Never Stop Learning

Never Stop LearningToday I want to chat about a subject that is close to my heart, lifelong learning. Whether it's related to my career or strictly a hobby, I feel like trying new things is one of the biggest inspiration sources in my life. Learning new things makes me feel alive. Recently while Jeremy and I were working on this project, I paused and said to him, "See! This is the kind of stuff that makes me the kind of person I want to be!" 

Last year I read The Martha Rules, Martha Stewart's book of business advice (highly recommend). One of the points I took away from it was about lifelong learning. She makes it a very big part of her daily life, even in her seventies. How inspiring! 

1. Make A Secret List Of Dreams + Goals. 

When you're still figuring out your dreams, it's important to guard them from outside influence. There may be people in your life who genuinely love you and believe in you, but they might not connect with your dreams until they are a little more fleshed out. First step: Figure out your goals. Go to the park or the coffee shop alone. Make lists, start a journal, write down all your ideas and develop them to see where they lead! Lights2. Don't Let Others Choose Your Dreams. 

As I said above, you need to guard your dreams in their early stages. When you do share them with other people, don't expect a positive response 100% of the time. Some people need to see things to believe them. It's good to get advice from people you care about, but don't ever let someone else talk you out of trying something that you're dreaming of. It's your choice!

In my early twenties I had a lot of people who I cared about advise against business choices I was making. They had good intentions, hoping to see my choose a safer or more secure career. I am glad that I didn't take all of that advice, even though I listened. I let it challenge me and help me ensure I had my ducks in a row.

Similarly, outside influences can discourage hobbies if you let them. When you start a new hobby, chances are you won't be very good at first. That's a big part of learning. Don't let anyone discourage you from pursuing a hobby that you enjoy! 

3. Do Something You Never Thought You Could. 

There was a time when I thought I could never run a mile without stopping, now I enjoy running as a hobby. There was also a time when I thought I could never make money at photography without doing weddings, but this year we finished a book about photography inspiration! Sometimes, when you are just beginning something, it seems impossible. Sometimes you don't see doors that are going to open later on. Do that thing that you never thought you could do and just see what happens!Yellow Mums4. Build A Support System. 

You need friends who share the same passions as you! If you don't have friends in your local circle who share your interests, look online. Through the years I have made so many real and meaningful friendships online. I have people who I can talk to about my weird hobbies and my business, people who I trust and respect. Whatever your hobby or interest, you can find friends who share the same passion. Just keep your eyes open and try joining online groups that fit your interest. You'll be able to provide each other with encouragement and information to keep learning! 

5. Give Yourself Permission To Start From Scratch. 

Maybe your dream is to do something you are already doing, but in a fresh way? I have felt this way many times though the years about my own photography. Sometimes the best way to learn is to start from scratch, forgetting everything you've learned in the past. It can be so refreshing to clear your mind and try to restart your dream with no rules, no clutter and no expectations. Try it! ManuscriptI've learned so much this past year. This year I plan to keep un-learning and re-learning about the things I am most passionate about. Learning and growing is a key to staying creative. What have you learned this past year? What do you plan to explore in the new year? xoxo. Elsie

  • Very nice post.
    All my life I have been a good student but with not that much enthusiasm for learning which was something I associated with chores or other boring stuff. It took me 2 major life changes – grad school, and moving all the way to Brazil to start the real fire in me for learning. I just want to know everything and anything and try new things until the day I die. I see my 93 year old grandfather surfing the web, reading news and sending e-mails and I feel so impressed. I only hope to be so curious still in his age.

  • It all used to be so overwhelming as I wanted to know it all by “this time” next year. I no longer think that life is running out and that helps me pace myself with acquiring more knowledge. I couldn’t agree with you more on the don’t share your dreams with everyone front. It works best when YOU KNOW, and that YOU BELIEVE, because YOU ARE the creative with the vision. Trust in that and trust your instincts because those who create stuff or do creative things for a living are not like everyone else. You are unique! Believe it and stop looking for others to believe it too.

  • Lovely post! This year has been full of learning about relationship, and what that looks like within marriage. When you talk about “un-learning” things, it is definitely something I have had to do over and over again in my first full year of marriage. It also was a year for learning I can do what I never thought I could! I ran my first 5K (I actually burst into tears at the end) and learned how to snowboard. I have always been quite confident in my more creative skills, but I have never been athletic, so pushing myself to learn and develop in “sports” was a huge learning experience. This year as I start a small business, it is that same feeling of “you can’t do that” that I am struggling with. But smaller victories encourage larger challenges.

