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Success Advice

Stop Glorifying “Busy” and Sabotaging Your Goals



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When was the last time you spontaneously met a friend for coffee? If you’re anything like I used to be, you probably can’t remember when. You’re likely rushing from appointment to appointment, digital calendar and planner in hand… and you’re looking at least three months ahead if you want to squeeze a friend in. Am I right?

If I was to make a guess, I’d say you also probably aren’t working toward the goals and achievements that are highest on your bucket list, either. Somehow you haven’t found time between your job (your boss can’t do without you), your volunteer work (if you don’t do it, it probably won’t get done!) and everything else you’re supposed to be doing.

Being busy makes us feel important and needed. But by saying “yes” to everything, we are also actively sabotaging ourselves, our dreams, and our goals—damaging our mental and physical wellbeing and distracting ourselves from what we really, truly want. 

What is self-sabotage?

Self-sabotage manifests as any thought or behaviour that keeps you from achieving your goals and reaching your vision of success.

For many of us, being busy and focusing on checking off items from those to-do lists pumps up our feelings of self-worth while also distracting us from engaging in meaningful self-care practices. We block ourselves from achieving authentic success by committing to senseless, unfulfilling distractions, day in and day out. This often results in physical symptoms and exhaustion that don’t seem to have a direct cause. 

I used to be one of those people who were so booked up I had to schedule coffee dates three months out. I was always rushing from A to B to Z, crashing hard at night, and then doing it all over again the next day. I tried to be everything to everyone and I defined how good my day was by the number of tasks crossed off on my to-do list.

Although my bosses loved my proactive “get-stuff-done” attitude and I thought my behaviour made me super successful, eventually my body began to suffer. I experienced chronic migraines that derailed my life for days at a time. I was perpetually tired, and I was sick from nausea nearly every day. 

The final straw came when I was eating my third dinner in a row in my car. Surrounded by crushed-up napkins and nauseous with indigestion, I decided something really needed to change. Enough was enough.

“It is not enough to be busy. The question is: what are we busy about?” – Henry David Thoreau

Ditching Your Self-Sabotaging Behavior

Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that we are engaging in destructive patterns. This isn’t surprising, as often it’s our subconscious brain running the show. Although our conscious brain may identify a want or need, there is often a deep-seated subconscious barrier telling us, “This isn’t safe and I don’t like it. Retreat! Retreat!” 

But by becoming aware of this thought pattern and making a few fundamental shifts, we can break through this resistance and change our unproductive behaviour.

1. Schedule fewer events and stop rushing from one thing to the next

I know, I know, this is so obvious, but if you are an overscheduler like I used to be, you need to consciously figure out where you can leave gaps in your schedule. Actress Kate Walsh (of Grey’s Anatomy fame) refers to this as a “ventilated schedule” and I love that term. This practice is essential and yet it’s also not easy.

Make room for downtime in your calendar to recalibrate and reflect (Sundays work well for me), and then—most importantly—do not schedule anything during those times! If anyone asks you to do something or go somewhere, you can tell them that you have a prior commitment (which you do—to yourself!).

2. Only say “Yes” to things in alignment with your goals and values

Take one of those newly unscheduled gaps in your schedule and sit with yourself for a moment. What do you really, truly want out of your life? What goals do you want to accomplish? Are you taking on tasks because they are important to you, personally? Or are you taking on tasks because you want to make other people happy? With this new knowledge in mind, start saying no to the things that don’t push you along your chosen path.

When we say yes to everything that comes along, we are actually saying no to the things that we do want. We are dividing and diluting our energy instead of focusing it on our true goals. We can’t be our best selves and reach real, sustainable success. And being tired and overbooked ensures we are too busy to celebrate any successes we do achieve. You can help eliminate this problem for yourself by carefully considering where you want to invest your time and energy.

3. Recognize that being “busy” is a cultural problem, not your problem

Our society glorifies being so busy we can’t see straight. We celebrate endless checklists and exhaustion in the hope of being seen as productive and reliable employees, friends, volunteers, and parents. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and change starts with you.

Yes, people will push back on your new-found priorities, and you may even second guess yourself when faced with something that you’d normally say yes to. Trust me—unlearning our old habits takes time. I’ve been working on this for quite a while, and even I fail miserably sometimes! But I also know how to get myself back on track ASAP, and you can do that too.

From Self-Sabotaging to Self-Supporting

The truth is that we have to be our own biggest fans and supporters. Stepping back and slowing down is a life-changing exercise that will be your ticket to more fulfillment, happiness, and career success. And although you’ll still face plenty of roadblocks while working toward your chosen goals, you’ll feel more confident knowing that you’re not the one who put them there.

