Category Archives: from my life

2013: Lessons I Will Learn, Habits I Will Make or Break, and Goals I Will Reach

Dear Friends,

This is my first time making New Year’s resolutions. All the other times, I set my goals impulsively and as needed in whatever month (of course that will still happen too). It’s also my first time posting my goals publicly. Hold me to these goals!!


1. Continue being a bunny. Rabbits in the Chinese Zodiac are creative, compassionate, sensitive, and peaceful. They stubbornly believe that it’s easy for everyone to get along and to be better individuals. As a constant reminder, my necklace is a rabbit on one side and the Chinese character for “happiness” on the other side.

Read my full bunny life story at

Learn more about the rabbit sign at

2. Give myself a bigger cushion of time before heading out for something. I want to be early to things more often while still leading my calm and slow-paced lifestyle.

3. Ease off on perfectionism. It’s a big part of me that probably won’t go away soon. Many times it’s a professional blessing but a personal bane. It’s vague, but.. I want to at least be less of a perfectionist.

4. I need to ease off on saying yes, volunteering to help, and putting more things on my to do list than I can do effectively. When I was searching for a new roommate for our apartment, I told potential tenants I met via Craigslist that if our place didn’t work out and if we chose someone else, I could personally organize everyone’s preferences, get everyone together, match them up according to what they were looking for, and coordinate with all the realtors I’m friends with. That’s ridiculous. I had work to do, friends I hadn’t seen, and family to visit. I should stay extra kind to strangers, but I shouldn’t bend over backwards for them when I have lots on my plate already.

5. People regret what they didn’t do, not what they do. I need to stop overanalyzing my plans and next steps. I need to stop holding out for better things. I need to give it a shot. I need to risk it. I need to just say yes to good opportunities that I find in any realm of my life.


1. Set up social plans further in advance. I’m usually pretty impulsive when it comes to hanging out or going somewhere. Sometimes I send text invitations a day before or the day of an event. I’m starting to understand that people need a longer heads-up than that.

2. Grow closer to my current friends. I need to meet fewer people. I love meeting people, but I already have so many friends I want to grow closer to. I still feel as if very few people—if any—know the full me, all my history, all my thoughts, and all my quirks. I need to spend more time developing current friendships than meeting more people. The exceptions are for clear professional connections and clear friendship chemistry.

3. Carve out more one-on-one time—especially for my friends who are so loyal, supportive, dependable, and committed. My most memorable and enlightening conversations and my most genuine connections are one-on-one, whether it’s with a friend or a date. These interactions fit my personality better too (Myers-Briggs: INFJ // Time to plan more of these and say no to some more—but, of course, not all—herds, parties, and big gatherings.

4. I need to be more honest about feelings and intentions in the beginning stages of dating. I feel as if I’ve led too many people on when I was interested in only friendship (sorry), and I feel as if I was too guarded, cautious, analytical, slow, and non-emotive when I, too, was genuinely curious where something would lead (sorry).

5. I need to be more tactful with my honesty and frankness with people in any realm of my life. For thoughts, preferences, and opinions (but not feelings—see above), most people know that I say what I mean and mean what I say. But I think I’ve taken it too far with some things. Even if honesty is one of my guiding principles, I should gauge whether someone actually wants constructive criticism or if I should play the game and just sugarcoat something.

6. I also need to gauge the people around me before using my odd sense of humor.


1. Spend less time randomly surfing on Facebook. I’ll start with an ambitious goal of bringing this down to only 23 hours per day…

2. Too much reading = my way of procrastinating my own writing. I need to stop being distracted by libraries, bookstores, and too many books. I will read about two books a month. Definitely not more than four. Two sounds like a good balance between getting “fed” enough vs overdoing it.

3. I’m not as honest and vulnerable as I think I am in my writing. Sometimes I am. Sometimes I’m not. When I’m not, [for fear of revealing too much] my writing is fluffy and dodges emotional truths and personal details. I need to remind myself that the posts in which I genuinely spill my soul out are often my most successful ones. I need to write like that more often.

4. Get my writing published in consumer and trade magazines. I’ll start with a goal of three.

5. Have an ebook sold on my own sites.

6. Get 100,000 regular hits per month on my blogs (all together). I know hits are not the best correlation to a blog’s success. Eventually I’ll measure in subscribers and return visitors.

7. Get comfortable and good at marketing myself. Writer resources say that marketing is half the game. It’s not fun and it’s often weird for me. But I’ve gotten good at it with friends. I need to be better at it with a mass audience of strangers.

8. Work with students from low-income families again. At the nudge of many friends and co-workers, I realize that this is still my jam and my calling. Pay will never be good, but I’ll figure out a way to compensate for that.

9. Give my first formal non-classroom speech/presentation, paid or not, at a middle or high school special assembly—preferably at an inner-city school. It’ll be about a) life transformation, especially smashing one’s social anxiety and other limiting beliefs (see How I Became Happier and More Social) or b) growing up in a disadvantaged and/or multicultural school and what one can learn about life there.

10. Run another paid professional development workshop session for professionals and business executives. It’ll be about work-life balance (with juggling lessons), happiness in the workplace, creative risks and innovation, or super compassionate customer service.

11. Create a tutoring program in which students from different socioeconomic backgrounds can meet and interact with each other. I figure if Jonathan Kozol has been preaching this value for decades and the government isn’t getting much done, I might as well do it myself.


1. Run a mile under 6 minutes while juggling.

2. Run 100 meters in under 14.5 seconds while juggling. Eventual life goal: win the gold medal at a World Joggling Championship.

3. Cook more often and for more people! I eat healthier when I cook. And meals are better with people.

4. I don’t like alcohol. How do I keep managing to get fooled? Here’s my canned response for everyone who asks me why I’m being lame: I don’t like the taste of 95% of alcohol I’ve had, I don’t like the health risks of non-red wine, I don’t like the price ($5 drink x 8 times a month x 12 months = $480, a round trip to Latin America), and I never need the effect (I’ve never related to the need to drink my troubles away or the need for a social lubricant—I like facing my problems head on and I’m already a crazy mofo when I’m sober). I had fewer than 10 drinks in 2012. In 2013, I’m moving that number down to 5 or fewer—saved for special occasions and celebrations. (Trying a sip of something doesn’t count. I’m allowed to be curious when someone orders or makes a cool-sounding drink.)


1. Dance salsa on beat. In my years dancing, I still haven’t learned to do it on beat. Music is my lowest intelligence on Gardner’s multiple intelligences test. I’ll dance better this year!

2. Learn to tap dance. Make a combination tap dance + juggling routine, eventually for a street performance.

3. Make photography a side-side-side-gig.

4. Travel to another country I’ve never visited.

5. Let all bugs live. Most of the time (95%), I let them be or I catch them and release them, but I’m aiming to do that 100% of the time now.


1. Continue to keep a perfect balance between enjoying the present and looking forward to the future, between being self-loving and self-critical, and between being happy and wanting to be even happier.

2. Try. Try again. Try a different way.

3. Fail. Fail again. Fail a different way.

4. I will flub and fail while trying many of the things above. But that’s a necessary part of the process. I will try and I will try some more. I will fail and I will fail some more. In the end, with my belief in myself, my perseverance, and the support of others, I will improve, grow, and succeed. =)

Love Always,


P.S. What’s the only rule for setting New Year’s resolutions? Read about it here: