blogging Wellness Work

The Top 10 Lessons Blogging Has Taught Me About Life + Happy Birthday THM!

February 24, 2015

Happy birthday to The Healthy Maven!

I truly cannot believe it’s been two years since I launched this little blog of mine. It started as a way for me to escape my 9-to-5 and share some of my passions outside the working world, and now it is my working world. That idea still blows my mind.

I thought of a number of ways I wanted to celebrate, from videos to post highlights to photo montages, but instead I decided to do exactly what I did on day 1, write.

The Top 10 Lessons Blogging Has Taught Me About Life.I’ve blogged my way through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I’ve photographed, eaten A LOT, and travelled to some pretty cool places. And I’ve learned a lot along the way.

It may sound strange that opening your life up to the internet would help you discover more about yourself and teach you so many life lessons, but it’s the truth. As dramatic as it is, February 24, 2013 was the day I decided to change my life. My life will truly never be the same because of this decision.

Many of you have been following since day 1 (more like day 90 since no one knew about this space for the first three months…) and have watched me go from a somewhat confused 23 year old who hated her job and needed to chill out, A LOT to a slightly less confused 25 year old who turned her hobby into her job and managed to swallow one serious chill pill. And some of you may be stopping by here for the first time. Either way, I hope my experience can inspire you to take have a look at your own life and decide where it could use a change.

And with that, here are the top 10 lessons blogging has taught me about life.

1. Dreams are not dreams.

You dream when you’re sleeping. To create the life you want, you must be awake and working your butt off. People ask me all the time how I was able to turn my blog into a business and the truth is that I had the attitude that I needed to be working harder than everyone around me. My day-to-day may seem like a dream from the outside but in reality my days are often filled with hard-work, frustration and failures. And then there are days where I feel like I may actually be dreaming and I need someone to pinch me and wake me up. For the most part though, I am living my dream, not dreaming it.

2. Find your voice and use it.

For a long time I struggled with the idea that my voice was worthy of being heard. While I still at times wonder why the heck anyone would care what I have to say, I am too grateful for the platform that I have to stay silent. As corny as it may sound, I have the power to create change and I’ll be damned if I don’t use it. And guess what? You do too. There is absolutely no reason you can’t be a voice for the causes you feel passionate about. You never know who is listening and who might join you. Don’t let your self-doubt stop you from making a difference.

3. You can’t change people’s mind.

Just because you have a voice and are using it, doesn’t mean you can convince people to listen. I’ve spent way too many hours trying to and stressing over my failures at changing people’s minds. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and you (and I) have no right to tell them they are wrong. While it drives me absolutely bonkers when someone comments on a post that there are too many calories in a recipe or can I offer a low-fat substitute, I’ve learned to respectfully respond that I don’t count calories and focus on quality rather than quantities of fat . It’s not my place to lecture them on my belief systems. I can only hope to lead by example.

4. There is always more to do.

To-do lists never end. I can do my best to be as productive as I can be each and every day, but I will never do it all. There will be endless pictures to edit, stumble groups to submit to, and pins to schedule. If I tried to do it all, my life would be the blog and that’s not a life I want to live. I do what I can but make a conscious effort not to let the endless blogging tasks impede into my personal life. I’d rather sleep in and spend time with my man than be improving my newsletter or commenting on blogs.

5. Don’t force it.

In the blogging world and beyond there will always be trends that people jump on faster than a grenade. One person starts including blank in their posts and suddenly everyone has to do the same. Trends can be good and if you benefit from it then awesome but when it feels like you’re running against the current, it might be time to evaluate if it’s really that important. Initially for this post I wanted to film a video, but when I sat down to put together a script and set up the camera, it just didn’t feel right. A large part of me feels like I have to be doing more videos on THM and maybe 3-6-12 months from now I’ll decide I want to include them (or whatever the trend-du-jour is) but right now I don’t feel like stressing over something that is clearly being forced. THM won’t crumble because I chose not to run with the pack.

6. Don’t get wrapped up in the things and people that don’t matter.

You’re not going to like everyone and everything. And that’s okay. But sitting at home bitching about it won’t help you…ever. I’ll admit that I have at times gotten too wrapped up in the drama, but it has never gotten me anywhere. I’ve learned I’m better off brushing it off and purging my life of the people behind it than engaging in it. I stopped complaining about those negative, jealous and drama-filled people and situations and started to build the life around me that I wanted to live. You are the average of the 5 closest people you surround yourself with, so make sure they are awesome.

7. You don’t get what you don’t ask for.

This is the number one lesson I’ve learned in running a business. You have nothing to lose by asking. Many of the opportunities I have been afforded have come because I’ve asked for them. If you think that sitting at home waiting for people to come to you and hand you everything you want in life is your key to happiness, than you are in for a rude awakening. Work hard, ask for what you want and give in return what others ask from you. It works.

