this is my most successful blog and ive only got 7 posts


Ever since I started living healthier, the quality of my life improved so I thought I’d share some things that worked for me to help you experience the same!

Health is more than just food and fitness. Being healthy also means you are in a good environment, mindset, and surround yourself with good people.

I personally don’t like to keep a food diary because it feels like a lot of work and creates stress, but it works for some people. Living healthy doesn’t mean you have to keep track of everything, it means enjoying your life.

Changes don’t happen overnight. Patience, motivation, consistency, and happiness are the keys to success/health.

1. Movement is fun!

Don’t call it “exercise”, since exercise may seem like a chore. I used to dread exercise because I had bad experiences in elementary school. I hated PE because I was slow and all we did was play sports with a ball involved, and I was terrified of flying objects. I hated exercise because I wasn’t good at it. I feel like many people grew up like I did, with negative childhood experiences, which is why exercise is not in the favor of the general population.

Movement is so important and I could go on and on about the list of benefits, including feeling fresh, being stronger, being happier, living longer, etc. Working out only improves your life. You will never regret a workout.

Find something you enjoy doing. Do something with a friend! Movement doesn’t always have to be a sport. It can be a class like yoga or pilates, dance, cardio, and strength training. There are so many forms of movement out there, it shouldn’t be too hard to find one that’s enjoyable. My favorite forms of movement including running, cycling, swimming, pilates (I love planks!) for strength training, zumba, walking, hiking, and the only ones I dislike are the ones that use a ball.

It’s also important to incorporate both cardio and strength training into your life to strengthen your cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength. As a runner, I typically include cardio (running) 6 days a week and a little bit of strength every day. I know that most college athletes lift (I only use body weight for now) 3 days a week. This all depends on what your fitness level is.

If you are very busy, incorporate activity into your everyday life. For example, you can do a quick 10 min HIIT workout right before work, 10 min walk on your lunch break, and 10 mins of core right before bed. That’s 30 mins of movement a day!

You can also wear a pedometer, most health professionals suggest at least 10,000 steps each day. A lot of fitness trackers, like fitbit, gives you virtual rewards for reaching that number.

2. Sleep!

It is important to give your wonderful hardworking muscles a chance to recover and rebuild! I typically sleep for 7-8 hours a day, and it’s something I’m working on since most people recommend at least 9 for athletes.

3. Eat healthy!

Growing up, my friends and I would always brag about what kind of unhealthy foods we got to eat because we thought they taste good. We thought anything healthy was boring therefore not cool. Growing up, my mother has never let get the “cool” foods that all the other kids got to eat.  I remember in third grade, my father commented about how I looked relatively thin compared to my other classmates, and I was also insecure about my hands being bony. 4th-5th grade was when I was going through my rebellious stage (does everyone go through this?) and my junk food intake skyrocketed once I hit middle school because we now had brunch served in the cafeteria, and I would buy at least 1-2 bags of chips or cookies every single day.

In 8th grade, I had an epiphany and I also started running, and I knew that if I wanted to be a good runner, I must eat well. Running became my priority and I now see food as fuel.

My parents remember me going cold turkey of all junk foods. This worked well for me because junk foods are chemically engineered to be addictive, and eliminating them completely is what worked for me.

Eat the rainbow of beautiful plants and keep temptations out of your house. If you have a family member that enjoys gorging on junk foods, don’t insult their diet.

Never insult anyone’s diet. The most effective way to inspire someone to be healthy is to be a good example. Show them the benefits you feel when you eat healthy foods, and how that healthy foods can look beautiful. Hopefully it will motivate them to do the same!

Eat slowly. Your stomach takes about 20 mins to send the signal to your brain that you are full.

4. Your social network.

Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Keep in mind that those who don’t like you are simply blind because they can’t see how awesome you are. They could be also insecure themselves because they want to bring you down because it makes them feel superior. Those people need help. Radiate positive vibes and hope that it will spread to their souls.

5. Physical health

Make regular visits to your doctor/dentist, and keep up with your immunizations.

6. Keep track of your progress

It can be any form of progress, because it motivated you to keep moving forward! It can be physical goals (such as running a personal record, lifting weight, swimming, endurance, etc), or it can be weight related, or not binge watching netflix every night.

Set mini goals and treat yourself to keep moving forward. For example, if you just broke 6:00 in the mile, plan a fun trip to the mall!

7. Don’t be stressed

If you’re feeling stressed, find an outlet. I like to go for a run and write down my thoughts. The unknown stressed me out, when I go for a run and think, the unknown becomes a known and makes me more confident.

