time management.
Record Your Time
The first thing you have to find out when you decide to manage your time is find out where your time is going. So often we say that time just “flies by” or that we just “don’t have time” for something, but we never even look at the clock.
How do you know how much time you have if you don’t measure it?
Recording your time and how much time you spend on certain tasks will allow you to plan your time better and more efficiently.
Here are a few ways you can be more efficient in measuring and recording your time.
Record how much time you spend on each work-related task
Record how much time you spend doing non-work related tasks
Separate out repeated tasks from one-time tasks
Analyze where your time is going and what changes you can make
Once your time is recorded, you can really focus on what needs to be done first, where you have time, and how much work you can get done in time increments.
Manage Your Time
After you know where your time is going, you will be able to more effectively manage your time. Here are some things you can do to manage your time better.
Figure out what is most important, somewhat important, and least important. Split tasks into these categories.
Schedule in time for breaks (completely disconnecting from work during those breaks to give your mind a break)
Keep a calendar of important tasks to accomplish this day, week, month, and year
Set time limits for certain tasks
Learn how to manage repeated tasks more efficiently
You only have a certain amount of hours in a day so the more effectively you can manage your time, the more you can get done.
Consolidate Your Time
Another way to effectively manage your time is to consolidate your time so you can have more time. Figure out what is missing in your life.
What do you want to have time for?
Consolidate your time by doing a few simple things:
Batch tasks that are similar
Try to cut down and make tasks take a shorter amount of time
Do the hardest tasks first
Break up your time into blocks
Finish one task before moving to the next task
Work smarter, not harder.
Have you ever heard the quote by Abraham Lincoln?
Tell me I have 6 hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first 4 hours sharpening the axe.
Time management is similar to this. If you prepare to manage your time, you will be successful. If you don’t prepare, you will waste a lot of time.
Have you ever say down to write an article or paper and we’re just drawing a blank?
You end up spending more time just staring at a blank page than writing. Yet, when you know what you want to write about the words just flow out of your fingers onto the page.
You have to take that time and get clear on your message and your goals before you start. While it may seem counterproductive, it makes a huge difference.
Life is more enjoyable when you feel confident. It’s also easier to be successful. A lack of confidence can get in the way of your career, relationships, and social life. Low self-confidence can trip you up when you least expect it.
When you have fears and self-doubt, your self-confidence is not high. You may feel lost, confused, and lack a clear direction which can affect how you show up in the world.
Imagine how your life would change if you had the self-confidence to do the things you don’t feel like you can do now. No more obstacles holding you back from achieving your goals.
Luckily, your sense of self-confidence is under your control. If you avoid managing it, it will be lower than you deserve. But if you grab control of it, you will live a much more fulfilling and satisfying life.
You don’t deserve anything less than the best. When you have strong self-confidence you have the power to command control from your situation and master your life. You are more confident in your decisions, plans, and actions. Success comes a lot faster and more efficiently.
So what are some steps you can take to get more confidence in yourself?
Increase your self-confidence and feel better about yourself and your future:
Have a small success.
Take on a small task or something around the house that you have been meaning to do, like getting the garage cleaned out. Have an intention and follow through on it. When you intend to do something and accomplish it, you feel more confident.
My personal favorite is completing a blog post. When I complete it, I feel a great sense of satisfaction and confidence that I am capable of achieving what I set out to do. Any kind of art or writing will give that sense of satisfaction once finished.
Let go of the past.
You’ve had a few things go wrong in the past, but that has nothing to do with today. Your future is created today. There’s no reason to weigh yourself down with anything that’s happened in the past.
Go for a run or do 25 pushups. Even a vigorous walk can boost your self-confidence. When we feel and look healthy our self-confidence goes up. Even just a small amount of exercise can boost your confidence.
Build your social skills.
A lack of social skills is a common cause of low self-confidence. Interacting with others is an important activity. When you know that you can do it well, your self-confidence will increase. There are many books and websites created to address this issue, but my favorite is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Here some other useful books and journals to track your progress.
