Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Joyful Birthday Wishes, 35 for 35.

Exactly 6 months from today I will be receiving birthday wishes celebrating turning  35 years old.  It feels weird even writing that.  It seems like it was only a few months ago I was receiving birthday wishes on turning 30.  Time surely does fly. For that reason I am writing this post.  These next 6 months and the following year are going to go by super quickly.  A little while ago while talking to my cousin she mentioned seeing people do these 30 for 30 and 40 for 40 posts on Instagram.  I like the idea. So this post contains my 35 for 35.  Here is a list of 35 things I'd like to do before or during my 35th year.  This is not a bucket list.  This is my 35 birthday wishes list.
1-9. Numbers are people.  Actually it is a short list of people I'd like to have lunch or dinner with.  They are friends I don't see often and people I'd like to get to know better.  A few are bloggers like @ChrystinaNoel, @MeMyselfandEms and @karincoger.
10.  Lose 24lb. by my birthday. See my SMART Goals
11 & 12 are both home repairs.  I need to fix my sidewalk and I'd like a ceiling fan put in my bedroom.  I've wanted/needed to do both of these repairs for a while.  Home repair makes me feel stressed.
13. Get a boyfriend.  See my SMART Goals
14. Pay off a personal loan by my birthday.
16. A monthly Spa Treatment (facial, massage, body treatment)  
17. Get up to drinking a gallon of water a day.
18. Buy myself a nice piece of jewelry
19. Get myself fresh flowers every week
20.Go to a Sixers Game
21. Go to an Opera
22. Plan Chasing Joy Charity Event
23. Move my blog to word press
24. Go to the Holiday light show and events in Center City
25. Drive through a neighborhood that does the Christmas Light Display 
26. Get a new computer
27. Visit a new church
28.Go to the aquarium
29. Visit the DC monuments & attractions.
30. Write 1st draft of Chasing Joy Book. See SMART Goals
31. Plan a fun birthday party.
32. Go to the zoo.

33. Go to a Hockey game
34. Find a Volunteer opportunity that I like.
35. See the Lion King
Wow! It was hard work coming up with this list.  A few things have been on my to do list for a while like the Hockey game, finding a volunteer opportunity that I like, and the home repairs. Other things are ideas that I have been thinking about recently, like the lunches and dinners with friends and fellow bloggers I'd like to know better.  Some things I'd like to do before I turn 35 but most are things I'd like to accomplish sometime between now and the end of my 35 year.

Like I said, this is not a bucket list (that's too morbid).  This is my birthday wishes list for turning 35.  These 35 things will help me feel lest stressed, better connected, more entertained, and more Joyful.  What is on you birthday wishes list?  What would you like to accomplish in between now and your birthday or in your next year?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Goal Setting, Joyfully Smart Goals: R is for Realistic

R is the next letter in the SMART Goals goal setting process.   I started this process a few weeks ago after learning about the Law of Attraction at the Chasing Joy Brunch & Learn I decided to put it into practice.  Part of the Law of Attraction process is goal setting. I have been using the SMART Goals goal setting process to increase the likelihood of accomplishing my goals.  Accomplishing a goal can be a great source of Joy.

I set 4 goals and made sure they are Specific, Measurable, and Actionable. Now it's time to make sure they are realistic.  Here are the goals an action plan:
  1. Lose 80 lbs and wear a size 14 regular by eating 3 servings of vegetables and 1of fruit on work days and 2 vegetables and 1 fruit on non work days, work my way up to 1 gallon of water per day, limiting carbs, working out 3 days a week and being in bed before midnight on work nights and getting 8 hours of sleep a night on non-work nights. 
  2. Go from single to in a happy committed relationship by being active at least once a week on free dating sites, listing the qualities that are important to me in a partner, being more honest about my expectations when dating and making sure all of my friends and family know that I am open to blind dates.
  3. Have more Having at least 1 fun activity planned for the weekend by Wednesday of every week and creating a go to list of fun activities that I can do with or without friends.
  4. Writing the 1st draft of my Chasing Joy book by writing for at least 10 minuets every day.
Most of my goals are very realistic.  I am only concerned about one of them possibly being unrealistic. Can you guess which one?  Losing weight, having more fun, and writing my book are all goals that are largely if not completely up to me and within my control.  Going from single to in a relationship on the other hand is not only up to me.  With this goal another person has to be involved.  No matter how much I want to be in a relationship and feel I am ready for that type of commitment it does not mean that the object of my affection (don't currently have one) will feel the same way. Further more it does not mean that I meet someone who will invoke those lovey dovey feelings within me.  

