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Starting and Maintaining a Daily Practice

When I first attempted daily challenges, I've often come to the same conclusion at the end of it. That is: I sucked at long-term daily-somethings.

Oh, I could do short-term ones like NaNoWriMo (Rebel) and A Week In The Life. But, something I have to do everyday for a full year or more? Well, let's just say I could never come out a winner no matter how hard I tried. And, I've tried plenty! For years.

But then, lately, I have realised that it doesn't seem fair to say that I suck at daily habits altogether. After all, there are many things I can completely ace every day. Granted, some of them, I have developed since I was a kid (yay for daily hygiene practice!). But, there are definitely daily habits that I had to train myself to do a bit later in life (skin care regime didn't kick in until the fear of wrinkles and sun spots came in my 30s).

Then, when I started making personal challenges where I get to make the rules that suit me rather than a bigger audience, I realised I can actually learn to develop daily habits that work for me. Hooray for that!

Starting and Maintaining a Daily Practice

So, if you're trying to work in a daily habit for yourself, here are some tips and ideas that might be worth considering -

1. Use the power of community to develop a habit.

For many people, joining community challenges to develop daily habits can be quite motivating and helpful. That's why things like Project 365, 52 weeks, Documented Life, and more are very popular. The ability to work together towards a common goal can be really inspiring.

While a number of these community projects I shared here are art/craft and/or writing/blogging related, I'm sure there are others in various areas and topics of interest.

2. Create your own challenges.

Play the game that you know you can win. - P Bregman Click To Tweet

If you're like me and you can't do long-term daily challenges, then make up your own. One of my favourite personal development books is 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done* by Peter Bregman. In the book, Peter wrote**:

"What game are you playing? Is it the right game for your particular skills and talents? Is it a perfect set-up for you or your company to win? If not, then perhaps it’s time to play a different game or invent one of your own; one that you can win." 

I really loved that! It gave me the freedom I needed to develop my own daily habits. Since then, I have learnt to play by my own rules when it comes daily challenges and I am all the better for it. Of course, it's not as much fun playing on my own but hey, at least I am winning.

3. Give yourself firm but flexible guidelines.

When I officially gave myself a daily art challenge this year in 2016, I knew that the only way I'd survive is if I gave myself parameters. You see, the thing about completely free challenges is that the brain can go on overload and shift to overwhelm when faced with no restrictions. So, I learnt that it's always a good idea to give yourself guidelines to increase chances of productivity.

The guidelines, however, should be flexible enough for you without feeling like you're cheating yourself from that daily habit challenge. For example, if you set yourself daily art challenges, you might want to make rules such as: As long as you do any kind of art, no matter how little, it is counted towards your daily practice.

4. Find an accountability coach or partner.

When you find that self-coaching or personal motivation doesn't come easily, engaging an accountability coach or partner could help immensely. An accountability coach can ask the right questions, guide you towards your goals, and cheer you on.

In my work at Vervely, I have served as consultant, trainer, and coach to different individuals - from fellow social media practitioners to C-Suite Level folks dipping their toes into the world of digital media. But, I have often offered training and coaching as part of my work rather than a separate service.

Recently, however, I have started to look into providing accountability coaching services on a limited basis via the Coach.Me platform. And, I am really enjoying working with my current coachees, as we work through goals that we turn into actionable tasks and daily habits. If you think I can help you as an accountability coach, please let me know. At the moment, there's a free three-day trial at Coach.Me. You can use any coach you want with that free trial.

For ShaiCoggins.com readers, I am happy to offer a one week free trial using the code SHAICOGGINSWEEK with me as your coach. I am only taking on a limited number of coachees, however, so as soon as my quota as filled, I will not be accepting new clients until new spots become available. So, by the time you read this, I'm not sure if there will be a spot available or not. To find out my availability, you can subscribe to The S Squad mailing list.

