• GOALS

    On Planners, Setting Goals and Habit Tracking

    The beginning of the year always has me thinking all things goals, about my one little word, finding the perfect planner for the year and keeping track of some new habits I want to form.

    I feel like I have tried every planner known to man and still haven’t found the perfect one. There are little bits from various planners that I like so I usually have a hodge podge of a planner. To be honest, if I was more artistic bullet journaling would be my preferred method, but my writing is kind of a disaster and I can’t draw or doodle to save my life.

     

    My Personal, Blogging and Book-ish Goals for 2020

     

    So, what I like to do is find a number of different printable planners and pull the pieces that I want from each one, creating my own customized planner.

    If you like all things planners, goals and habit trackers I would recommend checking out the Ultimate Productivity Bundle – there are a number of different printable planners, some of which have some useful and unique pages that I will be using this year.

    There are a variety of products in the bundle, but the 10 planners are some of the products I’m most interested in. The planners alone have a value over $200!

     

    Ultimate Productivity Bundle 2020

    In addition to products related to planners, they also have two other sections that are right up my alley: Review & Reflect (which actually includes one of my products – Map Your Life!) as well as Goal Setting.

     

    Ultimate Productivity Bundle 2020

    Ultimate Productivity Bundle 2020

    If you are interested in the bundle at all you can check it out here, it will only be around until January 8th though, so make sure you don’t miss it!

  • GOALS

    My Word for 2020

    Every year I choose one word as a theme for my year. This year is my TENTH year doing so.

    Yesterday I shared a recap of my word for 2019 (which was adventure) and I mentioned how I was really hoping my word for 2020 would (or could) be rest or a similar such word.

    Unfortunately, God seemed to have different plans.

    I usually start thinking of my word a few weeks before the end of the year and generally there are a few different ones that come to mind. I have come up with a lot of good word options over the years but when the right word comes I always feel certain that it’s the right word.

    This year the idea of the word rest came to me really easy. It’s been a particularly exhausting last few months and I could use a year of rest. I wrote it down as an option but I wasn’t feeling like it was the word God was leading me to for the year.

    I was right.

    About a week ago the word came to me in a flash and I just knew it was the word for 2020.

    My word for this year is:
    GENEROUS

     

    Generous: One Little Word for 2020

     

    There are many different ways to be generous; with our time, our love, our resources, our money, etc. I do want to be generous in all those areas but this year I am specifically focusing on monetary generosity.

    The last few months we’ve had a number of different friends go through times of financial hardship, which can be hard at any time, but especially so over the Christmas season and it was such a good reminder how much I appreciate the ability to give to others.

    This last year we sort of acquired a new stream of “income” as we began to foster. We’ve been able to use some of this income to bless others, thank you to the government for allowing us to give your money to those who need it!

    In 2020 I want to push myself to give more.

    One of my financial role models is John Wesley (a preacher in the 18th century). When he was a student he brought in 30 pounds, he lived off of 28 and gave away 2. The next year his income doubled but he still lived off of 28 pounds but then had 32 to give. One year his income was right around 1,400 and he still only lived off of 28 pounds!

     

    Generous: One Little Word for 2020

     

    I appreciate Wesley’s ability to live out what he preached. He has a great sermon titled “The Use of Money” (which you can actually read here). In the sermon he gives three main points: 1) gain all you can, 2) save all you can and 3) give all you can.

    It’s not exactly like it sounds.

    GAIN ALL YOU CAN – for this point he talks about how we should use our gifts to work hard in our industry to make money.

    SAVE ALL YOU CAN – he talks here about cutting corners and reducing your spending and way of life so you have more money.

    Those two points on their own or together sound pretty normal, mainstream society tends to agree with those ideas (especially the first one), but Wesley doesn’t stop there, he adds another point.

