Practicing Patience?

How do you become a patient person?

I have been reflecting a lot on what kind of person I am and where I can improve. I think I’ve been pretty good about a lot of things I’ve wanted to work on as a person. Right now, the one thing I really lack seems to be patience.

I just… snap. And I do it more often than I’d like. I find myself doing it most often with the people I care about the most: members of my family, my significant other. I am a fairly defensive driver, but I am extremely prone to yelling (with my windows up) at aggressive drivers I share the road with.

This is something I’ve been pretty aware of lately, but I’m not sure how best to address it. I find myself catching myself snapping and immediately regretting not having taken a breath before saying something mean.

So how do you become a more patient person? I thought I would try a simple “count to 5 before you say something” type of trick, and it has improved things… a bit. But I feel this frustration bubbling up inside of me, and it finds its way out via some kind of verbal outburst. It doesn’t help that I’m the kind of person who just has a really strong desire to say what I have to say. That desire is the root cause of other undesirable habits of mine, like interrupting people or talking really fast without pause because I have a lot to say and I want to say all of it before anyone else tries to ruin my momentum by saying what they have to say.

(Maybe I need to revisit that self-improvement resolution about me talking less. It seems these are related areas of self-improvement.)

Being patient has never come super easily to me. I was always a very precocious child, and I didn’t like to wait. Heck, I will straight-up skip a line for the bathroom because I just hate waiting in lines. (My bladder is frequently forced to suffer as a result of this impatience.) (I do not recommend this, I think it’s bad for your health.)

But how do I slow down just enough to remind myself to… slow down? I’m still not sure. And really open to any advice.

Lent 2017

Happy Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, and Pancake Day to any and all who are observing!

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.

I’m the kind of person who has a difficult time doing my vices in moderation. I had to quit chips for an entire year in order to get myself to stop eating them by the family-sized-bag-ful.

In fact, giving up chips was a Lenten initiative a few years ago. (Before I sank into chip addiction and had to give it up without waiting for Lent to come back around.) Lent has been a great way for me to seriously tackle habits of mine. And it works. Really well.

  • I actually struggle to inhale chips the way I used to.
  • I don’t watch nearly as much television as I used to, and I am a child who was partially raised by television. I used to keep time based on when my shows were on. Luckily, I was too lazy to catch up on 6 weeks of shows for the multitude of shows that I was watching in 2015, and I haven’t caught up since. It’s a little crazy to think about how addicted I was to watching all of my shows and think about how lazy I am now with regards to television.
  • I blog on a regular basis now, thanks in part to attempting to do so regularly during Lent.

This year, I wasn’t sure what to give up for Lent until last week. I have been trying to work out and be more active. Along with that, I’m also trying to eat a bit healthier. But I did have a pretty bad day where I ate the leftovers of an appetizer sampler that consisted of mozzarella sticks, chicken tenders, and onion rings.

Basically, I inhaled a bunch of deep-fried food. And I felt absolutely sick to my stomach afterwards. Regardless of how healthily you are or aren’t eating, I think that eating that much fried food in 2 minutes will make you want to throw up.

So I decided it wouldn’t be a terrible idea for me to give up fried food for Lent this year.
Goodbye, deliciousness.

I don’t feel as apprehensive about Lent this year as I have in past years, like when I was giving up McDonald’s and chips, or when I gave up television but had to let myself have 3 shows to stay keep me company.

However, I do realize this will be a challenge. Many of my favorite foods are deep-fried:

  • Potato chips! (Goodbye again, my loves.)
  • Yeast doughnuts! (Cake ones are fine, but those fluffy yeast ones are where it’s at.)
  • Chicken McNuggets! (You know what’s better than 20 for $5? 40 for $9.)
  • French fries! (’nuff said.)

But I think that going without these deep-fried bits of deliciousness for 40 days and change (I didn’t know that Lent doesn’t include the Sundays when I started out) will be good for me.

I will also be abstaining from swear words during Lent. I prefer not to swear at all, and yet somehow I wind up doing more and more of it until the next year’s Lenten period rolls around. So this year, no swearing during Lent and hopefully none afterwards either!