  • This is so inspirational. I have been sitting at my computer working on my blog for the past 3 hours and becoming more and more inspired. This definitely was the icing on the cake. Being 21 years old and very ambitious, I learned this past year that I don’t have to figure out my future right now. This year, I want to make solidify my dreams and start making them a reality. I will definitely keep this in mind as I set up my goals 🙂


  • this post was just what i needed. lifelong learning is so important for a happy life.
    i’m taking you up on your advice and planning a coffee date with myself to figure things out 🙂
    xo, cheyenne

  • This is a really great post. Your first two points flesh out something I’ve felt, but never been able to articulate, especially when I am starting new artwork. Thanks for sharing, and inspiring. 🙂

  • Thanks for this inspiring post! It also gives me confidence for the future. I think this attitude can help not to get stuck and bored…

  • Elsie, this is a great post! So inspiring and very motivating! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Smiles and all the best,

  • It’s been years since I’ve made a NY’s resolution. But this year(well, on the 31st) I made some resolutions. Your blog has inspired me to be more, do more and enjoy it all in new ways. Thank you for being MY inspiration. Have a great 2013!

  • Hi Elsie, I totally understand what you mean about learning knew things. Throughout the years I’ve had people trying to talk me out of learning or doing new things in, “if you are not going to make a living with that then what’s the point?”. I’ve never listened thank God! There is something amazing about learning something you didnt know you would or could, a challenge, a new perspective.

    Since 2008 i’ve been wanting to start a blog and never did for being scared of what people would think or judge me. Finally last december (2012) I did and had to learn a lot about photography, html, and photoshop for the first time, which I completely loved. Also I bought both your Blog Love and Blog Design courses…amazing! They helped a lot! I’ve enjoyed the process so far and hope to carry on. Just wanted to let you know how your post resonates with my life experience 🙂

  • This post really inspired me, I love seeing other peoples opinions on how to live life to it’s fullest.
    It’s even better to see someone so sucsessful reccomending to live by things I already follow. I love it. Your blog always makes me smile, Elsie. (:

  • What an inspiration this post and you two ladies are. I always come here for the best inspirational pieces and love everything you do and share. Best wishes for 2013!

  • I love the advice about keeping your dreams secret. It’s true that some of the people who love us the most are the type that need to see it first, before they get it. Great advice!

  • I adore this post. It’s very inspirational. Makes me want to do something great.


  • Thanks so much! I absolutely agree. Actually, I just posted a ’30 before 30′ about things I want to do before turning 30, and almost all things there are about learning something new or learning more about something I’m interested in. So yay for lifelong learning!

  • Hey Elsie, i just wanted to mention that your wedding story appears in the next German MollieMakes in March! I was happy when I saw your picture in the preview for the next issue.
    Greets from germany, keep up the good stuff!

  • Never!!
    Lovely inspiration, we need to read and study all the time.

    gorgeous mensage


  • that was really inspiring. There is this one thing that I want to do this year that I don’t know about. They seem so close, yet so far. I started my goal from scratch and I have gotten WAY BETTER. Like you said, I completely forgot everything I learned before. I am learning faster than I did previously! Thank you so much for this wonderful post!

  • I’m lucky that I am a librarian in a public library. People come to me with scraps of info about things, and I get to explore information with them! I’ve learned about snail farming, crazy bits and pieces of Alaskan history, shark facts and antique clocks this year. It’s amazing. I also get to host crafts for different age groups, and get to experiment with techniques and tools I might not have gotten to use all by myself!

  • I love this! So inspiring! I like the idea of having a list of secret goals & dreams. I think I’m going to write that up in my journal. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • This post could not have come at a better time (refer to Tip #1)! I’ve been in the process of trying to start my own business and finding like-minded, inspiring and creative people has been a tall order, to say the least! ABM always seems to perk me back up and keep me powering through! Keep up the good work ladies!!

  • this post is useful, insprirational and full lots of encouragement. the best new year post I’ve ever read for 2013.
    love and hugs!!

  • This is a wonderful post, and really helps with some of my upcoming decisions. Although you’ve written this in response to a creative career I feel that is really applies to my choice to live/work abroad. Most people don’t really understand my choice of long term travel, and are puzzled by my choice to place exploration over stepping straight into a career after college. But as you said, I’ve listened to those that have reservations without letting myself lose my passion. So basically thanks for the reminder of how important it is to stay true to who you are.

  • I read this post yesterday and it definitely stuck with me – as I get older I’ve noticed that I take less time to grow myself spiritually and creatively. It’s so important to remain open-minded and adapt and constantly challenge yourself to be a better you. You + Emma are a huge inspiration and have taught me a thing or two (or 10!), so thank you for sharing what you’ve learned with us!