    GIVE ALL YOU CAN – the first two ideas are totally useless if you don’t also do this, the whole point here is to give. We are not here on this earth to gain all we can and save all we can so we can live more cushy lives, no, it’s so we have more to give.

    I found the sermon both inspiring and challenging and it was great to read before going into a year with a word like generous.

    I also plan on kicking off the year by completing the generosity themed Scripture Writing Challenge in January. I plan on taking time to choose one of those verses as my verse for the year.

     

    This year was my TENTH year choosing a word for the year! Here’s a little on why I choose a word and how I go about doing so. And, if you are curious, here are some of my words from previous years:

     

    Do you choose a word for your year? I would love to hear it if you do!

  • GOALS

    2019: The Year of Adventure

    The one word I chose for myself for 2019 was adventure.

    I struggled a bit with the word initially because it sounded so entitled, but that’s not how I meant it.

    I have issues with contentment and part of the reason I chose the word was to find the adventure in the every day.

    When the year began we had a pile of savings that I had initially planned to be for a Europe trip but I knew God was asking us to do something different with the money.

    Halfway through the year we began the process to start fostering (we used a lot of that Europe money to make a few changes to our home to allow for another bedroom and more space to play) and the real adventure began.

    We got our first placement in October and we have no idea how long they will be with us.

    Honestly, we feel like God called us to foster but it has not been easy. We often find ourselves puzzled as to why He called us, people who aren’t that patient, nor that great with kids, to foster. It has stretched us and often left us feeling quite alone.

     

    Difficult Roads Lead to Beautiful Destinations - Adventure One Little Word Wrap Up

     

    This month I read The Two Towers and Frodo and Sam have this great chat that I just love, it felt so fitting:

     

    “I don’t like anything here at all,” said Frodo, “step or stone, breath or bone. Earth, air and water all seem accursed. But so our path is laid.”

    “Yes, that is so,” said Sam. “And we shouldn’t be here at all, if we’d know more about it before we started. But I suppose it’s often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of sport, as you might say. But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually – their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on – and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, thought not quite the same – like old Mr. Bilbo. But those aren’t always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?”

     

    I couldn’t help but feel like Tolkien wrote those words just for me to read right now, they have been really encouraging.

    I will be sharing my word for 2020 later this week. I’ve got to say, after this last year I was really hoping for a word like rest but God seems to have different plans . . .

  • BOOKS,  GOALS

    My Personal, Blogging & Book-ish 2020 Goals

    The new year is quickly approaching and I thought I would share my goals for 2020. Since there are still a couple of weeks left in the year I may come back and tweak or add to these goals a bit if I think of anything else.

    I thought of writing a post on how I did on my 2019 goals but it turns out that I failed at almost all of them.
    Awesome.

    To keep 2020 from being a complete failure in regards to goals I plan on using my free monthly printables as well creating a bullet journal-style goal trackers. I will either share more about that here on the blog in the weeks to come or else just in an upcoming newsletter, so if you aren’t signed up yet, make sure to do so!

     

    I decided to break my goals up into three sections: personal goals, blogging/online income goals and book-ish goals.

     

    PERSONAL GOALS

     

    TAKE A MONTHLY FAMILY PHOTO

    As an ex-photographer I have the tendency to always be the one behind the camera (that and I’m completely awkward in front of it) but this year I would like to get a family photo each month.

    They don’t have to be perfect, actually, that’s kind of the point. When we get family photos taken we are generally try to look our best and be all put together (except that one year where Ephraim peed himself five minutes before the photo session and we took all the photos with him in wet shorts -thankfully you couldn’t see it), but if we have a photo every month then we can just be our normal selves.

    I would love to share the monthly photos here but I’m not sure I will since some months they may have faces of additional kids in them that I can’t share online, but maybe I’ll take two photos, one with the extra kids and one without . . .

     

    LEARN TWO SONGS ON THE UKULELE

    So, Jared bought me a ukulele (back in May) and I have yet to pick it up . . . So, it’s a super low goal but it does seem unattainable at this moment. Life has been a little crazy the last few months.

