Tag Archives: self improvement

Comfort Zone!

One of my constant goals is to do things outside of my comfort zone (as long as I don’t compromise my morals and beliefs). The past few months I have made small, yet significant strides, in this respect. I baked new recipes for people for the first time without testing them myself first. I had conversations with strangers I happened to come across in public. Heck, I even accepted a job outside my comfort zone (I don’t think I’m ever going to be 100% comfortable that I could be physically attacked by mentally ill adolescent boys any day).

Last night, I went to the holiday music program at my old high school where my little sister sang in the choir. During her four years at the school (our time there never overlapped), I went to many holiday programs. For the last song, White Christmas, the choral director always asks for any alumni in the audience to come join the choir on the rafters to sing along. Every year, I slink down in my seat and hide behind a camera lens because I feel somehow silly or self-conscious walking up there by myself without any other young alumni. This time, I did the usual. I heard the announcement for alums to come to the stage, I slunk down into my chair, and I took a picture. But then, I realized that this would probably be my last high school holiday concert because my little sister graduates in June. So…why not? Why not go up? I am 100% positive that my joining the high school choir students had absolutely no significance to anyone except me. Well, and maybe the handful of students who recognized me as their substitute teacher. 😉

In any case, it felt great to let go of a silly anxiety. I look forward to this being the first of many times I suck in my self-consciousness and just…do things. Without thinking about them so much. Without thinking about other people. After all, I think that self-consciousness is somewhat egocentric and that it is a feeling that does not do any good for anybody. Out of anything on my list of goals, this may be the hardest and also the most important for me to overcome.

comfort zone magic

5 Tricks I Used To Transform Myself From Being Super-Shy To Being Super Not-Afraid-To-Go-For-It Confident

This is my very first reblog, which I am sharing with you because I think that many of us can benefit from advice in being more confident (myself included). The author really hits the nail on the head in this incredibly sound advice in learning confidence by getting out of your comfort zone.

Thought Catalog

When I was in high school sometimes I used to think of funny things to say in class. This was a thrill for me because I really liked to think of funny things.

But then the whole thought process started. The one inside my head that told me not to say anything because if I DID IT WRONG IT WOULD BE TOO AWFUL TO BEAR.

What if everyone thought I was dumb? What if no one laughed? What if the popular girls thought I was stupid for speaking up? What if I lost the friends that I did have? What if the teacher was mad? What if I couldn’t speak because the heart I felt throbbing in my chest was so loud that no one could even hear the words that I wanted to come out?

Then I tried to do the teenage equivalent of YOLO. I made myself raise…

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Goals of Week 4

I had a little bit of a rough week because I discovered how hard it is to do it all. For example, when I’m working on job applications with tunnel vision, then I have no qualms about just grabbing whatever food I see that doesn’t take time to prepare. I also don’t prioritize exercise the same when I’m busy either socializing or working on my professional career. Any tips on how to actually do it all would be much appreciated!

1. HAIRCUT. (Beauty) Yeah, my hair still remains a little frizzy, wavy, long, and riddled with split ends. I have a weird thing with my hair where I don’t like getting it cut. I guess I’m pretty change averse about anything that’s out of the box. I’ve also never gotten a different haircut (except when I grew out my bangs in elementary school) and I’ve never died my hair. Hopefully this week will be the week to tackle this baby.

2. Brush twice and floss every day. (Health) It’s weird that this goal isn’t easier to relieve from my list. I brush every night without fail and I always floss now. This is a big improvement because I used to floss like twice a month (ew). I’ll work harder on establishing a morning brushing routine this week!

3. Lift weights regularly. (Health) I’m not ready to let this one go yet. I did weights three times, but I still don’t feel like I’m working myself hard enough. I will say that my last weight lifting session (if you can call that when I’m lifting FOUR pounds) was more productive than ever because I realized how much harder it was when I only waited 10-15 seconds between sets.

4. Read Game of Thrones. (Hobbies) I haven’t touched this book this week, but I have been reading Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace, a short story collection. I crossed off this goal because I think I need to re-define it into something more of a habit and less of a specific accomplishment. So…

4. Read every day. (Hobbies) I’m not talking about articles on yahoo! or Thought Catalog (no offense, TC). I’m talking about books, stories, and poems of literary significance.

5. Do not bite cuticles. (Bad Habits) This goal is officially my biggest fail of the week. The good news is that I have not bitten nine of my fingers’ cuticles in weeks. The bad news is that I have chewed the crap out of the skin next to my right finger nail. I mostly bite it because it’s sticking out, making it a big old ugly cycle.

6. Enter sweepstakes every day. (Novel Experiences) I’m not going to lie. This is, hands down, the most inane item on my list of goals. I know it’s stupid and silly and insignificant and a pretty bad use of my time. And yet… I entered to win several things last week, including tickets to Fiji, a Vitamix, an entry into the Chicago Half-Marathon, and an iPad Mini. All of these have been decided already and I didn’t win. I feel like I can’t take this off my list until I win, although if I really have made entering a habit, then maybe I should retire it. Let’s check in next week and decide!