Think about the big picture. I was pretty stressed when I couldn’t run at all this track season since I had big goals in mind. But then I realized that running is a lifestyle and I have the rest of my life to accomplish my goals. Success in college running is a bigger deal than high school. If I rest now, I can avoid burning out and this will fuel my motivation to run fast in college.

8. Help others

Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or pick up litter. Being kind to others and to the community feels good!

Writing this blog makes me feel good because I know that I have the power to inspire others to improve their life. Receiving kind messages from people makes my day.

9. Believe in yourself

Don’t let anyone tell you what to do. Life your life how you want.

For me, I love my parents because they don’t force me to do anything. They let me quit piano, golf, and other things. I used to be not motivated in school, and instead of punishing me, they would reward me if I got good grades. School was never forced upon me. My parents showed me that knowledge=power. Now I am self motivated because I have learned that good grades=smart Grace=helpful Grace=happy Grace.

They support my running. They let me do anything I want. I wasn’t forced to run. As a result, I became a successful runner and student because that is what truly makes me happy.

If you show that something makes you happy, your parents and friends will most likely support you, too!

Other life tips:

How to be happy:

How to be productive and achieve your goals:

Healthy brain food:

Healthy foods for athletes or if you work out!:

You’re my rainbow after the rain.

The thinking man’s guide for Photographers on Tumblr – Part IV

Today I am going to up the ante a bit in terms of the content of this post and discuss psychology and the relation it plays to your behavioural habits when using Tumblr and other social media outlets. What has this got to do with photography and creating a successful blog you might ask, well it plays a big part in why we post online in the first place.

I ended the last post by saying that my warning is not to end up like a rat or a pigeon in a BF Skinner psychology experiment. BF Skinner was a Harvard Psychology professor who used pigeons and rats in experiments to demonstrate the use of reinforcement to strengthen behaviour operant conditioning. Why am I telling you this? Because it’s operant conditioning that is the main reason that every one of you whether you are aware of it or not keep coming back to Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and so on. Even knowing the psychology behind it myself I keep coming back to so I’m in this boat with you. *Pecks at keyboard like a pigeon.

Skinner would use the pigeons and rats in what was known as a Skinner box to study how he could modify their behaviour using rewards and punishments. In their case the reward for pushing buttons was food. In all of our cases the reward is the little heart on Tumblr or the retweet on Twitter or the like on Facebook and so on. I don’t think there have been studies into the precise behavioural patterns of users on Tumblr but there has in regards to Twitter so I will use the work of Courtney Seiter as an example.

Our brains create two chemicals which play a primary role in how we respond to social media; dopamine and oxytocin. Dopamine when released creates what we want. It’s what causes us to seek, desire and search and is stimulated by unpredictability, by small bits of information and maybe most importantly by reward cues – in the case of Tumblr one of your posts being liked or gaining a new follower. Studies have shown that dopamine is so strong that tweeting is harder for people to resist than cigarettes and alcohol so you can assume that the possibility posting on Tumblr brings with it follows suit. If that wasn’t bad enough throw oxytocin into the mix, which is apparently referred to as ‘the cuddle chemical’ owing to its release upon kissing, hugging or…you guessed it, tweeting or posting. Studies have shown that in 10 minutes of social media time oxytocin levels can rise as much as 13%, a hormonal spike equivalent to some people on their wedding day. With oxytocin comes lowered stress levels, feelings of love, trust, empathy, generosity – everything that you would find housed within the Tumblr platform or any other form of social media. We are all rats and pigeons and although we might think we aren’t housed in a box we are logging in from our homes, our places of work, on the train or buses - all hitting away at the keys looking for that chemical reward.

Ever felt like you were addicted to Tumblr and spend way too much time on it? Have you found yourself desperately trying to gain more notes for each and every post that you make. Do you stop to consider the quality of what you’re posting or the frequency of the number of times you post without realising your need for the gratification from others users. I think myself included if we were all honest then we would own up to doing at one time or another if not daily but even worse possibly over a sequence of weeks and months. Want to know why we all jump ship from one platform to another after a period of time and why the likes of MySpace are consigned to the pages of history almost when once they ruled the pile? It’s simply because the gratification on one platform wears off and someone offers us the chance to receive it a new setting. Then off we trudge like little rats and pigeons and we find ourselves unwillingly pressing buttons again in a new home – a new box.