     

    DO FIFTY-TWO FAMILY ACTIVITIES

    This probably sounds like a lame goal when I explain it, it’s just doing something simple together as a family. This could be as easy as working on a puzzle together or more intense like going on road trip. For this I am considering Jared, Raeca and Ephraim my family (foster kids are allowed to join in too but we may do this when they are sleeping and that’s fine). I’ve just noticed in the last few weeks since we started fostering that I need to make family time a priority, especially when I’m feeling really tired and just want to veg in the evening instead of putting in an effort.

     

    DOCUMENT LIFE MORE WITH VIDEO

    This was a goal that I had last year and I did really well for the first three months of the year, I would like to try it again and follow through. Last year I used the app One Second Every Day and it was good but I realized one second isn’t enough for some days so I am going to try something a bit different.

     

    How to Make Money from your Blog with Ads - a series all about how to make money online - How to make money from ads

     

    ONLINE/BLOGGING GOALS

    I run a few different websites on the interwebs. They bring in some money and I enjoy it, it’s like getting paid for doing my hobby, this section has a few of my goals related to those websites.

     

    JOIN BOOKTUBE?

    One goal that I am contemplating adding to this list is the idea of getting into the world of BookTube (talking about books on YouTube) I love the idea of it but I go back and forth. I don’t think I have the time to record and edit videos so I may just start talking more about what I am reading each week in my weekly reviews. But on the other hand, I really appreciate the BookTube community and would like to join in. I’m currently thinking that if I can figure out how to properly film and edit on my phone I may try it out.

    So, I’ve officially decided to give this goal a try. I’m going to commit to posting one video a week from now until the end of January and from there decide if it is something I will continue for the year. You can subscribe and follow along here.

     

    POST MORE BOOK LISTS

    I used to post weekly book lists over on my homeschool blog and I want to get back into posting at least two book lists each month there. I may also share more book lists over here, I know I want to continue my seasonal ones (I have the fall and winter ones already) but I’m not sure what other kind of book lists I should share here. (Maybe I’ll stick with kid book lists on the homeschool blog and adult ones here? I would love to hear your thoughts!)

     

    MAKE MONEY FROM ADS ON THIS SITE

    I have been thinking about this a lot and I have recently put a couple of ads back on here, I don’t want there to be a ton of ads but I appreciate being able to make a little bit of cash without having to sell anything.

     

    ROCK A BUNDLE

    The above point (about not wanting to sell anything on this site) being said I do have one promotion coming up in the very beginning of January; I have a product in a bundle which I will be sharing about when it is live. I do have some other motivations behind joining this bundle though, I’m curious to see how it all goes.

     

     

    BOOK-ISH GOALS

    What kind of goals list would this be if I didn’t include some book-ish goals?! I’m not planning on setting a specific number of books I want to read goals this year (that is until Good Reads prompts me to and then I will probably just pick a number around 60 that I know I will hit), but I did want to create some other book-ish goals and I’m really excited about them.

     

    COMPLETE THE READ YOUR BOOKSHELF CHALLENGE

    I created a reading challenge for myself (and all others that want to join in) for 2020 to help me read some of the unread books that I own, I’ve called it the Read Your Bookshelf Challenge. I created a different prompt for each month to help push me out of my comfort zone a bit and get some books read that I may not otherwise read.

     

    READ MORE OF MY OWN BOOKS THAN THE LIBRARY’S

    We are very dedicated library patrons in our house, my library has a cool feature where they tally the total of the value of the books that you take out each time and they also have a running tally so I know we take out over $20,000 in books each year (and that doesn’t even factor in all the audiobooks we listen to on Libby and Hoopla), so obviously we love the library. But I’ve found that I prioritize library books over ones I own since they need to go back fairly quickly and then I just always put off my own books. This was part of the reason that I created the reading challenge but I wanted to take it one step further and make sure I read more books that I own than books from the library.

