I’m from New Jersey and come from an energetic family of 6. Needless to say, patience is not a trait that comes naturally to me – if at all!

One simple example: I can’t stand figuring out technical issues. They normally force me to call in an “expert”.

So last January, I declared 2018 the Year of Patience. Instead of telling myself that I couldn’t do it, I took a deep breath and pushed through. I feel so truly satisfied about overcoming, when I normally would think I couldn’t do it myself. 

The feeling of satisfaction is palpable. Since this was a year long intention, I’ve had time to internalize this practice daily and let it grow organically without pressure. A year later, I appreciate the progress I’ve made and the benefits that come with giving myself time.

Here are four ways you can cultivate any personality trait you desire:

  1. Make it real through accountability. I talked about my trait A LOT! Talking helped to make it more than just a word in my mind. Sharing your intention with the people around you automatically builds in informal accountability in your daily life. 
  2. Create a visual reminder. Use all your senses to absorb the message. I wrote down “Patience” on a pretty card with colored pencils. I kept it next to my desk so I could see it every day.
  3. Create a portable reminder. I purchased a bracelet from myintent.org with the word Patience and wore it every day for many months. Not only was it a reminder, it sparked many fun conversations (and more accountability!). 
  4. Create a challenge the embodies your trait. Find a way to push your growth in this area with a fun challenge of your choice. My partner, Steve, and I decided to learn to play the guitar. We also planted a Meyer Lemon Tree, herbs, and other edible foods on our deck. Both of these require a patience, but are fun and rewarding!

These all helped when I found myself  inevitably getting frustrated. As I found myself getting impatient, I noticed that familiar pressure rising through my body and then reminded myself that this was an opportunity to practice patience. Instead of letting my inner critic chastise me, I reset with a deep breath and then reframed the situation as an opportunity.

They also let me feel incredibly grateful for the things that do take time.  I thought my avocado tree would never cultivate fruit, but it finally produced 8 avocados after almost 2 years – that was so rewarding! Even when things didn’t work out perfectly (like my guitar skills) I keep trying with patience, instead of giving it up. 

This year is The Year of Curiosity! I’m looking to disarm frustration, anger, and tough feelings with a lens of curiosity. A curious perspective can give me a different angle to approach life. 

So, what trait do you want to cultivate in the next year? Use these questions to pick your word, use the 4 steps to integrate the trait and watch it bloom in your daily life. 

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