My 2018 Bucket List (Update)

In February I posted about my 2018 Bucket List. For those who are new to my blog, every year I make a list of things I want to do before the end of the year. The types of things range from hikes to trying new foods, and everything in between. We are now half way through the year so I decided to write about some of the things I have checked off of my bucket list so far.

Go To A Shooting Range

Shout out to my best friends to taking me to a shooting range for my birth day! My friends knew I had been wanting to do this for a while so they finally took me. Going to the shooting range was quite the experience. My friends got a groupon that allowed us to shoot all day and like the late people we are we showed up the last hour they were open, haha. We had to watch a safety video, pick out our guns and ammo, and go shoot! It was not how I imagined it would be. Probably because I’ve very uncomfortable doing things that I’m not an expert in. Also, it wasn’t like the rooms you see on TV. This was range was open and the only things separating everyone was the open air. I felt nervous when it was shooting time. Just knowing I had something in my hands that could literally kill someone made me anxious. I guess I’m not as badass as I think I am, lol. I want to go again but perhaps to a different type of shooting facility. We’ll see.

Take a Kickboxing Class

I’m so happy I was finally able to knock this off my bucket list! I had soooo much fun during the class. I bought one of my best friends and myself a groupon (wow I used groupon a lot, I should become a rep haha) for 4 classes and a pair of gloves at ILoveKickboxing and I don’t regret it. My experience was nothing but positive. We went to the sunset location and it was really chill. There weren;t a lot of people on in our first class, which I liked, but we did go on a Monday so that’s probably why. Everyone was really welcoming and nice, employees and class goers alike. You start off with a 15 minute cardio warm-up (this is the hardest part of the class). I considered myself to be in good shape and stamina when it comes to cardio and ILoveKickboxing’s warm-up said “you thought!” But after that it was good! We had someone teach us the basics while the rest of the class was going on for our first time. I underestimated how much of workout it would be. I was sore for dayssss after wards especially in my arms. All in all I had a blast at my first class. They almost got me to sign up for their $150something a month membership but I already pay $168 a month for my trainer so I couldn’t.

Run a 5K EVERY Month

So this item on my bucket list has been a little difficult to stay on track with as we get to the hotter months in Vegas. Luckily for me, I discovered virtual 5Ks which allow me to run 5Ks for a medal by myself. I think virtual 5Ks are the greatest thing ever. I have ran a 5K every month since January. In January I ran Happy Hour 5K, In February my best friend and I ran The Color Run (which I wrote about here *insert url*) In March I ran my first virtual 5K called the “Shamrocked” 5K in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, in April some of my best friends and I ran Super Run 5K, and in May I ran another virtual 5K for mental health awareness called the “Be Kind To Your Mind 5K”, I have included a picture of allll my medals.

I still have quite a few things I need to do on my bucket list but I still have 6 months so I have more than enough time to do them. I’ll be doing another check-in about my bucket list sometime in November for you all. I hope you enjoyed reading about my progress so far!

What are some bucket list items you’ve crossed off of your list so far this year? What’s one thing you want to do before 2018 ends? Let me know in the comments!

4 Tips For Winning The Battle Against Your Post-Grad Blues

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Post-grad blues are no joke. While everyone is not affected by these feelings of sadness once they walk across that stage, many people do. I know when I graduated I got my degree and said “now what?” while I waited to go back to school. In today’s post I’m suggesting some things that helped me get through the trying times of  battling with post-grad blues with at least a little bit of my sanity left. These tips can also help anyone who may just find themselves feeling down. Whether you are unemployed or not, these tips will certainly change your life.

Wake-Up and Say Those Affirmations!

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The post-grad blues period after graduating can definitely get you down (they don’t call it post-grad blues for nothin’). One way I battled this overwhelming sense of emptiness and lack of purpose was through repeating affirmations to myself every morning when I woke up. While each person has to determine what they want out of life to come up with their own, I think the ones I used during this rough time are definitely a good place to start. Here are a few of the many affirmations I told myself during my time being unemployed. Some of these I still use now! I found these at this article here.

  1. My body is healthy, my mind is brilliant, my soul is tranquil.
  2. I am at peace with all that has happened, is happening, and will happen.
  3. I deserve to be employed and paid well for my time, efforts, and ideas. Each day, I am closer to finding the perfect job for me.

Start with these and even tweak them to your style if you want. All that matters is you remind yourself that you are deserving and destined for greatness!

