A Year in Review: 2018

Blessings, achievements, goals, and life lessons of the past year.

Why Am I Writing This?

Since 2016, I’ve been committed to doing a full-year retrospective and review on the highlights of the year, some fun stats, what I’m grateful for, and goals that I’ve had. I also finish it off with goals for the coming year as well as some of the biggest life lessons learned.

While this is very personal, I really hope that whoever reads this gets some value out of following my journey, whichever part that may be.

Check out past years if interested:

B.A.G. Format

For my yearly review, I adopt the B.A.G. format which I got from my studies in personal development. The acronym stands for:

B = Blessings
A = Achievements
G = Goals

The idea is that to keep yourself happy and centered, you have to reach into your “BAG” every so often. For me, I do this on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis with my various types of personal retrospective/reflective journal entries.

However, my yearly entry is the only one I share publically, so I hope this brings value to you 🙂

What I’m Grateful For:


As usual, I start with my family. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. From my loving parents, my fun and inspiring siblings, and all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I’m always so grateful and blessed to have been born into this family. Even though being in this family is out of my control, I’ve reaped so many benefits from being in this family.

I’m thankful for my mom for teaching me what unconditional love is. She is always my guardian angel, my biggest fan, and #1 supporter ❤

I’m thankful for my dad for teaching me how to always be the better person. How to have integrity and to live by your values. He also taught me by example on how to always have high standards for yourself. As he always says “when you’re good, you’re good.”

I’m thankful for my step-mom Marylin for showing me grace and generosity. Her capacity to love, forgive those around her, and to be kind to others inspires me to always do the same.

I’m thankful for my sister for teaching me resilience. No matter what challenges she faces, she always makes it through and especially with a smile and unending kindness towards others.

I’m thankful for my little brother Jacob for showing me that hard work always pays off. I may be biased, but he’s the hardest working kid I know his age, and his results and success speaks for themselves.

I’m thankful for my baby brother Daniel for showing me the power of being true to yourself. Nobody I know is as honest as authentic as this kid, and hanging out around him reminds me to just have fun, laugh, dance, and you’ll be much happier when you see the world through the eyes of a kid.

And of course, I’m thankful to all of my other aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, nieces, nephews, etc, who continue to show me love and remind me that I always have a home and family I belong to.

And of course no family is perfect, and mine is far from it. Over the course of this year, I’ve had some family members argue with each other, fight, and not speak with each other. There will always be toxic people in our lives, and many times it might be from your own family. I’m sure we can all relate. However, I’ve learned that even though you may have to distance yourself from these toxic people, it doesn’t mean you should stop loving them from afar.

While 2018 definitely presented my family with challenges, it also brought us a lot of growth and set us up for an even better 2019.

New Job / Coworkers

Back in March, I moved over to my current company, Kelley Blue Book. Deciding to move from a company I had essentially been with for 4 years was a very tough decision, especially because I had so many ties with coworkers whom I considered close friends. Not only that, but the environment was so much fun! We always played board/card/tabletop games at lunch pretty religiously, and it was always a good time.

However, I knew that it was time to move on and force myself out of my comfort zone. Working at KBB this past year was such a great experience as I’ve grown so much and have learned to adapt to such a large organization. I’ve been blessed to have an amazing boss who cares about her direct reports and wants us to continue growing into our best selves.

My new coworkers and teams have been awesome. Everyone is so welcoming and friendly, mature, and very hard working. There is definitely a challenge when it comes to getting to know people when you work in such a large organization. However, I’ve managed to build some good relationships with some team members through company outings, happy hours, and meetings where I make everyone play board games with me haha.

I’m also super grateful that my work environment is SUPER low stress. My boss is very chill and the company is very flexible with time and working from home. The nature of the work I do affords me many benefits of not having to worry about work when I’m not in the office, which is fantastic.

Dance Opportunities

This year, I’ve been blessed to have had so many great dance opportunities. Not only was I able to reconnect with some dance organizations I was a part of before, but also join some new teams and make a ton of new friends.

Thank you to Urban Motus for allowing me to be one of the choreographers and dancers for their 2018 SummUrmo project. It’s crazy seeing how much the team has not only grown, but also stayed the same over the past 8 years! (yes, saying that makes me feel old, whatever 😛 ) Even though each year comes with new challenges, I have a lot of faith in the new Board for the ’18-’19 team. Also honored to be able to be involved as an Urban Council member for the year.