     

    FINISH ONE TOME A MONTH

    A tome is a book that is over 500 pages. I often shy away from reading big books these days because it is such a commitment but I used to love reading big books because I got to stay in the story longer. I actually own a decent amount of tomes that I haven’t read that I would like to get to this year so this is a really good goal for me.

    Tomes I currently own (that I haven’t read yet) include: Harry Potter books four, five, six and seven, Eragon books one, three and four (book two came a couple pages short), Middlemarch, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, David Copperfield, Bonhoeffer, Dragon Rider, The Mill on the Floss, Gone With the Wind, Moby Dick, The Old Curiosity Shop and Anna Karenina. Obviously the page number varies based on the edition, especially for classics that have so many different editions but these are ones that I have that over 500 pages in their editions.

     

    READ AT LEAST TWELVE MIDDLE GRADE NOVELS

    Well written middle grade novels have proven to be some of my favorites and I want to make sure I read some more this year. I actually just ordered some middle grade books that have been on my list for awhile from BookOutlet at an awesome price, I can’t wait for them to arrive! (If you’ve never ordered from BookOutlet before, you can find some incredible deals on some books, also, you can get $10 off your first order when you use this link.)

     

    FINISH THE HARRY POTTER SERIES

    I have books 4-7 to finish and hope to read one a month for the first few months of the year. Raeca has read the first three books and loves them. She’s really into fantasy and I want to read the rest of the series before her to get a feel for what age she should be before reading more of them.

     

    think that is all for goals for this year. Like I said, I may come back and add a few more in in the next couple of weeks. What kind of goals are you setting for 2020?

  • GOALS,  INTENTION

    Free Monthly Intentions/Goals Printable

    I always like to take some time during this season and start thinking about my word for the next year as well as my goals. I plan on sharing both my word and my goals in the next few weeks but first I have a freebie for you!

    A few newish-to-me blogs that I follow share their monthly intentions instead of their goals and I just love that slight change in wording. With the new year less than a month away I’ve been thinking about my goals (or intentions) for the year and I want to make an effort this year to do better with creating monthly goals.

    To help myself out a bit I created monthly intentions printables and I thought I would share them with you!

     

    Free Printable Monthly Goal and Intention Sheets

     

    The sheets have three different sections:

     

    INTENTIONS

    This space is for your goals for the month. I left a fair amount of space, I know I won’t usually have that many items each month but I do tend to write big so this way if my intentions take up two lines each at least I know I have room to write them down.

     

    READING LIST

    You don’t have to be around me long to realize that books are a big part of my life. I share my monthly TBR in my book-ish newsletter and I am always looking for great books to add to my collection. I like the idea of writing my monthly TBR down on these sheets because I can look at it throughout the month and it will be interesting to look back on at the end of a year and see which books I finished and which I didn’t.

     

    Free Printable Monthly Goal and Intention Sheets

     

    REMEMBER

    This section is for whatever you want. This month I wrote a verse out, in the future I may write a cute quote or conversation with one of my kids or a quote from a book. I may even use this space for ideas on how to carry out my one little word throughout the month.

     

    To grab your free printable intention sheets just sign up here, you’ll also get access to all the other freebies on the site:

     



     

  • GOALS,  SIMPLE LIVING

    Social Media Fast – Round Two

    Last December and January I took a six week social media fast and loved it.

    The choice to go back on was harder than the choice to go off.

    I felt like I learned a lot in those six weeks and had a lot of extra time (something that feels so fleeting these days).

    As December and the Christmas season approaches I’ve made the decision to have a social media fast again, though with a few slight changes.

     

    FACEBOOK

    Starting December 1st I will be off of Facebook. This blog still publishes a link to my posts to my Facebook page and my homeschool blog does the same. That way people that like to come to my blogs via Facebook can still do so.