Do you give up anything for Lent?
What’s a vice you need to cut back on, if you’re more of a moderation

Better Than Before (2015)

Gretchen Rubin is perhaps best known for her book, The Happiness Project, where she details the little ways you can actively make yourself a happier person. In line with this idea of being mindful and conscious of improving the quality of your life is Better Than Before, which is about habits.

Why did Rubin focus so much on habits? She talks a lot about how our habits make up who we are, at the end of the day. These are the actions that we do frequently, reliably, dependably. What are we but the sum of our habits, good and bad? Habits are really powerful because good habits help us be the person we want to be and bad ones often are obstacles to us achieving that goal.

I’m going to go into some issues I had with the book before covering what I really liked.

TL;DR – While nothing Rubin says is revolutionary or particularly novel, and her approach to encouraging habits in other people comes off as really pushy, I really admired her thorough investigation and categorization of personality types and how best to form habits for those types.Read More »

2014 Resolutions – Goals & Aspirations

It is that time of year again. You already know what it is, I am the kind of person who requires a list goals to keep myself on track. Let’s get this party started.

Concrete Goals

This is my list of achievable, measurable goals. By the time December 31st rolls around, I will know whether these were completed or not.

  1. Find a new full-time job. I delayed entering the real world because I worked in the research lab that I was at for 4 years as an undergrad for the first half year of me being graduated. That job was making me unhappy, and it was no longer aiding in my new career goals.
  2. Clean my room. Hahahahahaha okay I’ve given myself a year to do this, it should work out, right? This mostly means that I need to
    1. Organize my clothes and books
    2. Throw out a lot of things I have been hoarding
  3. Move out. I think I will need to move out and be on my own again, soon. Getting my room in order will likely help me with that. I don’t need to do this ASAP, but it would go hand-in-hand with getting a new job. Sometime this year, I should move back out.
  4. Post 50 blog posts. I have really enjoyed blogging more regularly again. I’m going to aim for about one a week, so, with any luck, I should have no less than 50 posts by December 31.
  5. Read 30 books. This will be tricky, especially if I don’t have a designated commute time to read books.But I do miss reading and I should try to set aside some time for it. (I anticipate not being able to do one a week.)
  6. Win NaNoWriMo. “Winning” means that I’ll have written 50,000 words between November 1 and 30. This year’s effort didn’t go very well, because I hadn’t given much thought to it until November 3. Next year, I’ll develop my story a bit more and try again.
  7. Full. Split. I completely dropped the bomb on this resolution this past year. That’s frustrating but I learned my mistake: Not only do I need to set a concrete physical goal, I need to have in place a training plan to achieve it.
  8. Get 700+ on the GMAT. I should really think about taking this test if I want to think about applying to business school. I think a score in the 700+ range should leave me in good shape to worry about other admission considerations besides GMAT score.
  9. Wake up by 8 on weekdays, by 10 on weekends. Admittedly, this is primarily so my parents get off my back about me sleeping in and “when I was young, I woke up before dawn because I had a dream and I had to have it!” but I should get my life together and stop wasting away my daylight hours. This may help with my oft-failed resolution of not sleeping too late.
  10. Read The Little Prince in French and Chinese (and Russian?). I would like to really work on my language skills this year. Le Petit Prince is a book that I have loved for a long time, but it’s also short and has relatively simple language. To be able to read it in other languages without having to refer to a dictionary AND while being able to fully understand everything I read would be great. (This book may be changed depending on if I find one better suited to this goal.)
  11. Drink no less than one liter of water a dayAnd perhaps other non-dehydrating beverages, but I primarily drink water and nothing quite quenches my thirst like water. I have been working on this one for a while and I do drink more water than I used to, but there is more room for improvement. I know that humans get a lot of water in food, but this is specific to me ingesting water in water form.
  12. Eat at least one full serving of fruit and one full serving of vegetable a day. Last time I put this resolution down, I knew it was not enough and I was called out on it. But so many days pass that are so carb heavy with nothing more than maybe burger or noodle toppings to pass off as vegetables. I need to more consciously incorporate fruits & veggies into my diet. Some days, I would buy a smoothie or a Naked juice just to make sure that I did this consciously. I think I often eat my vegetables incorporated into other dishes (e.g. celery + carrots in chicken noodle soup), but it would be good to have just a dedicated veggie dish every single day.
  13. Do not buy any more makeup or skincare. Buy skincare only when previous products are empty. My little Black Friday splurge was fun, but I have zero reasons to buy more makeup. I have more mascara than I know what to do with, because I always buy sets, and mascara is always in those sets, and I wear makeup never. I do, however, want to continue investing in my skincare but it is unnecessary to buy new things while I still have products that work well.