Thank you to KKAP, Konnect’s KPOP Dance Team, for allowing this old guy teach workshops and perform for Welcome Week as well. It’s also crazy to see how much this team has grown from about a dozen members to well above 60 members! The team as a whole has not only gotten bigger, but the average skill level of the dancers has gone up significantly. I’m especially proud of their leadership for how they’ve been leading the team with such a strong vision.

Thank you to Ernest Cho for allowing me to be a dance instructor at Orange County KPOP Academy this past year. It has been so much fun teaching passionate students to dance their favorite KPOP songs and helping them grow as dancers. Teaching at this studio has shown me how much I love mentoring those who really want to learn. There’s almost nothing more fulfilling than seeing a student of mine grow and achieve their goals simply through patience, support, and a bit of guidance 🙂

Thank you to Dominique Zamora for asking me to be the dance instructor for her amazing KinDA Pop/Stars project. Because of this one opportunity, I’ve been able to meet some amazing new friends, had some of the best hangouts of the year, met a lot of talented cosplayers and photographers, even did my first cosplay ever, and overall made so many unforgettable memories.

Thank you to my new team Koreos for accepting me onto their team. Being on a team with hardworking and talented dancers pushes me to not be complacent and continue improving myself. Even though it feels like I’m a beginner again, it is the best way to help me achieve my goal of becoming a better cover dancer.

My Health & Fitness

I’m very thankful that my health and fitness journey was a huge success this year. I’ve never been in better shape in my life. My body composition is exactly what I wanted and I’m very proud of how I look in the mirror. My self-confidence has shot up dramatically and this has spilled over into other aspects in my life. The ROI on investing my time, money, and energy into my health this year has returned so many dividends, I cannot emphasize enough to my friends and family how health should always be your #1 priority.

Shout out to my fitness coach Jeremy Sry for teaching me how to plan out my diet and stick to it. He kept me accountable for the entire year and always pushed me to never make excuses for myself. I owe the largest part of my success to him. I cannot emphasize enough the value of listening to someone who knows how to get to where you want to go and can show you the most effective path there. Mentorship is key.

I also had some lower back issues halfway into the year, but I found a great chiropractor, Kevin G. Parker, DC at Irvine Spine and Sport who helped me get back to 100% and gave me great tips & workouts to protect and strengthen my lower back.

My Small Group, My Church, and My Faith

The cornerstone of all the success and progress I’ve made in my life is due to my faith, which I attribute to my amazing church and small group. Not only do I go to Sunday services, but I’m also connected to my weekly small group bible study. These two things help reorient me towards God’s values instead of the world’s values. Although joining a group outside of my age range was an accident, it was a blessing in disguise because I’m constantly learning from people who are wiser and more experience than me, both spiritually and in life.

My Struggles and Opportunities to Grow

The big challenge of the year was “REJECTION”. First, it started off with me and my girlfriend splitting up after over 5 1/2 years of being together. While we agreed it was a mutual split, I still couldn’t help the feeling of rejection for a good 2-3 months. It sucked. Real bad.

Rejection #1

After that, I decided to keep myself busy and dance more. The best way to keep your mind off things I’ve learned is to do things you love and enjoy. I got involved in Urmo and KKAP again which was great. Connected with some old friends and made a handful of new ones. But this only helped for as long as I was busy.

I decided to audition for Koreos, a KPOP cover team based out of UCLA. I’ve been wanting to join their team for over a year now, so I finally had my shot. I thought I gave a great audition and interview, but ultimately I was told that I was prioritized out by underclassmen and current UCLA students (or more local people). Also not a good feeling when you put your heart into an audition. I haven’t put as much effort into an audition since I first auditioned for Kaba Modern back in 2010.

Rejection #2

Later that month, I decided to audition for KKAP’s cover dance team, the KPOP team I helped start in college back in 2011. I wasn’t able to go for the actual audition in-person because of a trip out of town, so I did a video submission. Long story short, my audition wasn’t good enough and I was rejected from the team. I couldn’t even make it onto the roster of their new 40+ member cover team.

Rejection #3

In my mind, these were rejections were huge because of my high emotional investment in each. However, I would find out that these challenges were simply opportunities to grow.

