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4 Ways to Achieve a Healthy Freelance Work-Life Balance

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The freelance work-life balance is quite challenging.

You work at home.

And you play at home.

And you raise kids at home.

And eat all your meals at home.

There’s a whole lot of spending time at home involved, when you work at home.

 

While a homebody like me loves that about freelance writing, it’s difficult to make the transition from work hours to home time when you work in your home.

When you head straight from work to cooking dinner, you feel like you never left work. And when you wake up in the morning and get to work, it feels like you’re still in “home” mode.

It’s hard for your brain to make that switch when the physical switch isn’t there. In corporate, I had two separate physical home and work spaces and a half hour drive each way to transition.

So, today I want to share some of the ways I turn work life on and home life off and vice versa. That way, you can dedicate your full attention to each in a way they deserve and so work doesn’t infiltrate your time with your family.

 

4 Ways to Achieve Work-Life Balance as a Freelance Writer

  1. Plan your work schedule
  2. Create a dedicated workspace
  3. Come up with a transitional ritual
  4. Set boundaries on your work time

Plan your work schedule before you even quit your day job

In the weeks leading up to my last day at corporate, I sketched out a rough working schedule for freelance writing. I knew I had to be up by 6 to get my son off to school and my daughter doesn’t get up until 8, so I had some prime work time between 6am and 8am. Then, I work out, eat breakfast and shower from around 8-9:30 or so. Then, my sitter comes over and I work from 10 to 12:30 or so, come out and have lunch with everybody, and go back to work for another few hours. Then, I stop at 5:00 sharp.

On Wednesdays, I try to build some new scenery and social time into my life. We go into town and I drop my daughter off with my mom and sister at a little educational class she loves. I usually work from Starbucks or the library and schedule lunch dates with friends. Some Wednesdays I also teach barre class.

Fridays, I take my daughter to my father-in-law’s and work from the library for several hours. This way, I get to build a change of scenery and adult time into my workweek to counter the isolation while still maintaining a pretty tight work schedule.

This first tactic allows me to separate work and home life by putting strict “office hours” around my work time. Yes, some days I’m unable to follow it, but having the time carved out really helps. Everyone in my house knows my expectations.

 

separate work home life freelance

 

Create a dedicated workspace

Separating your physical work space from your home space is a great way to give yourself work-home boundaries. When you work in corporate, your physical spaces are automatically separate. When you work at home, you need to set intentional boundaries around work and home space.

I recommend having a separate workspace and trying not to allow your work and home spaces to overlap much. I have a dedicated workspace in my office/workout room. Everything I need is in that space. Office supplies, pens, agenda, planner, outlets, printer, etc.

Sure, I work from the dining room table and back deck sometimes, and that’s the beauty of working from home, but I still maintain that separate workspace. I still have to physically move from my workspace to my home space, which helps the transition.

If you make a regular habit of working from your bed, don’t be surprised if you start losing sleep. Your work brain will start to kick on in bed as soon as your bed goes from the place you sleep to the place you work. Your bedroom is a sacred space for love and sleep. Don’t ruin that sanctity with shiny screens and emails and rushes of cortisol.

 

freelance physical boundaries

Create a transitional ritual

If I jump up from my computer desk and immediately start making dinner, I’m still thinking about what I was just working on and not completely present in my home time. So, I like to perform a physical transitional ritual to change where I’m at in my headspace.

All I do is lie on my bed for a few minutes and breathe deeply into my belly for 10 full breaths or more. Inside my head, I actually tell myself “It’s okay to play now. It’s time to eat and play with the kids, and have a relaxing evening. It’s okay to put work behind me for the day.”

Maybe that sounds a little cheesy, but I dare you to try it. Because it works! The breathing practice plays a stress-relieving role while the self-talk helps me completely change gears, with intention. It really helps me differentiate home from work. Whenever I jump right in without this ritual, I never feel that transition.

 

work-life balance headspace

Set boundaries on your work time

For the first few weeks/months of freelance life, I had some trouble with my work boundaries. I allowed a few friends and family to call or hang around and chat during my office hours. A half hour here, an hour there, and I lost so many accumulated hours of valuable work time per week.

Once I noticed what was happening, I took measures to stop it. I stopped answering the phone during work hours. You don’t have to be rude about it either. I just texted them after the ringing stopped “hey, I’ll call when I’m finished with work” and they started to get the point.

This tactic was another necessary way to separate work from play. No, I can’t gab with friends during work hours, and no, I can’t keep working into my family time either. As a freelancer, you have that freedom to design your own schedule, but you can’t sacrifice all your work time to friends and family.

 

freelance freedom schedule

 

Aside from these strategies, I also get dressed every single day. I can count on one hand (twice) the number of times I worked all day in my pajamas. I usually even put on makeup and earrings, even if I don’t intend to leave the house. These are just psychological triggers that seem to work for me and put me in “work mode.” Sure, I wear leggings many days, but I still get dressed and showered.

 

Well, I hope this helps you get a sense of how the work-life balance works for freelance writers. I’d love to hear about yours!

 

How about you?

How do you separate work and home life if you work at home?

The Top 5 Lies That Keep You From Freelance Writing {And How to Destroy Them}

freelance writer mindset

 

 

You’ve thought about freelance writing before, but you quickly drop the notion because it seems silly or insensible. You have a ton of reasons in your mind why it wouldn’t work:

  • You don’t know anything about business.
  • You’re not even a quote-unquote “writer.”
  • You have no English degree or certifications.
  • Your job is fine, you don’t want to ruin that.
  • Etc

 

I had those too, my dear!

So did every other freelance writer at the start of their career!

 

But the more I looked into freelance writing, the more I saw that I actually could become a freelance writer, the more people I saw doing it “right,” the more times I noticed that it wasn’t actually a pipe dream, the more real the notion became in my mind!

That’s what I hope this article does for you: Change your entire mindset so you see how accessible freelance writing really is!

 

Let me see if I can hear what you’re thinking:

 

Lie #1: I don’t even know where to start!

Okay, this one isn’t so much a lie as an obstacle that’s easily solvable.

Just start!

Ready-fire-aim

That’s how you make it work.

Okay, I know some of you aren’t wired that way, but let me just say, you can start today. I have a few practical steps to help you get started.

What you need to do to start a freelance writing business:

  1. Set up a business website in 5 minutes
  2. Then, design it for free without any design skills
  3. Start creating some writing samples. Go big right away with the Huff Post
  4. Create a portfolio, on your website, Pinterest, or Contently
  5. Start marketing your freelance business, so people know it exists
  6. Start pitching! {More on this subject to come!}

Written out like that, it seems pretty simple now, doesn’t it?