Journal About Your Feelings Towards Being Graduated (and your feelings in general)

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For people like myself, it is easy to start feeling down when you are trying to find employment or have too much free time on your hands after graduating. One thing I have made more of a consistent habit is journaling. I try* process all my feelings by journaling at least 3 times a week. When I was unemployed I wrote about how being unemployed made me feel (leave out nothing…even the feelings of worthlessness and sadness). I’ve vented my frustrations and promised myself that I will never take being employed for granted again. While it is usual to complain about one’s job (unless it’s your dream job, which mine is being an attorney so I’m a long ways off), to be ungrateful for one’s job is not good for the soul. In cases where your boss is a jerk it’s different but at the same time, I have always hated being unemployed more than having a job I hate (blame my materialistic desires and FOMO). I hope to look back on my unemployment entries of journal should I ever start hating my jobs (hopefully I won’t).

Find a New Hobby or Invest Time in an Old One

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Whether you’ve always loved painting but college got in the way, or you want to learn how to dance salsa, or anything in between you have plenty of time to do it in your down time on the post-grad job search. One thing I started doing again while I was unemployed is reading. One of my goals this year is to read two books a month and it hasn’t been hard thus far considering I didn’t have really anything better to do. Another hobby I dedicated more time to while I was unemployed was blogging. It felt good to be doing things I wanted to do in undergrad that I simply didn’t have the time to do.

Get Off Your Ass and Get Active

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Seriously! This one is a good morale booster. Whether I was dancing, working out, going for a walk, jog, or run, dedicating time to working out wasn’t something I did until towards the end of my unemployment and I wish I had a started sooner. Not only do you have time to figure out what kind of workouts you love, you can find a purpose in setting non-work related goals. One of my goals when I was employed was to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. This doesn’t sound like a lot but there would be days when I was unemployed where I sat around ALL day and barely clocked in 2,000 steps, YIKES! If you’re currently unemployed it doesn’t mean you have to sit around all day and become a sloth (I was guilty of this for a while).

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The post-grad “Damn I don’t have a job” depression is real and it can take over your mind, body, and spirit if you let it. Even if you are employed, being out of school after being in school your whole life is a rough transition for me. I have suffered from the deepest of post-grad blues and it is not pretty. Even if you are employed there are times where you can find yourself missing being in undergrad and carefree. The key to surviving this turbulent transition in life is to happen to it instead of allowing it to happen to you. If you already have a job it can be even easier to get caught up in the motions and find yourself still battling those post-grad blues. Find balance between keeping yourself busy and doing things you love. When you’re unemployed, finding things to occupy your time during your job search (and make sure you are ACTIVELY searching) will make the time in between graduation and being unemployed fly by.  You may even walk away from it being more enlightened, educated, and experienced person than the day you got your degree. If you don’t have a job or haven’t taken steps towards career yet, don’t beat yourself up about it. These things take time and there is always a lesson in the struggle! ALWAYS.

(Author’s Note: If you think you suffer from depression or any other mental illness, contact a professional for help. These tips will not cure depression.)

In Memory of My Nana

On April 28th at 9am Est, my Nana passed away. It’s been a month and it still doesn’t seem real. There is nothing I want more than to get a phone call from her. “How’s my pretty girl doing?” This past Mother’s Day was our first Mother’s Day without her. Man, I don’t think I’ve ever felt a pain this strong in my life. My Nana, Lydia Wright, is my maternal grandmother and the grandparent I’ve been the closest to my entire life. We talked AT LEAST once a week, sometimes more. She offered me life advice (even if it was a little old-fashioned for my taste), and was always there for me, cheering me on and bragging about me to anybody who would listen. You know, the last few weeks of her life I was in such DENIAL. She had been sick before but she always bounced back. She was tired of fighting. I can’t say I blame her. She had been through SO MUCH in her life! From an eating disorder to breast cancer to kidney failure, emphysema, to much more. She was a fucking fighter and the strongest woman I know. I can’t put into words what she meant to me and I really honestly never thought about the day I’d have to live without her but those days are here now and now I have to figure it out. I have to figure out how to go on when all I really want to do is crawl into bed and cry.

