2017 Annual Review

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It's that time of the year again!

If you've been following my blog, or me, for awhile, you'll know that at the end of every year, I do a kind of annual review. It's to look at the goals I sent for myself last year (not resolutions), what worked, what didn't work, what goals were met & to think about where I want to take my life for the next year. So let's start by looking at my 2017 goals.


GOALS FOR 2017

TRAVEL

  • Spend more time actually exploring the PNW that's already around me.
  • Disney birthday trip with my girls
  • Road trip & hike Canada

LEARNING

  • Read at least 1 book a month (Take two!)

FINANCIAL

  • Buy myself a new (adult) car. It's time for the Scion tC of  my 16-year-old self to go.

HEALTH

  • Workout on a more regular basis, despite work schedule - focusing on cardio & weights.
  • Teaching myself to cook more & eat out less.

So What Went Well, What Not So Well?

I'm actually proud to say, that of all the goals I set for 2017, I accomplished all but two: working out on a more on a regular basis, and reading a book a month. In total, I read like 4 books, which is still an improvement. As for working out, it's still a struggle to find a consistent time todo it, when you work a dynamic schedule like I do. I did pick up some, should we call, alternative workouts?  I manage to scatter my year with hikes & ski days, at least until I sprained my ankle skiing (picture 4), and after I recovered I picked up kick boxing!

The biggest thing in 2017, was me "cutting back on traveling."

Somewhere my coworkers are rolling their eyes at that statement. Ok, fine. I kind of cut back. Baby steps okay? I "only" went to Disneyland twice & did only one international trip. It was the challenge of shifting my financial responsibilities, but all that overtime, and 70 work hours week, paid off! I bought my dream car: the Lexus NX F (emphasis on the F), which I named Becky. It's such a good feeling too, because I know I earned it, and I feel so grateful everyday when I drive it, & with how safe I feel when I take it up to the pass, or on and hikes. 

Other than that, I set out to road trip to Canada & I did (with Becky). I set out to do a birthday trip with my girls & we blew it out of the water.  I set out to work on my cooking skills, and now I'm packing lunch 4 times a week. I even saw my first total solar eclipse & added Scotland to my travel resume. A successful year! Now my goals for 2018!


GOALS FOR 2018

FINANCIAL

  • Put away a set amount each month so I can buy my own home at the end of 2018, or the beginning of 2019.
  • Any desired expenditures outside of that (like travel) or any other financial responsibilities (bills), must be financed by lifestyle changes to save money, or overtime! (Lots of overtime.)
  • Set a smaller amount aside each month, for a mission trip to Guatemala in February 2019

HEALTH

Be more consistent with working out in general, in any form (hike, ski, swim, kickboxing, etc)

TRAVEL

  • Trip back to France with my friend Shahrzad, where I learn more French history.
  • Road trip deeper into Canada for hiking.
  • (Hopefully, pending approval) A trip to China: particularly Shanghai & Hong Kong.

LEARNING

  • Read at least 1 book a month (Take three!)
  • Take a surfing lesson - California?
  • Learn Spanish so I can communicate with patients at work & for Guatemala 2019
  • Teach myself to more 100% dairy-free meals & maybe put together my own personal cookbook.

And finally, the mission statement. 

2018: THE YEAR OF epic FInancial Responsibility & the Independent woman

In 2018, I will challenge myself financially, more than ever. I will set aside a big portion of my income every month, with the intention of own home in Seattle's housing market, on my own, by the end of 2018 or early 2019. That is my priority. Everything else I want do this year, whether it be traveling, fitness, or education, will only be a secondary a result of how successful I am at learning to save money & how hard I work (overtime). 

Can you tell I'm ready to take this year by storm? Watch out 2018. I'm about to slay this! Love, JEN

My 2016 Annual Review

Last Year I TRAVELED MORE THAN EVER. So, What Now?

Since 2014, I've made the habit of working on an end-of-the-year Annual Review. It's something I learned from reading Chris Guillebeau's The Happiness of Pursuit, and I can honestly say it's been the best habit I've ever picked up. (Check out 2015 & 2014 here). At end of each year, I sit down & look at what went well during the year & what didn't go so well (personally). What goals (not just resolutions) did I set for myself, and which of those did I accomplish? Then finally I set new goals for myself & write myself a mission statement for the coming year.