5. Remember that commitment and consistency are key to develop good daily habits.

As my coaching clients would've heard from me, I support the notion that in order to develop any new habit, we must be committed to it and we must be consistent. That's why it's best to articulate our goals as clearly and as specifically as possible. We need to create realistic schedules - choosing peak time and allocating a certain number of minutes of hours for the task or habit we wish to tackle. And yes, it's always best to start small - better to commit to 10-15 minutes of writing/blogging a day than to be overwhelmed and stuck with lofty plans of writing for hours in a day. If you've had a tough time finding that block of writing time before, setting yourself a huge goal at the start would only overwhelm you and possibly, get you stuck.

That's why as part of the reboot of this blog, I told myself that I would attempt to publish at least 1 new blog post a week, around Wednesday or Thursday. Granted, I'm still finding this challenging, but having a specific deadline spurs me into action. At the very least, I work on my blog drafts and plan on publishing something as soon as possible.

Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with courageous patience. - H Rickover

Good ideas... must be driven into practice with courageous patience. -H Rickover Click To Tweet

6. Build in a reward system for your daily habits check-ins.

One of the things I learnt about myself is that I can trick (or train?!) my brain to work on my daily habits by creating an ongoing list of things I want to do regularly. And, the more I can keep a streak going, the more likely I am to continue. That's why I enjoy using check-in apps. On Windows Phone, I use the Daily Tasks app. I believe there are iOS and Android equivalents. In fact, Coach.Me has an iOS/Android app that you can use and they have a built-in function for setting goals and checking into those goals. A friend of mine also suggested habitica.com.

Apart from the virtual high-fives and/or badges you might get from using such apps, you might also want to create a personalised plan for your achievements. For example, if you get to your first week of daily tasks, you can treat yourself to something you've been wanting to have (e.g., mine includes personal bribes like a trip to the art shop, spending money for books or workshops, or even just a night off cooking, so takeaway dinners it would be for the family). You might want to reward yourself weekly to start with, then increase to bigger monthly rewards.

7. Make your goals and actionable tasks as small and limited as possible to start with.

As I mentioned earlier regarding commitment and consistency, remember that at the beginning of your goal setting, make sure you limit the tasks you want to do on a daily basis.

There was a time when I wanted to do a daily sketch, a daily painting, and a daily art learning all at the same time. Needless to say, it all became a bit too much and I burnt out.

So, it's best to keep the number of daily habits you're trying to develop at a minimum. It's up to you what your minimum would be. Based on experience and research, 3 to 5 would be ideal. Or even start with just one. Once you have one habit down pat (no need to overthink or struggle anymore when practicing it), you can then add a new habit if you wish.

In my Daily Habits List, I have limited myself to five daily tasks dealing with the following areas: art, writing, exercise, spiritual practice and conscious reading (as opposed to day-to-day reading I do for work or personal enjoyment, reading news, blogs, etc). But, I only managed to keep two tasks going for the first few weeks. When I realised I can maintain those two things with little thought, I added another task. Then, later, I added two more. I'm always tempted to add more but I believe five should be the limit or else things can get pretty stressful. Once those habits are fully ingrained and I believe I don't need to 'check-in' to keep going, I can move one of those tasks out of my list to make way for a new one.

What about you? Do you engage in a daily habit practice? Do you have additional tips to keep you accountable?

If you don't have one, would you like to start one? What habit/s would you like to develop?

 

  1. *affiliate link
  2. **Also mentioned in Peter Bregman's blog post: Play The Game You Know You Can Win

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Transforming a Blog

Most of the time, people concentrate on just a few things when considering a blog transformation. Usually, the changes are focussed on the name and/or the blog's theme or look.

At least, that's what I mostly did through ShaiCoggins.com's several transformations before. No matter how much I wanted to do more, I end up mostly just changing the name/title, the theme and categories. Everything else just fell into the 'too hard basket'.

