Real Food Whole Life

What I Wish I Had Known When I Started Blogging: Real Food Whole Life Turns Three

Whole LifeRobyn Downs6 Comments

The month of March brings many things. The promise of spring. The hope of warmth. Of light. Of a brand new season.

It also brings the anniversary of Real Food Whole Life. 

As with past anniversaries (year one, year two), today I’m taking a few moments to reflect, and sharing the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

Photo: KLiK Concepts

I hope you’ll find this list applies, whether you’re a blogger or not. It’s about trying new things, letting go of fear, and wandering the path of self-belief.

But first, a thank you.

Whether you’re a brand new reader or you’ve been here since the beginning, thank you. 

Thank you for your notes on blog posts, for your emails, for joining the newsletter, for connecting on Instagram and in our Facebook community.

For making the banana bread for your kids. Or brining the salad to your work potluck. For trying a real food slow cooker recipe for the first time.

For reading posts that aren’t just about food--but this whole life--about beginning (again) or letting go of perfect.

For helping to build a community who craves real food and a whole life that is full of joy, of kindness, and so much light.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Here’s to another year.

xxoo, Robyn

Photo: KLiK Concepts

Photo: KLiK Concepts


1  I Can Do Hard Things

There’s a folder on my Google Drive labeled “I Can Do Hard Things.” 

The folder is there to remind me that what often holds me back from growth is fear. 

Fear of trying something new, of taking a risk, of looking foolish. 

But every single thing in that folder is worth doing, and the note is there as a reminder. 

I owe it myself to at least try. 

Here’s the short list of those hard things from the Past year:

 1 | Published stories, recipes, and photos in a print magazine.

2 | Made progress in understanding my autoimmune disease.

3 | Cooked on tvTwice!

4 | Turned my real-life system for meal planning + prep into a digital product, Real Food Fix, to make the process possible for anyone.

5 | Filmed a video (gah!!!) to share details about Real Food Fix.

6 | Started getting real in posts that aren’t just about food.

7 | Created the Real Food Whole Life Facebook community to more purposefully connect with you.

Takeaway: So many things we tell ourselves we cannot do are actually well within reach. Make your own “I Can Do Hard Things” list. Then pick one. You can do it. I believe in you.


2 | Good Enough is Good Enough

One of my mantras these days. Let good enough be good enough.

Put another way: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the done.

Or another way: Done is better than good.

I know, I know, it’s counter to every perfectionist tendency you may have. 

But if perfectionism--or some lofty ideal of what ought to be--is holding you back from making progress, then it’s time to embrace good enough is good enough.

It’s an idea I wish I had wrapped myself in much earlier in this process. And something I'm still working on every day.

When it comes to photography, or writing, working out, or meal planning. Good enough is good enough.

Takeaway: What are you not doing because you can’t do it perfectly? Can you let good enough be good enough? 


3 | It’s Not a Failure, It’s an Experiment


Oh yes, this is something I so wish I had known at the start.

If you write a blog post and no one reads it. Or try a series that never gains traction. Or share your heart and hear crickets.

These aren’t failures. They are experiments. 

A simple mindset shift here can make a world of difference, and I wish I had embraced this way of thinking sooner.

Take a careful look. What’s working? What’s not?

Then try again.

What’s working? What’s not? Then repeat. Again, and again, and again.

Takeaway: Is there a time recently when you've tried and felt you failed? Can you switch instead to thinking of the failure as an experiment? Can you make some changes and try again?


4 | 1% Infinity

When I first started blogging I wanted everything right now

Better at photography, better at recipe development, better at growing an audience, better at garnering engagement.

And I wanted it all right now.

1% infinity is the idea that huge goals are the cumulation of hundreds of small steps (thanks to Bjork Ostrom from Food Blogger Pro for sharing this concept--you can listen to more here).

Approaching any goal with the 1% infinity mindset takes the pressure off. 

Nothing has to happen right this very minute. 

As long as you’re taking small steps every day. Keep rolling the snowball down the hill and gaining momentum. Growth will inevitably happen.

Takeaway: What are you struggling with that you feel has to happen right now? Can you take the pressure off and instead use the 1% infinity mindset to take small steps each day?


5 | Finding My Voice


In my first year of blogging I had no voice. I wrote generic posts, for a generic audience, that could have been written by anyone.

The posts had no voice because I was afraid to be myself. Or maybe I wasn’t even sure what my voice was.

In truth, it was probably both.

When starting something new it’s easy to lose yourself in order to be just like everyone else.

Which is fine, at the beginning, but probably won’t take you very far. 

It certainly won’t be very fun.

As I start year four of Real Food Whole Life I’m looking forward to sharing more of my voice, of my heart, and of my truth. 

Takeaway: Can you bring a more honest version of yourself to the work you do? Can you show up in life a little more true to who you are instead of doing it like everybody else?


6 | Build Your Castle Carefully


Put another way: Don't build castles you don't want to live in.

I’ve been saying this a lot lately.

It means taking a step back and making sure the steps you’re taking today are leading to a place you actually want to be in the future.

For me that means carefully managing the pull of the blog + business against my commitment to my family and myself.

It means creating a life I like living right at this very moment. 

And it means being careful not to think life will somehow be different in the future if I’m not working to create the foundation based on what I truly value.

Takeaway: What are you building toward? What steps are you taking today that create the life you actually want?


Thank you again for being part of this community. I appreciate you and I want to hear from you! Who are you and where are you in this process? What do you want to see more of in the next year?