For 2016, I dubbed it my year of adventure. While a lot of crazy/sad things happened around the world last year, I'm personally, still riding on my high of accomplishing just that. While I didn't cross off every goal on my list, I set out to finally pursue my dream of traveling the world & I did it. That is a feeling that no one can take away from me.

I've heard so many people tell me they want to travel the world, yet so little people put in the extra WORK, those long hours & sacrifices into making their dreams a reality. 

 While in x-ray school, I thought the study load was an impossible standard, but look at me now (I'm getting paperr). I never could run more than 2 miles & blamed it on my scoliosis, but that was before I trained for 3 half marathons. This feeling you get from setting what seems like impossible goals for yourself & then constantly achieving them, will open your mind to a world of possibilities.

We are truly unstoppable & limited only by our mentalities.

Ok. Enough motivational babbling. (Can you tell I'm pretty excited?) Onto the review!


What went well in 2016

Let's just start with this infographic I made, shall we? Why? Because I'm the only one nerdy enough to make one.

  • Got a full-time x-ray tech position, with the best hours/schedule a travel-addict could ask for
  • Finally went to San Diego Comic-Con for the first time & saw Adam Savage
  • Completed my 3rd half marathon (and in Paris!)
  • Blogged more. Actually, way more! More than excited with all the photos I've gotten too.
  • Sky dived (for the first time) over the Great Barrier Reef, oh and landed on a beach. No bigs.
  • Pulled the trigger & now I have purple/lavender hair!

What didn't go so well

  • Completely threw my goal of making Youtube videos, right out the window. There are only so many hours in a day and pictures take up a lot less time to produce.
  • Only went on one hike in Washington this year. If I wasn't traveling out of the state, I was spending time with friends, sleeping or working 70+ hours a week.
  • I wanted to read a book per month last year. I read a total of 5. Again, very busy.

Goals for 2017

These goals are probably the reason I've been putting off this Annual Review. I crossed off a lot off my bucket list last year, in a real short amount of time, so I've been kind of at a lost as what to put my efforts toward next. To me, there are 2 types of people in the world. There are those who (only) do the responsible thing, work the 9 to 5, and put all their focus to developing financial assets & a family. Then there are those who put their dreams first like there's no tomorrow. I spent 2016 doing the latter, but I believe in balance, so it's time to catch up on the former. Not that I'm giving up on furthering those dreams, I've just had my share of fun. Subject to additions, here's what I have thus far: 

FINANCIAL

  • Buy myself a new (adult) car. It's time for the Scion tC of  my 16-year-old self to go.

HEALTH

  • Workout on a more regular basis, despite work schedule - focusing on cardio & weights.
  • Teaching myself to cook more & eat out less.

TRAVEL

  • Spend more time actually exploring the PNW that's already around me.
  • Disney birthday trip with my girls
  • Road trip & hike Canada

LEARNING

  • Read at least 1 book a month (Take two!)

2017: The Year of Self-Growth

In 2017, I will direct my focus towards my own financial development as an adult, and make the jump in buying myself a well-deserved, new car. As a supplemental trade off to my traveling, I will spend more time exploring the Pacific Northwest that already surrounds me. This includes skiing in the Winter, year round hikes, and Summer road trips through the Canadian wilderness. I will have also found a regular workout rhythm, that fits my irregular work schedule. 

Hope you guys enjoyed the read. Here's to another colorful (and maybe purpler) year! Love, JEN

The 2015 Annual Review

Happy New Year everyone, and happy first-Monday of 2016! Long time no see! I hope you all had a great holiday & safe new years.

It's been a year since my first annual review, which was something I was inspired to do at the end of 2014, after reading one of my all-time favorite books, The Happiness of Pursuit, by Chris Guillebeau. In the deepest slump of my life, this book absolutely woke me up & taught me how to create my own happiness, by living my life in the constant pursuit of what inspires me. It gave me a purpose. This book literally changed my life, and let me say, because of it, 2015 was amazing. Because of that, it inspires to keep going & continue with this pursuit for the rest of  my life.