I have many other goals that I can probably make more concrete, but this seems like a good place to start.

Abstract Aspirations

This list will be harder to keep track of, as far as whether I’ve achieved them or not, but they are nonetheless important.

  1. Allow myself to be happy. The ThoughtCatalog post “10 Lies Depression Tells You” really forced myself to criticize thoughts I had, such as “I deserve the unhappiness I have and any future unhappiness I inevitably come across”. It is time to stop being such a defeatist. I acknowledged a short while back that happiness is an active process. I acknowledge now that everyone – myself included, as difficult as that is to believe – deserves to be involved in this process.
  2. Pick my battles. I want to detail this a bit more in a post later, but I have improved significantly with regards to inhibiting myself and not getting into arguments that would benefit no one. However, I am not blind to my less-than-savoury interactions with my loved ones, and I acknowledge that I have a ways to improve here.
  3. Make fitness a priority. I liked the person I became when I was training for a 5K and then taking a ballet class. Every year, I berate myself for not being physically active. My ballet class lent support to my hypothesis that I need an external structure, i.e. a class or an event, to keep myself committed to my physical fitness. Preferably, I’d love to find a new ballet class, or perhaps even a barre class, to attend. I know I dislike running (although that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop doing it), so ideally I can find a really fun dance class or two to keep me moving.
  4. Hone my music skills. My heart aches at how long it has been since I’ve played my piano. And I joke often about how I am addicted to karaoke, but I seriously love it and it makes me legitimately blue that I haven’t been in several months. I would love to join this competitive karaoke league I heard about, but I need to do some more research first.
  5. Refine my web presence. I am kind of playing around with my web presence since graduating. I don’t know how serious I want to be about it, but right now I kind of want to make the plunge and make this a real thing. I also have a collaborative project with a friend, and ideally, I’d love to be able to see some real results from both my personal stuff and that project to the point where it is an investment with foreseeable returns if I, for example, purchase a nicer camera and learn to use better editing software for photos and videos.
  6. Talk slower and less. I tend to talk really fast, especially if I’m excited about something. Often, it’s because I’m worried that the other party will lose interest and stop listening before my amazing story is over, so I just want to get to the end before then. Ridiculous, right? I also talk a lot. I’m a loquacious gal. It’s exhausting for myself and all unfortunate listeners, so this has to be addressed.
  7. Discipline myself. Many, if not all, of my goals will require discipline. I lack discipline and I usually do. I’ve relied on being admittedly bright for a lot of things, but that just isn’t cutting it anymore. I need to stop being afraid of hard work, and of the possibility that working hard may not fix my shortcomings.
  8. Invest time in my relationships. This was a year when I feel like I both neglected myself and my loved ones, which is ridiculous. I spent more time feeling guilty than with the people I care about. Obviously, this has got to change.

I always get nervous about publishing resolutions, not only because it does force me to be accountable (which is the whole point of me publicly announcing them), but also because I worry that I’ve forgotten something important. But the beauty of resolutions is that you can resolve to make a change in your life at any given moment. January 1st is just a neat day to do a big list like this. But if I decide sometime mid-April that I want to be able to run 10 miles (ha!) or in October that I want to get paid to cosplay, then I have every right to do so.

The only thing that changes on January 1st is the numerical assignment of the year. I will struggle to not write 2013 for about a month or two before I finally get the hang of writing out 2014. (I still tell people I’m 21, but that hasn’t been true for a short while now. Change is difficult for me :P)

I hope you all are having fun celebrating ringing in the New Year, whether you’re going out and have an amazing outfit or you’re staying in and watching the ball drop on TV. I’m off to sit with my family to watch a movie and see if i can convince them that watching the ball is a tradition worth keeping.

1. 1. 2014