I’m back for 2020! I share with you my highs of 2019, favorite books I’ve read, lessons from my lows, and advice on how to create habits and New Year’s resolutions that stick. I share a bit about how to practice self-love, compassion and how to address our egos.
What were my highlights of 2019?
What were my favorite books of 2019?
What were my lows of 2019?
Why do we use negative reinforcements to build habits?
Why negative reinforcements don’t work.
How to build habits correctly.
What is the biggest lesson I learned in 2019?
How to practice self-love.
What trick do I have to get me to go out when I feel shy.
What is my 2020 mantra?
Tips on how to set your New Year’s resolutions
Mindfulness: Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Thich Naht Hanh
Human Psychology: Laws of Human Nature by Robert Green
Love & Romance: Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix
Work & Business: Principles by Ray Dalio
Health: When the Body Says No by Gabor Mate
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
The Choice by Edith Eger
Know My Name by Chanel Miller
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
Identify (Create your self affirmations “I am” and identify the small habits that help you achieve this affirmation)
Tracking (Score how you are tracking towards each resolution and measure from 0-1)
Adjusting (0-0.3: make it easier, 0.4-0.6: keep on going, 0.7-1: consider making it slightly more advanced)
Steven Wakabayashi: Let’s get into it. Hi everyone. My name is Steven Wakabayashi and you’re listening to Yellow Glitter Mindfulness Through the Eyes and Soul of a Gay Asian. Every episode I share with you what’s on my mind. Or things I’m struggling with and how I’m working through it to help you live a more mindful, fabulous life somehow.
Housekeeping, yes, I’ve been absent for a bit. I apologize. Along with my freelance work, I was not prepared for the craziness of the holiday season and my podcast ended up being the last of my priority out of so many things I had been doing at the beginning of this year. I came down with the flu and my throat ended up not being able to talk.
It’s still very scratchy, so apologies in advance if it’s not what you’re used to hearing. And so a quick announcement, if you are a queer Asian in New York City, I launched a monthly queer Asian support group called Yellow Glitter Sparkles, where we meet up. And talk about deep issues facing our community in a safe and nurturing environment.
It’s completely free. All the costs are covered by yours truly, and this is just one of the few ways that I want to really create the space to heal in such a tumultuous and divided time. We see all around us. Next event is on February 9th, 2020, and. Each talk, we dive into a theme, and the theme for February is examining love and relationship for Queer Asians.
How does being queer and Asian impact the way we find love, especially here in America? What are the complexities of sexual identities race in romance? And what have your experiences with Exotification and racial fetishism? If this interests you, please come by February 9th, 2020, location, T B D, and I’ll post a link in the show notes how.
Keeping done. So this episode, I talk about my highlights for 2019. What were my favorite books for 2019? What were my lows of 2019? How and why we use negative reinforcements to build habits. Why negative reinforcements don’t really work. How do you build habits correctly? What is the biggest lesson I learned in 2019?
How to practice more self-love this year? What are tricks that I have that gets me to go out when I feel shy? My 2020 resolution and tips on how to set your New Year’s resolutions this year. And so 2020 is a really powerful year. It’s a start of a new year, but also a new decade. And with it a lot of life reflections starting with 2019 in short, 2019 has been quite a life changing year for me since finishing college.
I’ve always try to. Be employed. Employed full-time, and I’ve never really focused on my own work, my own projects, and 2019 was really the year to start something new after a huge awakening from getting sick in 2017. It took me almost an entire year, 2018, to realize that I could just not. Do the nine to nine grind anymore.
This was what I was so accustomed to all my working life, and it was extremely difficult to set everything aside and to go soul searching around the world to do my own e pray love journey. The biggest highlight of 2019 was definitely that voyage. Experiencing so many new cultures, but even more than that, many of my most important and insightful moments happened on a meditation cushion.
For almost two months, I sat in silence on meditation retreats in Massachusetts, Japan, India, Thailand, France, and in the uk. Some were unbelievably ecstatic experiences and some were extremely heartbreaking. Both were transformational and rewarding. And my other biggest highlight was reading 55 books last year.