Because I was rejected from these two dance teams, it pushed me harder to refine my cover dancing ability. I took my classes more seriously, focused on better performance and accuracy when covering dances. Being single again forced me to go out and reengage in dance, meet new people, reconnect with old friends, and even join new communities of people.

The lessons learned is that rejection is always a chance to find new and better opportunities. While it always sucks to be rejected, it’s a necessary growing pain when on your journey to “leveling up”.

Moving back to Irvine from Buena Park

Moving back to Irvine has been a gamechanger for me. Not only am I avoiding 1hr+ traffic each way during rush hour, but now my commute is barely 10 minutes with only about 5 lights in between me and work, all side streets. Being able to go home and take a long lunch during the weekday is fantastic. No words can describe how convenient this is. It’s definitely worth the increase in my rent to live so close to work.

The last chapter in my life coming to a close to make room for the new

As I’ve mentioned, the second half of this year has been about unexpected change and growth.

One step back, two steps forward.

With that being said, I’m excited to take on the new challenges that await in 2019.

Memorable Moments:

  • Playing Secret Hitler religiously w/ coworkers (and taking stats) every day at lunch (Jan-March)
  • Auntie Geadell & Uncle Danny’s wedding! (March)
  • Birthday sushi, escape room, and KPOP workshop (April)
  • Competed at IKCF KPOP Battles w/ SINdicate (May)
  • NorCal trip to visit fam + cousin’s grad party (June)
  • Ate Jollibee w/ 2 filipinos (shout out to Anthony Bourdain) (June)
  • 4th of July Seattle adventures w/ Diana (July)
  • Started my #thoughtoftheday video series (July)
  • Sister visited for the week + Rex Navarette comedy show! (Aug)
  • Karaoke w/ the Filipinos (Aug)
  • 1,2,3 KPOP cover w/ Natasha (Sept)
  • Co-hosted my first dance workshop Meetup (Sept)
  • Performed with Urban Motus & KKAP for UCI Welcome Week (Sept)
  • Joey & Erica’s wedding (Oct)
  • San Diego trip for Jacinta’s birthday (oct)
  • 12-hr day at Six Flags Halloween Horror w/ Lily (Oct)
  • Performed Diwali dance at KBB (Nov)
  • KKAP Oldies + Martin Friendsgiving (Nov)
  • KKAP Fall showcase performance (Dec)
  • KDA Project rehearsals & hangouts (Dec)
  • Met my new Best friend Dani (Dec)
  • KKAP Oldies (+ Martin) Secret Santa
  • NorCal w/ Fam
  • Kaba Modern K10 class reunion in LA

Accomplishments & Stats:

  • Incorporated Intermittent Fasting into my diet
  • New job: Kelley Blue Book
The Agile Delivery team at a community service event.
  • Won Best Table Topics x3 @Toastmasters
  • Started foodie IG: @yolocruzfoodz
  • Foodie photos posted: 111
  • Acai bowls eaten: 38+
  • Successful Escape Rooms: 10/10
  • Joined Urban Council
  • Visited family 4 times
  • Learned how to bowl with left arm
  • Bowling high score: 208 (6 strikes in a row)
  • 2nd Place @IKCF KPOP Battles 2018 w/ SINdicate

Goals from 2018:

THEME FOR 2018: Ultimate Health and Fitness


  • 1 minute handstand hold – Not Achieved
    • Reason: I didn’t end up devoting any time to this, focused more on the body fat % goal
  • 1 muscle up – Not Achieved
    • Reason: didn’t spend any time on this either
  • 8% body fat – ACHIEVED
    • Reason: I hired a fitness coach, started tracking my macros the right way, and made it into my routine. I also started Intermittent Fasting which helped a lot


  • Daily meditation (day and/or night) 5-10 minutes per session – ACHIEVED
    • Reason: Used my meditation app to do nightly meditations which helped me go to sleep within 5 minutes and felt way more rested the next day
  • Consistent gym schedule, 3-4 times per week – ACHIEVED
    • This one ties into hiring a coach and going 5-6 times per week consistently because of the accountability


  • Double my net worth – ACHIEVED (almost)!
    • While I didn’t exactly double my net worth, I got PRETTY close! This was in large part due to me moving to another company that paid me over double the amount I was making, which is pretty hard to pass up, tbh, haha. My automatic savings and investments went up dramatically, and after some good stock market changes, my net worth has gone up significantly.

