Today’s post is for anyone who wants a change. Anyone who wants to try something new, fix an area of their life they’re not entirely happy with or, to use the current buzzword, anyone who wants to pivot.
My current experience with a change of brand…
As I’m sure many of you are aware, I recently decided to pivot and change things up with my blog and my career.
I’m one of those people who loves change. I love the excitement and motivation that a big, new change makes whether it’s cutting my hair, painting my living room a bold new colour, taking a big, exciting adventurous holiday or changing the name of my blog. I love it all!
So after 11 years of blogging at The Travel Hack, I decided to switch things up and change the blog name to my own name, Monica Lucy, and blog more about my family and my lifestyle than about travel.
But after switching the name of my blog I realised something important. Changing a name doesn’t change anything. It was still the same blog but with a different name. (I know, I have no idea why I didn’t see this before either!)
All I’d done was make life hard for myself by creating a new brand name that no one knew.
I wanted the blog to reflect me and my personality and where I am in my life right now. I’m not currently in a place where my life revolves around travel so I felt like a failing travel blogger and like a total fraud having a blog called ‘The Travel Hack’ when I mostly wrote about my life as a mum.
So I changed the name and then realised that no one else cared what the blog was called! As long as I was creating content, I don’t think anyone else took any notice as to what name I was using. I then had some legal complications (someone else trying to use the brand name to sell products) which could have cost me a lot of money so I decided I might as well make life easier for myself and keep the name The Travel Hack.
It feels nice to be back as The Travel Hack. But it’s like The Travel Hack 2.0. It isn’t the same, but it isn’t entirely different either.
I don’t regret trying out a brand change though!
It had been something I’d been thinking about for years and it was a little itch I’d always wanted to scratch (sorry for the itchy metaphor!) If I hadn’t tried, it would have always been something I wished I’d had a go at and I’d always wonder if I should have done it.
I did learn some important things through trying this change
- If you’ve got an idea, you need to try it or that idea will keep pecking away in your head
- They say ‘a change is as good as a rest’ but sometimes ‘a rest is better than a change’. Sometimes you need to take a step back to appreciate what you’ve got.
- Changing your mind isn’t failing – To me, it would be more of a failure to not even try
- Worry about how you’re perceived by other people is pointless and takes up vital time, energy and headspace
- But you have to be really comfortable in your own skin to not worry about the thoughts of others
- Feeling comfortable in your own skin comes with age and it’s the best feeling – it’s worth every wrinkle and grey hair!
After my experience with change, I thought I’d share 14 thoughts if you’re considering a big change….
#1. Changing something external doesn’t change it internally
It’s easy to fall for the idea that changing something on the outside will change it on the inside too. If only life was that easy!
Let’s say you hate your car. It’s old, it’s rusty, unreliable and unsuitable for your daily needs. Giving your car a new lick of paint isn’t going to change anything. OK, it might cover the rust and an exciting new colour could give you a temporary love for your car, but it’s still the same car. In a few months the rust will be shining through and it will have broken down in rush hour traffic again.
I’m guilty for doing it with my hair. When I’m feeling bored and unfulfilled, I’ve chopped my hair off or dyed it a crazy colour, as though a new hair-do will give me a new lease of life. And it does. A new hair-do does give you a temporary kick and a boost of enthusiasm and short term happiness. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but it’s temporary and doesn’t change anything long term.
#2. Small, daily changes can have a bigger impact than you think
There are often two hurdles when people are making a change:
- The change seems so big and scary that they don’t do anything because there’s just too much to do
- They dive in feet first without having the knowledge or experience needed and can often fail because they went too fast
I don’t know if it’s an age thing or a pandemic thing but over the last year in lockdown I’ve realised what a huge impact doing one tiny thing a day can make. When I was younger I wanted to do ALL THE THINGS and I wanted to do them RIGHT NOW. I’m impulsive and impatient and I often neglect the impact of doing a tiny thing every day because I just want to do it all at once.
I think it’s because I’m very aware of time passing over the past 12 months and I can’t help but think, ‘If I’d done that for 30 minutes every day since lockdown began, I’d be really good at it by now!’
If you’re looking for a big change in your life, you don’t need to dive right in and make that huge change immediately. Take tiny baby steps in the right direction and within a year or two you’ll get there.