Transforming-Blog

When I first started the process of transforming ShaiCoggins.com this year, however, I wanted it to be more than just a basic change. I didn't want it to be just a name change or a blog design refresh. I knew that if I was going to continue with this blog, I wanted it to reflect my changing priorities, my various personal interests, and how my Word of The Year ("Value") reflects these priorities and interests properly.

So, these are questions I have been going through as this blog undergoes transformation -

1. What is this blog really all about? I've always just blogged any way I wished to blog. I covered various interests from food and fashion to art, books, and digital media. I'm okay with all of it during the time I was doing it all, but as the years have gone by, I became less interested in doing it all. Well, okay, that's not quite right. I'm still interested in most of them, but I'm just not keen to write about and/or share photos of these things in the same way.

I'm still trying to figure out this big question, and I've often felt stuck because of that. So, I've decided that the way to handle this is to ask it more along the lines of: What is this blog really about *right now*?

Right now, I want this blog to be a place where I am able to provide value to everyone who comes here. And, I believe I'm able to do that by being authentic and by sharing my knowledge, skills and processes as best as I can.

2. How do I want to share my message? Again, this is another ongoing question for me. This pertains to length and style, frequency, content focus, and other similar topics.

Right now, I seem to be most comfortable by sharing my thought processes and solutions as they come. I've been trying to make my blog posts shorter so that I can post more often. But, the posts I seem happiest to publish are the ones that are a bit longer (around 750 - 1500 words). And yes, often accompanied by a graphic/photo and/or a quote. All these may still change as I work out all these things, but for now, this is where I'm at.

3. Why do I want to keep on blogging here? Perhaps, this is one of the most important questions to answer. Finding out our 'whys' often enable us to come up with a clearer understanding of our purpose. With such clarity, we are able to develop a better strategy.

For me, I know I'd always want a place online where I can connect with friends, family, and other contacts worldwide. That was one of the reasons I wanted to be on the internet in the first place. But, with social media platforms enabling me to do that with a lot more ease, I knew I had to change the way I use this blog - or stop blogging here altogether.

So now, the main reason I wish to continue blogging here is to find ways to offer my services and skills. To answer questions. To provide solutions. To offer ideas and inspiration. To share things that I am excited about and find useful. And yes, to keep connecting with like-minded individuals who wish to develop personally, professionally, and creatively.

Quote about art and transformation.

"Art has the power to transform, to illuminate, to educate, inspire, and motivate." - Harvey Fierstein

Although it's tough to answer these three questions definitively, I know I am able to move forward when I had at least some answers to them. With such answers, I am able to work on this checklist a little better:

  • Get/Design a new logo/header that reflect current branding.
  • Change blog design/theme to reflect the purpose of the blog.
  • Work on content and editorial calendar.
  • Develop resource library/offers.
  • Create appropriate graphics/templates.
  • Rework categories/tags and re-organise old content.
  • Build/rebuild/strengthen this blog's community/tribe/squad. 🙂

Again, I anticipate that this list will evolve (and possibly grow!) over time. For now, I am working on each one of them bit by bit. In fact, if you're a subscriber to our once-dormant mailing list (and/or you're following me on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Flickr), you might know that there is now a new logo (which may or may not stay), a new blog design, and a new Library of resources.

The S Squad Exclusive Content Library is currently available to mailing list subscribers only. However, I also plan on adding some resources that would be available to the public. Currently, there are only a couple of resources in the private library, but I am working on growing that too. So, if you'd like to be notified when you resources are available, do subscribe to our free mailing list.

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How To Be Perfect… Enough

Over the last month, I have written over twelve blog posts. Out of the 12+ blog posts I've written, I have only published two. So, I have ten left in my OneNote drafts notebook.

Ten blog post drafts remain unpublished even though I haven't updated this blog in almost a month. I could've been publishing at least once a week (my current goal). Instead, I got stuck with just writing and not publishing. Why?

It's that other block I didn't name last time: Perfectionism.

