2020 Resolutions

We made it to a new decade! Send me your discount codes and deals for laser eye surgery, I am prepared for 2020 jokes for the next 366 days.

This also means it’s that time again! As December winds down, I actually start feeling a bit of pressure to be intentional with my annual goals, but I also really look forward to it. I think it’s because I am taking the time to think about what kind of person I want to be and what specific ways I can become that person, even if some of the changes are harder to quantify. While I don’t have a great track record of accomplishing many of my resolutions, I like setting them at the beginning of the year as a way to guide my intentions for the rest of the year, to gently nudge myself towards who I want to be.

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I really liked my resolutions from last year, even though I wasn’t great about keeping them, so a lot of them will carry over this year. I was also really inspired by Rachel Miller‘s Q4 resolutions and will be incorporating many of those as goals for the year as well.

2019 was such a big year for me, but with so much in transition, I am ready for take on 2020 with a lot more intention. There are a few big themes for my resolutions this year:

Improve my relationships. 2019 was a big year for my relationship with my significant other, and I want to continue working on that relationship as we come up on one year of marriage. Being very focused on that relationship did come at the expense of many of my other relationships, especially because I moved away from my friends and family that I was spending time with. I’d like to shift some of my relational energy back to my network. I also want to be able to let go of grudges and people who have drifted out of my life for one reason or another.

Let myself feel at home in New York. Partly because I was so busy with the wedding and maybe partly because I unconsciously was afraid to put down roots in case something happened and I would have to leave, I haven’t really felt like I have become a New York resident. I still have boxes! My dressers are still in the state they were when I hurriedly threw clothing into them so that I could try to reduce the number of  boxes. We have yet to replace the furniture that was damaged during our move. And I haven’t done most of the things I was so excited to do upon moving here. Even little things like not scheduling doctor’s appointments here yet (which is something I often advise people to do, so I’m a hypocrite for not doing so as well). That changes this year, and it will require a lot of energy and effort but it changes this year.

Of course, improving myself is the big theme of all resolutions and goals, isn’t it? I am going to work on things that will make me healthier physically but also mentally. Not get in my way so much. Not be so afraid of failing… or of succeeding? Not letting my need for control be a facet of my personality.

So enough prattling, here we go!

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Lent 2019

Happy Shrove Tuesday / Fat Tuesday / Mardi Gras / Pancake Day / Paczki Day / celebrate indulgence with your Catholic friends day!

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Behold: paczki (pączki), full of goodness and served by your local Polish baker

My Lenten tradition of quitting a bad habit has a lot to do with how I build habits. Even though I abstained from a formal Lent challenge last year, I described why and how I started observing Lent as a tradition in my 2017 post:

Although I am not Catholic, I have been observing Lent in my own way for the past few years. Lent is the third time at the beginning of the year that I check in on how I am doing with my self-improvement (with my New Year’s resolutions and Chinese New Year reflections being the first two). I take a look at a bad habit that I really want to address and abstain from it. Completely.

What started as a show of solidarity with my Catholic friends has become an honest admission of a bad habit I have and a commitment to doing something about it in a way that works for how I motivate myself.

This year, I am giving up mindless social media scrolling. While I wish I could give up social media altogether, like I did back in 2011, the main reason I’m not doing so this year is that many of my friendships are sustained via touches on social media. Sending memes and animal videos is a big part of maintaining friendships in this day and age, and more so now that I’ve moved to New York and am unable to see most of my close friends in person anymore. I also find a lot of my conversations with friends happening in Direct Messages in a social media application that I’m extremely hesitant to ghost on.

The problem with how I use social media isn’t that I have conversation threads with people across multiple apps. The biggest problem isn’t even my likes-chasing when I post content. (But that is a problem.)