Hang out with a positive crowd.
The people around you affect your mood and outlook on life. Your confidence is affected, too.
Create a social group that supports you and maintains a positive attitude.
Find a Facebook group that you relate with.
Call some close friends and have a movie night or other outing.
Talk with family or close friends about your goals and dreams. Let them encourage you to pursue your goals.
Join a support group in your community for your particular obstacle.
Tackle a fear.
Afraid of spiders? Go to the pet store and ask to hold a tarantula. Fear of heights? Find a building downtown that allows the public to use the observation deck. We make every effort to avoid the things we fear. Rather than hiding, face a fear head-on and notice how confident you feel afterwards. Bravery and self-confidence are cousins.
The fear that you tackle doesn’t have to be a physical fear. Many fears are in the form of mental blocks such as talking to strangers. Get over your mental fear by striking up a conversation with a random stranger. Compliment someone or use a comment to start conversing.
Make a list of your past successes.
You’ve had at least a few. You’ve probably forgotten more than you remember! Take just a minute or two to remember these great successes. You’ll feel more powerful after just 60 seconds.
TIP: Make a list and carry it with you. Start with your childhood and move forward in time to the present day. When you’re feeling down, pull out your list and bask in your successes.Do something you’re good at. After a hard day, nothing can boost your confidence like spending some time at an activity you excel at. Make a list of the things you do well and spend some time each day doing one of them. Build this time into your schedule.
If possible, create a social event around the activity. Having someone see you do something well is an even bigger boost to your self-confidence. You will get praise from your peers and feel that sense of accomplishment.
Get out of your head.
A lack of confidence is a sign that you’re spending too much time thinking about yourself and the negative traits you possess. Put the focus on others and the current activity. Learn to live in the moment. It’s hard to lack confidence if you’re not even thinking about yourself.
If you’re alone, spend time doing something that engrosses your attention. Something such as writing allows you to get out of your head and stop thinking about negative thoughts. Reflect on your blessings and you will begin to quickly feel better.
Take time each day to enhance your self-confidence. Just a few minutes of effort can change the way you feel about yourself. Everything is easier and more enjoyable when you’re confident in your abilities.
How I Boost My Self Confidence
I personally have two things that I do in order to increase my self-confidence:
1) Visualize a confident version of myself. I imagine what it would be like to be a self-confident me. What would I do that I wouldn’t normally? What would I be proud of myself for? How can I show self-confidence daily?
2) Read affirmations that support being strong, independent, self-confident, and overcoming doubt. You can get affirmations delivered to your inbox with my newsletter, The Inspire Flyer.
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Imagine the best version of yourself. Avoid allowing the world to dictate your level of self-confidence. Take control of this important trait.
Do things that allow you to build your confidence and take intentional action towards building your confidence. After time, you will find that the more you practice, the more confident you will become without even thinking about it.
Isn’t it about time you stopped wasting you time and just start a blog already?
The basics to starting a blog are really simple with a step by step walk through. It doesn’t have to be hard and you definitely don’t have to overthink it. Starting a blog can be a great way to share what you know, learn design skills, connect with a community, make money, and more.
Why did I start a blog?
I started this blog because I wanted to share my experiences and expertise with the world hoping that it will inspire and motivate others. I chose the topics I did because that is what I knew about and can most easily talk about.
This post will cover the basics of starting a blog such as how to prepare for writing your blog, how to choose a topic, choosing a domain name, a hosting service, and setting up wordpress.
Why start a blog?
A blog is a great way to share the knowledge you have and to put your personal voice into the world. I always used to enjoy writing in journals and making up stories when I was younger. Those journals I now have stored in a box in my garage, never to be seen again.
Starting a blog has been a game changer. Not only can I share what I’ve learned about life but I can also help others accomplish their goals.
Blogging gives you sense of accomplishment. It allows you to be yourself and help others with things that you know about. It can also help you create an great income.
I think making an income from blogging is fascinating. If you do it right you can make thousands of dollars a month and replace your full time job’s income.