Now, of course, there are many more details that go into these steps, but this big-picture strategy helps clear up the “where to start” bit for you.

You can also sign up for my free 7-day Freelance Getting Started series, which goes more into depth about starting your journey as a freelance writer, even if you’re still at your day job.

Now you can’t say you don’t know where to start anymore;)

 

Lie #2: I don’t have the credentials to be a freelance writer

*Looks around, covers her mouth, and whispers in your ear* “Guess what? You don’t need any credentials!”

Wait, what?!?

Hold the phones!

Ya, really. It’s the biggest lie we tell ourselves.

Your clients don’t really give a flying eagle whether or not you were summa cum laude of your graduating class. They probably won’t even ask a single question about your educational background.

They just want to see samples of your writing to know whether or not you can do the job.

If you have decent writing skills, you’re in the club. Welcome!

You just need some writing talent, but not special initials behind your name.

I know plenty of lucrative freelance writers that don’t even have a college degree, let alone an English one. I know IT writers that don’t have backgrounds in IT.

However, if you’re trying to be a fitness writer and you do have an English degree and a personal training certificate, market the heck out of that!

Please know that there’s no accrediting agency that’s going to tap a sword over your shoulders and assign you an official freelance writer.

You assign yourself one.

Repeat after me: “I’m a freelance writer.” Now, by my decree, you are one.

Now you can no longer use the “I don’t have the right credentials” as an excuse either;)

 

Lie #3: When I think of “freelance writer,” I think of a starving artist, not a lucrative career!

When I was in college, prematurely trying to decide on a career path, I desperately wanted to try freelance writing. At the time, that meant living paycheck to paycheck with little more than a few boring local newspaper assignments or something. That’s not the version of freelance writing I was hoping for.

So, I decided to go the traditional route and look for a lucrative career to support myself.

As an English major, you’re either supposed to be a teacher or a poet forever relegated to your parent’s basement. I wasn’t satisfied with either one.

So, I kept my eye out for a different option. And I found it!

And I want to open up a whole new world for you. There’s a world out there of successful six-figure freelance writers. A world of writers that are far from starving or living in their parent’s basements.

Freelance writing is lucrative, as long as maintain a certain level of standards.

You don’t work for low-baller Upwork clients. You work for clients with real marketing budgets.

You don’t work for $15 per hour. You work for a minimum of $50.

You don’t start at the bottom and work your way up. You start high and work your way higher.

Now you don’t have an excuse to hold onto this limiting belief!

 

Lie #4: I’m too much of a rule-follower to break the mold.

*Yawn!*

I’m sorry, was it rude of me to yawn while you were listing out the reasons why you can’t make the leap from corporate to self-employed?

Rule following is boring.

Rule following is what we’re conditioned to do.

But we don’t have to.

I’m your typical goody-two-shoes, do-gooder, straight-A girl. There is not a more straight-laced rule follower than me.

And I did it.

If I did it, there’s no reason why you can’t.

And let me tell you. Once you do? You’ll wonder why you were such a mold follower in the first place! And you’ll join me in synchronized yawning at anyone else who brings it up.

No, but to be completely serious…

Why not you? Why not now?

It’s really amazing on the other side when you get to make the rules for once.

You get to be a more authentic version of yourself than the appearance you keep up for your coworkers.

You get to work on meaningful projects.

You get to walk around in leggings and grab coffee from your own kitchen. Take a nap on your lunch break if you need one. Work from your back porch or the library.

This is so cliche, but cliche for a reason (because it’s so stinkin’ true): When you get to the end of your life, you’re more likely to regret NOT breaking the rules than breaking them.

And I’m not talking about breaking the law. I’m talking about breaking the “work 9-to-5 until you retire or die” rule.

You know deep down inside of you, in a place you don’t allow yourself to rifle around, that you were made for more than this paint-by-numbers life.

Plus, to be honest, it’s not even as rule-breaking as you think it is. As traditional full-time jobs are becoming less and less favorable to the incoming generations, jobs are becoming more agile, as in more location-flexible. It’s becoming more normal to be a “freelancer” than not to anymore.

Okay, I hear this excuse fading into the background with my yawn…

 

Lie #5: I’m not good enough for high-paying clients

You see a prestigious brand you’d love to work for, but immediately think, “ah, they’ll never want me. I’m not good enough for that brand.”

Oh but my dear, you are! You are!

As long as you’re professional and you know how to write, you’re good enough for high-paying clients.

You do not need to start at the bottom, making pennies. You do not need to shy away from the big-names.

In fact, I encourage you to start at the top! And work your way up!

My very first pitch went to a well-known business coach, and I nailed it!

My second went to a well-known fitness personality, and there was adamant interest!

I dare you to start higher than you think you’re capable.

I want you to turn this mindset completely around and think about three places you don’t think you’re qualified to pitch, and pitch them!

Deal?

Okay, so, now you’ve awakened to the idea that you’re good enough to pitch the top names!

 

And just like that…we’ve completely ambushed your top five concerns. Or to be perfectly blunt, the top 5 LIES you tell yourself.

 

Would you like to do more work around mindset?

I put together an in-depth mini-course all about mindset practice. It’s a much more in-depth look at mindset than this article along with a corresponding journaling guide to help you completely rewire your mindset. If you need more guidance with mindset, check it out!

 

Mindset work for freelance writers

 

Before you launch your freelance writing career, you have to cultivate the correct mindset. You need to start with your thoughts for everything else to fall into place. Otherwise you’re going to continue ending up where you started.

 

Cheers to you!

What other pesky thoughts roll through your mind that stop you from launching your freelance career?

Small Changes for Healthy Living

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I just participated in an informational post about small changes for health and metabolism with Elysium Health. They put together this fabulous infographic with our contributions.

When I think about simplifying the terms of healthy living like this, I’m reminded of Michael Polan’s book, Food Rules.

Those food rules?

Eat food.

Not too much.

Mostly plants.

 

Those rules cover everything, very simply. However, in those words lay entire encyclopedias’ worth of information.

 

Similarly, the reminder in this post is to:

  • Eat healthy
  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise

 

Those three simple steps can improve your metabolism beyond measure.

However, you have to do them. Regularly. And smartly.

And the rules themselves look easy, while we make such difficulty out of practicing them.

 

This infographic is a great way to put our goals into perspective as we head into a new year.

Instead of expecting ourselves to follow through with drastic changes, we should really be more realistic and make advances toward better health in small increments.

Add a few SMART parameters around them, and you should be all set.

Good luck to you!

 

What healthy changes have you planned for 2018?