 8. Live your life outside your job.

You can’t appreciate how much you love something until you step away from it. In the same light, you also can’t see how much you hate something until you step away from it. Take breaks, embrace new experiences, be inspired by people and places outside your bubble. I work hard so I can play hard, and I play hard so I can work hard. Never forget the importance of having a life without an Instagram filter.

9. Just do it. 

I’ve spent most of my life worrying about the future. People would try to calm me by telling me that “life just works itself out”, however I’ve come to learn that they could not be more wrong. Life doesn’t just work itself out. If you’re unhappy in your life or want a change, then JUST DO IT. Nothing will change if you aren’t the driving force behind it. My advice? Stop ruminating on how much you hate your life, and do something about it. It doesn’t matter if you get it wrong. You’re better off focusing on figuring out what you don’t like and checking those off the list rather than trying to figure out your life purpose by tomorrow.

10. There is nothing more satisfying or rewarding than finding your purpose.

And if you do find your purpose, you will understand how absolutely incredible it feels and why the struggles are so worth it. I am completely overwhelmed when I read this post. When I started THM I had absolutely no idea I would be writing this post 2 years later. I wanted a place where I could share what I know, what I don’t know and what I’m learning along the way. To have found my purpose somewhere in between is one of the most precious things in my life. Don’t resign yourself to a life of unhappiness and void of fulfillment. It is possible to find your passion and make it your living.

Before I check out from the longest post of all time, I wanted to thank every single one of you who has been a part of this journey. Grateful doesn’t even begin to explain how I feel. To those of you who share your favourite THM recipes with your friends, comment on posts letting me know I am not alone, purchased my ecookbook or just been all around awesome, THANK YOU. I love you. That is all.


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  • Reply
    Erin @ The Almond Eater
    February 24, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Ahh Happy birthday THM! YES to #4. Well, yes to all of these, but especially #4 for me. I feel like my list is never-ending, but at the end of each day I make sure to spend at least 30 minutes with M just hanging out. It’s better than me stressing over a to do list and working until the wee hours of the night!

  • Reply
    Kate B
    February 24, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Happy birthday to THM! I am glad I came across your blog- I appreciate all the wisdom and the delicious foods!

  • Reply
    Cassie @ Almost Getting it Together
    February 24, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Happy Birthday THM!!! So thankful for your blog for bringing you into my life!! xoxo

  • Reply
    Maryea {happy healthy mama}
    February 24, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Happy Blog Birthday! You’re a wise woman–keep doing what you do!

  • Reply
    She Rocks Fitness
    February 24, 2015 at 11:00 am

    This is so awesome and inspiring…It’s amazing how much we learn from blogging. It is so rewarding, but it is never easy and is definitely frustrating, but the best part is how we are able to build a brand for ourselves that people truly look forward to reading on a daily basis. How cool is that? Congrats to you and all of your success…You ROCK!

  • Reply
    hayley @healthyregards
    February 24, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Yay! Happy Birthday to the blog! I can’t believe it’ only been two years, you have done so much with it!

  • Reply
    February 24, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Yeah, I feel so obligated to work on my blog 24/7! It’s so stressful! 🙁

  • Reply
    February 24, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Number 11- don’t be afraid to find your best friend on Tinder. AKA Fit Foodie Maven. HAPPY 2nd BDAY THM (and Leigh and Cara too :P)

  • Reply
    Ang @ Nutty for Life
    February 24, 2015 at 11:40 am

    HAPPY BDAY THM! Davida, I say this all the time but you’re such an inspiration. I’m so glad to have met you through this space. Blog on. xo

  • Reply
    Melissa Baker
    February 24, 2015 at 11:54 am

    This is so great. Thanks for sharing and congrats on your success!! I so believe in surrounding yourself with good people! 🙂

  • Reply
    Pip {Cherries & Chisme}
    February 24, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    Happy Birthday THM!! Number 4 = yes. Work in progress but just yes.

    I have to say (not sure if I have before) I always love how your recipe posts aren’t just recipe posts but also glorious snippets of life, laughter and wisdom! Soooooo much better than telling me how this chocolate cake will change my life (although I’m sure it shall) 😉

  • Reply
    Les @ The Balanced Berry
    February 24, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    Happy birthday to the blog! So exciting – I’ve been reading THM for a little over a year now, and it has been so awesome to see you and the blog evolve and grow. And I must say, you are navigating the crazy mid-20’s beautifully. Can’t wait to see what else is in store!

  • Reply
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl
    February 24, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Such wonderful advice and words of wisdom – agree with all of it!! Happy Birthday!!!