  • Such a great article and right on target. Last year I discovered my passion for jewelry making and writing, both in which I hope becomes a full time career someday. I keep my husband and bestie close as they are a great support system but joing a social circle with those that have the same interest sounds awesome so that is def something I’ll be doing this year. I also agree with unlearning and learning again as I am doing that with jewelry making and it’s definitely paying off. Thanks again for the great article. 😉

  • This post couldn’t have come at a better time…#2 was so eye-opening to me. I’ve been contemplating (and researching) a new DSLR camera, and it hasn’t been very well received (mostly due to the expense of such an endeavor). But your thoughts on continued learning, dreams & goals was exactly what I needed to hear…I’m going to do it! Thank you Elsie for sharing!


  • My grandfather’s motto was just that…I remember him saying at 83 years old that he tried to learn something new every day. 🙂

  • Beautiful post Elsie and perfect for the New Year. I love the journaling idea. I think often I have an inkling of what I’d really like to do but its not fully fleshed out yet, but note it, keep it in your head and you never know when a new piece of information or a new opportunity will help it all click into place.

  • Great words of advice and inspiration! Thank you so much.

    I feel the same way about life long learning, it energizes and motivates me to be the person I want to be too!


  • Great post! Very inspirational for the new year. xx

  • Very isnpirational post! and since a couple of years ago I am giving permission to myself to explore new things, working in different stuff from my professional career… and I am very happy!!

  • Fantastic advice, Elsie. It’s encouraging to know we’re all in the same boat when starting something new and how important it is for us to each keep our dreams safe. Thanks 🙂

  • I learned that I can finish an abstract painting if I really want to (

    I learned that I will never stop learning new things about writing and that what I do is actually good and worth publishing 🙂

    In the new year, I will learn to make my blog better (

    I will also learn to take better photos, make bread at home, make a life photo/scrap album, paint with acrylic paint, combine my clothes better and finish a second book. Aaaaall of it! 😀

    Thanks for the post! It is really inspiring!

  • thank you for this post! my friend has followed a passion and a plan and started a business. she asked me to write and “manage” her blog. i had always loved writing but had only done so for myself. i had also always been interested in blogging but didn’t feel i had a “voice”. while i still have these feelings…i am at least TRYING and that is where i need to be comfortable right now. thanks for the encouragement!

  • Great post. I’ve always tried to follow my dreams but I’ve let too many people stop me, I’m working on that.

  • A nice post to wake up to, thank you Elsie! I definitely think that life-long (especially self-directed) learning is an important part of growing. Looking forward to lots of learning and growing in 2013! Best wishes and Happy New Year!

  • such valuable information, thank you for sharing this!

  • thank u so much, this is very inspiring. i talked to many people about my dreams, at first i was excited, then i realized too many advice and comments killed my dreams. i stopped dreaming. but reading this has sparked fire in me. thank you!

  • Lifelong learning is part of my work! So, I totally agree with you!

  • Thank you for this post! I just began my own blog, so 2013 will be a year of work and exploration. A Beautiful Mess is one of my daily inspirations as I push forward towards my blogging goals. Happy new year!

  • So inspiring!

    My rule is ” More action, less thinking” because sometimes we’re our worst enemies when we think we can’t do something. And this year, I won’t do my new year purpose list, i will do my past year goals list. I encourage everyone to do this to start positive and strong 🙂

    Have a happy new year (i’m sure you’ll have). Hugs,

  • After reading so much about resolutions and plans for 2013 I have to tell you yours were the first that really caught my attention, finally something to really think about not only for the New Year, but for the others to come! Loved it!

  • This is me to a tee! I am continually learning, reading, trying new things and hopefully growing with it.

  • This post is so inspiring! Great tips, I’ll be bookmarking this page and looking at it when I need advice most 🙂


  • Thank you for the inspiration! Just what I needed to start my year out strong 🙂

  • My dad infused he belief that you never, ever should stop learning and I have always taken that to heart! So this blog post makes me extremely happy! Great post!

  • I love love love the way you think. I’ve read a lot of resolution-ey type posts this week and this is a breath of fresh air. Thank you.