However,  another point of view is that I am a really awesome person with a lot of love to offer and are a lot of awesome men out there who are looking for someone like me.  There is no reason that I could not meet one of said men, have a lovely courtship, fall hopelessly in love and become lifetime joy chasing partners.  

While getting a man is not what I would consider a normal goal when it comes to goal setting, it is something that I want for myself.  When I think of all of the Joy there is to be experienced by having a loving and committed relationship I know it is just as important to my overall happiness as losing weigh, writing my book and having fun.  The realism of this goal may be questionable, but one important thing to be mindful of when using the Law of Attraction is to think BIG and not limit yourself.  So, going from single to in a relationship is staying on the list. 

I would love to hear your thoughts.  Do you think changing your relationship status should be a goal?  Is it realistic?  Have you ever had a similar goal, one that was not entirely within your control?  

Friday, September 12, 2014

Increase Blog Traffic with #FlashBackFriday: Blogging or More Like Vloging About It

Happy Friday!!!   Do you have something fun planned this weekend?  I am kicking of my weekend with dinner out with friends.

Earlier this week I wrote about my Recap of Women Get Social.  I had such a great time I wish I could go to a blog conference every weekend.  This week I also continued my series Goal Setting series writing about making my goals Actionable.

Now It's time for #FlashbackFriday!!! If you are wondering how to increase blog traffic, linking up for #FlashbackFriday is one way to do it.  Every Friday on Chasing Joy we  Flash Back to some of our older posts to give them a moment in the spotlight.  I hope you are ready to join in the linky fun.  Pick any old post from your blog and add it to the linky below.  You can also increase blog traffic by sharing your post on the Chasing Joy Facebook page and on Twitter using the hashtag #FlashbackFriday.  Here are my favorite posts from last weeks link up:
Lentil Soup-- vegetarian or with sausage  which offers a recipe with pictures for both varieties of the soup.
Fitnessbuster by Gillian Stephen offers us a post that answers that question all bloggers have thought about, Why Do I blog. 
This week I am linking up Blogging or More Like Vloging About It.  This post includes one of my 1st Video Blogs.  I am talking about my experience representing Chasing Joy for the first time in person.

Add one of your favorite oldie but goody blog posts below.  Increase blog traffic by finding new readers and bloggy friends via the power of the linky!!!

What are you linking up? 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Joyfully SMART Goals: A is for Actionable

Goals! Glorious Goals!  If you have missed it or are new here you may not know that I have been working on some goals that I want to apply the law of attraction too. I have been working through the SMART goals process (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time Sensitive). Over the last weeks I have set goals, made them Specific, and made them Measurable. Today's blog post is dedicated to making them Actionable.

This is the most challenging step of the SMART process.  This is the part where I decide what actual steps will I take to accomplish my goals; what actions will I take.  Here is my plan:

  1.  Goal: Lose 80 lbs and wear a size 14 regular. Action: Eat 3 servings of vegetables and 1 fruit on work days and 2 vegetables and 1 fruit on non work days.  Work my way up to 1 gallon of water per day, with help of the water app. Limit my carbs. Work out at least 3 days a week. Be in bed before midnight on work nights and get at least 8 hours of sleep a night on non-work nights. 
  2. Goal: Go from single to in a happy committed relationship.  Action: Be active at least once a week on free dating sites. Write out qualities that are important to me in a partner so that I can be clear on what I am looking for. Be more honest about my expectations when dating. Make sure all of my friends and family know that I am open to blind dates
  3. Goal: Have more fun. Action: Have at least 1 fun activity planned for the weekend by Wednesday of every week.  Create a go to list of fun activities that I can do with or without friends.
  4. Goal: Write 1st draft of my Chasing Joy book.  Action: Write for at least 10 minuets every day, using the timer on my phone. 
So there we have it, my action plan.  The final action for all of the tips above would be to evaluate my progress and revise the described actions as necessary.  I feel some anxiety about my actions. Some doubts about my ability to stick to the plan.  None of the actions are too hard but they all do require me to make more effort than I have been.  

Goals are an important part of feeling happier.  Accomplishing something that you have worked towards can be a great source of joy.  Creating this action plan and following the SMART Goals process in general should greatly increase the likelihood of me accomplishing my goals and feeling a bit more joyful.