50 Ways to Market Your Freelance Writing Business

marketing freelance business

 

I recently saw a quote from Gina Horkey that said “To be successful at freelancing, you should always be marketing.”

 

Yes, yes! So so true!

 

If things slow down, do some marketing.

If you’re feeling unsure about yourself and your business, do some marketing.

If you haven’t found your first client yet, do some marketing.

If you’re worried about losing a client, do some marketing.

Anything that makes you feel unsure, insecure, or slow with freelance writing, the answer is marketing.

 

But what’s the best way to market your freelance writing business?

Find where your ideal clients are hanging out and start making some connections.

 

And how do you do that?

Well, here are 50 ideas:

  1. Send a pitch to a company or brand you love
  2. Promote a niche-specific piece you wrote on LinkedIn
  3. Tweak your Twitter profile
  4. Keep business cards with you at all times
  5. Make a “Writing Tip of the Day” post in one of your Facebook groups
  6. Start a Facebook business page for your freelance business
  7. Contact 5 local web designers to see if they ever work with freelancers.
  8. Tweak your LinkedIn profile
  9. Make a helpful comment on another freelance writer’s blog
  10. Write a blog post with a pinnable poster in your niche (like this!)
  11. Link to the above post in a Blog Post thread in one of your Facebook groups
  12. Write an epic post for Medium
  13. Tweak your byline
  14. Put out a post on your personal Facebook page about your business
  15. Create a “list” on Twitter and add a bunch of business owners in your niche. Start interacting.
  16. Introduce yourself to a copywriting course creator
  17. Research directories for your niche and start pitching.
  18. Add your own business to the above directories.
  19. Create an opt-in for your niche.
  20. Purchase a Facebook ad promoting your opt-in, targeting people in your niche.
  21. Film a Facebook live about how your services benefit clients.
  22. Download the video from above and share on Youtube, adding relevant tags.
  23. Join a Google + community in your niche and start interacting.
  24. Ask a current customer for a testimonial. Add it to your website.
  25. Attend a local networking event.
  26. Write a press release about your own business and share on free press release services.
  27. Pitch a niche site for a guest post.
  28. Pitch to the Huffington Post.
  29. Collab with someone to create a webinar.
  30. Check HARO daily and contribute as a guest contributor.
  31. Search Pinterest for a hot topic in your niche and write a post about it.
  32. Be a guest on a podcast.
  33. Tweak your Instagram presence.
  34. Create a case study of a favorite brand and then share it with them.
  35. Find an article that ranks #1 on Google and write a better/updated post
  36. Offer a free service.
  37. Write a one-page business plan.
  38. Cross-post on an online friend’s blog.
  39. Become “known” in freelance circles.
  40. Hang out on Reddit and provide valuable posts to people in your niche.
  41. Answer a question on Quora.
  42. Make sure you’ve optimized your Quora bio.
  43. Make your email or contact info easy to find on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
  44. Promote industry content on Twitter.
  45. Host a giveaway.
  46. Offer to swap services with someone. Web copy in exchange for a site redesign.
  47. Host a 10-day challenge.
  48. Research and use relevant hashtags on Insta and Twitter.
  49. Offer to do a course for a local writing group.
  50. Make sure everyone you know knows what you do.

 

freelance business marketing ideas

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Now, you obviously can’t focus on all of these or every platform at one time, and they’re not quite as simple as they seem, but they can be broken down in a straightforward way. You can make time to do something in each of these overarching categories every day:

 

  • Pitching: actively cold pitching prospects or sending submissions.
  • Networking: making connections in both your niche and the freelance writing industries.
  • Marketing your business: spreading word about your services on your website and social media.

 

I would suggest putting all your focus on one or two platforms and rocking them like crazy, such as your website and Facebook. Then, you can re-purpose any content you put out on those platforms to your other social media outlets (Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn) to stay active.

Just make sure you do a little marketing every day to grow your business.

There’s no way your business can’t grow if you promote it every day!

Alternately, your business can’t grow if you don’t promote it. If your business is stagnant right now, it’s probably because you’re not actively getting yourself out there.

 

freelance marketing quote

 

How about you?

Which marketing method has been most effective for your freelance business?

Simple and Free Freelance Writer Website Design 101

So, after showing you how to create a website from scratch in under 5 minutes, I promised a tutorial on how to design your freelance writer website.

I’ve been busy building a new website, so I was thinking it’s the perfect time to show you how to build a freelance website from scratch.

I’ve been using the Make Theme from Theme Foundry to build my web pages. It’s simple and easy to use, which is what I like. I don’t like fuss or too many options. This WordPress page builder is also free, so there’s that. However, you can upgrade to the paid theme to get more options.

Make Theme is a great alternative to Divi. It has drag-and-drop features that allow you to build web pages without having any coding skills.

 

To install the Make Theme to your WordPress site, go to Appearance–>Themes–>Add New

 

How to use Make Theme for WordPress

 

Then, search for “Make” in the Search box to find the theme.

Make Theme by Theme Foundry install

 

Hover over the picture and click “Install” and then “Activate.”

 

Let’s play around with it so you know what it does. Go to Appearance–>Themes and click on “Customize” under the Make Theme.

 

Make Theme Site Builder

You’ll be taken to a page that looks like this:

 

Make Theme Theme Foundry WordPress

Now, all you have to do is play around in that left sidebar. You can do all kinds of things with color and design there. It’s so much easier to learn all the features by playing around and testing different things out than by me trying to walk you through all of it.

You can test any of the features out, and it will give you website preview on the rest of the page. It won’t make any permanent changes to your site unless you

 

For example, we could spend all day just playing around with color, but let’s hit the color button:

Theme Foundry Make Theme Tutorial

 

Hit Header Bar:

 

Make Theme Header Bar

 

Now, I chose a color palette for my website here on Garden Stew.

 

Forest color palette

I entered the forest green color as my header color, using the html color number for the green color:

 

Make Theme Theme Foundry Tutorial

Just like that, you can play around with the theme colors and look.

 

Now, let’s look at how to build a new page using the Make Theme page builder.

So, click Pages–>Add New

 

Make Theme Page Builder

I’m going to create a “Suggested Resources” page for demonstration. Let’s say we want to add suggested reading on forest bathing. I am going to choose Columns from the Page Builder section. I use columns for almost everything.

Wordpress Make Theme Tutorial

 

So, now 3 columns will show up on your page. You can “click to edit” to add text or images here.

 

Make Theme Tutorial

 

I’m going to add a few Amazon books using my Amazon affiliate links here, so I’ll hit the “Text” tab here and add the html code that Amazon provides and click “update column.”