  • first of all, i adore you. you are SUCH an inspiration to this young, crazy dreamer. i 100% agree with guarding your dreams. my family thought i was completely nuts for saying i was moving to africa, but i did it- and they’ve seen it fits for me. it’s not their ideal place or direction for me and it took time to convince them, but once they saw what i was doing, they were proud. i guess if you’re not a dreamer, it’s hard to understand.. and when you’re a dreamer, you tend to be sensitive as well. i totally need to grab my notebook and start planning out what it’s going to look like when i get back to texas for good. thanks for that little nudge. to listen to my own judgement and trust it is something that’s been a huge lesson for me this year.

    i’m a photographer and plan on practicing a more documentary type of family photography that has been my style all along, but i’ve limited myself to “what is popular and what sells” in the past. no more. i’m so excited to start developing my style and learning new techniques.

    totally connected with this post, elsie. can’t believe i wrote so much bc i never comment. thanks for being so real:) xo.

  • Thanks Elsie, I always love your posts, but I especially love when you share reflections and inspiration like this!

  • Thank you for such great advice, especially for the new year. Your insight will help me to keep learning, especially for the future!

    May your new year be faith filled and full of love,

  • thank you for sharing this. really, really good advice – i’m going to find a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop tomorrow and start scribbling away. here’s to 2013 *clink*!

  • So true–learning is such a great way to improve yourself and can open up so many opportunities.

  • I am grateful that your blog exist! Everytime you post something inspire me and encourage me so much to not shutdown on my own dreams. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  • Thank you for this post. It was just the note of advice I needed to read for the phase of change I’m in. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and growth and inspiring everyone!!

  • this is pretty much what i’m going through. Although I’m not starting my business yet… (there are still some works to do!) but you could say, I’m kind of odd man out ha! And its just until last year I finally found someone who share the same passion as I do and it definitely made me feel a lot better! 🙂 Someday, I hope to be as successful as you! 🙂

  • This blog seriously just keeps getting better and better. I love what it has turned into so much inspiration in this tiny space. I love the warm heart you have that gives so much to others. I hope you have a very blessed year

  • Thank you for posting this! It’s exactly what I have been needing to read. The good thing about the New Year is that we’re all reminded of the possibilities that we have in our life… the trick is figuring out how to work them in! Lifelong learning is something that I appreciate!

  • You have no idea how much I needed to read this. I have been feeling like I’m missing something in life lately, and I can’t ignore it. I am a dreamer, a goal maker, a list person…the rest of my family is not. That’s not a bad thing but you are dead on that you should not share premature dreams with just anyone. Yesterday I felt crushed and unsupported because I did choose to share what was on my mind (wish I would have read your advice first!). After a pretty much sleepless night, I headed to Panera for a private coffee, brainstorm sesh. I have never felt better. I decided it’s my life, my passions, my dreams. Thanks again for your insight on this 🙂

  • this is a fantastic post, thanks 🙂 i’m an actress by profession and i’m sure you can imagine the comments and thoughts other people feel the need to share with me. it’s taken me awhile but i smile and thank them and move on. on new year’s eve, my first ‘big’ commercial ran during one of the popular countdown shows and of course everyone was so excited and talking about how i’ll be a star – some of them the same people who dissuaded me from the career in the first place! i think as long as we are listening to ourselves and following through on those ideas, there’s no way to lose 🙂 i also love the part about coming at something with a fresh perspective. such an uplifting piece!

  • I have a couple goals this year. I want to really try to re-vamp my photography and scrap booking and make it really, really ME. I get so inspired by so many people (which I love) but a goal of mine is to find my own style.

  • This is just what I needed to hear to motivate me to get my own business up and running! i know mum and dad won’t take it seriously, but maybe after I’ve earned some money, I can let them in on it and they will be proud 🙂

  • Aaarrrgh this is just what I needed! A topic very close to my heart. To be an eternal student is something that’s important to me. I don’t feel like myself when I neglect all my little hobbies and interests. I have also just started thinking about some new ventures – I was feeling very inspired about my ideas a mere week ago, but, somewhat ironically, I’ve been losing faith in myself since the new year hit. So this post was quite timely. Thank you!

    xx Michelle

  • Lovely post Elsie – thank you. So true about building a support system – if friends do not share same interests, then get them online…so wise, really in this Blogging world. Life is all about the process of learning, and also change. I have learnt not to shy away from change, and as a result it enriches my life….thank you again for this very insightful and inspirational post.

    Happy 2013!!


  • No one will stop learning! At least, I hope no one will stop learning! It’s what makes us who we are. Learn different things and new things will come from that!

    Great story, as always!!

  • This was a very inspiring post…thank you!

    My secret dream, that I’ll put out there for all of blog land to see, is to learn to play the trumpet. I am in my mid-30’s with 2 young kids and work from home…my trumpet research tells me that an hour of practice, minimum, is necessary to become remotely proficient. I feel that no one else would take this seriously as an achievable goal, and I guess I can see why, but it remains something I fantasize about daily. Wouldn’t it be amazing if I could post back this time next year that I got started on making my dream come true??