I had so much downtime as I traveled all around the world. I was in planes, trains, restaurants, parks, waiting in line, you name it. I had my Kindle ready to go and. I just tore through all the books that I had put on my to-do list for the longest time. Hands down, I think 2019, the biggest mental growth and learning had also come from these books.
They’ve left me happier, more peaceful, and aware of others in this world. I. And don’t worry, I’ll put all these things in the show notes so you don’t have to chat notes, jot notes furiously down while I am mentioning these things. And so in no particular order, my favorite, favorite books from 2019. I have a couple in different categories.
So the first category is mindfulness. Uh, my favorite book in this category was, Peace is every step at the path of mindfulness in everyday life by TE Han. This is an amazing book written by a world renowned Vietnamese monk, and I had the chance to go study at his monastery in France called Plum Village.
Each chapter will leave you so much happier and lighter, and I ended the book with a smile on my face in human psychology. My favorite book was, Laws of Human Nature by Robert Green. If you’ve read any of his books, they are kind of these O W T F, revolutionary eye-opening books on the human psyche. And although they’re quite long, this book is about 624 pages long, and his other books are also extremely long.
This is my favorite, favorite book in this collection. Love and romance. So in the category of love and romance, the book I really enjoyed was Getting The Love You Want by Harville Hendrix. It provides insights on you named it Getting the Love You Want. He is really famous for hosting these marriage counseling workshops and essentially distills lessons from over decades of practice into tangible advice and inquiry you can apply into your own life.
In work in business. I really enjoyed the book Principles by Ray Dalio. Tim Ferriss talks about this in his podcast all the time, and it was really, really amazing and simple to read. Ray Dalio is a successful billionaire investor and hedge fund manager currently leading investment firm, Bridgewater Associates, and although this is a.
Pretty easy read. I think it is really essential for anyone who wants to build a stronger business acumen in health when the body says no by gabo. Mate, this book is such a mind twister. Essentially, it reexamines the lessons and reasons of why we become sick. In a nutshell, this is because our bodies are seeking something else to be heard, to rest, to learn how to say no, and we develop these melodies.
To do our talking instead and. In the category of autobiographies, I read a couple that were just so heart wrenching. I cried in every single one of these books When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Khi. He is a doctor to be in medical school and ends up being diagnosed with. The disease and how he manages it in his last years of his life with his partner, school and the World, the Choice by Edith Eger.
She is an Auschwitz survivor, and this is her life story from victim hood to healing and. If you’ve been following my social media, I’ve been blasting this everywhere, but I’ve been obsessed with Know My name by Chanel Miller. She’s a 2015 Stanford Rape case. Uh, and this is essentially her memoir. I. And lastly, one of my favorite, favorite books of 2019 was an autobiography on Queer Asian Experiences on Earth were briefly gorgeous by Ang.
His writing is absolutely incredible, smooth as ice cream and as nourishing as some good dimm sum. This is my favorite book of any gay writer I’ve read, and he talks about. His intersections of queer, Asian and American identities in ways that I couldn’t even put into words and a few other highlights. In 2019, I launched this podcast last August, and in December I launched my first Asian support group and.
I think what was really interesting was taking my writing to a whole new level. So if you guys know I am a designer by trade, I. Essentially create apps, websites for all these different companies around the world. And I haven’t really considered myself as a writer. And throughout the year, I sent a newsletter every single week at mindful moments dot sub stack.com.
I wrote an article that went viral on racism and I also published a few articles on queerty, on Gament perspectives. And as I’m taking a look at 2020, These are all things that I definitely want to continue, and so that takes me to my misses of 2019. While I was traveling, I had some really, really bad experiences while meditating.
Uh, one in particular was a meditation retreat in Thailand. I cried for days and. Had a really tough time dealing with some of the close-mindedness of Asia in spaces I was least expecting it from. Yes, even Buddhist spaces can be extremely intolerant for queers, women and other minorities. But this ended up changing my life and a huge reason of why I do the work that I’m doing right now is essentially creating the spaces that I wish.