 

Make Theme Foundry Tutorial

 

I did this for all three columns, so now, on the backend, they look like this:

 

Wordpress Make Theme Columns

 

As a freelance writer, you could offer resources similar to this on your blog with freelance writing courses, books, or products that you love.

 

To add pages to your website, including a home, about and blog page, go to Pages–>Add New

add blog to wordpress site

Title your new post “Blog” and it will automatically assign the permalink yoursite.com/blog. Hit the Publish button. Now you’ve just set up a blog on your website.

Add a blog to your wordpress site

 

Now go to Settings–>Reading

We’re going to make sure your blog tab shows up in your website menu.

Add blog to wordpress website

Select Blog from the Posts page dropdown menu.

Import blog to wordpress

If you want to, you can select how many blog posts show per page and whether it will show the full blog posts or just a summary with a “read more” button.

Then, save your changes.

Next, go to Appearance–>Menus

adding blog to wordpress site

 

On this page, click to check “blog” and then click “add to menu.” It will add your blog to your menu like the big arrow shows.

Add blog to website on wordpress

 

You’re all set. Your blog is now ready to go! Just hit the “Posts” button on the right sidebar to start writing posts. If you preview your site, you’ll see that “Blog” now shows up on your menu bar. You can do the same with other pages, like our Suggested Resources page or a Work With Me page.

 

Okay, so hopefully this gives you a starting point to building some basic pages and a blog for your website. I don’t pretend to be a web design expert, but I do have some years’ experience running this here site to show you just how possible it is to make a decent website with some great resources at your disposal.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask away in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer;)

Happy site building!

How to Run Your Own Freelance Business With Anxiety

how to run a freelance business with anxiety

 

First of all, it sounds counter-intuitive, but owning a freelance business can be therapeutic for someone with anxiety.

Think about it…

Much anxiety can come from…

  • Having to report to people when you don’t need “managing.”
  • Un-sureness about your job, even if you’re a good worker, because you just never know.
  • Office politics and cliques and wondering about what’s being said behind closed doors.
  • Difficult people who just aren’t satisfied with anything.
  • Commuting, which may make you lose an hour of your day every work day!
  • Time pressures of deadlines and launches.
  • Emails. Emails. Emails. Communicating with computers.
  • Leaving children behind, as they cry with arms outstretched to you (ouchy!)
  • Gray cubicles deep inside a building with overhanging artificial lights.
  • Not seeing the light of day…

IMG_2405.JPG

 

Those are MAJOR anxiety triggers! Major triggers that all went away when I decided to start my own business. Ah, the freedom of that alone! It changes a person!

People have commented about the difference they see in my face even!

Hubster even says I’m quite a different person. And noticing things like that aren’t his strong suit. But even he noticed.

Now, you know in your mind what being location-free might look like.

But it’s an entirely different life shift when you actually experience it.

 

Ok, get real woman.

Being my own boss isn’t all glitter and polka dots all the time, but it’s mostly that same feeling you get inside the polka dotted party store.

It speaks of opportunity and togetherness and celebration and pretty things.

Sometimes a kid walks in and throws party favors all over the floor like confetti.

Yeah, that happens every day around here.

And sometimes someone walks in with a glum face and needs to return hundreds of dollars of party supplies for a celebration that was called off.

Or someone passes out from breathing the helium.

But there’s still glitter and polka dots everywhere.

Ok, moving on from that analogy.

 

So, being self-employed has filled me with gratitude for the way it plays out…

  • When you wake up and you can’t wait to get started.
  • When you get to work in the comfort of your leggings next to lit candles (a fire hazard at most jobs).
  • When you take as many breaks as you need to readjust your focus.
  • When you can tend to your medicinal herb garden on your lunch break.
  • When your babysitter can give your baby access to you for boo-boo kisses through the office door.
  • When you can take a personal day anytime you need to. Oh wait, I haven’t needed to since there’s nothing to escape from! Just one day when I developed an infection, nbd.
  • When you don’t have to go anywhere! Hallelujah, no more commute! No more facing blizzards and rush hour and endless endless driving.
  • When you can set your rates and your use of time on your terms.
  • When you can spend a week with your husband in a semi and still get your work done.
  • When you can work from a picnic table at a local park with a view of the river and changing trees.
  • When you can roll backward on your medicine ball for a good stretch without looking like a moron.
  • When the coffee and tea and cheese (and wine) are just a few rooms away. No more desperate afternoon searches through the drawers to find a completely unappetizing snack. Ha, I can drink on a workday if I wanna! I don’t, but I could.
  • When you can listen to the rain and thunderstorms through the screened-in door.
  • When you can check on your dog and kitties and caterpillar collection at regular intervals.
  • When you can keep a tighter ship around your house because you’re there. Even though I don’t clean during work hours (although it IS hard to ignore the laundry), I’m still able to keep it cleaner around here, because I’m here, which makes me a much less anxious person.
  • When you don’t have to leave the house during snowstorms, or a day or two after.

IMG_3681.JPGMonarch caterpillar

IMG_3861.JPG

IMG_2397.JPGMore time with these two


IMG_2398.JPG

This guy needs supervision


IMG_3115.JPG

Seriously…

Okay, okay…you get the point.

Not trying to gloat, just show my gratitude.

 

My purpose in listing all of that — and that was just the stuff off the top of my head — was to stir up some emotions and desires inside of you. If you long for that type of life, this is for you.

If you have a desire, and you see that it’s possible, and you see that someone else is doing it, you might just realize that you can have it for yourself.

And if you’re really serious about it, you’ll actually do something about it;)

So, you can see how these pieces of glitter could make a person less anxious, right? How it could lift that heaviness and melt that nervous energy.

Once you become a freelance writer, it doesn’t mean the anxiety will automatically fall away though. You still have to have use some proactive strategies to steer your mind. Because when that one kid walks in and destroys the glitter and polka dots, you need to know where the vacuum is.

 

These are my strategies, the practices I do Every.Single.Day to tame that beastly worrier inside my head.

 

Top 10 Strategies for Tackling Anxiety as a Freelance Writer

  1. Journal every morning: I journal every morning for at least 15 minutes, no matter what. I journal about what I want my day to be about, what I’m going to do today to make progress toward my goals, what’s holding me back, etc.Now, this might seem like an easy task to disregard, especially when you’re short on time, but actually journaling gives me more time. I feel like I have more time and space to create meaningful work after journaling because it makes me more intentional with my time rather than reactive to whatever happens to me.

