17 Things I Learned in 2017

17 Things I Learned in 2017

This year I worked really hard to work on myself and I set goals that I thought would be achievable. Here’s what I’ve learned from setting my 2017 Goals:

  1. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals actually work. S.M.A.R.T is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. I learned this acronym in college and I applied it more to academics, but never to life. When I made my goals for 2017, I applied the concept of S.M.A.R.T. goals to them because I wanted to make sure I could achieve them.
  2. Accountability is key. I don’t think I would have maintained my exercise routine without having it in my calendar, receiving reminders, and being charged if I cancelled a class too late. Also, sharing your goals with people is a good way to be held accountable.
  3. Traveling is a great way to learn more about yourself. Whether you want to learn more about yourself or other cultures, you will learn something new about yourself on each trip you take.
  4. One of my big goals was to learn how to budget more and actually stick to that budget. I found that apps really didn’t help me achieve this goal, so at the beginning of the month I’ve started writing out my expenses for the month, the days I get paid, and the amount I get paid to figure out how to manage my spending for the month.
  5. It is important to keep learning. Taking classes through UCLA Extension has been one of the best things I decided to do this year. I’ve loved what I’m learning and it’s been one of the more enjoyable things I’ve done this year.
  6. Setting goals related to exercise should be focused on seeing what your body can do and not just weight loss. When I initially set my goal of getting better at cardio, the real goal was to lose weight. A few months into the year, I made the mental shift to focus on pushing my body more vs. focusing on weight loss, and I accomplished more than I ever thought I would. I ran a mile faster than I’d ever run before- 12 minutes! Which to some is a bad time, but for me that broke a 13-year record! Due to my mental shift, I was able to accomplish my cardio goal and achieve my secondary goal of losing weight.
  7. Your body can do more than you think. I know this is related to #6, but it’s definitely a lesson I learned. Up until this past year, I had never really lifted weights. I had used little weights in PT or a gym class, but never truly lifted weights. This year I have learned how to lift weights and I’ve increased the amount of weight I can lift throughout the year. It’s been nice to see that I’m able to do this because I’ve had shoulder and neck issues.
  8. Cooking is a lot easier than you think. I usually get overwhelmed by cooking a meal, but recently I’ve started being creative in the kitchen and created my own recipes. I’ve actually found this process to be fun, and I’d never had that experience before. An example of this is my obsession with making a DELICIOUS egg sandwich.The-Cross-Country-Millennial-How-to-Make-an-Egg-Sandwich
  9. Eating out or ordering in usually isn’t as good as you think it’ll be. The more I ate out this year, the less I enjoyed it. I would go to some of my favorite places and I just didn’t like it or I felt sick afterwards; which is obviously not a reaction you want to have. I definitely think there needs to be a balance between eating out/ordering in and cooking at home.
  10. Find things that you love outside of work. This for me has been key- without this blog I wouldn’t have a creative outlet and work would be my life.
  11. Be open to exploring new places. Whether you’re exploring a brand-new country or city or walking around where you live and you stumble upon a new place, you should be open to trying new things. This is how I created my Ktown Hidden Gems series- it simply happened because I started walking around where I live.
  12. Stand up for what you believe in. This applies to politics, issues at work, with your friends- you get the point. This is an important skill to have and it applies to any aspect of life.
  13. Take care of yourself. This is easier said than done, but it’s important to learn. I’ve tried really hard to take care of issues before they become bigger problems, and I think this approach is making me more aware about how my body works and reacts to things.
  14. Go to interesting events. In 2017, I was really lucky to have the opportunity to see a lot of performers and speakers that I never thought I would see. This includes seeing Hamilton the Musical, movie screenings, the Backstreet Boys, and Dan Rather. Attending different types of interesting events makes you think differently about different aspects of life and you appreciate them. Every time an opportunity would arise, I would just ask myself, “when will I be able to do this again?” If the answer was probably never again, then I would decide to go. Taking advantage of opportunities is key.
  15. Don’t be afraid to try new things. I’ve always had the rule that I am willing to try anything once, but sometimes fear can make that hard to follow. This year I tried to actually force myself to try things that scared me or were completely new. The major thing I tried was skiing. I had never skied before, but I had always wanted to try. So, when the opportunity arose, I said yes. Was I great at it? No. Am I willing to try it again? Yes.
  16. Friends and family are everything. Going on all of my adventures in 2017 wouldn’t have been as memorable or enjoyable without everyone who participated in them. From Nashville, to trying new restaurants, to Hawaii, to going to concerts and speakers- these memories wouldn’t be half of what they were without the people who attended them with me. For this, I am eternally grateful.
  17. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable. This is just a key thing to be able to do in life. Things are going to happen in life and you need to be able to be okay with it.