It’s the zombified state I fall into when I’m scrolling my feed just to scroll. It feels almost like I’m dissociating; I am numb and barely thinking when I scroll Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I am just grazing on information, registering it the minimum amount, and still draining myself a bit mentally. I don’t feel good when I do this, and my partner actually has to physically separate me from my phone when I get in the zone scrolling. (To attempt to put a positive spin on this: I no longer have to have my laptop shut on my dissociative Tumblr-scrolling days anymore…)

My rules for using social media during Lent will be:

  1. No scrolling at all if/when I open a social media site: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram in particular, and includes autoplaying Instagram Stories
  2. No searching for content to discover, in particular Twitter Moments and Instagram Explore
  3. I am still permitted to post original content myself: posts, stories, tweets
  4. I am still permitted to interact with friends in Direct Messages
  5. I am still allowed to interact with friends’ content, but I can only discover that content intentionally
    • E.g. I wonder how my friend X is doing with their new cat, let me check their Instagram to see!
    • If, when I go to X’s profile, I see that they have also posted a Story, I can check that out

The big rule is NO SCROLLING. And if I keep posting content myself (like for the March Disneybound Challenge, which I’m barely doing, or my arbitrarily started March Mask Challenge), NO CHECKING for digital approval. The big goal is to use social media with intention, to close the app not feeling like a shell of a person but more connected with my friends, both my IRL friends and the Internet friends I only have because of these apps.

TL;DR This year, I am giving up mindless social media scrolling for Lent.

Many of my friends also like to incorporate an additive practice to Lent, taking this time to not just abstain from a bad habit but also to embrace a good habit they would like to practice more. One of my co-workers even does “Reverse Lent”, which is based on this concept and culminates with him and his friends sharing what they have added to their lives at the end: many pies baked, a long-neglected room finally painted, a blanket that was knitted over the course of the Lenten period.

So, in that vein, I will attempt to do some additive practices this year as well. My goal-setting may be getting a bit ambitious here, but I am much better at rising to a challenge for a finite amount of time than I am with keeping my resolutions, so it’s worth a try! I will be trying to work out every day of Lent. (Whether I will use those Sundays that Catholics typically do not include in the Lenten period as rest days remains to be seen…) As a backup goal, I will also be committing to doing my skincare every day of Lent. I tend to fall into a lazy routine of just splashing water on my face and slapping on SPF in the morning or moisturizer at night, but I want my skin to look great on my wedding day and I know I have the tools to make that happen. Plus, it’s good for me to take some time and do a routine, to step out of my thoughts and pat my face and do something for the sake of being kind to myself.

Are you observing Lent?
Is there anything you think you could cut back on, and if so, would you do better with moderation or abstinence?
How are you doing with any goals/intentions you’ve set for yourself for this year?

2019 Resolutions

Where would this blog be without my ambitious annual resolutions posts? As much pressure as I put on myself with both publishing them and trying to keep them, I truly do look forward to writing them and love looking back on them.

With the setbacks I dealt with this year, it was very disheartening to realize I was not keeping my resolutions that I was so excited about at the beginning of the year. Still, in light of all the good that happened, despite all the bad, I have to just dust myself off and try again.

Here’s the short and simple list of resolutions I will be keeping in 2019, with my long-winded explanations to come in a follow-up post later this month. I’ll try update this list at the end of year to see how I did with these resolutions, too!

(Note: I would like to add a little more polish to this post as well, so stay tuned for some spiffing up here and there.)Read More »

2018 Resolutions

It may be halfway through January already (?!) but it’s never too late to set resolutions and intentions for the year! My most cumbersome but most personally valuable posts on this blog are my beginning- and end-of-year blogs, with the resolutions post kicking off the year with ways I can bring myself closer to the person I want to be.