How To Be Perfect... Enough

Even though I am an overthinker/overanalyser, I don't generally think of myself as a perfectionist. But, there are certainly situations where I get affected by that need to get things not only done right, but also done really well.

That's why when it comes to blogging or social media in general, I can't help but want to make sure that I have the right words and the right images to use. If I don't think it would be good enough, I don't want to publish or share.

This is part of the ongoing story of my blogging life. One of the many reasons I don't update as often as I'd like to. It's never because I have nothing to say. I'm just always second guessing if I am able to say it all in the best possible way.

But, as the inspiring and insightful autor/researcher Brene Brown points out: "Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be our best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth; it's a shield."

We sometimes use the excuse of 'perfectionism' as a way not to start something. Or, as an excuse not to finish or share something. But, doing our best doesn't mean making it 'perfect'.

The fallacy of perfection

Early this year, I started my Daily Art practice commitment and shared it online. Even though I've made a personal commitment to making art daily before, I didn't make that practice public. That's why I never felt the need to share something daily. I just did my work and shared what I felt was 'good enough' to share.

This year, since I've made this commitment public, I noticed a shift in my approach. Not only do I create art daily no matter what (in one form or another), I have also learnt that even when I feel like my daily piece isn't as good as I'd like it to be, or even when it's nowhere near finished (in fact, some are still a complete mess), I share it anyway. And, strangely enough, pieces that I didn't think was all that great end up still connecting with some people.

Key takeaway: We can't always be the best judge of our work. So, why do we have to create these ideas of perfection?

Many of the pieces I've shared wouldn't have made the cut once upon a time. In fact, at least 50% of what I've shared in my Daily Art practice, I probably wouldn't have shared had I not made this commitment. Yet, several of those pieces that I never would've shared end up getting a lot of great feedback. Not that feedback is everything. Far from it. But, feedback is a helpful indicator of how we wish to progress with our work. So, sometimes, putting something out there helps us to evaluate our own work.

This process of creating, sharing, and evaluating is teaching me how to look at my work in a different way. And, as a result, I started learning to trust my instincts better. With that, I've seen my work improve over the last 100+ days. And, as a result, I have at least three completed pieces that I'll be exhibiting by the end of this month (three pieces in one show is almost unheard of in my book!). And, I'm finally developing a body of work that I never could accomplish in the past when I kept judging my work's level of perfection.

So, my 'imperfect' work actually isn't so imperfect after all.

Perfect vs Done

"Perfect is the enemy of done."

I once read this somewhere. Not quite sure where now. But, the sentiment stuck with me because it's true.

If I didn't just continue creating and sharing my art, no matter what, I'm not sure I would've developed some of the skills that I now have over the last few months. I certainly wouldn't have the amount of work I have completed.

That's why I'm not really moving forward as best as I can on this blog. I'm still applying that "I need it to be perfect before I share" approach here that I used to apply to my art.

And yet, every time we try to achieve the ever elusive sense of perfection, we get stuck. Why? Because trying to achieve perfection is like trying to catch a unicorn. It seems so attractive to find, but it's futile. When did anyone ever catch a unicorn or achieve perfection?

Maybe that's why we should make it a habit to add the word "enough" with such aspirations (writing, art-making, blogging). This way, we can find and do things that are perfect enough. Achieve things that are good enough. Like this blog post.

Yes, I feel that this post is still a long way off perfect. Even though I've already written and rewritten this several times - spending more than a few hours putting this together for well over a week now. Part of me thinks I can still keep rewriting and editing. But, if I did, I will continue NOT having anything to post.

So yes… This blog post isn't perfect. But, it's perfect enough. For now. And, I'd like to keep working on doing just that.

If you're looking for more ideas on overcoming perfectionism, the Positivity Blog has some tips for you.