    I also use journaling to turn around my entire vibe. If I’m feeling low or flat, I’ve learned how to use journaling to reverse it. I get to choose how I feel! I get to proactively change my mental state. This is one of the most momentous tools I’ve found for my anxiety. That’s why it’s number one!

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    If everything abou
    t your time management and day originated from your journaling, you would be far more productive and focused than you ever imagined.

  2. Take hourly breaks: I have a Fitbit Charge 2 that’s literally changing my life right now. It vibrates at me every hour to get up out of my desk. It also has a meditation function built right in. So, if I’m feeling particularly charged up, I can breathe for a few minutes to refocus.Everyone who suffers from anxiety knows how miraculous meditation and deep breathing are…if they actually do it. Breathing in and out with that little expanding circle is somehow really effective at calming that nervous energy. Well done, Fitbit.

    Breathing and mindfulness make a huge difference for managing anxiety, so try all the tools you can.

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  3. Exercise: I exercise 6 days a week consistently. Always. No exceptions. Some days, I can feel my runs or weight lifting squeezing the anxiety right out of my body. Other days, I know my body needs yoga and I feel noticeably rejuvenated afterward.Countless studies show the affect of exercise on mood. A quick Google search will lead you to plenty of material about exercise being a great mood stabilizer.

    You can even step the benefits up a notch by taking your workout outdoors. Even more studies point to the benefits of being in nature and sunlight. Combine exercise and nature to really turn your mood around.

    Make exercise a non-negotiable part of your day.

  4. Get out into nature: Okay, I mentioned this above, but I think it deserves it’s own mention. I make it a point to get out into nature every day. In winter, when it’s more difficult to get outside in WI, I use my sun lamp every day to charge myself with light.Nature has such a profound grounding effect. So much so that it’s becoming a “thing” to go forest bathing. Earthing re-calibrates your body. The sun pushes away the blues. There’s just something about being outside that makes us feel good and it just happens to melt away frenzied energy.

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    View from my lunch break
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  5. Be selective: Only take clients that you love. Only say “yes” to events that will truly make a positive difference in your life. Overwhelm is a problem with us anxious types, and this is a great way to tame it.We anxious types also find gratification in doing what we love, which translates into all kinds of mental health benefits. Writing about health and fitness, my bread and butter, all day gives me fewer things to be anxious about.

    This could be an entire different post (or book) but there’s something to be said about doing your life’s purpose work that heals that underlying anxiety that stems from knowing you’re not doing the work you were meant to be doing.

  6. Build in social time: Working alone every day is the bomb dot com when you’re a professional introvert like me. Answering customer calls is just about the last thing on earth I’d want to be doing, and it just causes anxiety thinking about it. So the nature of my job is perfect for me and my fragile spirit.However, being with friends is also paramount and lifts the spirit in indefinable ways. I miss being with my people. So, I make sure to get into town and plan social activities regularly because there’s no one on the other side of my desk to tell about the weird thing that just happened to me.

    Although one side of me loves being a homebody, another side of me knows that making time with friends feeds that energetic part of me. Social time is healthy, and I’m all about healthy.

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  7. Write about anxiety: I’ve written a few articles for The Mighty and I’ve discovered that every time I try to put my anxiety or depression into words, I learn something about my anxiety on a little bit deeper level. Finding the lesson in the scary parts, finding the sense in the nonsense, discovering the blessings in the darkest times–writing gives you that!Even if you’re not a writer, you can pretend to write an article like 4 Ways Anxiety Makes Me a Better Mom or This ONE strategy nips my anxiety before it ever starts. This is kinda an extension of the journaling listed above. Putting your experience into words and working through your thoughts in a real tangible way like this gives you better awareness of your anxiety.

    I always hope my published words resonate with and touch other people too. I like to think that my articles might give people the reassuring sense that “someone out there gets it.”

  8. Get dressed: Taking a shower and getting dressed are part of a healthy self-care routine. A healthy self-care routine you’re sometimes too overwhelmed to perform when you’re in the midst of a panicFor that reason, I get dressed and shower every single day. Even if I don’t want to. It’s kinda one of those fake-it-till-you-make-it scenarios where you take care of yourself like you would when you’re in your best states of mind. Anxiety can cause a snowball effect in your life, right down to self-care. So showering and getting dressed are two controllable factors you have at your disposal to push back on that snowball.

    Sometimes I put earrings on even if I’m not leaving my house. I even work better when I’m dressed. It’s good for my productivity and it makes me feel human. Feeling icky is not good for mental health. Showers are.

  9. Keep a schedule: Knowing what I’m doing and when helps on those days when I need to work on autopilot because I can’t work any other way. I have a set of routine tasks I do in the mornings and a pretty predictable way of working each day/week.That way, if I come upon a day, or an entire phase, of anxiety, I can just go through the motions rather than skip life those days entirely. Make sure, when you’re feeling good, that you establish this set routine so that when you come upon an anxious phase, you can “just do it,” as Nike so famously coined.

    I also find that there’s reassurance in having predictable habits. Anxious people don’t necessarily thrive on change, so having a regular schedule helps keep our nerves on a steady keel.

  10. 3, 2, 1, blastoff strategy from Mel Robbins. I’ve pulled out this strategy when I’ve needed to, on those days when I just can’t get out of bed and my mind is screaming at me to get some ish done while my body is not cooperating.All you do is count down, like you’re a spaceship about to launch, “3-2-1 blastoff,” and you jump out of bed. It sounds stupid. Even Mel Robbins admits it’s stupid. But somehow, you just get out of bed, which is the hardest part. Once the hardest part is out of the way, you can get to living.

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So my strategies are pretty textbook. Except maybe that last one or maybe my approach to them. A therapist would suggest many of these. So would every anxiety guidebook out there. So, if you were looking for something more profound, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you don’t practice these regularly.

The trick is to actually do them. To actually practice them.

Try the silly little expanding circle breathing exercise on the Fitbit. And keep trying it for several days in a row, and you might start to experience noticeable effects.

Look, I know some of them sound rudimentary, but they’re freaking effective! The most effective. There’s a reason you hear about them all the time. Because they work.

My anxiety is at an all-time low right now. I feel amazing. It’s a combination of warm weather, autonomy, goal alignment, and personal fulfillment. Yes, I take medication to help temper some of my biological anxiety, but my lifestyle adjustments contribute immensely.

I hope something in this article strikes you and helps you. Maybe even just hearing it from someone who’s gone through it makes you feel a little better. I want to let you know that you are definitely not alone.

I’d love to connect with any other anxiety warriors out there. Tell me in the comments who you are and what you do to tame your wild anxiety;)

What It Looks Like to be a Location-Free Freelance Writer

location free freelance writer

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Being location-free has been a dream of mine ever since I heard of the concept.