Part of the process of doing an annual review, is to first look at what (in your mind) went well in the last year, and what didn't go so well. It also involves at looking at how successful you were for your goals last year. Then from there, it becomes a lot more of an effect way to make goals for the new year, than resolutions alone. (Learn how to create your own Annual Review here). Here's mine:


What went well in 2015

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  • You can now call me Jennifer Nguyen R.T.(R). This past August, the Monday after my last day of class, I passed my Radiologic Technology boards with a 90! After 2 years of non-stop studying, on barely enough sleep, and working part-time, I'm never going to forget the feeling of just sitting at the end of my boards, in the disbelief that I was finally done. I must have sat there staring at my screen for 4 whole minutes. Of course, I would never have made it, if it wasn't for the support of my parents, friends & equally sleep-deprived classmates. 
  • Dream job? Check! As the cherry on top to my boards, I landed my dream job with my very first interview, 3 weeks before I graduated. I'm still literally excited to go to work, every single day.
  • Finally went to PAX. 
  • Another year of fun travels. I celebrated my second birthday in-a-row, in Honolulu, Hawaii, and celebrated my graduation with yet another annual trip to Disneyland. This Disney trip was extra special though, because I...
  • Finished my first Half-Marathon. Along with doing my first 5ks with The Color Run & Electric Run, I flew to Disneyland  to complete my first Half-Marathon. To be honest, before I did it, the most I had ran was 8 miles. A half-marathon is 13.1 miles. At first I was scared that I couldn't do it, but I just kept thinking, just one foot in front of the other. 3.5 hours and 9 water stations later, I did it! 

What didn't go so well in 2015

My only regrets of 2015, involve the failure of several of the 2015 goals that I had set, which included

  • My Goal of Writing 2 Blog Posts a Week - This overambitious goal was quickly overwhelmed by schoolwork, finals, my rad-tech boards, & training for my first marathon.
  • Posting 1 video/week on Youtube - Same with this one.
  • Reading 1 book a month - I still read 5 books this year, which is pretty good for me.
  • Refresh on Japanese for a trip - Which I decided wasn't going to happen.

Thing is though, I am completely content with these failures, because they were the result of how busy I kept myself with everything else that made my year happy. You can't win at everything. It's just as long as you're happy.


Goals for 2016

The next step is to look at what goals you want to set for next year, separate categories of your own choice & creation (for example: writing, business, friends, family, travel, spiritual, health, learning, or financial). Here are mine last year, and here are mine for 2016:

Travel/OUTDOORS

  • Whistler
  • Franklin Falls
  • Mount Rainier
  • Blanca Lake
  • Florida
  • Crater Lake, OR
  • Work abroad
  • France/Italy/England

Writing

  • Vlog more & post more Youtube videos - at least 2/month
  • Post at least 1 blog post a week - no really this time.

Health

  1. Improve my skiing skills
  2. Disney World's Star Wars 1/2 Marathon
  3. Seattle's Rock 'n' Roll (half) Marathon
  4. The 5K Warrior Dash in July
  5. Depending on if I get a spot, run my fourth half-marathon in Paris Disneyland

Learning

  • Educate myself on how to travel by earning/using points
  • Continue my education by specializing in MRI or CT
  • Challenge myself from a photography standpoint
  • Read 1 book a month - no really this time.

From there, you write out an action plan under each goal, on how you will accomplish those goals. I won't bore you with those details here. You can see how it can get lengthy, but success requires a lot of both planning & action, especially when planning an entire year. Then finally, after reflecting on all of that, you write out a title & mission statement for the year. For me, 2015 was "TheYear of Pursuit," and you can read my mission statement (here).  Here's my mission statement for 2016:

2016: The year of Adventure

In 2016, I will prove that my first 1/2 marathon, was not a one-hit-wonder. I will push myself physically, more than ever before, through skiing, hiking, rock wall climbing, and training through a series of runs that will lead me through my second, third, and hopefully fourth half marathon, from Florida, Seattle, to Paris. At the end of 2016, I will be on the path to advancing my career/education, by specializing in a diagnostic modality.  I will also have expanded my education through reading & travels. With my thirst for adventure, my pursuit to for greater photo & video content will be my catalyst.

I hope you guys enjoyed the read. I know it's lengthy, but it's been awhile since I blogged, and to me, this is one of the more important ones. I hope I inspired you guys to plan out your own amazing year. Let's make 2016 unforgettable! - JN

Thoughts for Twenty 15

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"Discontent is the first necessity of progress." - Thomas A. Edison

It's hard to believe that today is the last day of 2014. I swear, as you get older, time just seems to fly by, and before you know it, you're already planning for your next year! I spent my first half of 2014 traveling and having the time of my life, and the second half of it in a long depressive slump (which I've lifted from). You can read more about my year in my Annual Review & my depressive slump (here).