2018 Resolutions: photo featuring a hand holding a sparkler above water

Last year’s resolutions focused a lot around making concrete plans to do things that I’ve been making resolutions for over the past several years. I didn’t check all those boxes off, but I know that specific goals are easier for me to achieve than vague ones. By the end of 2017, I found myself formulating  new concrete goals, some of which were not even considerations at the beginning of the year. Here are the ways I aim to improve myself in 2018…Read More »

Resolutions 2017 Check-In

Happy Independence Day, to those celebrating the Fourth of July! Please be sure to observe this holiday safely, as it is a very scary holiday for many of our loved ones, like vets and pets. 

As strange as it seems, we have officially passed the halfway mark of the year. I thought now would be a good time to check in on some of my resolutions, especially because I specifically wanted to check in and adjust some of the goals I set in January at this time.

Let’s start with the concrete resolutions:

I resolve to read at least 15 books in 2017, as I believe I can find the time to read more than one book per month given my success this past year.

According to Goodreads, I am on track to meet this goal, as I am currently working my way through my 12th book this year. I was actually a little bit concerned about reaching my reading goal because I spent so much of the first half of the year working laboriously through the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Each volume is so thick and took me so long to read that I was worried I’d fall behind and spend most of the year reading them. I forgot how voraciously I read when I’m really engrossed in a serial story like Martin’s!

I resolve to maintain this schedule. At the very least, I am trying to go one full calendar year on this schedule, so let’s hope I make it to February!

With the exception of my mental health hiatus, I haven’t done too badly with the schedule this year! And I did make it to February and the full calendar year of posting on schedule, so I’m really glad for that. I’m jumping back into the posting schedule right now and I hope I can stick with it.

I resolve to put my pride aside and seek help learning to lift, whether that means asking one of my friends/coworkers to teach me or investing in a personal trainer.
* Halfway through the year, I’d like to have a specific goal weight to be lifting.

Ah, the resolution that I knew would give me trouble. I haven’t quite gotten around to hiring a personal trainer yet, but I think it’s because I’ve been adjusting this goal mentally. I am much more interested in just… doing good form push-ups than lifting a barbell right now, so I’ve shifted my energy over to that as my goal. I am still strength-training, and that does involve weights, and I do often have people helping me check my form, but lifting as a primary strength-training activity is no longer my goal.

I resolve to run one mile, without stopping or walking.
* Halfway through the year, I’d like to have a specific time to be running.

I actually achieved this a few months ago! I don’t run very often, and given that I wanted to increase my stamina via cardio, I do need to run more. However, back in March, I managed to run an entire mile without stopping to walk, and that was a huge accomplishment for me, even though it took me almost a full 10 minutes (literally it took me 9:59?). Then, I did it again just a few days later, and I was faster then. It was one of the little ways I could feel myself getting into better shape. Unfortunately, I had a small hiccup in my fitness routine (wherein… I wasn’t doing much of it at all…), so I probably cannot currently run an entire mile without stopping. I’ll have to get back to it but I think I want to put a realistic goal of an 8-minute mile and a more ambitious goal of 7 minutes? (The 8-minute mile, while not particularly impressive, would be a big feat for me, so that’s what I’ll be aiming for!)

I resolve to be able to perform a full split.

OOPS I have definitely dropped the ball on this one. While I stretch when I work out and feel myself getting a little more flexible, I am not in splits territory at all yet, so I need to refocus on this goal so it doesn’t get left in the dust for another year.

I resolve to cosplay at a fan convention this year.

I DID THIS! My AwesomeCon recaps are coming right after this, so stay tuned for those, but I am so so so happy to have accomplished this. It was even better than I thought it would be.

I resolve to give a present a full-length talk to a large tech audience.

This is going to be really tricky. I still don’t know what subjects I am confident enough to talk about to a tech audience for an hour. It would be good for me to try to figure this out, as I really would like to start speaking at tech events more. However, this was a super ambitious goal so I’m not extremely confident I’ll achieve it by the end of this year.

I resolve to buy lunch no more than twice during the work week and dinner no more than three times a week – including weekends. I also resolve to have at least one or two evenings per workweek where I am home by 6PM.