And last week I got to experience that concept in full.

I mean, I have been a location-free freelance writer, in theory, since February. But I haven’t actually put it into real practice.

Sure, I can move from my office to the kitchen table to the deck to the library. (I am a true-blooded homebody).

But I haven’t actually done my work from a very “removed” location.

Until last week.

Now, before I start, let me just preface this by saying I didn’t go to Bali or the Bahamas or anywhere exotic–not that that isn’t in the plans for someday. But I did put in a full week’s worth of work while traveling.

In a semi.

So, Hubster drives a semi for a living and he’s been begging for me to come along for a week with him on the road. I was not quite as eager, but I knew it meant a lot to him, so I did it for him;)

And last week was the week we finally made it happen.

I spent a full week with Hubster, in his semi, out on the road.

And I worked the entire time.

 

Here’s what location-free work really looks like:

The scenery constantly changes

You get to see the world, the sun, the trees. Everything going past your window changes by the moment. You don’t have to see the same gray cubicle walls and pinned-up policies every day.

This definitely keeps a person’s brain stimulated.

Seeing the sun makes you more alive.

 

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You get to stop and go as needed

I had so many work stretches of earbuds-in, nose-to-the-grind where I got shiz done. But, I was also able to look up and take pictures. Look up and have a quick snack. Look up and walk around a tree-lined lot. Look up and visit a thrift store.

 

 

place a location-free freelance writer can go

 

No one’s watching your back, making sure you only take a 30-minute-on-the-dot break or using the bathroom too much (Doesn’t that just sound ludicrous and dehumanizing? For someone to monitor your bathroom breaks? But it happens in corporate every day).

 

You get to have experiences on top of work

At the same time. I mean, where else can you work and experience changing scenery at the same time? The scenery out the window changes every second. The view and atmosphere are never stagnant.

Stagnancy is the death of creativity.

And I have never been so intellectually stimulated!

 

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The actual logistics of being a location-free freelance writer:

Freelance writing is one of those professions where you only need a few things to be able to work remotely.

 

Laptop

I mean, it goes without saying, you need a portable computer.

Location-free freelance writer looks like

Personal hotspot

Hubster and I have a plan with unlimited data, so I was able to hotspot my phone wherever I needed. I only lost my connection in a few remote areas, for 15 minutes at most.

 

Desk (optional)

Below was my desk. I will be putting this puppy in the camper now. I’ve been wanting portable lap tables for the camper. This locker shelf was perfect (because I couldn’t find a lap desk). It has a rubber non-slip top that kept my computer in place. I put a blanket underneath it on my lap and voila! Portable desk.

Really, that’s all you need.

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Co-working space

Although a co-working space isn’t a necessity, it’s nice to have a few places that you can think of as dedicated work space. Those workspaces could be:

  • Passenger’s seat in a semi
  • Local library
  • Coffee shop
  • Friend’s dining room table
  • An actual rented co-working space

Know what I think they should have? (Listen up: here’s a free business idea for you enterprising types). There should be an AirBnb or couch-surfing type site for available co-working spaces. How cool would it be if homeowners, hotels, or businesses offered spare rooms or offices they weren’t using to entrepreneurs? Perhaps even for free.

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could work in a waterfront porch one day and a renovated guest house another day? I think so! It’s a great alternative to co-working spaces for people like me who don’t want to work there every day, just once in awhile.

I think it would be so cool if people with WiFi offered location-free entrepreneurs a free place to work for the day. Anyone want to adopt me for a day?

Anywho…

I am so blessed and beyond grateful to be living this life, finally! Although the trucking life isn’t for me (at all!), working location-free definitely is.

 

A few bonus highlights from our trip:

Truck stop food (and tacky mallard wallpaper and fake plants;)

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A funny dispatcher. “I got you Boo!”

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A wildflower preserve between a highway and a railroad track.

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We were definitely in Amish country:

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Where’s Batman?

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The noise wasn’t what I was expecting from a trailer named Cold Train;)

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And last, but not least, my three favorite profound quotes from our trip:

  • “Dear. We’re being passed by a bridge!” (as a truck hauling a bridge passed him on the highway)
  • “Now my face smells like Rayna’s butt.” (After washing his face with a diaper wipe)
  • “You know, taking a shower makes the world make sense.” (me, after 1 of only 3 showers during the week.)

^^^^That’s sooo us right there. Hehe;)

 

So, tell me…

Is this the type of life you’ve always wished you could have? (C’mon, not the semi part, the location-free part!)

 


If you want to work location-free as a freelance writer, like I get to, check out my Freelance Freedom From Corporate series to join me!

3 Tricks To Skyrocket Your Freelance Pitch Conversion Rate

cold freelance pitch conversion

 

Hey #flashers,

If you’ve been sending out cold pitches to freelance prospects like crazy and getting crickets…

Today, I’m going to share the three things I’ve noticed help massively convert pitches I send out to clients.

You have two choices when you send out freelance writing pitches:

  1. Send them out, cross your fingers, and wait for people to get back to you.
  2. Be proactive about making your freelance pitches convert for you.

 

You’re going with Door #2, right?

Good, let’s see what’s behind that door than, shall we?

 

By the way, if you don’t want to read all of this, you can skip to the bottom and watch the video version;)

3 Ways to Skyrocket Your Freelance Pitch Conversion Rate

#1: The Follow-Up

So, I always write down the date I contact prospects on my pitch tracker (get it free here). Then, sometime between two weeks and a month later, I make sure I follow up with each and every one of them. I just send them a quick “Hey, I was wondering if you had a chance to consider my offer” email with the original email below it to jog their memory.

If I don’t hear from them on the second try, I follow up again. I follow up at least three times before moving on. And even then, I still leave the client “open” on my pitch tracker. Unless I hear a firm “no,” which never happens, I leave them open. You just never know.

You never know when a prospect might need you down the line, and they’re going to think “Hey, I remember a freelance writer approaching me awhile ago. Let me see if I can track them down.”

Remember, no reply doesn’t mean no. It could mean the prospect is busy, they’re considering your offer, your offer went to their spam box, or a million other scenarios. Following up doesn’t mean you’re bugging them either.

Following up increases the chances of hearing back.

It puts you back on your prospects’ radars.

It shows prospects you’re not a spammer. Spammers don’t follow up.

Following up is one of the ways I get major traction from my freelance pitches. If you want to learn from a successful freelance writer, it would serve you well to follow up;)

 

#2: Be Quicker

What the heck do I mean by being quicker? You already try to whip words together at the speed of light.