    My general goal is for the social media fast to last all of December but I have been so over Facebook for so long I do not know if I will go back.

    I don’t use Facebook much at all now as it is, I generally go on about every other day and then just check my notifications (also, I’m still using the free Chrome extension Newsfeed Eradicator which means when I login on my browser I don’t have a newsfeed to get sucked into, if you want to stay on FB I would recommend checking it out!).

    I haven’t had the Facebook app on my phone for years though I am logged on in my browser on my phone. I will log out of my browser on both my phone and my computer (and I don’t know my password so getting back on won’t be that easy). I also don’t use FB messenger so I don’t have that app or anything to worry about.

     

    Social Media Fast 2019 - Round Two

     

    INSTAGRAM

    Instagram has always been my preferred method of social media but I’ve really started to feel over it this year. I am taking a break for the entire month of December and as of right now I think I will probably only use my homeschool account after that (though this may change).

    Instagram doesn’t drive much traffic to my sites at all so it’s really more for personal use. Even with the number of followers I have on my homeschool account (and decent engagement on most posts) I really don’t get that many blog views from Instagram so taking at least a month off won’t be a big deal.

    In January I will see how I am feeling about IG but at this point I am thinking I may just continue using my homeschool account and not use my personal one at all. I have used Hootsuite for years to schedule most of my Instagram posts and may just use that and then my browser for reading and responding to comments. We’ll see how I’m feeling after a month off.

    For December I plan on uninstalling IG from my phone and logging out in my browser. This is actually a big step because when I did this last year I had major issues logging back into one of my accounts. So the possibility does exist that they won’t let me back in once I log out.

     

    OTHER FORMS OF SOCIAL MEDIA

    There are other forms of social media, the only two others that I use are Pinterest and YouTube which I will continue to use.

    Pinterest is the main traffic driver for both of my blogs and it is something I also use a separate scheduler for so I don’t actually spend much time scrolling Pinterest.

    YouTube I enjoy but it is not something I mindlessly watch. I have to be in the right mood and setting to watch videos so I’m okay with continuing at that rate.

     

    Social Media Fast 2019 - Round Two

     

    MY GOALS FOR THE MONTH

    Here are a few things I hope to happen in December:

    + more time to work on other things I want to do instead of mindlessly scrolling

    + more time to cherish the moments of the season with my family

    + in that same vein, creating some new Christmas traditions

    + less comparison in this season

     

    I am looking forward to getting started with another social media fast! Have you ever done one? I would like to hear what your experience has been!

  • GOALS,  INTENTION

    My Goals for 33

    Since my birthday was nearly two months ago I figured this would be a good time to share my goals for the year.

    I like to set goals each year at the beginning of the year and around my birthday, though I always go for a longer list of goals on my birthday and generally include some simple ones and some that I probably won’t reach.

    I like to dream big and imagine possibilities and I like my goals to reflect that.

    Though, apparently if I take two months to actually share my goals some are completed or in the process of and some I’ve already decided to change or completely cross off, such is life!

    Curious about previous birthday goal lists? You can see my goal lists for twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine, and thirty. (And then apparently I went goal-less for two years before thirty-three.)

     

    1) something big – so I’m not really being vague here to be mysterious, this “something big” has changed a few times in the last six months so I thought if I intentionally left it to be a fairly broad goal I would have a better chance of being able to check it off, so that’s where it stands for now.

    2) increase my online income – I feel very fortunate to be able to make some money from my online hobbies/endeavors and I would like to see if I could increase it more in the next year.

    3) actually live radically for Christ

    4) get outside more

    5) kingdom school the kids – pretty much I just want to teach my kids to live with eternity in mind.

    6) get rid of stuff/live smaller

    7) give more

    8) pick a word of the month – well, I’ve already been failing this one . . .

    9) have evenings in the backyard

    10) bake some good gluten free bread – let me know if you have a good recipe!