So how is this useful to creating a successful photography page on Tumblr. Well, armed with this new piece of information let’s look at the number of times you should post in a day. I think the majority of us when we first use Tumblr are guilty of over posting on a daily basis. It’s quite common to be putting 7 or 8 photographs up a day and that’s a polite estimate on the numbers. I myself have been guilty of posting maybe 10 in a day in the past and I certainly have come across users who post upwards of 20 times a day. Whether they are aware of it or not they are seeking that ‘instant gratification’ that gets us all hooked at some point or another as outlined above. But what’s important if you’re posting multi-times a day is the effect it will have on your blog. Will it help you to climb to the top and find success or will it ultimately start to alienate your followers and actually end up doing the reverse. Sadly the answer usually lies in the latter and this is going to kill some people but the true answer based on the success of others that have trodden before you is you should only post once a day and only then if you really have something worth sharing and not just because you feel you should be posting.

To grow a successful photography blog the key isn’t posting 10 times a day to get your face out there, quality over quantity will win through when applied with interaction. Yes it’s tempting after a successful day out shooting to want that feeling of instant gratification and post everything you’ve shot that you consider to be great but before you do stop and think and consider a few factors;

Unless you are a professional photographer with a deadline to meet that day for one of your photographs you should always leave editing what you’ve shot until the next day at least. I can hear the cries of ‘Are you mad?’ already. Well maybe, but in regards to your photographs having slept before you look at them again will mean you become more subjective. If you’re editing an hour or two after you’ve taken them and you’re really excited about them then you lose your subjectivity towards your own work. If you’re caught up in the moment you really enjoyed then everything looks great. You mind is altered by the moment so that’s why the advice is always to begin to look and edit the next day. If you don’t edit at all – well done but you’re probably in a minority and it surprises many people new to photography that just so many of us spend time editing our work before posting. It’s not a crime folks it’s why Adobe make so much money.

So having waited until the next day to sort through your files and edit them, when finished you will have to be subjective. Your followers or potential followers don’t need to see the same shot from fifteen different angles – be brave and choose the best one. Say you have ten photographs now in front of you post editing all held in a separate folder then look at them in a viewer and go through each one and choose the one that truly stands out. If you have three or four you’re really proud of you are going to have to resist that urge to post them all the same day. Again I know this will kill some people but there’s a reason you can schedule posts.

Let’s say for arguments sake it’s 1am when you finish editing and your reaction is to instantly share your post onto Tumblr. Again stop because for one you don’t want your brain running into gratification requirement mode before you try sleeping. No one needs to have broken sleep over the need to gain some notes on Tumblr or any other form of social media. The world won’t stop if you don’t post for a few hours. The more important reason is to consider when the majority of your previous notes have come during a day. So go to activity on your blog and click to the 24 hour view. On any given day usually my two peaks come between about 6am and 8am and again from 8pm to 10pm. Funnily enough they coincide between the times people are getting ready for work and when most sit down after a hard day’s work and are logging in killing time. This sounds obvious to say but rather than posting that ‘must see photograph’ at 1am post it at the time that you know people are logging on. Also consider this if you’re posting a photograph of some gothic architecture at 7am in the morning are your followers brains really set to cope with such things early on, or would the photograph be better suited to let’s say 8.30pm when brains are better set to cope. What do you want to see first thing in the morning? A smiling face, a great scene from nature or something that inspires maybe? Save the heavy stuff for the evening. It might sound obvious but there is a psychological point to it.

Going back to the posting once a day – no I wasn’t kidding and yes I meant it when I said if you don’t have anything worthy of posting then don’t post at all. But what a lot of the most successful photographers will do is post once in the morning at peak times using their 24 hour data and then reblog the same photograph during the second peak in the day. Whilst your photograph is hitting followers dashes twice in a day it still gives it more chance of being seen and it doesn’t stink of over kill.

If you have nothing that is really going to add value to post in a day then use your time wisely. Maybe spend some time going through old photographs and look for new ways of editing or something you may have missed. Obviously spend ten minutes checking in on those who have posted, say your hello’s, like a few posts and then forget about Tumblr again for another day. The world isn’t going to end if you haven’t posted anything for 24 hours.

Don’t reblog your entire back catalogue in one hit thinking it will get you more notes. All you’re doing is appearing on the same dashes of the people that already followed you. OK so we may have missed one or two posts but chances are if people who follow you are daily users we didn’t miss 40 posts. Also if you’ve spent the best part of half an hour also adding tags to the posts it won’t suddenly bump you up to the top of the search pile. The clock will just restart and unless people are searching for most recent posts rather than most popular it’s going to have no real end benefit at all unless you unexpectedly gained 500 followers overnight. Chances of that happening – pretty slim I’m afraid.

