Even if you aren’t interested in investing the time and effort needed to create a high traffic website, a blog can still be a powerful self improvement tool. The web is an amazing medium, and a blog will help you build motivation while also serving as a container of knowledge.
Here are some ways you can use a blog to achieve your goals.
1. Track your development over time
One of the biggest benefits of a blog is the ability to track your thoughts chronologically. As I look through the archives of PickTheBrain, I can follow my stream of thoughts over the past several months. This reminds me to get back to goals that deserve more attention and to evaluate my progress.
A blog makes it easy to store ideas and articles with personal commentary. Although bookmarking services work great for saving articles, I tend to accumulate so many bookmarks that I rarely, if ever, go back to them. A blog is a more navigable and substantial way to track your most important ideas and bookmark articles that you really want to revisit.
2. Clarify your ideas through writing
The best way to determine if you understand a concept is to try explaining it to someone else. Similar to a journal, a blog forces you to crystallize your thoughts in writing. This clarifies the ideas floating around in your head and makes them more permanent.
The advantage of a blog over a journal is that your writing is read by other readers. This will push you to improve your writing ability and develop a better understanding of the subject matter. It also motivates you to keep making progress. When other people are paying attention, you don’t want to let them down.
One of the best ways to learn is to exchange ideas. Blogging is a great way to ask questions and learn from people who are knowledgeable. A small blog can actually offer a better venue for discussion than a large blog because it creates a more personal environment. Frequently, a comment thread will take on a life of it’s own that goes on to surpass the original post.
Using a blog to explore new ideas gives you the chance to learn from thousands of people you’ll never meet in person. By commenting on other blogs, you can participate in a conversation and share your expertise.
It’s easy to write down a list of goals, resolve to follow through, put the list in a drawer, and forget it after a week. By using a blog to chart your self improvement goals, you make yourself accountable to everyone who sees them. This is a great motivational tactic. Once people know about your goals, you’ll be forced to act on them or admit that you gave up.
You can also get support from readers with similar goals. This is useful for sharing progress and staying excited about new habits. When I posted about my experiment with the slow carb diet, a number of readers decided to try it too. The weekly progress updates kept all of us motivated to stick to the regiment.
Probably the most useful part of a blog is the feedback — when readers tell you how and why they disagree. Frequently, others will think about a question from a perspective that you never considered. This will help you find holes in your reasoning and develop a better understanding of the world.
Readers are a great source of knowledge. Every time I post a list of tips, readers leave twice as many in the comments that I wasn’t able to think of. By putting your plans and opinions up for criticism, you’re able to benefit from collective knowledge and learn much faster than you would have otherwise.