  • Reply
    February 24, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Happiest of Birthday’s to the THM!! You’ve inspired so many in just 2 years. I would’ve been so lost without your ‘How to Start a Blog’ posts. Thanks so much!! I’m enjoying the process but focusing on #5 and not forcing it. I aspire to inspire a fraction of the people you have Davida! 🙂

  • Reply
    February 24, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Happy two year anniversary. Love the tips, especially just doing it. Things don’t come to those who sit back and wait for it. They come to those who go out and get it. Well done.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Happy 2 year birthday – it really seems like just a couple of months ago that this blog turned 1 – time is moving way to fast!! Love the lessons you have learned from blogging. #4 is my motto these days!!

  • Reply
    Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen
    February 24, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Congrats on 2 years!!! Man how much things have changed in that time eh? You said it best in your lessons though: you’ve worked so hard for this and you should be so proud of the life and happiness you’ve built for yourself! 🙂

    PS. Let me know if you’ve got time for lunch in the next few weeks before I move!!

  • Reply
    Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health
    February 24, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    happy birthday to THM and cheers to many more years 🙂 its been a great pleasure knowing you. sending you virtual hugs!!!

  • Reply
    February 24, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    oh yes, so wise, so true, and always learning. I am so glad I found my maven! xxoo

  • Reply
    February 24, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    Happy Birthday! Can’t wait to have some time on my hands and cook up one of your beautiful recipes! xo

  • Reply
    February 25, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Happy Birthday. I stumbled across your blog about 3 hours ago and haven’t left it since! Your recipes, writing and photography are all incredible and this post is so inspiring.

    Can’t wait to dig through all your archives and start whipping up some delights. Thank you for sharing and I can’t wait for all your future posts.

  • Reply
    Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits
    February 25, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Davida!! Happy 2 years on the blog! I remember when I started reading this a year and a half ago! Always LOVE when you keep things real here. Love this list. Definitely a kind reminder of things I need to work on, like, relax once in a while! Many hugs to you!

  • Reply
    Sabrina @NutritiouslySweet
    February 25, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Aww congrats on the awesome accomplishment with your blog and that you’ve found your “niche.” It’s a wonderful thing 🙂

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Eat the Gains
    February 25, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    What an awesome post! I just started blogging and want to just share some healthy recipes and fitness to anyone that wants to listen. It’s amazing that you were able to make this your career!

  • Reply
    Parita @ myinnershakti
    February 26, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Happy blog birthday! So glad I randomly came across your blog. Here’s to many many more years of delicious food!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    I LOVE this post! So many great thoughts. Thank you so much for all your effort, creations, inspiration, and awesomeness 🙂 Happy birthday THM! Good luck for the next year!

  • Reply
    February 28, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    You rock girl. You’re proof that success doesn’t just come from luck or timing but hard work and passion. I’m so happy I found your blog and hopefully we’ll be able to share a glass of wine some day (you should totes do another Boston tour… in the summer of course)

    Also “Never forget the importance of having a life without an Instagram filter.” < yes. As someone who works in social media this can be SO HARD. But when I put my phone away and stare at someone's actual face it's wonderful <3

  • Reply
    Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves
    March 1, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    Happy belated birthday, THM! Ugh, you are seriously one of my biggest inspirations. Keep doing what you do— you’re doing quite well, I’d say 😉

  • Reply
    March 2, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    How true!! Happy Blogiversary!

  • Reply
    Ellyn @ In Fitness and In Health
    October 21, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    Wow, Davida, this post is amazing! I’ve been a long-ish time follower of THM but this is my first time commenting. I love it. I started blogging a little over a year ago much in the same way you did – an escape from the daily drudgery, an outlet to share my passion for group fitness and creating workouts, and I could not relate to you more as far as starting a blog and sharing your passion with the world.

    Thank you for being real. Thank you for being honest. Not to sound cliche, but finding your life’s purpose IS truly amazing. It makes you feel whole. I just wanted to stop by to say thanks for this post. It really resonated with me. 🙂

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      October 23, 2015 at 11:34 am

      Aw thank you Ellyn!!! I’m so happy this post resonated with you. Your blog is phenomenal! Congrats on how much you’ve done in just a year. It feels amazing to find your purpose and I’m so happy you’re on this journey with me 🙂 xo

  • Reply
    January 15, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    Hey Davida, Faith here. I just wanted to let you know how much this post resonates with me. I just recently started my own food blog, I’m currently 23, and to say that I’m not crazy about my 9-5 job would be an understatement. I find it super inspiring to hear a story that has a beginning similar to mine… one that has taken off so successfully like yours! It’s absolutely motivating – so thank you for sharing 🙂

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