Are you one of those bloggers that hits people with ten photographs in one hit and isn’t then seen for another six days or more? If you are then learn to use the scheduler and keep a presence online daily even when you’re not online. If you know you only log in every Sunday when the kids have gone to Grandma’s for a couple of hours then make it known in a post because whilst it might seem an odd thing to say these types of things do stick in people’s minds. As I have said previously people know their notes pages better than they know their own bank balances in a lot of instances and the more you integrate with others users the more you learn their habits and you’re not left wondering why they haven’t liked anything you’ve posted for the last five days and yet still seem to be online. But for the casual user who has a good body of work then the scheduler is perfect and from experience you’re better to hit people with your posts about 7 or 8pm. Just make sure when you do come to log in the following Sunday that you show your appreciation back for the love you might have received Monday to Saturday. Good will only stretches so far but people will respect when you’ve been honest that you have a real life outside of Tumblr. If they don’t then you know where the unfollow button is by now I’m sure.

Don’t blog ten photographs at once in the one post. Some might argue surely that’s better than ten single posts – Just because Tumblr has the option, it doesn’t mean you should use it. On the same theory of posting 15 angles of the same thing, be objective. If time is of a premium use the scheduler and post them over several days. If you know that on certain days less people log in then save your frustrations and don’t post, wait until a better day based on your last 7 days’ worth of notes. Also the human brain likes odd numbers over even. Don’t ask me why but it’s a well-documented fact which is why photographs of solitary tree’s will be liked more than a pair together; a single swan over a pair and so on through everything you can think of. Also people generally don’t tend to look through all ten. Your eyesight is drawn to the largest post at the top and the other nine generally don’t even get looked at. OK some people might do it but I would rarely click on enlarge and go through the other nine in greater detail. Also when you group photographs they are less likely to be reblogged by sites which cuts down the chance to widen your target audience. Users who like a couple of the photographs within the ten can also be put off hitting the like button if there’s a couple in the grouping they distinctly dislike. I’m not joking on that one either. This is built to be an honest guide and I have done it on numerous occasions where I have loved one of the photographs and skimmed the rest and seen something I didn’t like and just moved on without hitting like. Don’t crucify me I’m just being honest. If I do it I’m 99% certain I’m not the only one.

By the same respects if you want your work to be reblogged more then please don’t post mixed posts of black and white and colour versions if only to keep me happy and no other reason. The amount of times I find an amazing looking photograph and hit reblog and suddenly find there’s a colour version of the same photo underneath or one black and white with three or four colour one’s and have to scrap it is ridiculous. Brain’s work on order and a natural rhythm which is why blogs which stick to one style generally work much better than 20 different styles of photography all thrown into the mix. The same goes for a consistency between the choice of black and white or colour work.

So to summarise Tumblr and other social media platforms work because it’s designed to reward us and give us that feeling of personal gratification through the chemical injection of dopamine and oxytocin. Those little love hearts are turning us all into pigeons wildly pecking every day at our computers, tablets and mobile phones. When this happens especially early on as a user you will post a ridiculous amount of photographs and forget that quality over quantity will always win the day. If you find yourself posting more and more and considering less and less about quality because you’re chasing notes then you have a real problem that so many of us have experienced. I don’t have my notifications turned on anything anymore in regards to any social media platform. In fact I don’t even carry a phone when I’m out. If the world want’s me it will have to wait until I am done. Don’t be a slave to social media, don’t be a slave to the need for instant gratification.

Whilst it’s a cliché it’s a good one to say that Rome wasn’t built in a day. You’ve already learned that interaction is as much a key to success as quality is. The reason app developers make their apps free and offer rewards for logging on every day is to keep you playing and the heart on Tumblr or the thrill of gaining new followers is designed in exactly the same way. But box smart and do things the right way over a period of time rather than chasing the instant gratification and trying to successful quicker than is realistically achievable will help your sanity, help you stay in control and help you build continuous success rather than alienating the followers you already have.
If you’d like to share or contribute to this series in any way shape or form then please send me a message with any comments or feedback you have. Please remember what is contained in the above doesn’t apply to everyone and the chances are those it does apply to will never read it but a lot of what will come over this coming series I feel needs saying and hopefully come of use to some people who genuinely do want to put the time and effort into growing their blog and reaching the top of the Tumblr pile.

Thank you for reading.