I love running. I have specialized in running half-marathons and marathons, and crossing the finish line is always a very rewarding experience. After finishing 18 full-length marathons so far, there are surprisingly many similarities between blogging and running.
In this post, I share those similarities, the action steps you can take to save time (in blogging), and how to motivate yourself to keep on going with your blog – even if at times you feel like quitting.
1. You need to know your ‘why’
Before you start training for a marathon, you should know your why – why do you want to do it, and what’s in it for you?
For instance, in my case I wanted to experience what it is like to cross the finish line after running 26.2 miles and I also wanted to challenge myself to accomplish that goal.
It is the same with blogging. You should know what the core reason behind doing it is and why you have a blog. Otherwise, it may become very difficult to take action and do whatever it takes to grow a successful blog.
Action step: Know well in advance what you want out of blogging and why you want to do it. Spend some time with yourself and try to come up with a simple answer, then write it down on paper. Then, stick that paper in a place where you can see it when you work.
That piece of paper acts as a reminder that helps you stay motivated – even during the times when you don’t feel like it.
2. Nobody cares how you cross the finish line and what your finish time is (except maybe you)
Style is unessential when it comes to running. This applies to crossing the finish line as well – nobody cares how you do it, as long as you do.
Even if you think that your finishing time wasn’t what you expected, this doesn’t matter where other people are concerned. You are celebrated as a hero since you still belong to that rare group of people who have finished a full-length marathon.
It’s the same thing with blogging. If you have set a goal (say, earning $5000 per month through your blog) and you eventually reach that goal, that’s what matters the most. Sure, people might ask how you did it and why it took you so long, but the most important thing is that you made it.
If it took you 5 years to achieve that kind of income, of course you may be a bit disappointed that it took so long for you to achieve this goal. On the other hand, who really cares? You are now somebody others look up to, since they want to reach the same goal as you.
Action step: Get rid of perfection once and for all. If you work persistently enough, you’ll reach your goal someday. However, if you try to make everything perfect, you’ll make things much more challenging for yourself.
Define your finishing point, and once the task is done, move on. For instance, you could create a checklist related to a task. Once all the items are checked out, you are ready to do something else. You can always improve things later on.
3. At times you feel like quitting
Have I ever wanted to quit running when I have been racing in a marathon? Yes! Have I ever wanted to quit blogging? Indeed!
What has kept me going is my motivation and a desire to reach a goal. It’s also the desire to finish what I have started.
It seems that in running a marathon, the willingness to quit is at its highest just before reaching the finish line. In blogging, the willingness to quit happens as soon as you are not getting any tangible results (no new visitors, no new e-mail subscribers …).
Action step: To fix your dangerous thoughts of quitting – once again – remember your why: Why are you doing it in the first place? If you know your why, you should also remember that both in running marathons and having a successful blog, there will be good and bad moments.
However, to deal with the bad ones, you should just remember that those are really part of the journey. They can be considered as a test – how much you really want to reach your goal. If you still manage to keep on going no matter what, you have passed that test for now and you are a little stronger to beat the next challenge.
Running marathons is an endurance sport and it takes guts and persistence to reach the finish line. It is the same with blogging: it’s a type marathon and it will ask for your persistence. If you hang on long enough, you will cross that “blogging finish line”.
4. You want to hire some help
You can cross the finish line in running by yourself and you can also reach your blogging goals this way too. However, if you really want to speed things up and make more considerable progress, I’d suggest you hire some help.
If you are serious about running, at some point you’ll want to ask for some advice from others. You could hire a coach and that person will tell you the right things to focus on.
It is the same with blogging: hiring a coach will improve your blogging considerably and you’ll be able to reach your goals much faster than doing things by yourself.
Action step: Whether you hire a running coach or a blogging coach, you have to remember two things.
First, they both cost money. Yes, there are people who can’t afford to hire a coach, and that’s totally understandable.
Second, you still have to do the work yourself. Even if you decide to hire a coach, you are the one who has to do the work – not your advisor.
If you are not willing to do the work, then you should consider doing something else. On the other hand, if you are committed to doing the work, then hiring a coach is the right option.
Hiring a person to help you out is a long term strategy, and it will pay off if you are doing your part. Just keep that in your mind all the time and everything will work out fine.
If you are interested in coaching, check out this interview I did some time ago. It talks about coaching and whether you should do it or not.
5. You need to prioritize your actions
People are always complaining that there isn’t time to do this and that. I’m willing to say that is mostly an excuse and the priorities are not set straight in that case. If you have a passion that you care about a lot, you will always find time for it – no matter what.
For instance, I’m able to blog and train for marathons – even though I have family and I work from 9-5. See, it’s all about prioritizing those things. When I prioritize, my most important actions related to my passions are done – on a daily basis.
Action step: If you have a day job and family, then the available time for anything else is limited. However, the way I have solved that issue is to wake up earlier, so that I have time to do the things I like.
In fact, I wake early enough so that I have time to do work related to my blog and also exercise before going to work.
Sure, you might have to wake up much earlier than what you are used to. Then again, you have to question yourself about priorities and maybe then you can decide whether waking up late is a good idea or not.
If you decide to start waking up earlier, you can do it two ways: 1) Do it at once 2) Do it gradually.
In my case I used option number one, but more likely option number two is much easier for the majority of people.
In both strategies, you choose your target wake-up time. Then, in option one, you just start waking up on the target time starting from the next morning.
On the other hand, in option two, you wake up earlier and earlier every week. For instance, you could decide to wake up 15 minutes earlier and the next week yet another 15 minutes earlier.
Eventually you’ll have reached your wake-up goal and realize that you now have time to do the stuff you like – like blogging or running (if you are into it).
You need persistence when it comes to blogging (and running marathons too). However, once you define your why and you strongly believe in your goal, you will make it.
It may take longer than you expected, but still… you will make it if you stick at it long enough!