New Year’s Resolution: Self-Develop

By now you know my heart beats a little faster for New Year’s Resolutions. This post rounds out my three-part 2018 resolution breakdown.

As a teen with a developing body my yearly goal was always to lose weight. It was one of those classic scenarios where now, looking back on it, I was totally fit and looked fine and would be happy to look like that again. The funny thing is, even though I’m probably the least ~well shaped~ I’ve ever been, I have no goals about weight loss or measurements or eating those awful fat-free diet foods that I was super “into” at 14. I’m somehow the most happy with myself and don’t view myself very negatively. Yes, obviously there are days when I regret having love handles and feel uncomfortable. But on the whole I am super content.

Learning to manage my anxiety means that I went through a long process of discovering what makes me feel content, happy, safe, and free, and then actually practicing those things. It’s surprisingly harder — or perhaps more time-consuming — than it sounds, and I’m still discovering and evolving those practices. A recent one: Having a skincare routine. I think a lot of people agree that their skin has a major impact on their confidence. That’s always been true of me. I never had a big interest in skincare because I thought it took too long and it was impractical to have all those products when I travel so frequently. But last month I took a skincare class at Sephora — it was surprisingly educational — and I have found that in the morning, it makes me feel like I’ve done something good for myself to start the day, and at night it reassures my brain that I’m totally unwound and ready to sleep. It’s awesome. And bonus, my skin looks and feels fantastic.


As you can see in my journal page, my “self-develop” goal is not centered around one aspect of myself. I’ll break down what each one means to me.

  • Read: I hesitated to put this on my goal because I thought I would fail. But then I realized, it feeds into other areas of my goal, like relaxing. And even better: I’ve already read one book this year!
  • Having fun with health: I dread going to the gym when I’m not inspired. If you do a workout and it totally sucks, you’re pretty unlikely to return, right? Instead, I’m prioritizing workouts that I enjoy. I love Barre3 and it’s only a short drive from my place. I also really like doing spin classes, which I can do in my building’s gym. (We have an awesome virtual system, kind of like Peleton.) And Tim and I love hiking and going out into nature, or traveling to a new city and seeing it by foot. It’s FUN, and I want to do it.
  • Relax: I’m a highly strung person. I am super organized, was born with a self-imposed perfectionist tendency (s/o to my therapist who’s helped me tame this!), and feel most satisfied when I experience lots. But over the course of my life, I’ve rarely remembered to make time for relaxing and unwinding. It’s not self-indulgent. It’s necessary for mental health and honestly for spiritual, physical, and all the other healths.
  • Español: I tried to use Duolingo to learn some Spanish before our South American honeymoon last year. It was a fabulous mini-foundation but I saw how much I’d barely scratched the surface of this whole language. Learning a language is satisfying intellectually, adds to my understanding of my own language, and it opens up a huge door for communicating with people I normally wouldn’t be able to. (There was a lot of miming to taxi drivers when I didn’t know exactly how to say what I needed to.)

So how’s it going so far, now that we’re a month and a half into the new year? You already know I’ve read a book (and I can’t shut up about it — please read ‘The Girl with Seven Names’ so we can discuss it). I am writing this not long after a workout at my building’s gym, during which I read the March issue of Martha Stewart Living. I went to Kauai to have a relaxing trip, and I’ve been trying to build it into our everyday lives a bit more. (And thankfully my husband provides regular reminders with his own, more finely-tuned need for relaxation.) I am still searching for some things in this life, but how to develop myself to be even happier is not one of them. It’s the best, most peaceful feeling. Now, time to go find my next book.

What do you want to work on this year? Any book recos?

PS: I’ve been getting a LOT of comments on my bullet journal. I’m obsessed! I got all my gear on Amazon: dot-matrix notebook | fine-point markers | stencils (MUST!) | washi tape

Perfectionism, aka the Newman to my Jerry Seinfeld.

In case I haven’t mentioned it enough, Perfectionism is the WORST. It’s never recognized as a horrible affliction like addiction, but isn’t that what it is? Your mind doesn’t recognize when you are good and well, and it craves this unattainable state that you harm yourself in pursuing.

With an extreme degree of vulnerability, I present to you many of the things I feel are imperfect about me. Regardless of whether you agree, these are what feel like HUGE flaws to me:

  • I’m not funny enough
  • I’m extremely unphotogenic
  • I haven’t traveled enough
  • My face isn’t that attractive
  • I don’t always react coolly when someone jokes
  • I apologize too often for things I didn’t necessarily do wrong
  • I won’t be able to buy a house in the foreseeable future
  • When I’m having a bad day, admitting to that is failure
  • If I don’t have a well-formed opinion on something, I’m not educated or smart enough

The list is FAR longer than that, but that sample should illustrate all the things I can find in myself that I don’t like. But guess what? At the same time, when I feel in control of my perfectionism, I feel really GOOD about a lot of those areas! Point for point, here’s how I feel when I have overcome my perfectionism:

  • I’m definitely known in my circles as someone who’s funny
  • I have some awesome profile pics on Facebook, which means that at least some of the time I look pretty good
  • I’ve been to a lot of countries with a healthy mix of first- and third-world, and I go out of town on weekends pretty darn often
  • I know my family and friends and SO don’t think I’m unattractive
  • I can joke back and forth with people without going negative
  • Standing my ground comes more easily as I practice it
  • Maybe I can’t buy a house in the Bay right now, but I really like what I’ve done with my own little apartment, and maybe one day — someplace else, or combined with my future spouse’s income — I can create a lovely home, regardless of the status attached with owning a home
  • Everyone has bad days, and I’m thankful to have people in my life who WILL listen and encourage me on those bad days
  • I know a lot about certain things. It’s awesome that I don’t try to argue a point despite being ignorant. That’s super annoying when people do that, and I don’t. Go me!

Not every day is perfect — in fact, no day is. And you know what’s even better? Taking the John Legend approach and celebrating “all your perfect imperfections.” I’m not going to argue that perfection would be boring, because we don’t know that. No one has been able to prove that theory. But I am going to argue that imperfections give us exciting opportunities to learn things about ourselves, or our partners, or our friends and family. Sometimes those realizations are painful, but most of the time they really help you strengthen yourself or know when to cut a relationship. And if you DON’T need to cut a relationship due to a realization, it usually emerges stronger and in turn develops you as well. I think that might be the best part of all.

I want to know more about perfection. What do you all know about perfectionism? How do you overcome your self-doubt?