Admittedly, this has not been going great. I can only chalk it up to poor planning, as far as the meals go, as well as just a bit of a lack of energy after a long work day and a hard workout. I’ve started getting myself back on track with this lately, so hopefully things will be better for the second half of the year! However, I am staying home more days this year, and I’m really relishing it. While I don’t come home at 6PM very often, as I try to put in a few extra hours when I am able so I can take other time off, it is still nice to come home from work, instead of stopping at another event first. The FOMO is slowly fading away.

I resolve to not let my piles live in my home for longer than one week at a time, even more preferably no more than four days.

Okay so… this has kind of been a failure, my piles have gotten a bit out of control. I plan to take advantage of the federal holiday today and sort them out, and I really hope I am able to follow through with that plan. I still have a pile (contained in a storage box) of my birthday party supplies that I really need to sort! And I don’t want to talk about my clothing pile, aka The Pile. Ahhhh I need to get that sorted out, it stresses me out.

… and that wraps up the concrete resolutions! You know, I’m doing better on these than I thought I would be, and I think that this post is just what I needed to kick my butt into gear to try to achieve the rest of them before the year is over.

Now, onto those wibbly-wobbly abstract resolutions:

I resolve to push myself to continue trying, even when I am not improving as quickly as I’d like, and to be more strategic so that I can improve faster.

Sigh… I don’t think I’ve really been pushing myself to do this, and it’s disappointing to acknowledge and admit that. I push myself with fitness now, but I don’t think that’s any excuse for me to not push myself in other areas of my life. It seems like it is, because I am tired afterward, but it’s not. I need to do better here.

I resolve to work to improve the quality of the art I put into the world as a service to myself and to others.

Unfortunately, I haven’t really felt like I’ve done this either? What are the arts I’m even putting out into the world? (I haven’t gone to karaoke at all in 2017?!) This is something I don’t know how I feel about, but it’s not a good feeling, so I will have to take some time to think about how I can turn this one around.

I resolve to make my health a priority by scheduling healthcare appointments with the necessary providers when needed and for checkups.

2017 is the first year I’ve been fully in charge of my own healthcare, having switched over to my employer insurance and getting off my family plan. But I have tried to take this in stride and this has meant a lot of doctor’s appointments. Luckily, nothing bad so far! A lot of follow-ups but that’s not bad either. I am just making sure I’m healthy from a lot of different perspectives. I do have some concerns and I’m not quite sure how I’ll feel if I get those checked and followed-up and there isn’t something diagnosable. It just means… I feel unwell and the doctor can’t tell me how to feel better? But there is nothing serious going on, it’s just small visits and a lot of little bills. I still procrastinate scheduling things (and sometimes paying the bills) for days or weeks but, in general, this has been a bigger priority for me.

I resolve to make myself heard when necessary and not to let potential discomfort and disagreement prevent me from having a voice.

This is so hard. I found myself facing how hard it is yesterday at work, because things were being said that I wasn’t comfortable with and I had to be really un-fun to address it. In the workplace is the hardest place to do this, and unfortunately it just seems to be getting harder. I’m also trying to do this in little ways like speaking up when I’m at a restaurant and the food is straight-up bad, or if someone shoves past me in a line. A lot of times when things like the latter happen, I am too shocked to say something fast enough, but I am working on voicing it. (So that lady who used two hands to push me aside on the escalator the other day? I have words for you!)

… the abstract goals are the hard ones. Because it’s hard to check them off a list on December 31, but it’s very easy to feel that you haven’t achieved them at all. Still, I make them every year because it’s important to keep in mind what kind of person I want to be and what kind of mindset and intentions will help me become that person.


It was a little harder than I thought to take a hard look at my progress with these resolutions, but it was good. I feel reinvigorated to achieve my goals and to become the person I want to be.

How are you doing on your goals and resolutions?
Do you have any tips for me on the ones that I’m slipping on?