    11) take a class online

    12) go on five Saskatchewan adventures – where should we go?

    13) keep a nature journal

    14) learn to sketch and/or watercolor

    15) find a handicraft

    16) study the Bible

    17) go on a trip in the winter

    18) make a plan for the front and side of the yard

    19) —- I already decided not to do what I had written down for this goal

    20) write a line a day – I got this journal for Mother’s Day and have been really enjoying it

    21) figure out a topic for a book – though honestly, I don’t think I’m there yet

    22) buy a fireplace – before you get grand visions, I am thinking a tiny, portable fireplace, aka cheap. But, I figure if we’re going to live in such a cold province I may as well get a little comfortable.

     

    And that’s where my goals currently stand for the year! Since it took me so long to write them out here and there have been a number of changes I’m contemplating having a continual goal list for the future where I can just continually add, remove and check off my goals as I go through life.

  • GOALS,  INTENTION

    Productivity, Procrastination & “Doing it All”

    I am a fairly productive person. I love creating to do lists and that satisfaction of checking things off of the list (admittedly, I will sometimes add a task to the list after I’ve already done it so I can have the joy of checking it off).

    So, it may come as a surprise to people who know me now that I used to be, and still am at times, a procrastinator. (Just ask Jared, I am terrible at procrastinating when it comes to putting receipts into our budget.) But I’ve come a long way from my serious procrastination days.

    I thought it would be fun to share a few productivity tips for any other procrastinators out there!

     

    Tips on how you can stop being a procrastinator and be more productive

     

    5 PRODUCTIVITY TIPS FROM A FORMER CHRONIC PROCRASTINATOR

     

    #1 KNOW YOUR WHY

    It’s so much easier to get something done if you know why it needs to get done! As a rebel knowing (and believing) in the reason for things makes me actually able to accomplish them.

     

    #2 LESS

    When I say less I mean have less commitments, less stuff, less pulling you in all different directions. This is one that I struggle with the most because I am a chronic dabbler – I like to do a little bit of a lot of different things but that can result in overwhelm and therefore not doing anything.

    Less is better.

     

    Tips on how you can stop being a procrastinator and be more productive

     

    #3 HAVE A GOOD PLANNER

    I would be lost if I didn’t write things down.

    I’m not saying you need to go out and buy an expensive planner, you can buy or make something really cheap. My “planner” is actually a notebook I got at the dollar store and then I’ve just written the days of the week myself. Each day I write a handful-ish number of tasks I want or need to get done to keep myself on track. I don’t get everything done every day but I get a lot more done than if I tried to keep all my tasks in my head.

     

    #4 HAVE A GOOD DAILY RHYTHM

    I have always disliked the word “routine” but now totally embrace the word “rhythm”. I have my daily rhythm down pretty well during the weekdays and am able to be quite productive each day. But on weekends or the odd days where the rhythm is disrupted I feel like I don’t get anything done.

    The bones of a good daily rhythm for me means starting the day with a good breakfast, reading my Bible while drinking my homemade dairy-free hot cocoa and then getting some work done.

     

    Tips on how you can stop being a procrastinator and be more productive

     

    #5 MAKE DEADLINES FOR YOURSELF

    Now, here’s the thing, I’ve always heard that if you want to get something done you should tell someone so they can keep you accountable and that pressure will force you to get it done.

    But really, how many times does that person actually keep you accountable? For some reason, for me (and this may not be true for you), when I tell someone I am going to do something that usually lowers my interest in doing said thing.

    I’ve personally found it more helpful to keep a list of deadlines for myself and not tell others about them.

     

    WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE PRODUCTIVITY TIPS?

     

    Gorgeous photos of Venice courtesy of Unsplash.com – this photos are giving me the motivation to continue saving for our upcoming trip to Europe!

  • GOALS

    Free Goal Tracker Printable

    I’ve got a lot of goals for this year, a number of them are fairly big goals that need to be broken up into smaller goals so I don’t get overwhelmed and give up before I even start.