While my Nana isn’t my first family member to pass away (I just lost my maternal grandfather last July), this pain is something different. The grief is almost unbearable at times. However, I know that she is always with me. She was always blunt and said whatever she wanted to say and did whatever she wanted to do and I hope to be as courageous as her. A few years ago she got me a bear that sang the song “I Hope You Dance” and dedicated that song to me. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with it (who are you? And WHY?), here are some of the lyrics:

“I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance

Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’

Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin’

Don’t let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter

When you come close to sellin’ out reconsider

Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance, I hope you dance.”

I loved the song when she dedicated it to me but now that she’s passed it means even more. I now can’t listen to it without crying but I will make sure I listen to my Nana’s song of wisdom and never let her down. I have to make sure to be there for my mom and not be too sad. While I miss her, it is for selfish reasons because she is no longer in pain and has finally found peace. I’m learning a lot about grief and it’s come and go as it pleases attitude. Grief really doesn’t give a fuck. 

Nana, All I know is when I wear purple (your favorite color), I’ll think of you. When someone mentions the Steelers (your favorite team and half of your wardrobe haha) I’ll think of you. Whenever I melt a scentsy (why did you have over 100 of them?), I’ll think of you. Whenever I eat something pumpkin (your nickname for me since before I even ate it) I’ll think of you. Nana, there will not be a day that goes by that I don’t think of you and I’m happy you were able to see me get into law school, even if I don’t know how I’ma survive without your weekly phone calls. I guess I’ll have to find a different way to talk to you. I love you and miss you! Say hi to Grandpa for me.

Love,

Mara.

4 Podcasts You Need to Listen to Right Now

Long ago the only option for a commute to work or listening to something on your down time was the radio. Now, we live in a world where there are many different things you can listen to on your drive. One thing that has been gaining popularity is podcasts! In case you don’t know what a podcast is, a podcast Is basically a radio show mixed with a television series (only without the visual aspect, so maybe not a television series haha). Anyways, listeners can subscribe to them and download them on their devices. In this post I will be talking about some of my most favorite podcasts, why I listen to them, and what is my favorite episode.

1. Behind The Brilliance—Lisa Nicole Bell

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I love this podcast very much! I believe it might have been the second or third podcast I ever listened to in my life. I’m not going to lie and tell you I have listened to EVERY episode (I mean, she has over a 100!) but EVERY episode I have listened to I have learned something new and informational. One thing I admire about this podcast is the Lisa (who is a well accomplished genius in her own right) also interviews other amazing and accomplished professionals in various fields for many of her episodes. She describes Behind The Brilliance as “a weekly podcast featuring funny and smart conversations with accomplished innovators, fascinating creative, and mission-driven entrepreneurs.” Her solo episodes are always a great listen as she talks about new things she’s tried, books she’s read, and sometimes even gives advice in Q+A’s. While the reason I was drawn to this podcast is because Lisa is a fellow Black Woman, her guests range in ages, races, professions, and everything else! There is literally many episodes that everyone can learn from. My current favorite episode is Episode: 8 for 2018. This really helped me get myself ready to go into 2018  working towards my goals. However, I must note it was really hard for me to choose a favorite episode because all of the ones I have listened to are great. Give Behind The Brilliance a listen now on iTunes!

2. ANGCODE

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While I do love a good motivational podcast, sometimes I like to listen to podcasts that will have me cracking up. ANGCODE is that podcast. It does not matter what episode I tune into  guarantee Ang and her guests will have me damn near crying laughing. On ANGCODE she addresses various topics in pop culture, as well as women and their sexualities, double standards in society, self-confidence, and more while also never forgetting incorporate her naturally hilarious opinions on these topics. Ang holds no punches and isn’t afraid to get real with her guests or her listeners. She has a segment where she takes questions from her listeners via an anonymous curiouscat (sometimes, some very WILD questions) and her and her guests answer them, no matter HOW crazy the question is. If you need a good laugh go check out ANGCODE like RIGHT NOW. My favorite episode is: Episode 21: Ladies Night- Sliding into DMs, Body Shaming & Spirituality. P.S. Did I mention Ang is my sorority sister? Make sure you listen and rate the podcast on iTunes, like right this minute!