7. Keep a food/exercise journal. (Health) I’m rocking this. I’m giving it one more week to make sure it’s a solid habit, then I can release it from my focus list. Sometimes I don’t have time to record the calories, but I definitely write down every single thing I put into my body, as well as all exercise.

8. Keep a positive things journal. (Personal) I’ve been going at this for ten days and I love it! For example, yesterday felt like a negative day because I lost my shirt on the stage at a school (long story). However, when I wrote in my positive things journal, I realized my day actually kicked ass (I volunteered at a south side school, received an incredible compliment from a volunteer, networked a TON at the volunteer event, bought five renowned hard cover books for $9 at a book sale, and explored a new neighborhood and new cuisine in the city with my friends).

9. Apply to every teaching job in the Chicago area you can find. (Professional) Now that I’ve gotten the hang of applying to jobs, it’s time to step it up. It’s getting to the point that schools are hardly putting up notices for jobs anymore. As a result, I need to make sure I apply to every single one I find.

10. Make inquiry calls about positions for which you applied. (Professional) This one is a little tough because there are a LOT of jobs I applied to weeks and even months ago. I have not had a single teaching interview or any feedback about positions being filled. Some employers specifically ask that you don’t call, but others don’t condemn it. I need to make inquiries to those schools that presumably allow phone calls.

11. Do not pick scabs or bite skin on lips. (Bad Habits) Okay, this is kind of like the cuticle one, so I figured I may as well focus on this bad habit, too. I’ve been doing decently the past few weeks without making a concerted effort, so hopefully I can knock this one off soon.

12. Establish a proper skincare routine. (Beauty) I’ve been winning with this in two ways since I started this: I always take off my makeup before bed and I wear sunblock almost every time I leave the house. I have not been winning at this in that I don’t really wash my face and I don’t use any skincare products (like moisturizer or exfoliating stuff).

Here are my accomplishment goals from the week!

1. When nail polish starts to chip, remove it and re-paint. (Beauty) I paint and re-paint my nails without dragging my feet now. I realize how incredibly easy it is to do, as long as I make a point to do it.

2. Early to bed, early to rise. (Health) I can’t believe I’m removing this from my list this early in the game, but this is really going well. Notice that in my “Health” goal tab, I specify that there is one exception to early to bed and early to rise: socializing. I broke my sleep schedule once this week and it’s because I went to my friend’s birthday party. I fell asleep at 4AM and then woke up at 6:45 AM to volunteer the next morning. You better believe I woke up at 10 AM this morning!

3. Write one-page journal entries. (Hobbies) You know what, I win. I’ve got this. My only exceptions to this are when I’ve stayed out late with friends and I do a quick quarter or half page. As long as I make up for it the next day or during the week, then I’m good to go.

4. Submit three job applications. (Professional) I applied to SEVEN jobs this week! Also in the professional realm of my goals, I did a two-day interview. Despite any lagging in the health department, I am proud of the solid job progress I made this week.

Have a fantastic week everyone! Be the best you. 🙂

Nail Polish Maintenance

To some, this may sound a little bit odd, but I have the awful habit of painting my nails and then never taking it off. In other words, I allow my once beautifully manicured nails (okay, let’s be real–I do them myself and they’re not perfect) to fall into the awful chipped nail polish territory. In the highest form of hypocrisy, I judge others for having chipped nails as sloppy, careless, and maybe even childish while I commit the very crime on a regular basis. I associate chipped nail polish with middle school girls who get excited about the novelty of painting their nails, but then lose interest and don’t bother to use nail polish remover and repaint. I am one of those girls. I am exactly one of those girls. However, in the name of self-improvement, I intend to change that.

Personally, I have never been able to grow out my nails because I have been playing the violin since I was four years old. Any violinist (or string player, for that matter) who is even remotely serious about practicing his instrument will tell you that long fingernails and fingerboards do not mix. I am ashamed to admit that the only reason my nails have grown to a decent length is because I haven’t picked up my violin in a few weeks. Oops! On the plus side, I have been able to paint (and now repaint) my nails.

DSC04588As you can see in the picture on the left, my nails have started to visibly chip. While there is not much chipping in the middle section of the nails, my nails have obviously grown during the week that has gone by since I first painted them. For my own reference (and for anyone else who may happen to have this issue), nail polish at this level of chipping should be removed. The standard I have set requires that I remove the polish at this stage. It’s simple, really. Get some cotton balls or swabs and wipe away. The next part is completely voluntary and really depends on whether or not you have 15-20 minutes to devote to applying more nail polish. One thing is for sure: no nail polish is better than severely chipped nail polish!

DSC04591Next, I selected a nail polish from our limited collection. I selected a color called “Crowded” by UO Basics. You can get it here from Urban Outfitters for $5. I painted two coats with an additional clear coat. I am not a nail painting expert by any stretch of the imagination, so I apologize for the bits of polish that leaked out to my cuticles. This sure beats picture #1’s chipped polish, doesn’t it?

Reasons to Keep Nail Polish Looking Fabulous:

1. Chipped nail polish looks sloppy.
2. On the flip side, well-manicured nails look classy and make you seem more put-together.
3. Painting nails are an easy accessory to match any outfit.
4. Well-manicured nails in a muted color make you look more professional.
5. Painting nails is fun! And so is keeping them looking fabulous.