Reflection and Resolution
The New Year can be a dangerous time to reflect on the past and plan for the future. Some advice: be careful about judging the past too harshly, and use caution in directing your future with resolutions. Both exercises take you out of the present moment and put pressure and anxiety on you to perform.
Although you have good intentions in focusing on success in the New Year, the pressure and anxiety you create can actually hold you back and block your progress. Studies prove that the brain loses power and efficiency when operating under continual stress. This is the nature of resolutions - they make us anxious to succeed, usually in unproductive ways.
So, how do you make resolutions that will be useful rather than destructive?
Making Mindful Resolutions
As a blogger, putting pressure on yourself is nothing new. You constantly work with anxiety about different stressors. That's why it's even more important not to create additional anxiety for yourself.
For 2014, some reasonable goals for your blogging might include to:
- Publish daily. Research proves that publishing daily increases traffic to your blog. This also increases visibility on search engines to increase your organic traffic. You can reduce anxiety by reminding yourself that posts do not always have to be long.
- Focus your language on the reader. With Google's new Hummingbird algorithm, the language you use needs to be searcher friendly. This means that you should write as you would speak, focusing your post on responses to readers' questions and concerns. You should still keep an eye on key words, but Hummingbird is looking for natural, speech-like language as well. Phrases and sentences are as important as keywords.
- Become an avid blog reader. Increase your knowledge by reading and commenting on blogs within your topic area. This will get you noticed by other bloggers and by search engines.
- Nurture social communities. Blogging is the first and best social media, but you must take care to develop close-knit communities. Invest yourself in helping others, and you will see a community evolve around your blog.
- Target one social network. I recommend that you focus on Google Plus in the coming year as it is currently in the number two position in social media and could overtake Facebook in the coming year. Placing your focus on one social network is a manageable goal that will help you develop a true rather than artificial community. Don't forget your other networks, but pay special attention to one.
- Repurpose your work. You spend a lot of time and thought in creating your writing, so get the maximum use out of projects by repurposing your content. If you speak at a conference, put a slide show up on your blog. Pick up an old, brief post and update it. Select some posts to make infographics from. Try to use your content more than once.
- Educate yourself. Take a MOOC or another form of online course to develop your brain and give you more to write about.
- Practice mindfulness in writing. Keep your mind present as you write, and maintain a focus on what you are putting down in the moment. It is so easy to become distracted with the past and the future, which dilutes your writing.
- Enjoy your writing, reading, and social media activity. If you do not enjoy yourself, you will quickly burn out, which doesn't do good for anybody. Find ways to enjoy your work and your writing.
- Improve your writing skills. Make a goal to improve your writing skills throughout the year. Advanced writing skills require conscious learning and practice. Pick up a reputable book on writing, and perform exercises to improve your clarity, voice, and power.
- Cut yourself some slack. Remember that goals can be stressful, but if you reduce the anxiety involved, you will be more likely to succeed.
In all that you do, I hope for amazing success and happiness in the coming year. Stay tuned to ZipMinis for ideas on how to accomplish this, as I cheer for you in 2014.
You will enjoy these related articles:
- How you can avoid ignorance [infographic and review]
- How to draw traffic to your creative writing with usable content
- A blogger's ultimate guide to avoid looking stupid: Punctuation [infographic]
Before you go, what resolution ideas do you have for the coming year?