#Journaling and #writing more by hand has revived my love for #calligraphy / #handlettering. So, I started learning and practicing again. And, I got myself new nibs and pen nib holders. I have a lot of practice ahead of me before I get to where I want to

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Overcoming Blogging and Other Creative Blocks

When I wrote the post about outgrowing our blogs, I didn't expect to hear from so many of you who are in a similar boat. Some are already in the process of refocusing, some already decided to quit, and others still feeling stuck on what to do next.

Most of you are long-time bloggers who love the medium, but have been 'blocked' by a number of things - from personal situations to professional commitments and everything else in-between.

Each one of you, I am grateful to hear from. I appreciate hearing your stories and learning where you're coming from. And, I take comfort in knowing that I'm sharing this blogging shift journey with some of you.

Thinking through it all though did make me wonder what is it about blogging for a long time that gets to us eventually? Why do we experience blocks and burnout, no matter how much we love blogging and its community?

Overcoming Bloggingand Other Creative Blocks

As I try to explain and explore my own difficulties with blogging, I've come up with this list of blogging blocks, with some ideas on how to deal with them. Some of these blocks, you might identify with. Others may not be applicable. I'd be keen to know if you have anything else you can add to the list.

As I was writing this, I realised that this list doesn't just apply to bloggers, but to anyone feeling blocked creatively. That's why I re-adjusted it as such. So, if you're a painter, photographer, writer, teacher, designer, or any other type of creative - this list might be helpful to identify and overcome your own blocks too. You can replace the word 'blogging' with whatever endeavour that you wish to put there instead.

Inspiration doesn't always come, but we can always go look for it. Click To Tweet

Waiting on inspiration.

Thomas Edison is quoted to have said: "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration."  I'm pretty sure genius is not that straightforward, but I get the gist of what he's saying. And, for the most part, I agree. Accomplishing great things require hard work - it's what makes that initial spark get all fired up.

I don't know about you, but, even though I know that hard work IS the essential element in any pursuit, I NEED that initial spark to get going. And, often, I just get stuck on that. If I'm not inspired, the work becomes long, sloppy, and miserable.

Inspired Idea: Inspiration doesn't always come, but we can always go look for it. That's the part we need to remember and put on the To Do list. That's why it's good to have a list of things that inspire you or create situations that help you to get inspired. It can be anything from listening to music and podcasts to reading books and taking classes. Figure out what works best for you and allow yourself to be constantly aware of it, so you can take action on days when you're running low on inspiration.

Blogging or creating the same way.

There's something to be said about knowing what we're doing and working with what we're comfortable with. Most of the time, we need that sense of familiarity and routine. Automaticity, for the most part, is a blessing.

But sometimes, doing the same thing can be a hindrance when we're trying to accomplish some things.

Inspired Idea: Just do ONE thing different today. One little thing that will help to break the cycle of sameness. For bloggers, it could be trying out a new blog post format (i.e., a listicle, a video, a photo essay, etc). For artists, it can be using a different medium or just a new colour. Try learning one new simple skill or buy a new product and use that in whatever you wish to do.

Trying to 'blog/create to the rules' too much.

When you're a conscientious blogger/creator, chances are, you are in the habit of constantly trying to improve yourself. You read books, watch videos, attend classes/workshops/conferences, listen to podcasts, and do whatever you can to 'learn from the masters'.

I know I have been trying to absorb as much as I can learn from various sources. I have even started developing some guidelines, and training others to follow such guidelines. Knowing the Dos and Don'ts can definitely help, especially when you're trying to come up with a professional approach. However, it can also be troublesome and limiting when it comes to growth and play.

Inspired Idea: Know the rules if you must, but learn to set it aside when creating. Approach the blogging/creative process in stages - the ideas stage, the play/exploration stage, and then the polishing up stage. Enjoy the first two stages, and then apply the guidelines only when you get to the last stage.

Over-thinking and over-complicating ideas.