3. Think N Grow Chick Podcast—Courtney Sanders

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The Think N Grow Chick podcast was the first podcast I ever listened to. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was cleaning dorm rooms at my old job one summer when I got tired of listening to music. Now don’t get me wrong, ya girl loves music but this was before I had any streaming service and was rockin’ with Pandora and I ran out of skips and I was like, hmmm let’s give the podcast thing a listen. I googled “black women podcasts” (representation is important for me sometimes, y’all) and she appeared on a few lists of must listens for Black Women). I played one episode and I was hooked! Courtney has an amazing story about how she went from being kicked out of college and in debt to being a successful entrepreneur (she was also recently featured in Forbes: check it out here!) She shares her own personal life tips as well as tips for being an entrepreneur and she is always dropping gems. My favorite episode is: Are You REALLY About This Life? The 3 Keys to Programming Your Mind for Success

4. The PlotTwist Podcast

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I can admit I have a preference to listen to podcasts hosted by women; The PlotTwist Podcast is an exception to the rule. Hosted by Daniel Coronado, PlotTwist is a podcast that has a little bit of everything! The topics range from serious topics like the Rescinding of DACA and Self-Care to more light hearted things like the worst date Daniel and his fraternity brothers have ever been on. I like PlotTwist because I never know what to expect when I press play, which I’m sure is one of the reasons the title makes so much sense. While many of the topics are serious, Daniel has a naturally funny and rambunctious personality that gives and interesting spin to the discussions of the show. Daniel and I have been friends for 7 years now and each year he gets more and more hilarious. Go check out PlotTwist! My favorite episode is: S. 1 Episode 5: Toothbrushing, Our Daily Purpose, Staying In Your Lane, & THE SEX TALK. Hurry and give PlotTwist a listen on iTunes.

These are 4 podcasts that I love to listen to right now! If you are in need of a new podcast, check these out. You will discover some major life tips, good books to read for self-development, catch up on pop culture, hear about social justice topics, and much more.

I’m always looking for new podcasts to check out. Are there any that you love to listen to? Drop the names of them in the comments!

25 Things I’ve Learned in 25 Years

This weekend I turned 21, I mean 25 years old. Wow. If you had told me this is where I’d be at in life at 25 I wouldn’t have believed you but HERE I AM. While my life has been pretty good so far, I have had a lot of low moments too. I decided that for my 25th birthday I was going to share 25 things I’ve learned in these 25 years of life. Most of these lessons came from my earlier 20s. Some of them you may have read on lists similar to this but I’m going to give a little insight on to why these lessons are important to me.

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1. Focus on who shows up for you, not who doesn’t: It’s so easy to focus on who didn’t go to your birthday party, or that really cool speaking event you told your friends about 10 times, or whatever else but honestly the quality of my life improved so much when I just focused on being thankful towards those who did show up instead of pissed at those who didn’t. You never know what people have going on.

 

2. You aren’t the center of the universe: Yes, I know this seems so painfully obvious but I will be the first to admit that I am guilty of thinking things that important to me are important to everybody. This isn’t true. Honestly with the exception of your parents (not even always), your close friends, your lover(s), and a few others, most people don’t give a fuck about you. Once you realize this, life is a little easier.

 

3. Do whatever the fuck you want to do while you’re young (safely): One thing I wish I had did before I had to come to the “REAL” world is have more fun. Granted, I had a lot of fun in undergrad but I know I would have had more if I told myself yes for more things than parties. I should have taken a two week trip backpacking through some random place haha. Not to say I can’t do these things now but it’s harder when you have loans to pay off and stuff. So yeah, if there is something you really want to do, DO IT. (except smoke crack, pls don’t do that.)

 

4. Don’t doubt your greatness: If I had a dollar for every thing I didn’t do/apply for because I didn’t think I was capable of doing it, I could retire and live a lavish life full of travel and mojitos. Okay I might be exaggerating but I could buy something nice. Honestly, I’m still learning to embrace rejection and not feeling inadequate.

 

5. Therapy is not just for “crazy people”, it’s for everyone: One thing I want to do this year is find a therapist. Now that I know I will be living in Vegas permanently, I want to get a therapist who meets my qualifications here. Often in minorities communities seeing a therapist is for “crazy people” but there is only so much “venting” your friends can take from you. Sometimes, you need to see a professional.

 

6. Avoiding being vulnerable will do more harm to you than it will protect you: This kind of ties into my fear of rejection as well. While I don’t believe I missed out on anyone I was destined to spend my life with, I know many of my past relationships were damaged by me being afraid to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness.

 

7. Being judgmental of others doesn’t make you any better than them: This is a straight-forward lesson. Don’t judge others.

 8. Sometimes the way people act towards you is usually about them, not you: This is a relatively new lesson I’ve learned about others and about myself. This simply put in the quote “Hurt people hurt people.” Usually if somebody is unwarrantedly rude towards you, they have some other shit going on.