Giving & Charity:

  • Donate $1000 – ACHIEVED! 
    • Reason: I automated my weekly tithes to reach this goal. I also started to donate to DonorsChoose.Org and some Omaze contests which became fun outlets to give consistently
  • Give away $500 worth of gifts – ACHIEVED
    • Reason: While I didn’t follow my intended game plan, I was definitely more generous with gifts, especially during holidays and birthdays, and also going out and treating friends.


  • Transfer website to self-hosted + weekly email newsletter – ACHIEVED (sorta)
    • Reason: While I didn’t move to self-hosted, I did upgrade my site so that I can put WordAds and make some revenue there. After tweaking my SEO a bit, my traffic has greatly increased and my website is technically almost paying for itself! I still have to set up a weekly email or something, but with the advent of my YBC Instagram account, that might be one of my new outlets for my book notes.
  • Bi-monthly dance covers by Kynergy – Not Achieved
    • Reason: 1/3 of our group members moved to Seattle and that really slowed down all of our motivation and momentum we had when we started this group. Moreover, said group member and I broke up in July, so that really stopped any plans we might have had to do more covers with this group. Sad times, but that’s the way life goes I guess.
  • Monthly retrospectives – ACHIEVED!
    • Reason: I’ve done this consistently every month through setting reminders to myself via my Reminders app on my phone and my google calendar.
  • Weekly HHN postsNot Achieved
    • Reason: This idea never really got off the group because my partner in this project was my coworker/friend, and when I left and went to a different company, her and I didn’t see each other as much. It also didn’t feel like a priority for either of us, so this one kind of just faded. But we still have drafts for a lot of content we brainstormed, so if we ever get back to it, it’s still there.
  • Make 5 sales for LL – Not Achieved
    • Reason: We actually made 1 sale but decided to finish the project and not dedicate any more time to it. It was a great learning experience and my business partner learned a lot of different skills that we’ll definitely use for the future.

Goals for 2019:

THEME FOR 2019: The Year of Being Prolific

  • Dance:
    • Freestyle Friday dance posts (friday)
    • Weekly KPOP dance covers (wednesday)
    • 30-day kpop dance challenge (march)
    • 1-hour KPOP learning videos (sunday?)
      • Plan: schedule these into my weekly routine
  • YouTube Channels:
    • Start “Car Karoke” YouTube channel (x1 / week)
    • Start “2-4 Week Experiments” YouTube channel (x10 / year)
      • Plan: follow & implement Jumpcut course teachings
  • Yolocruz Book Club:
    • 52 PDF book summary highlights
    • Thorough video digest of book notes (8-15 min videos)
  • 1000Gurus Podcast:
    • 6 Episodes published
    • Potential guests: Alan L, Brian K, Andy H, Julie H, Jayme H, Dominique Z, Rani B, Andre M.
  • Financial:
    • Donate $2,500
      • Plan: increase tithing, DonorsChoose, Omaze, Kiva, other charities
    • 6-figure net worth
      • Plan: maintain financial automation, get raise, diversify income sources
        • Start online (life/habit/relationship) coaching
  • Physical:
    • 10 handstand pushups
      • Plan: complete handstand course, practice daily (30-60 days)
    • 10 muscle-ups
      • Plan: ask for training advice from someone who can do it


Themes, Lessons, and Insights of 2018:

