ChooseBetterLife One Year Blogiversary Edition


ChooseBetterLife.com went live one year ago.

Like most anniversaries, this blogiversary seems both like it took forever and like it arrived in the blink of an eye. I’ve written 55 posts on a hodgepodge of life-improving topics with readers from 107 different countries!*

As with everything, the journey taught me some important lessons about what’s important to me and helped me focus on new goals for the next year.

Life Is More Than Just Numbers

I started the blog after taking an online class that guided un-tech-savvy me through the baby steps. While it did lead to a real-life blog, it focused heavily on advertising, building the coveted and valuable email list, and pop-ups and emails galore. We were taught tricks to build our numbers on Facebook and Twitter, and while I tried a few, the teacher encouraged me to do more.

I respected the person teaching the class, but these methods made me feel spammy.

I’ve always been the person who’s happy to help but very hesitant to intrude. I resent it when my friends and family try to sell me their latest pyramid schemes, so I vowed to stop trying to do the same to them. 

Pop-ups came down. Facebook shares on my private page ceased. Twitter follow-unfollow high jinks halted.

Monetizing my blog is not a high priority. If it pays for itself someday, of course I’ll appreciate it, but advertising random products that I don’t believe in isn’t my style. Everything you see here is something I think will bring you much value or a good laugh.

It’s like helping out friends and neighbors — sure, I could charge, but that isn’t what good friends and neighbors do. I’d rather work at my day (and evening) job for pay than force this site to support itself and feel untrue to myself.

Good Posts Say Something

My initial goal was to post every Friday. Many bloggers post two, three, or more times per week, but it turns out I’m not a natural writer.

Forcing ideas into prose made me dread the process, and a rigid schedule created unnecessary stress when I was working a lot or traveling.

I started by writing posts just in time, then built up a cushion to get me through busy seasons.

Some posts, though I tried, still weren’t what I hoped they would be.

So, moving forward, I’ll write only when I have something that compels me to share it. Whether that’s twice a week or twice a month remains to be seen. Not having the cushion will allow me to write more in the moment instead of knowing that it won’t publish for six weeks, and having less time to second-guess myself and edit will (hopefully) make them more personal and meaningful.

Unexpected Rewards

I had hoped to build a community of readers, and this has come true. Thanks so much for your comments and support! Please let me know what you’d like to hear more about and how I can help you choose a happy, healthy path through life.

What I didn’t expect was such a warm community of other bloggers, and it’s growing daily. (Check out Other Awesome Blogs on my Resources page.) Through your posts, comments, and tweets, I’m so excited to have friends throughout the continent. I’ve had my first visitor and anticipate many more.**

Your posts and comments continue to teach me and make me laugh, and I remain in awe.

Many Thanks

The class I mentioned above taught that I couldn’t be successful without finding a small niche. Maybe that’s true, at least with her definition of success.

But I don’t have a tiny niche anywhere. My job specializes in a little bit of everything, and my friends and family are a rowdy crew of misfits. Why should my blog be any different?

Thanks for putting up with the chaos and randomness, and I hope you’re enjoying the ride.

Please leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.

*Hopefully at least a few weren’t spammers.

**September through April are highly recommended.

Uncertainty: Am I Dying Or Am I A Fool?
Will You Go Or Send Your Representative Instead?

Comments 27

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  1. A year already? It’s been great getting to know you! Happy blogiversary and many more!

    I relate to how you feel about the writing process. I’ve cut back myself but luckily Mr. Groovy carries the load (after all, the decision to blog initially was totally his!). I have many drafts and lists of topics, but sometimes when I get serious about a post, I find I’m even boring myself and so I stop.

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  2. Ah, to niche or not to niche? I know the question well. I’m with you, Julie. Mrs. Groovy and I are more about sharing right now than about monetizing our site. Sure, a little extra coin never hurt anyone, but we’re finding the intangible rewards of connecting with an awesome community to be just as satisfying. Congratulations on your one year blogiversary. I love your take on finances and lifestyle, regardless of how chaotic or random it may be. I truly look forward to my weekly fix of ChooseBetterLife.

    P.S. This year we’re heading to Glacier National Park for vacation. So hopefully we’ll be able to hook up with Ms. Montana. But next year, we may be coming your way. We have a niece who lives in Tuscon and it’s about time we paid her a visit. Perhaps while we’re in the state, you and Mr. CBL can take us on one of your classic hikes?