Alana Ruoso is a Success Coach for Designers and Creatives who know deep down that they can do better, but keep falling short of where they want to go. With humor and honesty, Alana shows them how to ditch the struggle, own their value, and move their career from vanilla success to spectacular triumph. In addition to 20 years of experience as a Graphic Designer, Art Director, and Brand Strategist, Alana is a Life & Executive Coach and is a Mentor with Young Women in Business and the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD). To work with Alana, visit, or dig into her success tips over at

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Success Advice

15 Essential Habits to a Stronger, Healthier, and Happier You

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What habits can truly transform your life? That’s what you’re here to uncover. In our no-nonsense guide, we’ll introduce you to 15 habits to change your life, each with the power to improve your day-to-day existence.  (more…)

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19 Common Characteristics All Visionary Leaders Have



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How to Choose the Best Affiliate Programs for Your Blog

If you follow these steps, you can create an affiliate marketing plan that makes money, fits well with your content, and connects with your readers



how to choose the best affiliate programs for your blog

Picking the right affiliate programs for your blog is really important. It can make a big difference in how much money you can make and how much your readers get out of your blog. With so many choices out there, deciding which ones to go with can be tricky. 

This guide is here to make it easier for you. It will give you clear steps and helpful tips to choose affiliate programs that fit well with what your blog is about, what your readers like, and what you stand for. 

For more articles on this theme, please head over to this blog

Understanding Affiliate Marketing

Before you start picking affiliate programs, it’s important to really understand what affiliate marketing is and how it works. 

Basically, affiliate marketing is when you promote a product or service on your blog, and then you get paid a little bit every time someone buys something or does something because you recommended it. 

It’s great for both the person selling the product and the blogger, because the seller gets more sales with low risk, and the blogger can make money from their blog.

How to Choose the Right Affiliate Programs for Your Blog

1. Assess Your Niche and Audience

The key to doing well in affiliate marketing starts with really knowing what your blog is about and who reads it. Consider the following:

  • Your blog’s content: What topics do you cover? Ensure the products or services you promote are relevant.
  • Your audience’s interests and needs: What solutions are they seeking? Choose affiliate programs that offer products or services that solve their problems or enhance their lives.

2. Research Potential Affiliate Programs

Once you know what your blog is about and what your readers want, start looking for affiliate programs. Choose ones that are well-known for good products, great customer service, and helpful support for affiliates. Resources to find these programs include:

  • Affiliate networks like ShareASale, Commission Junction, and ClickBank.
  • Direct searches for “[Your Niche] affiliate programs” in search engines.
  • Recommendations from other bloggers in your niche.

3. Evaluate the Commission Structure

The commission structure is a critical factor to consider. Look for programs that offer competitive rates that make your efforts worthwhile. Consider:

  • The percentage of commission per sale.
  • Whether the program offers a flat rate per action (e.g., per sign-up).
  • The cookie duration, which affects how long after a click you can earn commissions on sales.

4. Consider the Program’s Reputation and Sureness

Join affiliate programs with a solid reputation for quality and sureness. This not only ensures that you’re promoting good products but also that you’ll be paid on time. You can:

  • Read reviews from other affiliates.
  • Check the program’s history and background.
  • Look for any complaints or issues reported online.

5. Analyze the Support and Resources Offered

A good affiliate program gives you things like ads to use, training on their products, and helpful managers. Having access to these resources can really help you do a better job at promoting their products.

6. Understand the Terms and Conditions

Before signing up, thoroughly review the program’s terms and conditions. Pay close attention to:

  • Payment thresholds and methods.
  • Any restrictions on how you can promote their products.
  • The program’s policy on affiliate marketing on social media platforms.

7. Test the Product or Service

If possible, test the product or service before promoting it. This firsthand experience allows you to offer genuine charge and build trust with your audience.

8. Look for Recurring Commission Opportunities

Some affiliate programs pay you again and again for subscriptions or services that charge fees regularly. These can provide a more stable income compared to one-time sales commissions.

Implementing Your Choice

After choosing the best affiliate programs, the next step is to smoothly include your affiliate marketing in your content plan. This includes:

  • Creating valuable content that naturally incorporates affiliate links.
  • Disclosing your affiliate affairs transparently to maintain trust with your audience.
  • Tracking your results to understand what works best for your audience and adjusting your strategy accordingly.

Picking the best affiliate programs for your blog involves careful planning, research, and making sure they match what your audience likes and needs. 

If you follow these steps, you can create an affiliate marketing plan that makes money, fits well with your content, and connects with your readers. 

The real key to doing well with affiliate marketing isn’t just about the products you talk about, but also how much your audience trusts and values your advice. 

With enough time, patience, and hard work, your blog can grow into a successful space that earns a good amount of affiliate money and helps your readers choose the right products.

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