  • Just DO IT! – I learned this from 5 Second Rule and motivational Jim Rohn audios. I started to take action with my December fitness challenge, revamping my diet with intermittent fasting, finally made the leap into getting online fitness coaching that I’ve been putting off for almost a year. “Make the change now while you have the motivation.” It feels good to get those small wins as they are confidence builders. It makes taking subsequent, new action easier when you build momentum with other, smaller changes.
  • Being confident and open with what you know and don’t know – At first, I felt like I didn’t belong to my team because I didn’t know how to program or anything about software development. But after understanding my role, I knew I didn’t need to know everything and shouldn’t be expected to. Over time, I started to get over my “imposter syndrome” and knew I played a valuable role in the team. I knew that I added value with my own insights and perspective. Lesson: just because you don’t know everything, doesn’t mean you don’t play a valuable role.
  • As a manager, ask a lot of questions, don’t worry about looking dumb or not knowing – Your job is to learn and utilize your resources to get the job done. Books: Winning & The Effective Executive
  • Only you control your emotions and how you react to things – I had several encounters with this life lesson this year. Ultimately, when things get tough I have to remind myself that I am in 100% control of my thoughts and emotions. What I choose to focus on will determine my mood.
  • Your standards may not be another person’s standards – I was reminded of this when after hiring a fitness coach, he wanted to have me weigh all of my food and be accurate for all of my macros to the team. I thought that an average estimate was good enough, but for him, it clearly wasn’t. I knew that he knew more than I did and I should give him the benefit of the doubt. But it was frustrating that my standards are not as high as his when he came to something and I thought wasn’t that big of a deal. But I needed to remain coachable and willing to raise my standards in order to increase my results.
  • People make mistakesForgive fast, and always apologize fast and sincerely when you’re wrong
  • Don’t keep anything of value in your car – I learned this lesson before so thank goodness I mitigated against it. However, my car got broken into mid-February. They took a lot of things that weren’t super valuable, but super inconvenient for me to have to replace like earphones, gym bag, toiletries, and things in my messenger bag.
    • More lessons from my car getting broken into:
      • Simplify my life and my things
      • Clean up more often, get rid of excess and what I don’t use
      • Things are just things
      • Other people have it worse and all of my things can be replaced
  • Rest days just as important as work days – Books: Peak Performance, Josh Waitzkin, and my training regimen.
  • Not having enough time is never the issue – It’s all about prioritization. This is why we can all wake up an hour early during daylight savings because we don’t have a choice.
  • When facing a difficult decision, choose growth/discomfort over security/comfort – You will regret it if you go for the easy path and think “what if” later on. This year I choose the job that would challenge me instead of staying where I’ve been comfortable for 4 years.
  • Give what you want more of – This is something I learned from my pastor, Rick Warren. I wanted a better financial situation so I finally began giving more, which helped promote an abundance mentality. I believe in the law of attraction, and you get what you give out in the world/universe. Soon after, I got this job offer that paid more than twice I was making. Sure, maybe there may not be any direct causation, but I found that the more I give, the more I get (this lesson emphasized further below).
  • Don’t burn bridges, all relationships (particularly professional ones) can lead to future opportunities – In regards to leaving my last company on good terms and adding much value to the team, they’re happy to take me back if I decide to come back.
  • You can never be too old to dream – This is what my grandpa said during my aunt’s wedding in his hotel room when grandma called him a “dreamer”. He is so inspiring. He was talking about his next project and how he has so much life left. He still wanted to work for himself, he knew who he is and what he prefers. Even though circumstances are tough, he has such an optimistic view. It is like he doesn’t have any plans to stop, just to keep going as long as he can. So effing proud to have him as my grandpa.
  • Document, don’t create – wise words from Gary Vaynerchuk from his book Crushing It. Inspired me to try new things this year like “1-hour KPOP learning” videos and even “commute karaoke”
  • Those who get offended easily should be offended more often – Something I heard from Tim Ferriss several times in his podcasts, but a great reminder for me whenever I feel myself getting offended. This is characterized by me either being defensive of having defensive thoughts. This is a reminder that I shouldn’t take things so seriously and just let it go. Easier said than done, but I imagine it is like a muscle that gets stronger with practice.
  • Celebrate your successes – An idea I’ve learned long ago, but now actively putting into practice with my diet. Whenever I’m consistent, I let myself have some flexibility, but only when I feel I’ve earned it (and I never overdo it). I think this really contributed to my diet retention as I don’t feel restricted and I feel good celebrating my successes and progress.