9. Letting yourself feel your emotions is important: There is a growing culture of “good vibes only” and while I do believe it is important to focus on the positive, you still have to let yourself feel the not so good feelings when they arise. They key is to not dwell on them.

10. Tell people how you feel about them: If you’ve ever had somebody randomly acknowledge you and all you do out of nowhere then you know how good that makes you feel. Do that for others. Also, if someone did something to upset you, let them know. Harboring those feelings will just lead to resentment and frustration.

11. Don’t loan people money you can’t afford to never get back: No matter HOW much you trust someone or how little bit of the amount, DO NOT lend people money if you NEED them to pay you back for your finances to be okay. You never know if people will be able to pay you back so just don’t lend it if you can’t afford to never see it again.

12. Find a workout you love to do and never stop doing it: In our younger years it is really important we focus on living a healthy lifestyle to try and avoid consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle in our older years. Exercising releases endorphins and those make you feel good. You will be more motivated to consistently workout if you love the workout you’re doing.

13. Call your grandparents often: When my grandfather passed away last year one thing I could be at peace with was that I talked to him regularly. I can’t say I called him every day and sometimes a week or so would go by but I can say when he died I didn’t have a guilty conscience about not talking to him enough. I was the last person who spoke to him on the phone the night he passed.

14. Make sure you call your friends just to see how they are doing not to talk about yourself: Don’t be the self-centered friend who only calls people to vent about their problems. It’s annoying and people will eventually get over your one-sided friendships. Call (not text because sometimes that shit takes too long) your friends and see how they are. Check in with them. You’d be surprised what people are holding in until somebody asks “how are you?”

15. Always return phone calls and reply to your e-mails: It’s the professional thing to do. You want to build these habits before you enter the actual work force where an e-mail that isn’t responded to can lead to being reprimanded.

16. Sometimes all you need for a better mood is a good night’s sleep: “I’ll sleep when I die” is tired (no pun intended.) Get some damn rest. You would be surprised how much more pleasant your days are when you getting enough sleep. If only somebody had told me this in undergrad (or if I had listened).

17. Unless people ask you for your advice don’t give it to them: Honestly, save your breath. People are going to do what they want to and sometimes unsolicited advice can be annoying. If people don’t ask, don’t tell them what you think they should do. I still struggle with this one.

18. It’s okay to remove yourself from one-sided relationships: I used to be the person that felt I needed to be there for everybody but when I evaluated tough times in my life I could count on two hands who was there for me. Focus your energy on those relationships, not people who always take.

19. Go to the doctor at least once a year for a check-up: DO THIS, no explanation needed. You gotta stay on top of your health, even if you hate the doctor’s office like me.

20. Be mindful of what you say and do in front of children, they are always watching: I hear the craziest things when at work (as a substitute teacher and day camp counselor). You would be surprised how much kids soak up from adults and repeat.

21. Perfection doesn’t exist, just try your best: Don’t beat yourself up about not being perfect, literally NOBODY is. It’s okay. (Mostly a note to self).
22. Don’t get caught up on planning something and the small insignificant details, make a choice and focus on execution: As a creative this is one of the most important things I’ve learned. Nobody gives a shit if you use font one or font two, just pick one and move along.

23. Procrastination is self-sabotage, cut the shit and get it done: Calling all undergrads, grad students, and creatives: Don’t procrastinate. If you “work well under pressure” think how great something could have been if you gave it the time it deserved.

24. People can love you even if you don’t love yourself but you won’t be able to accept their love: I’m sure I’ve had many people who loved me or at least cared about me deeply that I couldn’t handle at the time because I hadn’t learned how to love myself and think I was worthy of it, thus pushing them away and making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
25. Love yourself: Self-love is important. Love yourself, flaws and all and forgive yourself for anything you need forgiveness for.
I hope you enjoyed reading the things I’ve learned about myself and others in my 25 years on planet Earth. If you related to any of these or found it helpful, please share it on your social media!

Is there a lesson you think every twentysomething should know that I left out? I’m always open to learning more. Share it in the comments! 

Goal Check: End of the First Quarter of the Year (Jan-Mar)

The month of March just ended which means that we are 1/4 through 2018. Wow. Time is a flying by! Due to us being 3 months into the year, I decided to check-in on where I’m at with my goals. Now is the perfect time to reflect on what has worked this year and what hasn’t. There are 9 months left in the year which is more than enough time to learn from my errors and still accomplish my goals before the year is over. I have many, many different goals that have sprouted from 8 main ones so I’m going to just tap into some of those 8.