    Thanks again for the inspiration and reminder that it really is okay to dream big.

  • You are awesome – thanks for this post – needed to read today!! It’s so easy to get discouraged from trying something new but you never learn anything if you don’t start somewhere 🙂

  • Thanks so much, I really needed to read this today! I definitely fail tragically at both 1 & 2. Whenever I have a new idea or goal I tend to share it right away with my family, but no one ever seems to “get it”. Then I’m second guessing myself before I’ve even gotten started. Before I realize what I’m doing, I’ve made a ridiculous list of excuses and have given up without even trying. How sad that I’ve never made the connection before now… Oh well, Here’s to a more productive 2013!

  • My husband and I are starting a new adventure this year. I’ve been wanting to for so long but I’ve been too nervous about what other people will think. And that’s lame!! Why do we do that? 😉 Not anymore though…we are going for it, come what may 🙂

  • this is great. I connect with this post on so many levels. I graduated college in 2012 and (unlike some of my friends who chose “more practical” majors that got them jobs with benefits right out of college), i’m still trying to sort out my dreams and find ways to share and profit from my passions.this is something that some of my friends (who aren’t in the arts) have a hard time understanding. thank you for this!

  • This is amazing, and so many of these things hit home with me. I also find myself discouraged and even embarrassed of what I want for the future, simply because others think it’s “dumb” or “just a bad idea.” This is very inspiring and I’m definitely going to get to work on something to put down and prioritize my ideas. Thanks so much!


  • Happy New Year! I have been contemplating this exact topic lately. To help with this goal, I’m finding more ways to squeeze in small tidbits of learning, like watching video lessons on YouTube and adding fun fact blogs (like Mental Floss) to my blog reader.

    Best wishes!

  • Great post!! I’ve been feeling the same way lately- wanting to learn so may new things! I’ve been in school the past nine years and have devoted so much time to my career, and I haven’t had time left to devote to personal growth. But I’ve now graduated and have so many new avenues that I want to pursue! This past year I took a photography course and plan on taking sewing, kitting, and Photoshop classes (to name a few :)… in the next few months! I’m so excited!!

  • I absolutely love this! Lifelong learning is a huge part of my life as well. Making year long goals is something I did last new years, and it worked out amazingly! Just did a post on it on my blog and I am so amped for the upcoming year. I love your #365project and might try to take a stab at that as well.

    thanks for sharing!
    xx Nathalie

  • I wish more people would embrace lifetime learning! I was talking about ballet one day and a friend said, oh, I wish I could learn to dance. I said “Why not??” If I had the money and the time, I would take SO many classes. As it is, I try new things, but slowly and by trial and error. It amounts to the same thing.

  • Needed this, Elsie! Especially the parts about guarding your dreams… You are so inspirational. Can’t wait to see what else you and everyone at ABM have in store for 2013.

  • Awesome post! Keeping a list of secret goals and dreams, that’s incredible advice! I find myself getting frustrated and down right angry when met with resistance. Keeping it in my heart until Im ready seems so simple, yet I never would have thought of it. I tend to get super excited and blurt it all out 😉

    xo the Rebel

  • This is such a great post. Thank you for it! I have learned I can really do what I love! I absolutely love seeing people’s face light up when they see something I’ve made.

  • What a great post! Funny because my brother and I were just having this conversation early this morning how investing in yourself, be it learning is the best thing for you!

    There’s always more to learn. Lots to learn about everyday. I love that about life. Learning always inspires me.


  • I love all your posts about business advise. You gals are great <3 thanks for existing 🙂

  • I really love this. I am at the point in my early 20s where I am never quite sure what I am doing. Its always enjoyable to read something like this!

  • Excellent post – I know a lot of people who are quick to put a downer on aspirations & life plans and it makes a big difference to your attitude! Plus I’ll take any excuse to buy a new notebook and go to a coffee shop for a few hours…

  • It’s wonderful that someone who’s so listened to is passionate enough to talk about this. I think our generation especially has forgotten about pursuing knowledge – we just want to be entertained all the time!

    This also makes me realize I have no idea what I’ve learned in the last year! I clearly need some reflection! Happy 2013!

  • So inspiring! Thank you for the encouragement. I feel like my goal list of dreams is too big and far reaching… but it’s really not, if i just take it one at a time and keep learning! Wonderful post!

  • This year I’m gonna learn how to start my own blog! I want to blog about natural hair in The Netherlands. Thanks for the inspiration and insights…

  • This is a really nice post… thanks so much for sharing.