No doubt about it. I'm a chronic over-thinker. I believe I've written about it a couple of times here on ShaiCoggins.com. Often, I would think of at least half a dozen blogging or creative ideas while I'm simply getting ready for the day. But, by the time I set down at my desk to get to work, I tend to dismiss all those ideas and start ignoring them. And, the more I dismiss and ignore, the less I feel like coming up with more. And, even when I DO end up starting to blog or to create, I often try to over-analyse and focus too much on the product rather than enjoy the process.

Inspired Idea: Since this is a major issue for me that I'm still working on, I'd like to refer you to Psychology Today for some ideas on how to stop us from overthinking. I have a process that I work through this issue, and I hope to be able to share that one day.

Worrying about the results.

We want comments. We want shares and visits. We want sales. And accolades. That's okay. There's nothing wrong with wanting all of these, and more.

But, sometimes, getting affected by how our work is perceived by others and making assumptions on their value based on external validation (i.e., "The blog post must be rubbish. It hardly received any comments or likes.") can definitely block us.

Inspired Idea: It's easy to say "Just stop worrying. It's fine!" But, in reality, once you're in that worry-zone, no amount of "Don't worry." sentiments will get you out of it. Huffington Post offers these scientifically-backed suggestions on how to stop worrying. My favourite practices mentioned in this list include: Writing about what worries me, practicing meditation (or prayer), and keeping my hands busy (usually, with making art or doing something else).

Allow ourselves to appreciate & celebrate other people's work, without belittling our own. Click To Tweet

Comparing with others.

Every now and then, I get this horrible visitor called "comparison". And, even though I know that it's a really, really bad idea to entertain this visitor, I let it in anyway. Sometimes, I even allow it to make itself at home.

Why would anyone allow a well-known thief of joy into one's hearts and homes? Must be a sneaky git, that comparison.

It makes us think that everyone else seems better/more attractive/more put-together/more talented, etc.  So silly, really. There's so much to learn and appreciate from each other. But, it can be easy to forget our own abilities and strengths when we're dazzled by someone else's.

Inspired Idea: Allow ourselves to appreciate and celebrate other people's work, without belittling our own. Often, I do this by offering support (liking, commenting on, cheering others) - instead of wondering why no one else is liking/commenting/cheering me on. Not always easy, but it certainly helps me to get over my own insecurities. Becoming Minimalist blog also has some tips to help us to compare less.

Letting fear get in the way.

When I first encountered the concept of "fear of success", I was sceptical. I understood the theory, but personally, I didn't think of it as a real fear. Instead, I thought it was more of an excuse or a coping mechanism. Recently, I realised that one of my biggest 'blocks' in blogging is precisely this. I didn't want to create a 'big blog' that attracted too much attention. I didn't want to do something that would make that much of a big wave.

I preferred my 'quiet success' - managing my business, raising a family, and doing all sorts of projects - without letting too many people know about every single detail (like how much money I'm earning, etc). Or, at least, not advertising it to the rooftops like I see many people do online. Even if I know doing so can increase my visibility and make people pay more attention.

Why? I was scared of what people might say. Last time I had a 'bigger', more public life, I encountered a lot of haters and trolls. I like the rush of working hard and achieving great things, but I feel I'm not built for the negativity that these things inevitably bring.

When you put yourself out there, you become a target. When you're seen as being 'high up', there will always be people who would try to bring you down. They call it 'crab mentality' in the Philippines and 'tall poppy syndrome' in Australia. Interesting that they have a name for it in the two countries I call 'home', huh?

But yes, I can see now how scary success can be. And, many of us get blocked by such fears.

There are many other fears too: The fear of being disliked or unpopular. The fear of making mistakes and being mediocre. The fear of offending or hurting people. The fear of not being 'good enough'. I felt them all and they've all held me back at one point or another.