  1. Get my driver’s license and a car: i have not made any substantial progress on this goal besides looking at cars. This is first on this list but the list is in no particular order. This first 3 months I’ve been focusing on getting my health and fitness in order, applying to law school, and paying off my credit card. That brings me to my next goal.
  2. Pay off my credit card debit: So far I have paid a little over $600 into my credit card debt, which is about where I wanted to be by this time of the year. However, my goals regarding this have changed. I’m now more focused on saving money to go out of the country this summer. I will still be making payments on my credit card but not as aggressively as I was.
  3. Save $2,000 in a savings account: It has been hard to establish a savings account so far this year. I’ve noticed I’m really bad at it haha. I have a small amount. I also need to open another savings account because anything I have in this one is going towards my trip this Summer!
  4. Start Law School: This goal is happening! I was admitted into UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law at the beginning of last month. I will officially be going back to school in August which is why I’m taking a trip out of the country this summer.
  5. Lose fat & gain muscle: I’m making great progress on this goal. I hired a trainer in January. Even though he quit and I got a new trainer I had to get used to after taking a 2 week hiatus from the gym, I’ve still managed to lose about 15ish lbs. I can also feel myself getting stronger in every part of my body. I’m excited to see where I will be in the next 3 months from now!
  6. Take my blog to the next level: I like to believe I’m taking steps towards taking my blog to the next level. I created a bi-weekly newsletter (still working on sending out my first e-mail), I hosted my first GIVEAWAY (of many to come), and I’ve started posting more regularly, and I’ve upped my social media engagement. Hopefully in 3 months I will have really made some solid progress.
  7. Read one book every month: I’ve been slacking in regards to reading one book a month. I tried to read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People in January but I underestimated how dense and long that book was and I decided to read a little bit of it each month throughout the year. It also took me all of February and a little over half of March to finish The Autobiography of Malcolm X. I highly recommend this book. I wanted to at least finish 2 books by the end of March so I picked an easy ready for the last week of the month. I chose The Defining Decade. I have really enjoyed this book and will be reviewing in a post later this month. 
  8. Move out: so as I have officially gotten into school and given a full tuition scholarship, this has become the least important of my goals. I have to keep a 2.3 (which sounds easy but I’ve never been to law school so I wouldn’t know) GPA to keep my scholarship. My cousin has moved out of my room and this has made living at home much more bearable. I’m in the process of redecorating my room and giving it the personality I wanted it to have when I first moved back home. The only thing that makes me really want to still consider moving out is having company over when they come to town and visit. If I have any updates on this goal they will definitely be towards the end of the year.

All in all, I’ve very pleased with the progress I’ve made on achieving my goals this first few months of the year. I do have some areas that could use improvement (getting my license/car and staying on top of reading for fun). However, I have also had some major wins (YAY for getting into law school and getting a full tuition scholarship). I can’t wait to write this post at the end of the second quarter of the year and see how far I’ve come and what else I’ve done. I might have some different goals listed to reflect the changes in priorities I’ve had since getting into law school but the post will be similar in format. Here’s to working towards our goals all year long!

What are some goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year? What goals have you made progress on? What goals could use improvement? Leave me a comment and let’s talk about it! 

 

Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging

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Ever since I started blogging, many of my friends have come to me for advice about starting their own blog. I love this because it means they notice that I’m doing things and as a blogger, recognition is good. However, having to give advice over Snapchat or Instagram messages is harder and time consuming than I have time for so I decided to write this post. These tips can also apply to anyone in an online creative type of work such as podcasting or running a specialized Instagram page. From one amateur blogger to the next, these are the things I wish I knew when I started blogging.

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  • Put aside a few consecutive hours a week to focus on blog related things. (Really focus!)

Honestly, if you can master this and make it a habit, the rest of these things will come pretty easily to you. My biggest struggle over the last year and half or so has been finding the time to just sit down and work on my blog for extended periods of time, without distractions. I read a post from Mattie James (mattiejames.com) that discusses the concept of batch work. Batch work is basically creating a bunch of content all at once. My effectiveness in this comes and goes but as of lately it’s been something I am aiming to make routine.

