Inkwell Guest: Lynn Johnston on Self-Help Blogging
Hi, all! Today I have Lynn Johnston here talking about how she became a self-help blogger. Stick around! There’s a giveaway later, too!
How I Accidentally Became a Self-Help Blogger
by Lynn Johnston
I didn’t set out to write a self-help blog—I’m a novelist at heart. But when my father died in a plane crash two years ago, I suddenly found myself unable to write fiction. Getting into my characters’ heads required imagining what they were feeling…
…and I couldn’t imagine feeling anything but grief.
The rest of my life came to a standstill as well. I couldn’t concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time. I couldn’t muster the motivation to do anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary. Even the simplest tasks became overwhelming.
I was slowly drowning in my own life.
A total stranger threw me a rope. The stranger’s name is Robert Maurer, and the rope was his book, One Small Step Can Change Your Life.
Maurer’s book is about kaizen—the philosophy of improvement through small, incremental changes. He describes how big problems and big goals often trigger fear, anxiety and insecurity. Small problems and small goals, on the other hand, bypass the fight-or-flight response.
Best of all, Maurer offers a number of questions to help you start thinking small and to identify the easiest but still-effective action you can take to get closer to solving your problem or achieving your goal.
It sounded too good to be true. But I decided to try it anyway. And to hold myself accountable, I started blogging about my efforts.
My wish list was full of big goals, goals I didn’t really believe I could accomplish. I wanted to declutter and reorganize my house. I wanted to eat healthier and start an exercise program. I wanted to get my writing groove back.
Breaking these down into small goals was painful. If I couldn’t manage to achieve these things with the big efforts I’d made in the past, how could I possibly achieve them with smaller steps? Setting the bar so low felt like giving up.
But I was desperate. Dad’s death left me feeling depressed and purposeless. I wasn’t making any progress at that point, so even a tiny step in the right direction would be an improvement.
I started making small changes to my routine. One change per week, and each change had to be easy enough that I could complete it in less than fifteen minutes.
- I set aside three minutes in the morning to do a deep breathing exercise. My energy levels went up almost immediately.
- I added a ten-minute stretching routine in the evening, and noticed that the little aches and pains of the day disappeared.
- I set aside fifteen minutes after lunch to read for self-improvement, choosing books about willpower, procrastination, and getting organized. For the first time in my life, I found myself actually using the information in my self-help books.
- One week, I did a clutter survey and discovered that I could do without the majority of my possessions. Another week, I spent a few minutes contemplating the emotional foundations of clutter.
- I earmarked ten minutes for decluttering each day, and in a couple of weeks, my house was noticeably neater.
- As my house got cleaner, the disarray in my office bothered me more—so I reorganized it, writing The Kaizen Plan for Organized Authors in short sections as I cleaned.
- I looked for easy ways to eat healthier—and shared what I learned in The Kaizen Plan for Healthy Eating.
As I made these (and many other) small changes, I got my life back—better than it was before. My house is ninety percent of the way to being decluttered, my health is better than it’s ever been, and for the first time in my life, I’ve got confidence in my ability to reach the goals I’ve set for myself.
Thank you, Mr. Maurer, for giving me the tools to keep moving forward when life seemed too overwhelming to handle.
I can’t wait to see where kaizen will take me next.
Leave a comment below and be entered to win a free copy of The Best of Small Steps to Big Change, volume 1.
The Best of Small Steps to Big Change, Volune 1
Take control of your life ten minutes at a time–that’s the philosophy of Small Steps to Big Change, Lynn Johnston’s blog about the power of kaizen to change your life.
This anthology will teach you:
- How Your Living Room Can Give You More Willpower
- The Emotional Foundations of Clutter
- Five Steps for Cultivating Self-Discipline
- Three Goal-Setting Mistakes You’re Probably Making
- How Horseshoe Nails Are Ruining Your Life
- The Magic Question That Keeps You Moving Toward Your Goals
- Three Goal-Setting Mistakes You’re Probably Making
- How to Ease Into a New Diet or Fitness Routine Without Disrupting Your Life
- Tips for Clearing Mental Clutter
…and much more!
About the Author:
Lynn Johnston blogs about how to take control of your life 10 minutes at a time using the kaizen approach: http://www.smallstepstobigchange.com.
Each week, readers of her blog receive a small, simple step they can use to improve some area of their lives. Her latest book, The Best of Small Steps to Big Change, vol. 1, is a collection of posts from her blog.
She’s also the author of:
- The Kaizen Plan for Healthy Eating
- The Kaizen Plan for Reducing Holiday Stress
- The Kaizen Plan for Decluttering Your To-Do List
- The Kaizen Plan for Decluttering Your Computer
- The Kaizen Plan for Organized Authors
Lynn lives in central Texas with her husband. Her hobbies including reading, writing speculative fiction, and encouraging the anoles in her backyard vegetable garden to eat more bugs.
Connect with Lynn