Continue reading “17 Things I Learned in 2017”

2017 Goals: Fall Update

2017 Goals: Fall Update

Okay, I’ve been bad at keeping you guys updated on how my goals for 2017 are going, so here’s the latest update.

*Goal 1: Exercise more and get better at Cardio

I’ve definitely been achieving this goal. I still exercise 3-5 times a week, and I’ve transitioned more into jogging vs. powerwalking. I’ve been proud of my accomplishments and the changes I’ve seen in my body. Trying to get things back to my pre-boot self has been difficult, and I still get pain in my foot sometimes; however, I will show up to class and I try my hardest.

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One of my accomplishments was that I got my highest amount of splat points ever- 15!!! I usually am in the 0-4 range- low resting heart rate problems :/ I am constantly inspired to do better in class by the other members and the coaches. This inspiration manifested itself into me setting another goal of running 2 miles in the 30-minute Cardio portion of class. Now I know 2 miles in 30 minutes doesn’t sound like a big accomplishment, but trust me, as someone who couldn’t do the 20-minute mile in gym class during middle school- this is a HUGE goal! The thing that was funny about setting and accomplishing this goal was that I did it within a 3-week time period. Seriously, one day I decided it was happening and then I just constantly pushed myself for the next 3 weeks until I accomplished it. This showed me that with focus and determination, you can rise to the occasion and achieve your goals.

Despite this inspiration, I still find that it can be really hard to get myself in the mood to attend class- sometimes I am truly fried from the day, but I always leave class feeling better. I think that having a consistent workout routine has saved me numerous times mentally from the frustration I’ve been experiencing in different aspects of my life.

*Goal 2: Go to all 50 states before I turn 30

This goal has been put on pause a bit, because I did a lot of traveling within a short period of time- I think it made me not want to get on another plane. I can say that I have 11 or 12 states left, and I definitely think my goal is feasible. I’m starting to think about planning trips for 2018 with some friends that I don’t get to see. I am however working on writing posts about some of my past trips, so for 2018 I can start posting in as close to real time as possible.

*Goal 3: Budget and Save Money

I’ve definitely had my ups and downs with this goal. I’ve noticed that when things get really hectic in my life, that I just forget completely about having a budget or paying attention to my finances. This is a really bad habit, and I’ve been working hard to break it. I’ve been utilizing the Mint app more, and I think it’s really helping. I am still using Ebates, Ibotta, and ThreadUp to earn money in more practical ways.

If you’re interested in Ebates, make sure to subscribe through the link and you’ll get $10 for just signing up! If you’re interested in Ibotta, use the referral code onjumjl for $10. This post is not sponsored by either company, but I genuinely think they’re great tools for earning money on purchases you were already going to make. If you’re interested in trying ThreadUp, here’s a link to get $10: http://www.thredup.com/r/C0GZL0

*Goal 4: Be more politically active

This goal is still one I’ve been working on trying to figure out how to achieve. I’ve tried to read different sites to understand what is going on in the country, and supporting candidates that I agree with. I would like to volunteer for a political campaign because that was something I really enjoyed in high school, but I haven’t been around any elections. I think right now the best I can do is be knowledgeable about the issues I care about and having discussions with friends about how to get more engaged. I saw that there is another Women’s March planned for January, and I think I will participate in that.

*Goal 5: Schedule Time for Self-Care

I would honestly say that this is the goal that I’ve been the worst at accomplishing this year. I keep doing too much, and then I get overwhelmed, and then I practice a lot of self-care to feel better, and then the cycle keeps going. I started getting regular massages because my body started having pain in places that I know act up when I am stressed out. Listening to my body forced me to take time for myself, but it still doesn’t address the overall issue of me not taking enough time for myself. I honestly think that I need to start putting self-care into my calendar more, and not just taking an exercise class a few times a week, but really taking some time to decompress a few days a week. I know that I am really good at following my calendars, so this is a better way to hold myself accountable.