I had to make the space of mindfulness more open-minded and welcoming, especially for minorities. And in December, I also kind of burned out. I moved back to New York City in October, started freelancing design work to support myself financially. And I ended up traveling for work. And on top of it, I was hosting a support group, writing, publishing articles, attending holiday party, doing my end of year retrospective.
And it just took me out. And as a result, I fell off the wagon with this podcast. I didn’t publish any episode in December, and then my body just crashed. And so in the beginning of 2020, I. Got the flu and surprise surprise. I am still go coco and still recovering with a scratchy throat and when I fell off it was so hard to get back up, especially because I kept beating myself about it.
The more days I had missed, the more nasty things I would tell myself in hopes that it would motivate me to publish. Create more content. I would get anxious even when I was sleeping because I was going to bed thinking about what I had not finished. And lo and behold, the self-criticism didn’t and doesn’t really work.
Why do we push ourselves thinking that it will motivate us and when it doesn’t work, why do we punish ourselves even harder? In reality, punishments and negative reinforcements are not the way to go. We end up designing our behaviors based on these punishments and negative stimuli. For example, if we were trying to train a dog to not bark and we pull the leash in retaliation, we are training the dog to not bark, not because it’s not good.
We are treating the dog to stop barking because of the fear of the leash. When we use punishments and negative reinforcements on ourselves, we end up unable to do the action without these negative stimuli present and the harsher punishments we say and give ourselves. Only makes during the activity again, require even more harsher punishments than before to ultimately not need these punishments we can design without them in the first place.
With negative reinforcements, we never love the activity. We build a fear of the punishment of not doing the activity to overcome and change our habits. It is to focus on positive reinforcements, and when we struggle to find out what to reward, we have to look. To compassion, love, and patience for the baby steps to help guide us, breaking down our ultimate goal into something more tangible.
If it’s to meditate every day, just starting with one minute a day and making that a habit. Yes, I am not kidding. And instantly rewarding yourself after following through. If it’s to work out every day, start with just going to the gym and then leaving. Remember that if it’s a chain of activities, as a part of the habit, like going to the gym, changing in the gym clothes, commuting into the gym, finding equipment, them working out.
You see that it is so easy to fail creating these habits when the only focus is on reinforcing the working out itself. It actually took many smaller behaviors that had to turn into this habit chain first to be able to go to the gym every single day. It requires all of these steps to be a habit as well.
And my biggest takeaway for 2019 was loving myself in a way. It was almost forced. I spent almost eight months by myself traveling, meditating, and there were so many times when I had to confront loneliness head on because. I just had to, in some places I was in the middle of nowhere with no service and sometimes no electricity, and I learned how to enjoy spending time with myself.
It was one of the hardest but most rewarding things for me. If you’re looking to practice this, I. A few tips for you if you have the finances, time and energy to do so. Travel alone, I highly recommend it, and don’t rely on dating apps to meet people. If you’re going to a metropolitan city, you have no excuse of why you can’t disconnect from these apps to meet the very people around you that you might just enjoy in person.
Other recommendations. Take yourself on a date in your city. Go out to eat. Go for a nice walk. Do something nice for yourself, just because, especially as Asians, we’re taught to put others first as a part of our respect for them. Failure piety, respecting authorities. But I promise that if you can first serve yourself, you can serve others longer in multitudes if taking care of yourself.
Leads you to be more happy and more giving to the world. Of course, you should do it. And if you take care of your health first, you can focus on health of others for much longer because you are alive and healthy. And if you’re hesitant to do things alone, oh, it’s just so weird to travel alone, or it’s weird to sit alone at a restaurant.
That hesitation has a huge story and huge opportunity to learn from, and you’re just right at the edge. We create these self-limiting beliefs because, They challenge our current norm of safety. Remember, safety wants to put us where we were already at. Perhaps in the past. We had a bad experience with some things.
Someone made fun of us. We didn’t meet someone nice when we were out on our own. But living life onward, using these limited beliefs as our foundation, but also our limitation. It only leads us to accept the world as we believe, and a trick I use to get myself to go out and to do something different or things that I’m nervous about.
