One of the challenges a lot of my clients have is creating the healthy internet habits that will help them accomplish their goals. If they aren’t in the habit of posting to social media every time it’s relevant, blogging or creating videos on a regular schedule, commenting on and interacting with other people’s content, etc., it can feel overwhelming to start doing these things every day. Happily, since the same can be said about any new habit you’re trying to develop, there are a lot of useful habit-creating tricks you probably already know that you can apply to your online goals. Here are five I use:
- Get on a schedule. My current recommendation is that anyone who is trying to use the internet to accomplish a specific goal commit at least one hour every day to being online in service of their objectives. This can be a cumulative hour over the course of the day, but the total time should be at least 60 minutes. When you’re trying to find the time for this, look at where you’ve been successful in creating other new habits– did you start building blocks of time into your daily routine and adding them to your calendar? Did you designate certain parts of your day (like commercial breaks during television shows or when you’re commuting) to developing habits like doing crunches or learning a new language? Do you set alarms or reminders in your phone? I’m not recommending that you start blogging while you drive, but tricks like these ones that create consistent times you dedicate to being online in service of your stated goal can really help while you’re creating a new habit.
- Get competitive. One of my best friends shared the exciting news with me today that her family’s healthy lifestyle challenge has helped her lose 12 inches in a month. The friendly competition with the other members of her household gave her the structure and inspiration she needed to kick up her effort at committing to good habits. Who could you compete with to motivate you to make time online? A friend who is also trying to accomplish something bold? (“I’ll race you to 1500 Twitter followers!”) Someone you admire who has accomplished the things you’d like to? (“PewDiePie uploads a new video to YouTube every day– I could do that!”) Your personal best? (“I published two new blogs last month, so this month I’ll do three!”) When has competition spurred you on in the past, and can you use that same structure here?
- Give yourself incentives. I am a sucker for a sticker chart. My parents made a lasting impression when they used it for tracking our chores when I was little, and I still use versions of it to motivate myself today. I set specific goals for each day, and at the end of a reasonable period of accomplishing all of them, I give myself a reward! The reward only has to be enough to motivate you to keep moving towards your goal. My current incentive for meeting my daily goals is Boba Tea, which both motivates me and manages my intake of those delicious beverages. What reward would motivate you to make time for social media and your other online responsibilities every day?
- Find an accountability partner. I mentioned in an earlier post that my personal trainer and I talk for a few minutes, five days a week, to compare notes on how she did with her internet goals and how I did with clean eating and exercise. Knowing I have to talk to her really helps me strive to have something good to say. Is there someone you could partner with in this way?
- Set realistic milestones. If your goal is to be offered a television production contract, a seven-figure publishing deal and the opportunity to design your own line of home goods, you are likely to be disappointed if you set all three as your goals for week one. Setting yourself up with realistic intermediary milestones will help you keep moving forward with a continual sense of progress and accomplishment. If you actually have any of the three goals I used as examples here, starting with the milestones of getting a certain number of views on one of your videos, opening a Twitter dialogue with a literary agent or making a certain number of Etsy sales of your first home product would be achievable milestones on your path to success.
When you’re starting out, remember that the people who have succeeded ahead of you started at square one, too. They have just worked hard, and likely been very consistent in their efforts, to create the audiences and opportunities you aspire to. The Pioneer Woman didn’t open a WordPress account and have a TV show the next day– it took a few years of active posting on her website and social media, along with the convergence of a number of other factors, to open that door. So if you want to follow in her footsteps, just make sure you’re doing so earnestly, and without an eye out for a shortcut.