So what do you think of my action plan?  Do you have any suggestions for me?  Are you working on your own goals right now?  Please share some of your action plans.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

5 Point Recap of Women Get Social Philly

Oh, where to start!  That is the feeling I have when I sit down to write this post.  In a good way though.  I am full of ideas on  how to grow my blog, improve my content, and overall give you readers a better experience here and a better connection with me in general.  I attended SITS Woman Get Social Blogger Conference this past weekend and I am ready to start putting into practice all of the things I learned. The conference was fantastic.  The sponsors LG Electronics, Mirassou Winery, and Personal Blackbox were great and approachable.  The Doubletree hotel was a great venue with god food.  Everything about the conference was Awesome!  But, oh where do I start implementing all that I learned?

First up, share with you guys some of what I learned.  Knowledge is power and I want those of you who blogged to be empowered too.  Now of course what I share here cannot even compare to all that I learned at the conference, so I highly recommend you all get to the next SITS or other conference that comes to your area.

I have been blogging for almost 5 years now and I still learned brand new information at this conference. Here are 5 things that I did not know before I attended Women Get Social.

  1. When you create images for your blog or social media accounts save them as PNG files instead of JPG files because JPG files tend to be fuzzy.
  2. After you do a sponsored post you should do a wrap up report that can be given to the brand detailing number of post views, number of clicks on links to the post, number of clicks on links with the post to the sponsor (track this using links), and screen shots of active discussion in the comments of the post or on social media about the post.  The wrap up report can be given to the brand 7-10 days after the post is published.
  3. If you are considering going into business with other blogger friends a better way to do it is to set up two separate companies and then write a contract agreement between the two companies detailing how they will work together for 6 months. Renew the agreement a few times.  If all goes well for 18 months or 2 years only then move forward to set up a business together.  
  4. If you take really good pictures brand will pay you to use them.  Pay attention to any pictures you take of products for this reason.  Make sure you shoot the product in multiple angles and in good lighting (natural is best).  Only license the pictures for a specific time or use.  Do not sell the copy write to the image. 
  5. Make your pictures both horizontal and vertical.  Horizontal pictures are better for Google Plus.  Vertical pictures are better for Pinterest.
There are a few things that get repeated at every blog conference.  They are important and worth reiterating.  Here are 5 things I already knew but needed to hear again.
  1. Do a media kit. Update it monthly, It should include your offline influence (live events, your day job, etc..) If your page views are under 20,000 don't mention them. Speak to your highest stats
  2. Write about brands and things you love.  Don't be wishy washy.  Your readers will remember and be turned off if you sing a brands praises one day and then a few weeks later sing the praises of it's competitor.  You will lose their trust and your influence.
  3. Under promise and over deliver.  This is true for sponsored posts and pretty much everything in life.  protect your reputation.  Leave people presently surprised by how much value you provide.
  4. Know your end game and work backwards. Why do you blog? Where do you want to go?  Set up mini goals and steps you need to accomplish to get you to your ultimate goal.  Also understand that your end game can change as your grow, mature, and become more experienced.
  5. Know who your readers are, Age, Gender, Nationality, Location, Family status/ structure, etc...
Like I said above I learned so much that I could not even begin to share it all.  Here are 5 things that I learned about that could possibly learn about also at your next blog conference.
  1. Blogging and Taxes
  2. Passive income
  3. Personal Anecdotes from Superstar Bloggers
  4. How to go about outsourcing
  5. Quality of life tips
Aside from all of the great information you learn at Blog conferences the networking is great.  I met 27 new blogger friends at Women Get social.  I got to chat with 3 or 4 bloggers that I already knew who live in other parts of the country. Now that I am back home I will continue to connect with them online.  Here are 5 (plus 1) bloggers who attended the conference that I suggest you follow and connect with online.  
  1. @Shoeboxbegone - blogger bookkeeping expert
  2. @no1doesitlikelc - passive income expert
  3. @clickitupanotch and @NAPWARDEN - photography experts
  4. @HudsonandEmily - business of blogging experts
  5. @SarahMaizes - writing expert.
Women Getting Social was a great conference.  I had a fantastic time learning and being surrounded by  people who love blogging just as much as I do.  I can't wait for my next conference, Blogalicious, here I come....

Have you ever been to a blogging conference? What was your favorite one?  Where you at Women Getting Social in Philly or one of the other Cities?  What were your favorite takeaways from your last conference? If you have yet to attend a blogging conference what is holding you back???.

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