Anyways, this is how things have been going for me and I hope you learned something that can help you! I’m starting to think about new goals for the next year and how to carry these goals over- if you have any ideas, please comment below!

What Happens When Age is Thrown Out the Window?

What Happens When Age is Thrown Out the Window?

I’ve always had two philosophies in life 1) age is just a number and 2) you can learn something from everyone you meet. I chose to participate in the Bridging the Gap campaign with this mentality, but I was hesitant that I wouldn’t be able to relate to my partner. What would I truly have in common with someone double my age, and who’s lived in countries I’ve never been to? However, once I started talking with Renata, founder of Fashionably Fab Fashion Tips, I realized that we had so much more in common than I initially imagined.

Renata was born and raised in Australia, but she followed her dreams and at age 50 she moved to France. She has a son, and she is getting married to an Italian man in November. Now, age 52, she has traveled to over 40 cities in Europe – something I aspire to do some day. Some of her favorite places are: Antwerp, Paris, the countryside in England, Austria, and Switzerland.

Renata started her blog because she thinks “it’s important to just see people for who and what they are regardless of age, height or shape. People have a hard time nowadays to see people without labels or status.” You feel this intention when reading her blog; the wisdom woven into posts from her personal life and fashion communicates everything at a humanistic level and it feels refreshing. Everything she writes is authentic, and it’s noticeable. This tone makes sense because Renata is an artist with words – she’s written a book (again another life goal of mine).

I learned from our conversations that we both share passions for traveling, food, helping others and the relationships we have with family and friends. Renata is an expert in European cities; she can tell you where to eat, sites to see and the value of traveling to each country. I think she would write an awesome travel book about European cities. I hope to have this much knowledge about places within the United States. Renata and I both believe that traveling is awesome and that it forces you to truly live life. She says it best, “experience is life,” and I completely agree. Paired with traveling, is her passion for good food. Whether it’s a home cooked meal by her future spouse or dishes she’s discovered while traveling around Europe – she loves it all.

After talking with Renata, I realized that our values, passions and desires are the same; no matter your age. Two lessons I took away from our conversations are that you need to live in the now and make sure to become your best friend. I also hope that one day I have the wisdom and willingness to live my dreams despite my fears. Remember that beauty is ageless, and age is just a number. Renata and I bridged the gap, and I hope that we can meet in person – maybe I’ll travel to Europe!

To check out the other posts, click here!

2017 Goals: Spring Update

2017 Goals: Spring Update

I know that I took a bit of a hiatus from blogging over the past couple of months, but I needed the time to focus on me. Things have been incredibly chaotic and I’ve felt completely drained and unfocused. In order to be able to hold myself accountable, I decided to do a general Spring Quarter update on my 2017 Goals.

*Goal 1: Exercise more and get better at Cardio

Since February, I’ve been exercising three to five times a week. Which for me and my chaotic schedule, has been my only consistent outlet. I’ve forced myself to go exercise on days where I was exhausted, and I just wanted to go home and watch TV and sleep. Forcing myself to maintain this schedule has helped me physically and mentally. I love the mental clarity I get when I’ve finished a really good workout or that I have an outlet to constructively take out my frustration from external things. I’m getting much better at weight training, and I’ve also been jogging a bit instead of only power walking. I have never been a runner, so this is an incredible improvement for me. This May is also the one year anniversary of getting my boot, so I’m impressed with what I’ve overcome in the past year related to my foot and how my stamina and strength have improved.

*Goal 2: Go to all 50 states before I turn 30

I mentioned in my February update, that I booked a trip to Hawaii. Well I’m currently writing this post on the plane to this amazing destination. I am super excited to explore Oahu, and to document my trip. I bought a camera that can go under water and has all sorts of fun attachments, so look out for some awesome pictures and a post about my trip.

I have a lot of trips planned for this summer, but none of them are to new states. There might be a road trip this summer, so maybe I’ll get a new state during that.