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  3. Congratulations on reaching this milestone, Julie! May there be many more in your future.

    My favorite posts of yours, in no particular order, include the family dinner post, what the heck effect, stay calm in an emergency, and the auto parts store story!

    Looking forward to reading more in year # 2!

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  4. Happy blogiversary, Julie! 🙂 Congrats! I love how you’ve decided to move forward in a way that works best for you.

    I’ve come to the realization lately that what I love most about blogging is helping people by sharing what I learn (hopefully) and connecting with the amazing people in this community. When I’ve tried to push the monetization or focus on the analytics, I don’t enjoy it nearly as much. But, I love the great friendships I’ve made and love being part of the community, and can’t imagine life without the blog now!

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  5. I hear you on the anxiety of posting part. I have debated from switching to a routine schedule to a as produced schedule. We will see where it goes.

    I recently also took off google and amazon ads. It seems like we may have the same philosophies! Congrats on the blogiversary.

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      It’s not so much anxiety as that it takes forever to write what some people can type in their sleep.
      I never had Google or Amazon ads posted, as they didn’t seem to fit with my blog philosophy, but I’ll link to items that I absolutely love and think others might find helpful.
      Keep me posted on how you like your new schedule!

  6. I agree that writing when inspired is better than just posting on a regular schedule. Like you, I feel that trying to monetize a blog takes the fun away! I like it as a platform to have discussions.

    Here are some good quotes about not focusing too much on the numbers and posting schedule:

    “Not everything that can be counted, counts. And, not everything that counts can be counted.” – Einstein

    “Don’t count the things you do, do the things that count.” – Zig Ziglar

  7. Congrats on Year One!

    I like where your head is regarding posting, growing, and monetizing or not. I don’t like to play all the games, either, but I’m guilty of some of them. I do follow people in my target audience (other physicians) and some follow back. The end result is more people hearing my message, and furthering my charitable mission, so although I do feel a bit dirty doing it, the ends justify the means in that case.

    In general, I try to follow the Golden Rule — I don’t like to see full page popups, so I don’t use them. I don’t want to be harrassed to subscribe, or to be subscribed by a pre-checked box when making a comment, so I avoid doing that to my readers, too.

    September through April — the middle of that stretch happens to be when it’s best to escape the frigid North.


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      The weather dichotomy works out quite well! Poor Minnesota during interview season, though. I remember interviewing when the high for the day was -11. Um, no thanks. I can stay awake and work for 40 hours straight, but only if I can feel my fingers.

      However, feel free to gloat until September 🙂

      1. I think we’ve got the better weather for the next 5 months, but AZ has the next seven. It’s no coincidence that the southwest is a popular snowbird destination.


  8. Happy one year blogiversary! I can relate to your writing process. It takes me FOREVER to write a post. I don’t know what it is, but sometimes it takes me days to write something that others could probably finish in a few hours.

    I haven’t monetized my blog either. I don’t know if I ever will. For now I’m just enjoying interacting with readers and other PF bloggers.

    Looking forward to Year 2!

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  9. Congratulations, Julie!! That is a huge milestone. And I totally agree with how you are going about blogging. I follow you because your message is authentic, helpful and meaningful. Chaotic and random – fine with me! The connections have been the best part of the ride so far!

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      Thanks! This post has turned into a love-fest and I’m feeling like it’s my birthday!
      I can’t wait to hear more about you and half penny in the coming year.
      …And brownies. The answer is always brownies — the question is irrelevant.

  10. Congrats on one year!! I am embarrsassed to say I didn’t even make it one year before cutting back to posting when I want to not when I felt I had to. I think it is awesome that some are able to keep with a consistent schedule but nothing in my life is consistent (probably similar with your job!) and the more I try to control something the more out of control the rest gets. Balance has never been a perfect split and I am ok with that. 🙂

    I am so thankful to be part of your community and the PF community in general. You’re right, they are a supportive bunch and I am so excited to see what the next year will bring for you!

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  11. “A rowdy crew of misfits” LOL I resemble that comment! It’s tough to find the right balance between expressing yourself and trying to make a living doing that. There are no right answers but using your own sense of comfort and integrity will always guide you the right way.

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