My original inspiration to start a blog came from Michelle Schroeder-Gardner from Making Sense of Cents. I stumbled across her blog post on Pinterest and I couldn’t believe what I was reading. She is making more than what I make from a full time salary for 2 years in JUST ONE MONTH!
All she did to accomplish this was just writing about what she knows about while at the same time writing to help others. Thousands of people read her blog for advice. Thousands purchase her products to help them accomplish something. It seems so simple.
Yet a blog is a lot of moving parts and if you don’t know what parts to focus on, it can turn into a complicated mess really fast.
I have started up several blogs and the initial investment is not that big so it is a great side job to work on when you are not yet ready to quit your full time job.
Where to Start your Blogging Adventure
I’m going to be honest, the hardest part of blogging is starting. The best thing that you can do is be prepared to start your blogging adventure.
Being prepared is more than just getting your domain name and hosting. It is making sure that you have time to blog. As well, it is deciding what you are going to blog about and picking topics that you can talk about for days.
To get ready for my blogging adventure, I made sure that I set aside time for my blogging.
With a full time job and an 11 month old, time was really not on my side. I barely had time to think, let alone type up a post.
As soon as I designated time for my blogging it became a lot easier. I had to find time in between my day, in places I never thought I had time.
On the days that I am working, I will take my keyboard to work and plug in the usb to my phone so I can type on my break or in the car before I start work. I also found that I have a few hours after my baby goes to sleep at night.
Time management is definitely important when starting a blog because you want to be able to post consistently, not twice a month every other month.
Posting consistently will not only allow you to be present in the blogging community, but it will also give you better search results as Google looks for fresh content.
You are what you consistently do. Therefore, if you are consistent at blogging, you are a blogger.
Finding Your Topic
When you first start out blogging consider some of these questions…
1. Do you have any expertise in a topic?
2. Do you know about something that others would like to know about?
3. Do you have any creative ways of accomplishing a task?
4. What do you feel like talking about?
In order to prepare for writing your first post, consider what you will write about. Make a list of all the topics that appeal to you. If you have several items on your list, pick a few that will be easy and fun for you to write about. If you don’t like what your blog is about, then you won’t stick with it.
A blog doesn’t have to be a document of your life. It doesn’t have to word for word what you did that day. In fact, you will get a better following if you consider who will be reading your blog.
The reader is the person that you have to appeal to. Many times the reader is not looking to just read a story, they are looking to solve a problem. If you can solve that problem for them or offer a solution that they haven’t thought of, then you will get more readers.
Choosing a Domain Name
When choosing a domain name, you will want it to somewhat relate to the topic of your blog. If you are creating a food blog you don’t want your domain name to be FashionFriend.Give your blog a domain name that will identify your topic.
Of course, not all bloggers associate their domain name with the topic of their blog. If you have a personal brand (like this one), something that reflects you as a person, then making your domain name your personal brand is not a bad idea.
If you plan to write about multiple topics such as a lifestyle blog then you can name it whatever you want, but make sure you realize that you won’t get as much traffic from SEO or search engines if you don’t have a specific niche for your blog.
Search engines look for domain names that are specific and identify a particular niche. So if you are creating a lifestyle blog or a personal brand with a random name, that’s okay but you will have more work to do on the traffic front and on social media after starting a blog.
Purchasing Your Domain Name and Hosting
In order to register your domain name and hosting, you must set it up with a hosting company. Bluehost is a popular and cost-effective hosting service that you can purchase your domain name and hosting from.
Setting up an account on Bluehost is easy. First, on the main page select the package you want to go with.
Then specify if you have a domain name or if you need a new one.
Go through the check out process to pay for your domain and hosting. You save more if you pay yearly, but if you want to you can pay monthly.
Once you do this the follow these steps so you can get WordPress on your blog. I would highly recommend WordPress as it is the easiest to work with and has some great customization options.
After purchasing your domain name and hosting and confirming your order, you will head over to your server panel. This is where all your files are for the blogs on your account.
You will hit the button that says Add On Domains and add the domain name you just created.