I am definitely such a hermit. Sometimes I tell myself, you can always leave if it’s a new event just by myself. I can always just leave when I feel like it. If I’m going out by myself, taking myself out, I can just leave if it’s not my cup of tea. So go and try something new. You can always leave and so that takes us to 2020, the new decade, the new you, and as a part of each new year, I make New Year’s resolutions a or.
New Year’s mantras. Last year, my resolution was mindfulness. How am I more mindful with my relationships, my work, my health, and. How do I become more conscious and have more intention behind everything I do this year? My resolution is balance. As I take on more work, expand my projects, do more with my time.
I’m limited with my resources. Time is a finite resource. We only have 24 hours in a day. It’s not 25, it’s not 30, and technically, It’s only 16 if we include eight hours of sleep a day, so 16 hours a day, what can we do with it if we have an endless to-do list with 25 hours of things to accomplish? That extra hour doesn’t come out of thin air the next day to recreate 25 with 23 hours and so forth.
This is a never ending losing battle to add more activities in the day. I have to take away activities to make space, to create balance, and I cannot work a nine to nine job if I want to create this mindfulness content podcasts, support groups. And I can’t hang out with people every single day for a couple hours a day, whereas my projects and other areas of my life will suffer.
And so, Finding balance to me is to find a happy median of the things that I want to do, the things that I need to do so that I can get to where I want to go, and some advice on setting resolutions and goals for this upcoming year. Really simple. I have three steps. Identify, tracking, adjusting. The first step is to identify, instead of setting a goal, isolate the habits needed to reach this goal and identify the values needed to embody these habits.
So I’ll explain, for example, instead of setting a goal, like getting a raise, losing weight, isolate the habits that are needed to reach the goal. For example, instead of setting a goal by getting a raise, isolate the habits needed to reach the goal. Be proactive, set up initiatives and identify the value and associate yourself to it.
I am a confident employee, so let’s break this down. Instead of first setting these end goals as a resolution, like losing weight, isolate the habits, going to the gym, taking a walk throughout the day versus. Driving and identify the value and associate yourself to it. I am a healthy individual. And another example, instead of setting a goal, I want to lose weight.
Isolate the habits needed to reach that goal. Eat healthier, go running, take a walk throughout the day and identify with the value. I am a healthy individual. And another example, instead of saying I want to find a partner, isolate the habits needed to reach the partner. Be more confident. Ask people out, compliment people, and identify with the value.
I am confident. I am beautiful. Write these down. I am confident. I am beautiful. And put it somewhere you see every single morning bathroom mirror your phone lock screen, closet doors, and take a few seconds every day to say it to yourself every morning. I am beautiful. I am healthy, I am confident, and avoid writing things like I am becoming confident.
I will become confident. I wish I was confident. And you become focused on the. Becoming confident part rather than embodying confidence. And I know this sounds super woo woo, but what we’re trying to do is to rewire the brain to believe in these statements. A huge reason of why we have a hard time with our goals is because often how disconnected they are with our own perception of our it.
Identity. If we truly want to embody the goals and make it ours, we have to start believing it ourselves. And after we’ve created these affirmations, identify a small habit to bring these things to life that you can do every single day. What are the small everyday behaviors that embody these values?
Start small and make slight changes to them. I am healthy. Eat one healthy meal a day. I am smart. Read 15, 10 minutes a day. I am mindful. Meditate a few minutes a day. And the second step is tracking. How are you performing these habits? So what I like to do is I like to create a journal where after every single day and after every single week, I score myself on my resolution.
So I create resolutions. Resolutions for work, relationships, personal growth. Mindfulness spirituality, and under each one, I have a couple goals, a couple values as well. And so after each day and after each week ends, I give myself a score between zero to one. Some days I might get a 0.3. Some days I might get a 0.8, and after seven days I figure out.
Whether or not it’s working, and then I adjust. So this is the last step. Adjusting. After a week, if I’ve scored anything below 0.3 or 30% on average, it’s time to adjust whatever I had set up. It had not been working. And so for example, I used to set a goal of reading one hour a day. I know it’s kind of crazy, but I read this in a self-help tip somewhere, self-help book somewhere.