    Because I’m the kind of girl that likes to write everything down I decided to create a goal tracker printable to help me keep track of the smaller steps my big goals require. And if I’m creating a printable for myself, I figured, why not share it with the class?

     

    Free printable Goal Tracker to help you break down your goals and keep track of your goal deadlines

     

    All you need to do is sign up here for my free resource library and you’ll get access to the printable goal tracker as well as other goal and intentional living resources:




    check to verify you want to receive the newsletter & freebies

    Enjoy! I hope this helps you be able to achieve those big goals that can be a little intimidating!

  • GOALS,  SIMPLE LIVING

    Eight Lessons from a Six Week Social Media Fast & Changes I’m Making for the Future

    One of my goals for this year was to take a one month social media fast, in December I decided January would be the month. But then the week before Christmas I thought, why not start early?

    So, my one month social media fast ended up being six weeks.

    I decided to stay off of both Instagram and Facebook for the fast.

    Instagram is where I was spending most of my time and found myself scrolling mindlessly or checking to see if people had commented on what I had posted. If we are going to toss around the word “addiction” then Instagram would have been my social media addiction.

    Facebook was different. Facebook I have not enjoyed for years and generally only checked it every few days but for a few reasons I continue to have a Facebook account, so an excuse to not check it for a month sounded great to me.

     

    Eight Lessons I Learning During a Six Week Social Media Fast and changes and rules I am making for myself for the future

     

    WHY I JOINED

    My reasons for joining Facebook and Instagram were both different. I was an early adopter to both and joined Facebook at the beginning of 2007 and Instagram at the beginning of 2011. I joined Facebook to stay in touch with a friend who lived in a different province and I joined Instagram for the pictures, both sharing them and being inspired by others. For me Facebook was all about the people I knew in person and Instagram was about following people I didn’t know.

     

    WHERE IT WENT WRONG

    Eventually both just got to be too much. I actually quit Facebook for over a year a few years ago and decided to come back for a few reasons, now that I have it again I hardly use it but one thing I love is that I don’t have a news feed, so when I do use it I don’t get sucked into that black hole.

    (Curious about the no news feed? I use a Chrome extension called News Feed Eradicator.)

    Instagram became motivation for me to pick up my camera or phone more to ensure I took pictures, I loved that. I loved the push to be more creative it gave me but eventually it became too much of a comparison game and jealousy definitely set in.

    But where they both actually went wrong was I started over thinking the posts I was sharing. Because I make my income online social media is part of that and I started becoming nearly obsessive over trying to figure out the algorithm (newsflash: it’s always changing and impossible to figure out).

    So, it was time for a break.

     

    Eight Lessons I Learning During a Six Week Social Media Fast and changes and rules I am making for myself for the future

     

    LESSONS LEARNED

    My break actually surprised me. I thought I would miss social media way more than I did. I didn’t really miss it at all and when February 1st rolled around I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to log back in (though, I did).

    Here are a few things I learned over my six week break:

     

    #1 I DON’T NEED TO SHARE EVERYTHING WITH EVERYONE

    There were a few times where I took a cool picture or saw a funny joke and then I wished for a brief moment that I was on social media but instead I just decided to send these types of things to friends or family directly and that was actually a lot more rewarding.

     

    #2 IT GAVE ME MORE TIME FOR READING

    It’s amazing how much the social media time can really add up. This gave me more time to do other things I enjoy, like reading! One of my goals for this year was actually to read less, but when I made that goal I didn’t factor in that I would be having extra time and so far I didn’t read any less in January.

     

    #3 THERE ARE OTHER THINGS I ENJOY

    The break also gave me time to explore other things that I enjoy, and while it is another form of social media in a way, during this time I realized how much I like YouTube. I came across some great content creators and I realized what made YouTube different than Facebook and Instagram (in a broad sense) is how much time and effort people put into creating videos and opposed to just sharing photos or articles on IG and FB.