Then you will head over to the WordPress icon and install WordPress on your domain. This will turn your regular website into a blogging platform so you can start your blogging adventures.
Once that is done you can put in your domain name..com/wp-admin into your browser and sign into wordpress.
You now have access to your dashboard which is where you can customize your blog. Hit the button that says Write Your First Post and start typing!
The purpose of this is just to get your blog started. You don’t need it to be perfect from the start. After starting a blog and beginning to create posts, you will find it is easier to then create menus, tags, and get the theme of your blog going.
If you need more help with these technicals, feel free to subscribe to my email newsletter, the 5 Day Build a Blog Course that will give you the next steps after starting your blog to get it to a stable and profitable website.
Please feel free to comment below if you have any questions on how to start your blog.
Just Start Your Blog
Don’t be like me and wait so long just to put something out there in the world in fear of what people will think or wait for it to be perfect.
You can fearlessly take action and create an asset that will continue to benefit you emotionally, mentally, and financially. Don’t worry about all the details. As you work on it each day, you will see it come together. Keep in mind that how it starts is not how it will end up, your blog will constantly evolve and improve over time.
When you are first starting on the internet, there are many things that can trip you up. Most of the time it is knowledge on what to do next. Or maybe it is writer’s block and you can’t seem to create content. But what if it is something more? Something that doesn’t have an easy fix or a learning curve.
What held me back in my blogging journey was harder than ever to get through. It may sound silly, but I had a deep fear of putting myself out there on the internet.
Growing up in the 90’s
You see, I grew up in the 90’s. The internet had just reached homes when I was in middle school. My mom didn’t trust the internet and had us follow some simple rules.
Don’t use your real name
Don’t use anything that can be tied to you (birthday numbers, age, house number, etc…)
Don’t put your location
Back when I was a kid, these seemed like reasonable requests. I created a screen name that had nothing to do with myself and it stuck up until college.
Now that I’m older, my kid screen name is well…a little naive.
It’s not something I would want to use for business or other online endeavors. So I had to create a new online identity.
The Reality of Branding Myself
The internet seems to have changed so much from the 90’s. I remember blogging on LiveJournal, creating my page on MySpace, and making webpages on Angelfire. It was all just for fun back then without a real driven purpose.
Today it is different. First, I’m already known on some social media as my real name. If people wanted to find out about me I’m sure they could just Google me. For every social media account, I try to keep a similar handle.
THE BEAUTY OF THE INTERNET IS YOU CAN BE ONE PERSON AND YOU CAN BE A HUNDRED PEOPLE.
More and more people are using their real name, a stage name, or a business name to brand themselves online.
Branding yourself online is a combination of your values and what you support. It is what you are known for in the online community.
In order to gain trust in the online community, you have to tell people about yourself, about your life, and your general location if relevant. If you don’t feel like a real person, then it is hard to gain the trust of others in online communities. I realized that I was afraid of putting myself out there and telling others about my life.
It’s my life, it’s private to me. But how can I compete with others who are putting themselves out there?
I have considered several options:
Create a business brand instead of a personal brand
Making a new identity, a stage name if you will
A Place to Network
Small fears sprout up in my mind. Will people take me seriously? What makes me stand out as unique? Why do people want to hear from me?
I realized I need to stop being afraid of what I don’t know. I don’t know if people will like me, follow me, want to read my posts. The fear has paralyzed me from taking action. I know I can’t be the only one with this fear either. Anyone who is older than 28 today is most likely not that keen on putting their information online, nor do they feel good about creating a completely new identity.
We see the internet as this big environment of learning new things and catching up with friends. I never saw it as a place to meet new people because that was always discouraged.
Now the ability to network is not only engrained in our children from a young age, but it is also an essential part of survival in today’s digital world.
We are all online to learn, to network, to tell the world about our businesses and professions, to tell others how we make an impact in the world and why they should support you. Talking to others online is a necessary evil and no matter how scary, we must evolve.
NETWORKING WITH OTHERS IS WHAT THE INTERNET WAS BUILT FOR.