What I mean by being quicker is to respond to people’s requests or inquiries immediately.

If people inquire about your freelance services, make sure you get back to them within 24 hours. They have likely reached out to multiple people and will show favoritism toward those who get back to them first.

Now, I’ve had some major learning experiences with this. Learn from my mistakes!

One lady was referred to me through a big-name freelance writer. I got back to her right away and she said “let me know a good time to chat.” Well, I let it go for a few days and by the time I got back to her, she had already found someone else. I could kick myself!

Whenever you apply for a project on sites like Problogger [LINK] or Freelance Writing Gigs [LINK], you need to send your pitch immediately. These hunters get hundreds of replies. One of the ways to stand out is to be one of the first. After a day or two, you might as well not even apply.

Be responsive to your prospects and your pitches. This strategy should be a personal rule of yours.

 

#3: Add Personality to Your Pitches

People are so sick of salesy, boring, unpersonalized, or templated pitches.

They make your prospects’ eyes glaze over. They make your prospects wonder if you’re really even a good writer if you can’t even make your pitches a little bit interesting.

You’re a writer. Your pitches are one of the best places to showcase that writing talent, for crying out loud!

Give your pitches some personality!

What I mean by that is, put some energy and passion into your pitches. One recent example I can use is a pitch in which I admitted the “fire in my belly” for the clients’ subject matter and spoke to him like a human. He was impressed with the pitch and chose me over myriads of others because of the personality I allowed to shine through.

People can hear excitement in your pitches. Let them know you resonate with their subject matter. You don’t need to be unprofessional to exude that energy either.

 

 

Well, that’s it for today’s post on getting your freelance pitches to convert!

Let me tell you, if you use even ONE of these tactics for your next batch of freelance pitches, you’re going to notice way more replies. Use all three, and you’ll notice major changes in the way your pitches convert.

At least, that’s been my experience…

 

I just posted a video about this subject on my Youtube Channel. Make sure you subscribe to my channel to make sure you catch all my videos when they go live.

Want to learn more about pitching clients and building your freelance portfolio? Check out my free 7-day series, Freelance Freedom From Corporate.

How about you?

Are you going to give these strategies a shot? If you do, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
If you already use these strategies, what are some other ways you use to land more freelance writing clients? I’ll meet you in the comments!

Read This Before Buying the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan

Is the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan worth it?

So, you’re on the fence about purchasing the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan. You just can’t see throwing $150 out there on a glorified recipe book.

That’s how I felt too.

Heck, if I wanted to, I could find all the recipes online somewhere. I could probably find a bootlegged copy somewhere, but that makes me feel dirty.

I followed Tone It Up for a good two years before finally caving. Those thoughts above are why I didn’t make the leap sooner.

But after finally caving, I realized that it wasn’t just a recipe book I purchased.

Oh wait, before we go any further, let me just preface this by saying, I’m not an affiliate of Tone It Up at all. I don’t even think they have an affiliate program, otherwise I would’ve signed up. Their word-of-mouth marketing is strong enough to not need one. This is just me speaking from my own experience of being a 5-year member myself.

 

What you’re actually buying when you buy the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan:

You’re not just buying a recipe book for $150. That’s preposterous. I wouldn’t do that either. Amazon has plenty of amazing recipe books for under $10.

No, what you’re actually buying is your ticket into the inner TIU circle.

When you sign up, you get all the member benefits and you get to play with all the other TIU girls. You don’t have to “wonder” anymore about the plan, searching Pinterest, Instagram, and Google Images for sneak peeks of the pages. Haha, I see you;) (I did it too.)

Along with the recipe book, you also get a nutrition guidebook. It teaches you some nutrient timing basics and reasoning behind the plan. It gives you the plan breakdown and walks you through the benefits of eating lean, clean, and green. It also makes eating this way really fun…and hot! It’s not a crazy serious “diet” like some of the other plans out there. It’s a way to have fun with good nutritious food and hang out with your girlfriends in the process.

The plan also includes the infamous 7-day slimdown, Tone It Up’s proprietary slimdown-for-an-event plan that you’ll hear everyone in the community talking about.

Speaking of which…The level of FOMO that you feel in the community is enough to sign up alone, amiright? You see all the posts on Instagram of what everyone is eating, you feel the excitement when new plans come out, and you see everyone sharing their printed book pictures and you feel left out. There’ll be no more FOMO when you finally get it!

And it really works! You can see the evidence in all the transformation pictures out there. You see my own story! I have a seriously difficult time losing weight, and even I have been able to lose the weight when I follow the plan.

Another benefit of signing up is the member emails and exclusive discounts. Members get their hands on everything first. And they get their hands on some things that others don’t. There are some great members-only sales and discounts on TIU retreats, merchandise, apparel, and Perfect Fit.

 

 

You might say I have a (healthy) addiction. #toneitup #tiuteam #tiuplan #bbg #thekaylamovement #michellebridges #12wbt

A post shared by Jessica Collins (@jess_flashfit) on


Members also get access to all past and future editions of the plan and all the series meal plans. Every time Karena and Katrina launch a series, like the Bikini Series, a new meal plan comes out with additional recipes, along with weekly meal plans and grocery lists. You’re basically getting your eating plans for weeks and months at a time handed to you on a pretty coral and teal platter (probably with an etched mermaid on it to boot!).

It makes it a whole lot easier to follow along with their plans and get major results if you’re a plan member.

Another benefit: you’re only eligible for some of the series grand prizes if you’re a nutrition plan member. To be a Bikini Series grand prize winner, which is being selected right now, you must be a nutrition plan member.

You also get access to some exclusive groups in the community and on Facebook if you’re a member. They’ll only let you in if you are a paid member (and not a bootlegged one either, just FYI).

It’s a one-time fee of $150 to get you all.of.that!

 

As a businessperson, I can appreciate how TIU could’ve used a whole different business model and made a whole lot more money if they would’ve set things up differently. They could’ve created a membership program where members pay a monthly fee, which would’ve added up to well over $150 within a few months. That’s what a lot of other online businesses are doing.

Now it doesn’t sound too bad to pay $150 to become a plan member for life, right?

Do yourself a favor and just buy it already😉 M’kay? Call it an early (or late) birthday present for yourself.

Then come back here, and let me know in the comments that you did.

 

Those of you TIU babes who are already members, what is your favorite part about being a member?

Exactly How the Tone It Up Bikini Series Helped Me Lose 9 lbs (So Far!)

I showed you my transformation pictures in my last post (*shields eyes with hand*).