  • Great post. Sometimes hearing others not believing in my dreams is really difficult. But it’s great to know many others are experiencing the same thing 🙂

  • Love this post! So inspirational! Thank you so much for sharing. I defintely want to ‘learn’ a lot this new year 🙂

  • Very inspiring post. I’m just about to finish school and at current have no real plans for next year or my future. This post has inspired me to take a leap of faith and consider starting my own blog next year. Its reassuring to know that acting on dreams can be successful 🙂

  • I love this! Lifelong learning is so important, and I think that It’s the way to find success.


  • This is really inspiring for me. Just a little poke in the right direction!


  • HI Elsie,

    Thank you for a lovely post. I especially love points 1, 2 and 3.

    I’ve learned so much in the past year I wouldn’t know where to begin but I think that to trust myself and my abilities has been a biggy. Also that sometimes, you’ve just got to jump.

    Oh, and that I can live without dairy for a month!

    I will be learning how to be successfully self-employed and to please myself a bit more amongst many other things no doubt.

    What things will you be concentrating on?

    Happy 2013, it’s going to be a good one!

  • I am a firm believer in continuing to learn throughout my life. Learning is so exciting and opens up so many possibilities. This year I am going to learn about sewing and screen printing so that I can make things and then print my art on them. I’m super excited about this! Do you have any other book recommendations regarding business? Also, any ideas on online groups to meet other like-minded creative people? I really need that right now. Thanks for your inspiration, as always 🙂

  • Great post! I recently read about an 85-year-old man who graduated from a degree at university. Never stop learning! x

  • Everything in the post is so true. Only you can managed your dreams, and only you know your boundaries and when you can cross them. Only you know what you want, truly from the heart.

    Great post, and very useful and inspirational for this time of the year when we are all thinkinh about our goals for this new brand year.


  • love this post! With everyone talking about resolutions lately I’ve been thinking of the year ahead and what I would like to accomplish! Love the part about keeping your dreams to yourself, for the beginning at least, it is easier to process some ideas that way, for my anyways!

  • This i a great post full of hope! Great! 🙂

  • I LOVED this post! More like this pretty please!

    When I told my Dad i was going to design my own website (which i had never done before) he said
    ‘why do you think people get paid to do that stuff?’

    well here it is

    Only half of it works ;D but i’ll get there!

  • That is really great and inspiring post. I wish you only the best. Have a nice day.

  • Elsie! You’re so inspiring! This post really encouraged me this morning as I am currently “starting from scratch” with what i love to do. Coincidentally, today was also the day I was choosing your blog as one of my favorites, so cheers to you and Emma!

    Sage&Scarlet has nominated you for the Illuminating Blogger Award! If you dig blog awards, you can click the link below to find out all about it. If you don’t dig blog awards, that’s ok, too. Just know that she thinks your blog is awesome.

  • This is perfect, and exactly what I needed to hear in this moment 🙂 I’m in the middle of a rebrand process, and I’ve found this time around to be super personal – less sharing about what’s to come or my new plans for projects, and more one on one conversations with myself. Encouraging ones 🙂 thanks again for taking the time to write this. And for the book recommendation!

  • Thanks for recommending the Martha book. I’m in the process of doing the exact same thing with my photography right now..unlearning to relearn. Great post happy 2013

  • I’m a former teacher (only 4 years in the biz before I was taken out due to budget cuts). But that was at the top of my feature white board “You never stop learning, so deal with it” Even though the sign was a bit sarcastic and I did get complaints from parents about it, the sign worked really well with my history classes, and the kids responded to the sign very well. Especially when you put into real life context (My art, jewelry making, etc).

    My mother and I are going to be taking weekend painting classes together at the local community college. We’re artsy people through and through.

  • This post was perfectly timed for me Elsie.

    I have recently been thinking about the topic of continually learning through life as I graduated from Uni in the latter of 2012 and started a new job. As soon as I left education I knew I would miss some aspects of learning. Maybe not writing the essays or sitting exams but learning new things and enjoying it. I decided to take an interest I had had for a while (years actually) and turn it into an enthusiastic hobby – photography! I’ve been loving it but struggling to continually improve and discover new ideas and techniques. I’m also trying to grasp some of the science behind it (I’m still struggling with this aspect more than the others ^_^).

    Your post today has hit the nail on the head with my ponderings lately of not giving up and trying to better myself and my skills. You’re so right in saying that it takes time but to not give up.

    Thanks for an awesome post.

