As you stock up on fruit and veggies, with every fibre of your being you avoid going down the chocolate aisle at your weekly Woolies run.
Earlier that day you were checking out that muffin top, mushrooming out of your favourite pants, possibly while you were wiping off crumbs from your latest sneaky treat, you thought, “That’s it, I’m going to start exercising and going on a diet!”
You get home feeling so proud of yourself. And you actually stick to it…
For all of two days…
You binge on a Cadbury block hidden on the top shelf, and after a week the veggies start to smell funny in the bottom drawer of the fridge… behind the leftover pizza.
This cycle somehow repeats itself multiple times over, and even though we know it’s happened before, we always hope that somehow, by some miracle, this time will be different.
But it never is…
“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Jesus
And blogging is pretty much the same.
The same cycle of enthusiasm and despair that we have for losing weight after seeing that muffin top in the mirror is the same when you look at your website and see those three posts you wrote a year ago.
I’ve been guilty of this myself!
I’m no personal trainer, but human behavior is very predictable. The research is clear, we have a limited amount of “willpower” during the day, and when we reach the end of that rope, we want it to be tied to a bag of skittles.
So what’s the psychology behind why people go through this cycle, and how does it apply to blogging?
There are 101 excuses we come up with on why we don’t stick to the plan. Not enough time, too busy, too tired, too old, too fat, it’s boring, I’m embarrassed, etc…
As humans, we avoid guilt by justifying our negative actions. This gets in the way of digging down and actually finding the real reason we’re not doing what we know we should be doing.
When I decided to go jogging, I found it really hard to keep motivated. I would go out for a run, and then take a few weeks off. Go out for another run, and take another few weeks off.
When I decided to sit down, think through it objectively, and analyze why I was losing motivation, the answer was so simple it blew me away.
You see, I only had one pair of running shorts. I’d go for a run, get home, throw them in the wash, and then I couldn’t use them again. And it was so annoying, I would avoid running, because subconsciously I knew I couldn’t keep the frequency I wanted to keep.
Solution: buy more shorts. Problem solved!
Same thing happened when I started blogging. I wrote 4 articles, and didn’t touch it for another year. When I sat down to analyze my actions and barriers, I realized that I hated finding images. I would spend hours on stock photo websites, and waste my whole day feeling unproductive.
Solution: Outsource finding images to my VA.
Finally, and most importantly we don’t see the results straight away. When we make the decision to lose weight, it’s usually accompanied by a lot of emotions. When the emotions wear off, usually quite quickly, we want to have a tangible result that we can use to stay motivated.
The problem with wanting to see quick results is that we usually set such big goals (I want to lose 10 kg) that we can’t possibly achieve them in time it takes for our emotions wear off.
It’s the same with blogging. We expect that when we start writing articles and posting them, that the whole internet will come flocking to see what you’ve written.
By the third article, you haven’t even seen the adoring masses, and you find better things to do with your time.
When you publish an article, aim to get 5 readers to that article on the first day. Find a way to capture them, so that when you publish the second article, aim to get 5 new readers, plus the 5 readers from the first article. You now have 10 readers. And so on.
These articles should give your readers a sneak peak at one small aspect of your business. Is it a product review, a case study, an industry insight, a difference in methodology? Something that will inspire the prospects among your readers to listen up, and take notice of you.
Once those prospects take notice… what do they do? Do they just click off your website and move on with their lives? You’ve just inspired them with a snippet of who you are, take advantage of this moment to get them to take action. To give you a call, or download a related resource, or make a purchase. They’ve put in the time to learn about your business, ask them to make a small decision. To take a small step forward.
Because it gets you thinking in terms of incremental, compound results.
“There’s nothing sexier than compound interest!” – Just made that up, but it’s true
If your aim is to get 5 readers on your first article, you will write the article with purpose. You will promote it differently, and you won’t need willpower to continue writing the next one.
I love studying why people make the decisions they do, what motivates them to buy, click, delete, share, procrastinate.
If you want to learn more about how people interact with technology, and how to use the science of human behaviour to boost your marketing, check out the website, or get in touch 😉