Complete TIU Bikini Series

And I’ve told you before how I will have a really hard time losing weight, despite working out 6 days a week religiously and eating *pretty* healthy.

Seriously, my weight after baby #2 has crept up past my highest weight ever, despite doing everything I know to do. I’m working out way harder than I did when I was at my heaviest (I was sedentary), more than anyone I know, and eating waaaaay more healthy than I did then (all-you-can-eat a lot).

It’s infuriating to say the least!

I’m still higher than my previous highest weight when I was sedentary, but it’s finally budging. Especially with the Bikini Series.

So, how was it that the Tone It Up Bikini Series finally did the trick?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this.

I really wanted to get to the bottom of it, because I want to be able to help other people. And I want to be able to return to this whenever I need a jump-start again.

weight loss before after tone it up nutrition plan

How was it that the weight came off this time?

  1. I followed the Tone it Up nutrition plan pretty closely. I chose Meals 1-5 from the nutrition plan and even had a nightly handful of dark chocolate chips. I had a few “off-plan” days for sure, but ate 95% on the plan. I really tightened up on the snacking, which was huge.
  2. I built my meals around veggies and lean protein: Start every meal with veggies and protein, because Lord knows we need more of those in our lives. If you’ve ever tracked your food for a few days, you’ve likely noticed that you don’t get enough veggies. That you eat too many carbs and too little protein. You likely just need to adjust that balance. You can do that by starting with protein and veggies at every meal and then building them out from there. Fats and carbs aren’t evil though. So, I had a lot of protein smoothies and egg scrambles for breakfast, salads and quinoa bowls for lunch, and chicken/veggie tray meals. Which leads to my next point…
  3. Don’t eat starches after 3pm. This is one of the recommendations on the plan. Our dinners tended to be chicken and veggies, sprayed with olive oil and peppered with seasoning. I tried to stay away from potatoes and noodles for dinner. Where I come from, that’s blasphemous. LOL. Meat and potatoes are dinner, not chickpeas and broccoli. But really. There’s something about starches at night that make your body hang onto it. I notice that I always weigh heavier in the mornings after I eat starchy dinners.
  4. Don’t think so much about food! Our culture has so many polarizing emotions around food. But food is just a thing that fuels our bodies. It’s important, but we don’t need to think about it so hard. I didn’t let thoughts about food get away from me in between meals. I prepped all my meals and I had extra snacks on hand, so I didn’t need to think about food all day. I knew what was coming and what to eat next, so I didn’t have to think about it. Without food on my mind, I didn’t feel compelled to keep eating when I didn’t need to.
  5. Don’t eat after 6-7pm. There’s something about eating late at night that makes our bodies hang on tight too. Allow your body to digest your last meal for at least two hours before bed. Your body needs to spend its sleeping time repairing and rejuvenating your body, not digesting. Any food left over in your system that you didn’t need for the day will be stored as fat. No thanks!
  6. Don’t “wing it” on the weekends. I have a tendency to prep meals for the workweek and just leaving the weekends to chance. Bad idea. During the challenge, instead of winging it, I had a plan. I prepped every meal for the week, even on weekends, so the weekends didn’t destroy all my progress.
  7. Build in backup snacks for your backup snacks. You know you’re going to be hungrier some days than others. Instead of assuming you just won’t eat when you’re famished (bad idea!), make sure you have some lean, clean, and green backup snacks. Then, a few backups for your backups. It’s way better to have all these extra snacks within reach than to assume you’ll be fine, only to end up desperately reaching for Lucky Charms or whatever other sugary monstrosity you have stashed away. When you’re hungry, eat. Just make sure it’s nutritious. Don’t starve and then cave!
  8. Jump into a fitness community: whether it’s on Tone it Up, Fitbit, Sparkpeople, Kayla Itsines, Lauren Gleisberg, Blogilates, or wherever else, find a tribe of fit-minded women you can join. The #tiuteam (that’s how you find them on Instagram) is super accepting and supportive of one another. Having hundreds of other TIU girls in my newsfeed and getting encouragement from them on my posts always energizes me. When you scroll through a newsfeed of women who’ve already worked out at 5 in the morning, you feel compelled to jump out of bed and get your own workout on. Several other fitness platforms have communities built around them too. Find one and jump in. The motivation works! They say you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Are those people fit-minded for you?
  9. Drink. Like, a lot. Drink until you aren’t thirsty. And then drink a little more. Honestly, if your body doesn’t have enough water, it can’t work correctly. Your metabolism can’t work correctly. So drink first before you eat to make sure your hunger isn’t thirst in disguise.
  10. Work on getting better every day, not just trying to be perfect on the first day. I think we have it backwards. When we start “diets” or any new goal, we tend to want to jump in with perfection on the first day. But that kills us! What if we started with better-than-normal and just got better every day from there? Do your best, do better tomorrow. When I had a bad day, I just jumped back in better the next day, and it paid off! Constant improvement works out a lot better than all-or-nothing.
  11. Move more. Besides your workout, make sure you build more movement into your life. I noticed that my weight went down whenever my Fitbit stayed in the 8-10k range every day. On days when I wasn’t quite that active, nothing happened. On days when I was over 10k, I woke up lighter. Get up from your desk every hour, stretch, walk around, and don’t plop down at night.
  12. Get your family on-board. My hubby is a trucker, so he’s been gone, and I made my family aware that I was following a plan to eat healthier. Otherwise, ice cream and donuts e’eryday, between my mom and father-in-law. And as much as I’m disheartened by my husband being away for long stretches, it has been really good for my weight loss efforts. Before, he was our chief dinner maker, which weren’t healthy. Hey, I can’t complain about a man who cooks dinner for his family, so I ate anything he graciously made. But once I had to start making dinner for myself and the kids, my weight started going down. I have control over what’s on our plates at night again, so I can make it healthy.
  13. I no longer have work temptations. Yay for freelance life! No more office donuts, vendor treat boxes, birthday treats, vending machines, and catered meals. Everything I grocery shop for and have at-hand are the only things I eat, and they are only healthy things. Makes eating healthy a whole lot easier.

Well, there you have it. My full analysis of why the Tone It Up nutrition plan worked when nothing else did.

To keep the momentum going, I’ve jumped into Round 2 of the Bikini Series, along with another group of women (more support!). So, I’ll be following the plan again for another 8 weeks to hopefully keep progressing from here. It’s working. I’m not going to mess with it. Plus, I love the recipes and the way I feel, so I figure it’s best to keep going. That’s what they mean about making a lifestyle change anyway, right?

 

How about you?

What are the tweaks that you’ve made in the past that have worked for weight loss? Anyone else have an extra EXTRA hard time losing weight?