  • Mental & physical resilience – A good example is how Intermittent Fasting sucks at first. However, stressing your body in the gym and your mind during fasting really reinforces the idea that you’re in control of your hunger, not the other way around. To me, this is really empowering. Also, The Gifts of Imperfection talks about resilience and spirituality (along w/ gratitude and joy).
  • Your foundation and where you put your “center” determines how well you’ll handle adversity – This is completely true on how I handled my breakup. God is my center. My foundation for happiness comes from within, purely internal. I’ve committed to my daily disciplines, constant introspection, and adaptation. GROWTH is key, constantly learning and trying new things. MEETING new people and staying connected with others. Constantly staying BUSY so that I don’t have time to look back and be depressed. Too much past makes you depressed, too much future makes you anxious. Living in the present is key.
  • Choose the opposite of what’s expected and you’ll be surprised with the results – I used this concept several times during Toastmasters and won Best Table Topics for my improv speeches. This is the cornerstone of my philosophy when it comes to my humor.
  • Assume good intent – I learned this from Mel Robbin’s Kick Ass audio program. This applies to people in your life who may offend you but in reality, they might not be doing so with malicious intent.
  • Learn to accept what is out of your control – In life, things won’t always go your way all the time (obviously). The key is to distinguish what you cannot control, let it go, and focus on what you can control. Again, this lesson came from when I was trying to move past my breakup.
  • Only compare yourself to your past self, not to others – This lesson shows up almost every day because it is so easy to compare my life with the highlight reel of other people around me. In comparison to all of the amazing activities my friends are doing and how much success they have, I’m pretty much a failure. However, I have to realize that we’re all on different journeys and at different points in our journey. Therefore, comparing is not only useless, but it is also inaccurate and destructive.
  • Chase your curiosity and whatever makes you come alive – I heard this from a Tim Ferriss podcast with Joseph Gordon Levitt. This inspired me to take my Yolocruz Book Club to the next level, continue my comedy writing, and research on how to start a podcast.
  • SPEAK YOUR TRUTH – Something I learned from Gary Vaynerchuk, Mel Robbins, and Brene Brown. When you speak your truth, so many good things happen. Not only will you act and live with more integrity, but you’ll also know yourself better and you may inspire others to do the same. This concept inspired me to start my “thought of the day” series.
  • Fall in love with the process of growing and learning – This is something I have to keep reminding myself as I explore different interests of mine like dance, building out different channels, accounts, and platforms, as well as pursue comedy, etc. Whatever I do will be hard, but if I can fall in love with the process and not the results, it’ll sustain me for a long time.
  • End a confrontation with understanding, empathy, and gratitude – There was a situation earlier this year where a guy I’m connected to on FB was very offended by my video about “how getting offended is a personal choice” (LOL). Instead of being thoughtful about his opinion, he decided to attack me personally, be very rude to others involved in the conversation, and was just overall very defensive and close-minded. I tried ending the conversation with compassion and empathy, which definitely shut him up. I knew fighting fire with fire against a guy like this who was clearly looking for a fight would do no good. “Keyboard warriors” like him feel their righteousness gives them the right to be rude to others who don’t think the same way they do.
  • When it comes to comedy, it’s not just the stories, it’s also the delivery – A comedy lesson straight from Rex Navarette’s own mouth
  • Don’t be afraid to say “no” and maximize the time spent on high-value activities – When I started being involved more in dance and outside activities, I got to the point where my calendar was booked back to back every week. I knew I needed to prioritize the activities that added the most value to my life and say no to the others.
  • Improv: Changing your body posture or facial expression is the most effective way to change your character – $1000 improv lesson for $10
  • You will absolutely appreciate things when they are gone – This really hit home in September, a few months after my breakup. I really missed always having someone to connect with, to vent to, to be first in their life and yours, and an automatic +1 for everything you want to do. In this context, it’s hard to not feel lonely when you want to do something with someone, but you don’t have a friend or someone who is always down and available.
  • People grow closer through adversity and a common enemy – I learned this when a group of 18 people I was with had a huge customer service fiasco that cost a friend $70 and over 1hr of everyone’s time. We hated the restaurant after that incident, but we all grew closer as friends. It was a great bonding moment, haha.
  • Leadership starts with the self – I had a great discussion with a friend of mine named Kyle, and also during my interview for Urban Council. A great team stems from great leadership. Great leadership comes from a commitment to become your best self and have the highest standards for oneself. Moreover, taking responsibility for everything in the team fosters a stronger team culture and performance. Book: Extreme Ownership.