Uh, but I was just not reading at all and I was scoring between zero point. 2.3 and after figuring out that it wasn’t working and adjusting it and scaling it down more and more and more, I got to reading that many books last year because my bar was set. So low and in previous years it was set so high.
And so I think what really prevents us from hitting our goals and to continuing goals is really to stay motivated and decreasing this threshold to do it, whether it’s fear being ashamed, and we’re all on our own journey to success. None of us are the same and by. Trying to take somebody else’s habits to make it ours, but also to not struggle in doing so.
That’s a lie. Everyone struggles. They are hard. They’re difficult for a reason and scaling it down, there is no shame in that. After seven days, and the average score was between 0.4 to 0.6 or around 40 to 60%, just keep doing it. With time, it’s gonna go higher and for 0.7 and up, so 70% and higher. Keep it up and consider maybe upping it just slightly for the next week, and especially if you’re scoring one or 100% each week, up it up the ante.
I often see two big challenges when I see people not able to achieve their goals. I. Ego and lack of self-compassion. And so I’ll start with ego. Ego shows up as perfectionism and competition. It is creating habits by only looking at others. And as long as you keep looking at others, you’ll always come second.
In this race, you just fabricate it. You don’t have the same genes or life experiences as whoever you compare yourself to. And. You never have the full picture either. And many of my friends, especially my queer friends, dream about having washboard abs and pecs of steel when they compare it with everyone they see in magazines or in Instagram.
And I. The reality is most bodybuilders right now, unfortunately, are jacked due to performance enhancers like anabolic steroids, and on top of it, they Photoshop face, tune their pictures. I have so many queer friends who ended up also on steroids comparing themselves to these unrealistic expectations.
It’s okay not to be perfect because. In reality, perfection doesn’t exist. Perfection is a relative state, and it’s different from person to person. Ego chases perfection through competition and self-judgment to protect itself. If I’m not perfect, I won’t be loved. I won’t be hurt by negative comments, and if I’m perfect, I can get everything I’ve wanted.
But in reality, if. If anyone wanted to think negative thoughts of you, they can still freely do so, and if anyone wanted to withhold anything from you, it doesn’t matter. If you’re perfect, they’re free to do so as well. Especially I have so many friends who think that having the perfect body, perfect job, perfect everything will find their perfect partner, but.
In reality, having a an amazing body doesn’t force someone who doesn’t want to go out with you to go out with you. Perfectionism is a form of protection. As a facade, let go of the ego and the perfectionism and comparisons and competitions that come with it. Win your own race. The second challenge, lack of self-compassion.
It prevents us from moving forward in all of my creative endeavors. I try to set up a content schedule. I am. Extremely ambitious. And when I fall behind myself, criticisms creep in the gain that they will empower me. In fact, they do the complete opposite. Shame, criticism, hurt. We talked about this early in this podcast, and they will never, ever motivate us to do anything for ourselves or for others.
And so instead of having. This judgment, have compassion for ourselves and reward the baby steps. And in the moments we fall behind, pour even more love into ourselves. It’s okay, we got it. Just because we set up ambitious goals and we didn’t make it, it doesn’t change anything else about ourselves.
Perhaps it’s just another sign to get back up and try again, or modifying the goal. To go about it another way. With that, I hope you can get a kickstart to your new year and new decade with some wisdom and insights to help you create more mindful goals for this year. And if you wanna get in touch with me, you can reach me via my Instagram at Steven Waka ba or my Twitter.
Facebook at waku, W A K U U, slide into my dms. I love hearing from you and what you thought about. These episodes and if you enjoyed this, please leave a rating. It just takes a few seconds and if you have a few minutes, I would love to hear your comments. It also helps people find this podcast as well. I publish a weekly [email protected] if you’re interested to hear what’s on my mind every single week and links to things I discover online.
And with that, so much love for you and hope your day can be a little bit more mindful. Bye now.