You don’t need to sprint to the finish line right away, but you’ll never make it to the finish line if you don’t start walking.The Travel Hack
#3. Nothing is forever
I’ll say that again because this is a phrase I need to repeat to myself all the time. ‘Nothing is forever.’
I don’t mean that in a gloomy way, I mean it in a liberating way. Don’t be scared to make decisions because you’ll have to live with that decision forever. You won’t. Nothing is forever.
Just because you decided you wanted to be a nurse doesn’t mean you need to be a nurse forever. Just because you bought a house, it doesn’t mean you need to own it forever. Just because you moved to the other side of the world, doesn’t mean you need to stay there forever! You can come back! Just because you shaved your head, doesn’t mean you’ll have no hair forever!
I’m often scared to make decisions because I feel like that decision is forever. I mean, some things kind of are. I wouldn’t recommend waxing your eyebrows or anything because they really might not grow back! But you know what I mean.
You could train to be a photographer and then work as a photographer for five years and then decide you want to do something else. That’s OK. You could move to Australia and come home. That’s OK!
#4. Show, don’t tell
I see this a lot when people make the decision to change. They tell everyone about their big change but don’t necessarily do anything to make the change. Remember that talking about things doesn’t change anything. Change only happens when you do the thing!
#5. If you can’t stop thinking about it, you need to do it
Have you got something you’ve been thinking about for years? Something you obsess over? Something you talk to your friends about all the time? Something that makes you think, ‘Should I do that….? No, not yet….’
Well I’m here to tell you that if you’ve been thinking about it for this long then you’ll still be thinking about it next year. And maybe the year after. And probably the year after that.
Stop thinking about it and just do it!
The sooner you start, the sooner you can make that change happen.
#6. You don’t need to change your whole life
Even if the change you want to make is huge, you don’t necessarily need to give up your whole life immediately.
A lot of the people I talk to want to change something to do with their career. Maybe they want to start their own business or retrain to do something new. But many people are held back because they have a comfortable and secure career and they know it’s a huge risk to give that up. Well why not start a side hustle? Use your evenings and weekends to get started. Admittedly, it’s going to take longer to start a business if you’ve got limited time to work on it but it’ll get started much sooner if you start today!
You can incorporate your new change into your existing life without giving anything up. You just need to be dedicated to ensure you keep giving your new thing the time and energy it needs.
#7. It’s all about you
We all like to think that other people will be just as enthusiastic and excited about our ‘big change’ as we will be, but the truth is that most people won’t really care unless it directly impacts them. And you need to be OK with that. You need to be so excited and enthusiastic about your change that you don’t need the energy from other people to keep you motivated.
The people closest to you will give you support and encouragement but the change needs to come from you and you alone.
#8. Recognise procrastination
There’s obvious procrastination – like tidying your bedroom before doing your homework when you were a kid – and hidden procrastination where you convince yourself you’re doing something that will help your long term plan but you’re really just putting it off.
I’m a firm believer that you learn best through doing. No amount of research, reading, studying, courses or qualifications will give you as much knowledge as first-hand experience.
Sometimes you’ve just got to get stuck in there and get your hands dirty and make mistakes. I think you’re better spending a year making mistakes and getting it all wrong than spending a year researching how to get it right. Yes, you might start off on a stronger foot but it won’t be as strong as the person who has already made the mistakes firsthand.
#9. Don’t be afraid to fail
This brings me on to my final point which is often easier said than done. Don’t be afraid to fail.
We live in a world where everything seems to be perfect and everyone seems to know what they’re doing. We can use social media to make everything look perfect but we all know that real life isn’t like that.
I learnt to bake through so many failed attempts and so many horrible cakes! I followed the recipes and watched YouTube tutorials but they always went wrong! But I learnt from each and every horrible cake and eventually it just clicked!
#10. Listen to the advice of experts
While I say you shouldn’t get too hung up on researching and studying, I do think it’s important to listen to the advice of others and actually take it on board.
I’m currently learning about gardening and my mum keeps telling me I need to start and just learn as I go. There are so many variables with gardening and there’s so much you can’t plan or predict so you just need to get stuck in and try and then use all your failures to improve each year.