Vulnerable vs. Being Authentic
Is it still possible to be vulnerable on the internet and get taken advantage of?
The short answer is yes.
You still have to watch out and never post demeaning photos of yourself or others, post your exact address or phone number, or meet people outside the internet alone. That makes you vulnerable.
Instead, it is time we opt for being authentic.
Being authentic today is showing up online, with all your morals, values, hobbies, reality, and personality in full view. Your authentic online presence makes up your inner self and it gives people just the right amount of information about who you are to support you and follow you.
Generation Y Advantage
In a way, I feel like my generation has an advantage. We are growing up with the advantage that we could really create an online presence. We could promote ourselves, we could get internet famous with one funny video. We could have our 15 minutes of fame on the internet, or we could stay in the limelight.
From an introvert to another introvert, why would I want all eyes on me?
When you get traffic, people visiting your site or speaking with you, you have more of a chance of people liking you. They in turn follow you or give you their email address so you can update them on your life. These people support you. You can market to these people and perhaps develop an income online.
I see now more people that make claims of internet success and profit. Many people live off the internet and make great incomes blogging or creating webpages or doing internet marketing. Many people have a personal brand and they are not afraid to promote it.
These people are making part time or full time incomes online, just for putting themselves out there.
Today it is easier than ever to become an influencer and turn others on to things that you love or use daily. And if your audience is full of loyal supporters, you will get people paying for things you promote.
It benefits you to put yourself out there a little and tell others what has helped you, what you like and use, and most importantly, what can help them.
WHEN YOU START HELPING OTHERS, THAT’S WHEN YOUR SUPPORTERS GROW AND START HELPING YOU.
Since Generation Y or Millennials are getting increasingly familiar with digital technologies, it is becoming more common to see entrepreneurs out of this generation. Yet the Generation Z’s are catching up. They have a comfort with technology that we will never have. The majority of their socializing is on social media instead of interacting with people in person.
It’s really quite interesting.
Share What You Know
It seems like what the internet did was make knowledge a lot more accessible. Of course, no one is going to know everything, but everyone knows something. The internet has now become a tool to share your expertise. It is literally built from the information that people know or perceive. It is also built on the reactions of other people and they keep the conversation evolving.
Don’t be ashamed of what you have to share. It doesn’t have to be in a Top Ten Ways list or a How to post, your knowledge can be shared however you would like it to be.
When you show what you know and your expertise, you automatically create your brand. You create something that you stand for and that is important to you. There are millions of people on the internet and no one is going to get stuck on your 15 minutes of fame. We can all help each other get there and keep the conversation going.
What I Stand For
This post would not be complete without a realization on what I discovered about myself. It is only natural that when I talk about sharing your views and branding, that I share what I have learned about myself and what I have to share.
This is me being transparent.
I remember back to my days of LiveJournal and the random blogging I did on my frustrations with classmates or the crush I had on a boy. I had always been an advocate of telling it like it is. That is one value I will not stray from. I will always try to be honest and upfront.
As well, I will always strive to make my audience think. I will give them a different view, something that they maybe haven’t thought of.
Lastly, I hope to share what I know. I’ve been blogging for some time now and I would love to share what I have learned about blogging and how to get started blogging. Your blog should have it’s own unique personality and should give your audience your expertise on a topic.
THE MORE YOU LEARN, THE MORE EXPERTISE YOU POSSESS.
Here are some take-aways that I will impart on you before I finish…
Keep learning and growing.
Don’t be afraid to share what you know.
Get involved in the community.
Help others and they will help you.
Give yourself a brand name and stick to your values.
You don’t have to post what you have for breakfast everyday, but if you can find your thing, your niche, your section of the internet, with the people that also enjoy that thing, you are well set up for success in the internet world.
If you have the same fears that I had putting myself out there on the internet, then that’s okay. You don’t have to tell people your life story. Peel off a small layer of yourself, help others with what you can, and keep the conversation going.
I’d love to know what you think, keep the conversation going by commenting below.