How to navigate impatience with health progress

A Japanese consideration for how to approach personal health goals

Kaki Okumura


Many people join my newsletter because they are working towards a health goal. Often this is weight loss, becoming stronger, having more energy, or simply wanting to feel better in their body so they can live life more freely.

These are great goals, and important goals that I write for and work to support each and every week.

Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

The thing about our health however is that it is not something that changes overnight. This is not a bad thing, but it takes time– and in that process, it’s easy to feel frustrated, confused, tired, and lost. Many people define this as impatience, but I find that it often doesn’t have anything to do with morals.

There is a way that anyone can find patience with their health goals, and not just tolerate it, but also enjoy the process of self-care.

But first, let me talk about doors.​

The Japanese art of fixing things

I was calling my friend in New York, and he was recently describing to me how the door to his porch broke.

“Would you believe how much I was told it would cost to repair?”​

“What, like a few hundred dollars?”​

“I was quoted three thousand!”

It seemed outrageous for a door. I couldn’t understand it, until he went on to explain that while there was only one part to the door that was broken, when he called for a replacement part, it was no longer made. If he wanted a fixed door, he needed a completely new one.

This logic didn’t surprise me. As a company, if you don’t bear the social cost of waste, it makes economic sense to encourage new things, not fixing old parts. And consequently buyers begin to focus more on buying, and less on fixing.

Growing up in Japan though, this practice felt so wasteful. Perhaps it’s a value system borne out of WWII, when there wasn’t much wealth to go around, or perhaps it dates…



Kaki Okumura

Born in Dallas, raised in New York and Tokyo. I care about helping others learn to live a better, healthier life. My site: 🌱