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  • Figure out your main topics/focus aka niche (Keep this list small)

When I first started blogging I wanted to talk about everything under the sun: health and fitness, pop culture, social justice issues, self-growth and development, mental health, anything and everything. It wasn’t until after I tried writing about all of these topics and realized that I was headed nowhere fast that I decide to dial back on the topics I was going to focus on for my blog. Now I focus on self-reflection, self-growth/self-development, and goal-setting with a sprinkle of health and fitness and travel thrown in every so often. Keeping your list of topics small is key to avoiding being overwhelmed as a blogger. Even the person who loves writing more than life CAN’T write about everything. I know that once I establish myself as a blogger with a brand, other opportunities to talk about my various interests will present themselves.

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  • Consistently creating content (and posting it) is the hardest thing to master.

It’s so funny because whenever people ask me what advice I have about blogging I tell them “don’t underestimate how hard it is to consistently write and create content.” Many of the time they tell me they’re not worried about that because they have so many things to write about that creating content won’t be hard for them. Fast forward a few weeks later and either 1. They haven’t started their blog because they’re busy or 2. They have started it but only post once in a blue moon (like myself, guilty as charged haha). The thing people don’t understand is that writing a blog post isn’t hard (per say) but what is hard is writing a blog post worth reading. There have been many times I have written a post, read it back, tried to edit it, and just realized it wasn’t even worth reading for me, much less to put out. Creating consistent and worthy content is hard. Don’t underestimate it.

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  • Friends =/= Supporters and that’s okay! (Don’t take it personal)

Just because you are friends with someone does not mean they are obligated to support your blog. I know. That sounds insane. Why wouldn’t your friends support you? They’re your friends! That’s what friends do for each other. I know that’s what we’re taught to believe but the fact of the matter is that friends =/= supporters and that doesn’t make them bad people. Maybe your niche is just not FOR THEM. When I first started blogging I was sad that all of my friends weren’t reading my blog (the clicks don’t lie!) but then I realized that doesn’t matter. I love all of my friends and our differences in interests and hobbies. That being said if one of my friends started a horseback riding podcast I can’t necessarily say I would be tuning in every week to hear about life at the stables. I probably would retweet all of their new episodes but that’s as far as that would go. That doesn’t make me a bad person. Some people won’t even retweet you, and that’s fine too. We are all inclined to support things that interest us. I know my content isn’t for everybody, I focus on writing for the people who it’s intended for.

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  • Reading other bloggers, watching blogging webinars, and whatever else is useless if you don’t apply the knowledge! (Seriously, don’t waste your time)

I tried to read every blog post and watch every webinar I could about blogging when I first started. There where countless Google searches for content about blogging from my phone and laptop. If it was free, it was for me! After reading and watching all of this stuff I can say I have maybe applied 1 or 2 things out of the 25 I’ve learned. That’s because I was more focused on indulging in information to try to imitate the greats instead of reading/learning some and then applying it, reading/learning something else and applying, and so on and so on. I’m sure I would have gotten way farther in a quicker time if I took it one step at time. This whole blogger life is a learning process though and Mara went through it so you don’t have to!

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  • This shit is not cheap/free (If you want to be next level)

Okay so I never knew that I was going to have to spend so much money JUST to make blog appear legit. Between having my own domain, needing a PO Box for my newsletter, paying for stock photos, and eventually attending blogging conventions, this blogging life gets REAL costly REAL quick! If blogging is just a hobby for you it’s not something you have to worry about but I eventually want to take my blog to another level as a source of income like many of the women I admire. If you have similar ambitions as me, it’s going to cost you before it pays you. Don’t get discouraged and make sure you can finance your dreams.

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  • Engagement is a major key.

Okay so something I’ve recently learned is blogging doesn’t stop at the blog posts. In order to have people actually give a damn about what you have to say, you have to engage with your social media followers. I know that is so obvious…how didn’t realize it before? I don’t know, honestly. Even after reading it from many people who blog it never clicked until recently.

This is just a little bit of what I wosh I knew when I started blogging. Even with utilizing these tips there are still so many things left for bloggers to learn. The best thing is to do your research! Here are some of my favorite blogging resources where I read up on blogging tips and sometimes even score a free webinar or two. 

  • MattieJames.com
  • Bloguettes.com
  • LostGenYGirl.com 

If you are fellow blogger or have a postcast/website, I wish you luck and success! It’s not an easy task to be successful on these e-streets. 

Are you a blogger? What is one thing you wish you knew when you started blogging? Let me know in the comments!