Inspired Idea: The thing is, fear in and of itself is not a bad thing. Being completely unafraid is dangerous. It can make us stupid and arrogant. So, having a good dose of fear can actually be helpful. If we respond to it in the right way. It can help us to bring our 'A' game and release our best work. It can protect us from being too trusting. It can push us to do more than what we think we're capable of. There are many ways we can manage our fear, so it's probably worth exploring this more one day. For now, let me recommend one of the books that I found useful on this topic - "Art and Fear"*.

How about you? Have you identified what blocks you when it comes to blogging/creating? What is your biggest block and how do you overcome it?

*affiliate link

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What To Do When You’ve Outgrown Your Blog

So, it finally happened.

Having been blogging for close to 17 years, I now must admit that the way I've been blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com no longer works for me.

After writing drafts upon drafts of potential new blog posts over the last few weeks - but never getting around to publishing any of them - I had to ask myself why. What is it that I'm holding back? Why do I keep stopping myself from posting, when I've actually been trying to commit to blogging here more often? Since I keep failing that commitment, it makes me feel rotten. I hate not being able to deliver what I wish to deliver. So, surely, I should just blog whatever comes to mind, right?

Then, it struck me: The blogs posts I've been writing are not the kind that I wish to write anymore. And, perhaps, that's the reason I've been a 'blocked blogger' for some time. I just wasn't sure what to do about it.

Oh, of course, I have some ideas. And, I considered each one accordingly. So, I decided to share with you my thought process (more or less), to help guide you in your decision-making about your own blog…

Blog Title - Outgrowing Blog

Just Shut Down The Blog

In 2009, The New York Times wrote a piece about blogs slowly closing doors and leaving ghost towns online. With the rise of social media networks like Twitter and Facebook, more and more people found it easier to post social updates than write blog posts.

While the premise of the article was a bit of an exaggeration, we've definitely started seeing a big shift in the blogging world even back then. Personal blogging has been pushed to the side to make way for niche blogging. Comments started dwindling and mostly re-directed on social networks, where blog post links are shared. The rise of The Big Blogs made a lot of 'little' and newbie bloggers feel a bit inadequate and overwhelmed. Hence, many end up abandoning their fledgling space on the web.

Although I have stopped updating (and even shut down) some of my other blogs, it's tough to think about that option for ShaiCoggins.com. However, for the first time ever, I have considered it in the last few months. I started to wonder if I was better off making this blog into a portfolio website and leave it at that.

As many have learnt over the years, blogging is hard work. Even harder work if you're aiming to do the good kind of blogging that brings value to readers' lives.

Since I started off as a personal blogger, it's tough to shake that out of my system. When I tried to make this into a more professional/less personal blog, I lost readers. But, keeping it personal, I lose readers too. As a hybrid of personal/professional, I keep confusing and losing readers as well.

To be honest, it's a miracle some of you still stick around. That's why I'm so grateful for you who have stuck by me through the many iterations of this blog. You're the reason I keep going back, no matter how much I struggle. You're why I want to keep improving my blogging practices.

Yes, YOU. + My relentless wish to keep holding on to my identity as a blogger. After all, I've stuck around this long, why give up now, right?

But, if you're a fellow blogger who has come to the end of your blogging rope and you wish to know if it's time to call it quits, you can read this post from Problogger  - and see if you're really ready to move on from your blog. If you find that quitting is definitely for you, there is also a follow-up post on how to quit a blog.

Start A Different Blog

What if you want to take a different route? A route that's not quite quitting, but still moving on from the blog that you have now on to something else?

While considering my blogging retirement, my natural tendencies kicked in: Why not start a different blog if this one's no longer working? Keep ShaiCoggins.com as a website/portfolio, but work on building a new blog to reflect a new blogging direction instead.

I know one of my good blogging friends have done this recently. When I was running the 52 Weeks of Blog Community project here at ShaiCoggins.com a few years ago, Nenette was part of this wonderful group of bloggers through her blog, Life Candy. Recently, she decided to change gears and shut down Life Candy to start The Hula Chronicles. With this change, her excitement for blogging has returned. And, I'm really happy for her and wish her all the best.