  • Self-love is the first and most important thing – I had a deep conversation with my ading/little sis/mentee Mia, and it reminded me of the concepts from You Are a Badass and The Gifts of Imperfection. Feelings of unworthiness and insecurity, especially with others, stems from a lack of self-love.
  • Relearning how to be okay with being alone and reframing that I don’t need anyone but myself to be happy. I had to remember that I should always be my own best friend and that you can absolutely take yourself on dates.
  • It feels good to be obsessive and have a singular focus to improve something – In the case of the Koreos audition week, I haven’t spent that much focused attention on one thing in a while, and it felt amazing.
  • The concept of “romance” – As learned from The Warrior Diet, romance is the act of doing something out of the norm. Something that’s not logical such as sacrificing yourself by enlisting in the military to serve your country, or staying in a relationship with the same person for the long haul, even though you may not have butterflies anymore. This is something to keep in mind as I go into another relationship in the future.
  • How you THINK you look (dress & attire) really does affect self-confidence and self-esteem – I realized that when I put effort into my fashion and felt like I looked good, I felt better which improved my mood when I was feeling low.
  • Affirmations and motivational audios are powerful on the mind – Reintroducing these back into my daily routine helped reprogram my mind and “brainwash” myself back into my old self. I needed to see my own greatness and remind myself that I’m a f*cking BOSS.
  • My high standards definitely come from my dad – I realized this fact in the context of him being one of the top Uber drivers in California and being invited to exclusive events due to his Preferred Driver status. As a person I admired growing up, his example affected how I set my own standards. I adopted the mindset that I can be a top performer if that’s what I aim for.
  • Rejection is a GREAT motivator – Being rejected from Koreos and KKAP within the span of a month was fuel for the fire in me taking dance more seriously and pushing myself to continue to improve. No longer would I settle and coast as a dancer.
  • My challenges are God’s gift to me to grow into the person I need to become to achieve all I want – It’s a reminder that I cannot have what I want unless I earn it. I do so by going through the hurdles and growing into the person that deserves the results.
  • Being vulnerable and telling your story is a powerful way to connect w/ someone – I recently reconnected with an old friend by inviting her out to my church. We connected after we caught each other up about our past, our failed relationships, and insecurities.
  • Front-loading my day really works – Morning workouts and completing everything in my morning routine helps me feel like I’ve “won the day”. This helps set the tone for the rest of the day.
  • The greatest value of college is finding out who you are and what really makes you come alive – This is advice I’ve been giving to undergraduates a lot this past year. Finding who you are is why it’s important to try new things, make friends, be involved, and figuring out what type of person you are and what activities interest you. Many people do this too late, like way after graduation, and have to undergo major career changes late in the game.
  • I’m DEFINITELY destined to become a teacher/mentor/professor one day – So many signs point to it, like how I love teaching and mentoring others. It is almost as an extension of my own passion for learning. I also see it as reinvesting in young, hungry minds. That combined with my affinity for strong communication, and many other people confirming that I’d be a great teacher, in any sort of capacity.
  • Its good to surround yourself with people who are further along in their journey than you are – Examples include my awesome co-worker Chris Andrade and my small group over the past 3 years. They give me great insight into life challenges and lessons I will inevitably face down the line and some I am currently facing.
  • I want to create art/media/content that inspires people – Just like how the movie Instant Family reminded me that I want to be a foster/adoptive parent one day.
  • I shouldn’t get caught up w/ comparing my followers/likes/social media activity with other people – This is a huge lesson that I really need to keep in mind as I build out my accounts in 2019.
  • How to get a hot IG model girlfriend: BECOME A PHOTOGRAPHER – LMAO. But where’s the lie?
  • You can’t force people to have fun, your focus is to have fun yourself and those who don’t will be their loss – Case in point when trying to make people dance at parties and events like weddings. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. I’ve had several occasions this year where it is clear that there’s no point in trying to make people have fun. So we just let go, have fun, enjoy ourselves, and not worry about party poopers.
  • The more I give and the more generous I am, the more I seem to get – Over the past year, I’ve made it a focus to be more generous with my time, money, and energy, such as paying for meals, spending time with friends and fam, being thoughtful, being grateful, donating to charities, and not thinking scarcity. It seems the more I give, the more I seem to get. I received so many gifts I never expected from friends, coworkers, family, Christmas gifts, strangers, etc. Particularly, I reap a ton of benefits from the relationships I pour into, and these benefits tend to be worth way more than what I put in.

Thank you 2018, the year of growth.

8 thoughts on “A Year in Review: 2018”

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