#11. You might be a bit shit when you first start
People come to me all the time and ask how they should start a blog and I always tell them to just set up a blog on WordPress and start publishing weekly posts. Stay consistent, keep writing and don’t worry if it’s shit. It probably will be shit. Everyone is a bit shit when they first start. That’s OK.
You wouldn’t expect a toddler to just up onto their feet and start running. You wouldn’t expect a young child to just get on a bike and pedal without falling off. You wouldn’t expect a new employee to walk into a new job and be perfect at everything on their first day!
So don’t expect to be perfect at your new thing from day 1.
#12. Mindset is everything
I’m not a mindset expert so I’m not going to go into much detail here – but I do know that mindset is so important and it’s something we have full control over.
Let’s say you started a cake business and you sold 10 cakes last month.
One person might say, ‘I only sold 10 cakes, my business is a failure and I’ll never make it work, everyone must hate my cakes!’
While another person might say, ‘Wow, I sold 10 cakes. Those cakes will have been such a joy for 10 families! That’s 5 more cakes than last month so hopefully I’ll sell 15 cakes this month. And then 20 next month! My business is growing slowly and steadily and that’s perfect for me to keep up with growth without expanding too quickly.’
I’m naturally a positive, optimistic person and I tend to naturally see the good in most situations. If you’re feeling negative about something, try and see if you can spin it into something positive? Even if you don’t fully believe it, ask yourself how someone else might see the situation. I’m pretty sure I’ve been in some situations I’ve thought were great but other people would have thought were terrible! It’s all about perspective and you can spin anything to feel like a positive or a negative.
#13. Get happy with what you’ve got
Now I don’t want to hold anyone back from making a change. If you feel that little itch to try something new then you’ve got to go for it because that itch will never go away.
But I do think that sometimes you’ve just got to sit down and appreciate what you’ve got.
Sam and I often look at new houses on RightMove. We start dreaming about something bigger and better with more land and more space and outbuildings.
But I regularly have to sit back and remind us both to enjoy the house we’ve got. We worked so hard to get our house exactly the way we want it. It’s beautiful and we’re so lucky to have it. Let’s just enjoy it without constantly wanting more.
#14. If you started a year ago…
I find it really motivating to ask myself, ‘If I started this a year ago, where would I be now?’
It can seem overwhelming and so far away when you think you won’t start seeing changes for a whole year.
Let’s say you want to get fit and you want to run a marathon but it’ll take a whole year of training to get there. A whole year! A year is so long. You just want to be able to do it now.
But think back to this time last year. March 2020. That wasn’t long ago. If you’d started training back then, you’d be able to run a marathon now.
Sunday 28th of March 2021
Hi Monica, I came across your blog while reading 10 reasons why you should buy a campervan. I'm 45 and been single now for 4 years after coming out of a 20 year relationship, no children. I'm just desperate for adventure and been thinking about buying a camper for a couple of year's. I'm not a naturally confident person so that's why I've been hesitating but I think I just need to do it give it a go, or another year will pass me by thinking and talking about it. I've been reading some of your blogs and find them inspiring. If you have any tips / links for good places to go in a camper for a girl on her own with a dog I'd love to hear them. Thanks
Tuesday 30th of March 2021
Hi Jayne, that's so exciting! Yes you should definitely do it. The worst that can happen is you don't really like it and you sell it again next year. I do know of a gorgeous campsite in Snowdonia called Llyn Gwynant. It's at the foot of Snowdon and it's next to a lake. They often have a pizza oven there and it's really sociable and lovely. It's my favourite place and is the first place I'd go with a campervan!
Friday 26th of March 2021
I completely agree that the name or even the layout of the blog doesn't matter. It's the content that matters and whether it has value to others. I love your blog, it proves to me that a travel blogger can also be personal and tell stories, which is what I'm trying to do. Thank you for the inspiration :)
Monday 15th of March 2021
I love all of this advice so much. My biggest takeaway from all of this is your assertion that we need to TAKE ACTION. We can ponder and study and plan and prepare all we wish - but as you've found - and I've found in my own mindset business for creatives - diving in and taking action will get you the furthest, the quickest. Keep being your most wonderful, honest and creative self Monica. You're a gem!