     

    Eight Lessons I Learning During a Six Week Social Media Fast and changes and rules I am making for myself for the future

     

    #4 I WROTE MORE

    I also took this extra time to write a lot more, one of my favorite things to do!

     

    #5 I DOCUMENTED MY DAYS DIFFERENTLY

    I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures and I still did take a number throughout the six weeks but I also started documenting more with video, totally inspired by the 1 Second Everyday app, and I managed to take a short video each day in January! I am continuing to document daily moments using video though I’m not sure if I will continue using the app for the rest of the year. It’s a cool idea but I want to make each video a big longer.

     

    #6 MY TRAFFIC DIDN’T GO DOWN

    One of the reasons I’ve convinced myself that I am on social media is to promote my websites but to be honest, my traffic didn’t actually go down as a result of not being present on social media. Both this blog and my homeschool one automatically post to Facebook when a new post is up so that didn’t change and Instagram doesn’t bring in much traffic anyway so that also didn’t change.

     

    #7 I MADE MORE CONNECTIONS

    Here’s a really big difference: I made a lot more connections in the last six weeks, both online and offline.

    I used some of my extra time online to write regular email newsletters and I really enjoyed that.

    In my personal life I enjoyed not worrying about if I missed a post a friend had shared, I could just tell them I’m not on social media at the moment and I could hear about their news in person instead of feeling bad something didn’t show up in my feed.

     

    #8 I FELT LESS JEALOUS

    A big part of this has to do with the time of year. January (well, winter), is a big struggle for me living in such a cold place. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing and seeing other people’s photos of warmer climates or trips during this season can make things a lot worse. Not being on social media helped to reduce the feelings of jealousy.

     

    Eight Lessons I Learning During a Six Week Social Media Fast and changes and rules I am making for myself for the future

     

    HOW I PLAN ON CHANGING THINGS GOING FORWARD

    For the moment I am not going to completely jump the social media ship but I do want to change things up a bit:

     

    #1 I’m not installing the Facebook app

    I actually haven’t had the Facebook app on my phone for a few years, so this is just going to continue.

     

    #2 I’m going to continue to use the Facebook Feed Eradicator

    This is another one that is not a real change, just a continuation.

     

    #3 I only plan on checking Facebook every few days

    Once again, not huge changes but something I hope to continue.

     

    I started with Facebook, so these are easy ones for me since I don’t really enjoy the site, let’s get onto the harder ones . . .

     

    Eight Lessons I Learning During a Six Week Social Media Fast and changes and rules I am making for myself for the future

     

    #4 I’m only going to post to Instagram when I feel like I have something I want to share

    Part of my problem was that I felt a certain (self-imposed) pressure to post every day or nearly every day and then only at certain times of the day (it seemed like when I posted in the evenings more people saw my stuff). No more of that. Now I am going to post when I feel like I have a picture or words I want to share, no matter what time of day. And if I don’t have anything to share I won’t.

     

    #5 I won’t obsessively check to see if people liked or commented on my photos

    This may be the biggest adjustment, and it goes along with this next change:

     

    #6 I can only be in Instagram for 10 minutes a day

    I have an app on my phone that tells me how much time I’m on each app. I can set it so my phone will block me out after 10 minutes and I’ve already got that set up.

     

    #7 I need to comment on every fifth photo (or less)

    I don’t want to mindless scroll so I will need to comment on every fifth photo (or less), it will help me engage and be involved in the Instagram community and show people that I care about their photos and lives more than just giving it a double tap.

     

    Have you ever done a social media fast? What did you enjoy about it? Did you make any changes? I would love for you to leave me a comment below and let me know!

     

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    P.S. I got these lovely photos from this post to use for free from Unsplash, it’s really making me want to get out of this complete winter wonderland and take some beautiful photos.

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