*Goal 3: Budget and Save Money

Budgeting and saving haven’t been going too well. I’ve noticed a correlation between my stress level and desire to eat out. When I’m incredibly stressed out, I just want food that I know tastes good, but probably is more expensive. This is something I have to work on, but I’ve been really good about bringing my lunch and not spending money on that. I am still obsessed with Ebates and Ibotta, so at least I’m earning money when I make purchases. I can admit that I haven’t been shopping as much, so that’s been good.

If you’re interested in Ebates, make sure to subscribe through the link or button on the right and you’ll get $10 for just signing up! If you’re interested in Ibotta, use the referral code onjumjl for $10. This post is not sponsored by either company, but I genuinely think they’re great tools for earning money on purchases you were already going to make.

*Goal 4: Be more politically active

This is a goal I need to figure out how to achieve or work on. I’m still deciding on the best way to do this, but I’m leaning towards volunteering for a campaign. I volunteered on campaigns during high school, and I thought that it was a fun grassroots way to be involved.

*Goal 5: Schedule Time for Self-Care

I realize that I’m adding a goal, but I think it’s a necessary one. The main reason that I haven’t blogged in two months, was because I was over booked (whether it was working long hours or outside activities). Since I was over booked and super busy at work, I wasn’t giving myself the proper amount of time to take care of me. For example, I stopped going to the Chiropractor because I just kept forgetting to call to schedule appointments, and I couldn’t figure out where the appointments would fit in my schedule. I’ve felt super drained and it wasn’t until recently that I started to actively work on making sure that I had time in my schedule for me. Over the past two months, I realized that this isn’t a way to live, so I need to actively remind myself that I need to not be booked all of the time.

I hope that all of you had a great Spring, and I’ll make sure to be more consistent here.

Stay tuned to see how achieving my goals is going for the rest of the year!

 

2017 Goals: January Update

2017 Goals: January Update

I’ve decided that instead of writing just an annual update on how I’m progressing on my goals for the year, that I would starting doing monthly ones. So here are the updates:

*Goal 1: Exercise more and get better at Cardio

Well this is probably the goal that I have been most successful so far. Typically, I exercise twice a week, but I decided that I was going to do one of the challenges at Orangetheory. It is a 6-week weight loss challenge (I don’t think I’m losing weight, probably just gaining muscle) and you have to go 3x a week for the 6-weeks to complete the challenge. When I started the challenge I only had the 2x a week package, but since I’m trying to be more fiscally responsible I upgraded my membership to save money.

*Goal 2: Go to all 50 states before I turn 30

In 2017, I have one trip a month from February-September, and two of the trips are to states I’ve never been. I’m going to Nashville, TN for my 26th birthday and Hawaii in May with my family. The other trips I have planned are for weddings and family events. Hopefully, I’ll be able to squeeze in one more trip to a state I’ve never been to in 2017.

*Goal 3: Budget and Save Money

So far I think I’m doing better at this. I’m working hard at not eating out as much, which saves money and is healthier. I’m also trying to go grocery shopping once a week so I have food in my fridge. Another thing I’m working on is not shopping online or in stores until I’ve thoroughly cleaned out my closet. I want to try to sell as much stuff as I can to ThredUp.

*Goal 4: Be more politically active

This has probably been the hardest goal for me to work on. I’ve found the month of January to be too emotionally draining due to the political climate, but I did participate in the Women’s March Los Angeles on January 21, 2017. It was a great way to organize and stand up for what I believe in, and I intend on participating in as many events like that as possible this year.

Finally, I am working on rebranding and writing more content for the blog. I promise I’ll write about some of my travels from 2016 in February. Also, I want to thank all of you for breaking my record for most views in a month in January. I really appreciate you reading and engaging with what I write. Let me know if there’s a topic you want me to cover!

2017 Goals

2017 Goals

Well I realize that this is a few days late posting this- sorry! 2017 has been hectic, and we’re only eight days in! I thought I would share some goals I have for 2017, so that way I’m held accountable (we all know accountability is important when trying to achieve something).