Yesterday, I stopped by Target to pick up a 2015 version my favorite wall calendar & weekly planner, by Sugar Paper. I just love the modern simplicity of their pieces, so this is actually my third year in-a-row purchasing their wall calendars. Their weekly planner is beautiful as well. It really gets me in the mood for new years! You can check out some of their other pieces below:

As I plan for the near year though, I thought I'd finish up my annual review from the book, The Happiness of Pursuit, which involves choosing several categories for yourself, & creating a few goals within each category for your next year. Here's what I came up with:

WRITING

  • Post at least 2 blog posts a week
  • Post at least 1 video a week

LEARNING

  • Refresh on Japanese for trip
  • Read at least 1 book/month
  • Explore a radiologic modality

TRAVEL/OUTDOORS

  • Lake 22
  • Heather Lake
  • Palouse Falls
  • Japan
  • Color Run (5K)
  • Run Disney 10K
  • Avengers Disney Run half marathon
  • Australia?

All of the above leads to the final step of your own personal annual review, which is to ask yourself, a year from now, what do you want to have accomplished. Here's what I want out of 2015, which I will dub, "The Year of Pursuit."

At the end of 2015, I will have finished my radiologic technology program and passed my boards with flying colors. I will have pushed myself physically, more than ever before, through training, hiking, and a series of runs leading to my first half marathon. I will have expanded my education through reading, traveling, and immersing myself in different cultures and foods. And of course, I will have recorded every one of my adventures, as I always have: through photography, blogging & video. 

I hope you enjoyed this really short and rough look at what I have planned for 2015. I look forward to new adventures & just bettering myself through those experiences. What plans do you have for 2015? I love hearing and getting inspired by other peoples' goals. I wish you all a happy (and safe) New Years! - JEN (P.S. follow along on my adventure on Instagram @InJensLife)

The Happiness of Pursuit

Let me start by addressing the fact that, yes, it's been quite a few months since I’ve blogged or appeared on any other social networks. 

I had put myself on a temporary hiatus to work on a few personal things. Looking back on it now, I'm not sure what triggered it, but quite frankly, I had sunken into a bit of a depressive state. Throughout my life, I've come to known periods of sadness, but this was different. I lost the motivation to blog, make videos, take photos, and even Instagram (my favorite!). Slowly, I also stopped going out, I stopped working out, and just spent a lot of time at home. I continued with the bare minimum of going to school and work, and almost nothing else. Sad, I know. (-_-)*

I never could figure out why I was feeling that way, or maybe if it was the typical mid-twenties slump people talk about, but I knew I wanted to do something to make myself happier. It felt like something was missing from my life; a sense of motivation or purpose. 

Obviously now, with the presence of this blog post, I’m feeling a lot better. :) As cheesy as it sounds, I feel like I owe it all to a book. I was walking through Barnes & Nobles one day (a place I find quite comforting), when I came across “The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life,” by Chris Guillebeau. The title probably doesn't help the cheesy factor, but honestly, when you felt the way I did, it doesn't matter. At my lowest low, part of my sadness was becauseI felt that the world didn't understand me, that I didn't understand me, but this book did. 

"I felt a deep discomfort the life I had been prescribed."
"They had a life that was relatively satisfying, but waiting beyond their comfort zone, was something better."

The idea that knowing that other people in the world had felt what I was feeling was eye opening and refreshing. Guileau's book shares many stories of people he's met around the world, finding a sense of fulfillment through lifelong (and short term) quests. I'm only halfway through the book so far, which also walks you through different ways to discover your own quest, but I feel so much happier already., just knowing what to do now. One of the suggestions is a bucket list. I've put together mine here.

This blog has always been a place for me to share different looks I wear and videos I've made, but it's called "In Jen's Life," after all. I'm excited to start posting looks frequently again, but in addition to that, I want to make this a place to record my personal quest for happiness, and towards creating a better self. That's what a blog was originally for, wasn't it? It was an online diary. I didn't really understand that before, but now I do, and I have a whole new love for blogging.

It's going to be a long journey, but I'm excited to embark on it, and share my experiences with you all. I hope you're doing well, enjoyed this read, and come along with me on this adventure!  (You can check out the book here) Also, before this post becomes an essay, I'll talk to you guys again soon!

Love, Jen

P.S. Meet my new dog Lulu! :) Bruce is still very much in the picture, he just has a buddy now. Special thanks to my cousin Donald for the pictures. :P

Express sweater (similar here) & leggings | Steve Madden boots | ASOS jacket (similar here)