  • This is what I love about the new year – a sense of new beginnings, and obtaining dreams! I always enjoy your inspirational posts – food for thought:)

    Stephanie May*

  • What a brilliant post – it’s so hard at the start of the year, you feel almost like you’re being forced to think of new things to do that you can tell other people you’re doing – rather than telling people what you really want and really dream of because it can be scary to open up.

    Sometimes it’s brave to figure out the dream and how to get onto that path, but if you don’t try you’ll never know what you are truly capable of.

    Beautiful post.

  • I loved this! My passion is lifelong learning – literally! It’s my dream to get my PhD in English and and history. Still working on the Bachelor’s degrees first though, haha. Thanks for the inspiration to keep going on it though. 🙂


  • This is all very good advice! I spent many years as a graphic designer but felt disillusioned and lost working in agencies where I was pigeon-holed so, when my twins were born three years ago, I took the opportunity to not return to work and build my own business based around my other passions of writing and making things. I enjoy this immensely, but feel ready to return to my graphic design roots an incorporate it into my work now I’ve been away from it long enough to feel fully refreshed.

  • I love the advice about keeping your goals to yourself for awhile. It really does help you develop them yourself without someone else pushing you in their own direction!

  • Wow this couldn’t have been a better time to read this post! I’m glad you pointed out a fact that it’s okay to keep your dreams private I recently shared one of mine to a friend who was less than encouraging. :-/ it was a bummer but this post has just renewed my excitement. Yay!

  • This is super inspiring! This blog has really helped me to think about challenging myself to become more creative in my everyday life, so I’m embarking on a 365 photo challenge this year. Seeing the daily photos you and Emma take reminds me that there is something unique about each day, and it’ll be great to be able to look back over a year of individual moments next January!

  • Great post! I must pick up The Martha Rules book, thank you 🙂
    This year I learned to stand up for myself more in my business. And ask more questions.

    Turquoise Flamingo

  • Great advice, Elsie! I wholeheartedly agree!

    Especially on point no.2 – Not letting others decide your dreams. It’s not always easy, especially when you’re young and at school. I was in a situation where both my teachers and my parents were pushing me to take math or science to another level when all I wanted to do was anything and everything creative. Thankfully determination won out otherwise God knows where I’d be.

    My biggest critic for taking a creative path has always been my Dad and even when I became passionate about my jewellery line (and was doing the hard work to go with it!) he always brushed it off as a hobby and nothing would change his mind… until a few weeks ago when I the Christmas shopping period was more successful for me than I ever imagined!!

    Even the people that love you the most sometimes need to see it to believe it, but hey-ho, just another person in a long line that you need to keep pressing on for. As long as you keep believing, your dreams are still out there! 🙂

    Sophie | onetenzeroseven

  • Great advice! This year I have found out that, while family always have good intentions, they can put a damper on your goals. By keeping them to yourself they can grow and change with you.

  • This is such an inspiring post! xxx

  • I loved this post. These are things we think to ourselves sometimes, that we shouldn’t let others or ourselves stop us from dreaming and taking the steps towards our goals but it’s always good to hear it from someone else and be reminded that you can always work for your dreams no matter your age or knowledge. This year I want to learn guitar and I’m a beginner photographer. Sometimes, when you’re JUST starting out, it can be the hardest because there is SO MUCH that you don’t know and SO much that you waaant to know so bad already!! Baby steps:) Thanks Elsie and ABM
    Tess Lynn

  • What a wonderful post going into the new year. I love the note about starting from scratch, I did this recently in my line of work (I’m a performer) and it helped me grow faster than ever! On other notes, I learned I have to go to Springfield next week for work. I’m not a huge fan of traveling for this job but in this instance I am flying in a day early so I can visit Red Velvet! You are still allowed to buy yourself things after the holidays, right??

  • I love this! I think there is so much out there about dreaming and having goals that are vocal, but I find that the more I say them out loud, the more I have people in my life who are haters – even though they love me and really do want the world for me – and I start to second guess my thoughts.

    I now need to take the time to make my own dreams and have them with me for a bit to marinate.

    All this, in addition to always learning!

  • Great words to read at the start of a new year! Thanks for the inspiration! Sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in a rut and discourage yourself from trying new things, especially when you fear your friends and family’s opinions. It’s nice to have a pep talk to motivate you!