  • One of my 2016 goals was to exercise more, and while I tried to accomplish that goal, it was a bit unachievable starting in March. In March, I started noticing that I had a pain in my right foot, and while I thought it was nothing it turned out that when I went to the doctor in May I had a stress fracture. So, from May-July I was basically immobile because I wanted my foot to heal correctly the first time, and not to fracture or break. Once I could move again and my foot didn’t hurt, I tried going back to yoga, but that only irritated it with all the different positions. Then I went back to spinning, which was better, but not great (still would get pain, but the instructors were really understanding and encouraging). In October, I found Orangetheory fitness and realized that I was super out of shape, and I ended up getting a membership there so I could get a full body workout twice a week. My goal for 2017 is to get better at cardio. Cardio has never been something I’ve been good at, so I decided to set a high goal that I really have to work hard to achieve. I’m already working on it, because earlier this week I got five splat points when I typically only get one or two. I’m also still using my Fitbit as a way to hold me accountable.
  • On my 25th birthday, I decided that I am going to attempt to travel to all 50 states before I turn 30. I know that this is a big goal, but I think that with careful planning it is completely achievable. I only need 13 more states, including two that I have trips planned for (Hawaii and Nashville, TN).
  • My next goal is to work on budgeting and saving money. I need to learn how to set and stick to a budget. I am currently still using Mint to help me budget, and then I found that using the Digit App is a great way to save. It takes small increments of money out of my account, and keeps it in a Digit account. This is a better system for me, because I don’t see the money in my actual savings account and want to spend it.
  • My final goal for 2017 is to be more politically active. Since the election did not go the way I had hoped, I think it is important to stand up for what I believe in and to work with amazing organizations that are going to fight for the rights of so many vulnerable populations.

I’m going to work hard at accomplishing my goals for the year, and I really want to know what all of you are trying to achieve in 2017. Let’s work on our goals for 2017 together, and I hope the year is off to a great start!

P.S. I am also going to work on blogging more consistently and to catch up on posts that I didn’t get to in 2016. 🙂

Travel Goals

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States I’ve been to are circled in red 🙂

In my post 2016 Goals, I mentioned that I wanted to travel more. When I turned 25 in February, I set the goal of going to all 50 states before I turn 30. Growing up we did a lot of road trips, so it wasn’t a daunting goal to me. Since then, I’ve been to Maine, Oregon, Washington, New Hampshire, Texas, and I booked a trip to Hawaii! I know that I’ve been bad and posting about my trips, and I promise that I’m going to post about my favorite things from each trip or place. If any of you have recommendations for the states that aren’t circled, please share them with me!

6 LEVO Lessons

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One of my favorite companies for professional development tips is LEVO. The site allows you to create a profile, a bit like LinkedIn, but brighter, organized differently, and more interactive. They also publish a variety of articles and inspirational quotes, host webinars, and have downloadable guides all related to professional development. Here are my 6 favorite articles:

  1. 15 Things Incredibly Happy People Do

  2. 10 Ways to Psych Yourself Up About Job Hunting

  3. The Brief: 90 Percent of Women Would Rather Do This Than Be Late For Work

  4. A Millennial Life Through Taylor Swift Songs

  5. Work Smarter: The Best Times of Day to Conquer Your To-Dos

  6. 10 Productivity Hacks in 140 Characters or Less

2016 Goals

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So I know that I’m a bit late in posting this, the new year has been super busy, but I thought it was important to share some goals for 2016.

  • While 2015 was the year of me starting to exercise more, I still have a lot of work left to go. Before 2015 ended, I purchased a Fitbit to help motivate me to be more active and eat better. I figured that I might as well start a good habit now rather than wait. One way I want to achieve this is to go hiking more; this way I can explore nature and hang out with my friends while exercising.
  • Another goal I have for 2015 is to travel more. As someone in their mid 20s, I’ve noticed that the world is my oyster, so I need to take advantage of being able to explore and have new experiences.
  • Finally, I want to work on being more organized personally. I am extremely organized with my professional life, but I need to be better at keeping track of my finances and my apartment. I am determined to use my Mint app more and to make it match up to my actual budget. Before I tackle the idea of organizing my apartment, I want to clean out my closet. Recently, my mom told me about a website called thredUP, which is an online consignment store. This way I can clean out my closet AND make some cash.

I know that these sound like resolutions, but I didn’t want to call them that. There’s something about the word resolution that seems so definitive, and I figured that you can work towards goals. I hope that 2016 is off to a great start for everyone!