That's why I also considered if it was something I could do. Maybe blogging under my own name has been a hindrance. Perhaps, if I blogged under a different name, I might feel less restricted. So, I started considering my options.

Of course, being the scanner/multipotentialite/renaissance woman/slash-dash professional that I am, the challenge of choosing a niche is always an ever-present dilemma. It's one of the many reasons ShaiCoggins.com has been my catch-all blog in the first place. What would make the new blog different? Is it just a matter of changing the names? Changing direction?

While I may be able to choose a specific niche to work on for some time (as I have been doing so over the last decade and a half), I know that eventually, I may not have as much time and energy to bring the blog up to a level that I'd like it to be.

And, that's the thing. Over the years, I've been spreading myself too thin by trying to compartmentalise my many, varied, and changing interests. Instead of spending all my time, energy and resources on building one big brand/blog, I kept on dipping in and out of my many small blogs.

Add the fact that I'm also blogging professionally for other businesses and helping to build their brands, at the end of the day, I'M ALL BLOGGED OUT. I'm even having trouble maintaining my own work-related blogs.

So, why start a new blog for me to build up from scratch? I know starting a new blog would be like starting a new relationship - fresh, exciting, and invigorating. That's why I can see the potential for growth in this approach. But, I'm not sure if it's the right move for me. At least, not right now.

If, however, you wish to do what Nenette did and start a new blog, read what Jeff Goins has to say about what it means to quit your blog and start over with a new blog. And, I wish you all the best in rejuvenating your love for blogging.

Starting Over Quote - F Scott Fitzgerald

Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist, but the ability to start over.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Shift The Focus and Direction Of The Blog

Not ready to quit your blog and no inclination to start a new one? How about trying to refocus your blog?

Admittedly, this is not a new concept for me. In fact, since I've been doing this at ShaiCoggins.com a few times now, I've lost count of which version number I'm on by now. Needless to say, it's my go-to strategy whenever I feel like I've outgrown my blog.

The fact that I've done this approach so many times also presents a huge challenge: How would a blogging shift make any difference this time? After all, whenever I work on the changes on this blog, I seem to be doing all the right things - soul searching, worksheet-filling, researching, planning…

That's why it's easy to say that it probably won't make any difference whatsoever. I mean, I've known a lot of the blogging rules from the start. I've even written some of them (and even got quoted in places like Fast Company + honoured as an influential blogger once upon a time). The rules are ever changing too, of course. But, for the most part, I've kept up. Yet, here I am, in my own messed up corner of the blogging world. Feeling stuck and unable to change gears. Again.

I've been losing my blogging mojo over and over. Yet, all I could do each time is push through it. But now I realised that I've been pushing the wrong way.

It's been a well-known advice to people that in order to fall in love with something (or someone) again, you have to remember why you fell in love in the first place. Then, find ways to relive those early days of fresh love.

While there is merit to this advice, it doesn't always apply. We change. The world changes. We have to figure out a way to love what (or who?!) we've always loved in new and exciting ways.

And, that's what I aim to do from hereon. Figuring out new and exciting ways to love blogging at ShaiCoggins.com again. As part of this shift, I'm hoping to record this process along the way.

So, while it may take some time to get into a blogging rhythm that I aspire to, I am currently working on the premise of "An Evolving Guide to Inspired Living" here at ShaiCoggins.com. I'd love it if you can join me in helping to shape this concept.

If you're a blogger who's also looking to work on a blogging shift, I'd appreciate hearing from you too. What have you done since you've felt that urge to move on from your current blog? You might also want to check out this post from Thinking Outside the Sandbox about refocusing one's blog.

Now, whether you decide to quit, start a new blog, or refresh your current one, I hope that you can make the most out of that new direction. It's never easy making changes! So, here's hoping we can continue to grow with (or without) our blog.

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