  • I am learning about the magical world of fiber art and I am going to continue it this year too! Hoping to start up a business selling and exploring and learning about how to make it an environmentally conscious endeavor. 🙂

  • This is great that you are talking about your experience with trying to figure out what was best for you when getting advice from others. Because at this moment in my life I’ve been struggling with no one really believing or encouraging my thoughts and ideas. I’m always shot down even by parents because they are trying to be realistic and take a safer route. But this really encourages me to stay confident with my choices! I need a little inspiration once in a while, i mean dont we all, but a little belief from someone other than myself and this post kind of keeps that hope burning. Thanks for touching on subjects like this(:

  • Thank you so much for this post. As I was talking to my boyfriend the other night about my 4 Simple Goals for 2013. I said one of the things I cherish so much about life is the opportunity to learn on a daily basis. I was thinking of ways to approach my new set of goals and intentions and I will for sure read this book by Martha Stewart.

    Thanks! Happy New Year ABM<3

  • I love the idea of keeping a secret list. My other half is always nosing at my sketchbook when I’m jotting down ideas, and doesn’t understand why I sometimes feel uncomfortable telling him what I’m doing. It’s nice to incubate ideas all by yourself sometimes, just in the first tender phases 🙂

  • This is such a simple and encouraging post. I’m going to pin it so that I can come back to it when I need to remember these words 🙂
    I think the first point is a very good one – I am good at talking in an over-excited way and blurting things all out. When I don’t get an enthusiastic response, I feel discouraged. Need to take a step back first and get some ideas down properly – thanks! 🙂

  • Such an inspiring, lovely post. I think life-long learning is important. It keeps us sane and aware of the things around us. You have given us some wonderful tips too, I love that. Good luck! xoxo

  • Thank you for this post. So much to take in and process but simply written. You truly inspire me! 😉

  • I love this post so much! This is exactly why I started blogging-to inspire myself to try new things and learn new things. Thanks for being such an inspiration Elsie!!

  • I agree with this post wholeheartedly, I think learning something new every step of the way is so important if you want to grow as a person. I also agree that it’s important to keep goals to yourself until they’re well developed xx

  • This was really inspiring thank you! This year I am deciding to pursue baking full time. It is one of the things in life that gives me the most joy and so I am going to do something about it!

    Thank you!

  • I took myself on a wee artist date today to ponder these very things over a cappuccino.

  • I can’t wait for your book to come out!!!

    Love issey

  • This post could’ve have come at a better time. I’m 21 and still figuring out what my dreams are. Thank you for these inspiring words. I will definitely bookmark this for future, maybe even put the points on a inspiration board!

  • As always, very inspiring! 🙂 I just closed down a blog I had for seven years to make a fresh start, so I can’t wait to work on my own goals and dreams in the months to come. A post like this will definitely help me on my way 🙂

  • very inspirational, for me at least…. a great great written, you said”I’ve learned so much this past year.” yes , truly , no matter how , we all learn…

  • Thanks Elsie! It’s been really hard for me to go against everyone’s expectations but it’s good to know you went through that and now you are so satisfied, happy and succesful.

    Happy 2013!!!

  • really great post.. I especially love #1. I would have never thought to keep my thoughts so secret, but now it makes such perfect sense.

  • I love how you talk about lifestyle learning and un-learning old things to restart. I used to feel weird for being interested in so many things but I’ve come to understand I just love learning. This year I want to run a race which is a first for me, so I’m a little scared but think it’ll be a good thing.
    Catherine Denton

  • This is inspiring, I can’t even bring up more words. I love this post, thank you.

  • This is such a beautiful and meaningful post! I really enjoyed it!! Your words are incredibly inspiring. Definitely words that hit close to heart. Things we all need to hear every now and then. Thanks for sharing.

  • I love this kind of post that you write, Elsie. They are so intimate and from your heart, that means a lot to me.
    Thank you.

    This year is gonna be a huge challenge. 🙂

  • I have learned to be patient in my career! IN this new year i plan on exploring more creative thing and thinking outside the box!


  • Thank you for this!!!! This post is so inspiring. I hope you guys are having a wonderful day.

  • Wonderful post!
    It has encouraged and inspired me, just as reading your blog always does. 🙂
    I have learned that making time for myself;carving out a portion of the day that I can get my hands into something and be creative, even if it is only 15 minutes on busy days, is vital. It gives me so much energy and joy. Even when I only get a few minutes, those few minutes are the fuel that I need.

  • This year I have learned how to be healthier and to take good care of myself 🙂

  • Thank you so much for being such a powerful voice of reason and inspiration. This post may have been one of the most personally touching that I’ve read on ABM (not that I don’t LOVE everything posted). But, this one gave me a lot to think about, especially when I’m constantly trying to hold onto dreams and not settle and not listen to those who don’t believe. Thank you, Elsie.


  • Thanks for that…It was beautifully written! I love knowing that someone out there thinks the way I do. Very inspirational.

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