2012 In Review

A look at my resolutions from 2012:

Design, prototype, patent, find manufacturers, etc. + launch my idea on Kickstarter.  If all goes well, turn that sucker into a business.

Nope.  Sad to say, but I gradually dropped development on that idea around May or June, for several reasons/excuses.  Originally, my plan was to develop that idea on my breaks in the US from volunteering/traveling.  2012 came with a swift ass surprise, and my plans to travel until May ended with an abrupt phone call with a lawyer.  I decided to work again, and I discovered how much dedication/time it required to execute the idea after-hours, and also discovered that I did not have said dedication.  I did however, find Quirky as a new pursuit, hired freelance designers, and submitted the idea three times with three different revisions.  A new goal that I had set with Kat on Memorial Day last year is to submit 100 ideas to Quirky by 2013’s Memorial Day.

Find a burning motivation and physical activity to obsess over that will bring health into my life.

Yep.  I was originally thinking of an exciting activity like rock-climbing or Brazilian jujitsu, but I am proud to say that I’ve been going to the gym consistently since February.  For a good few months now, I have stuck to a strict habit of engaging in weight training 3x a week.  My burning motivation comes from both the pain of disappointing myself if I break my habit, and from the belief that no one ultra-successful did anything without EXTREME willpower, self-control, and determination.  Working out does serve as a way to boost my confidence in my appearance, but ultimately I’ve found the drive to workout through the perception that I am really working on training my grit, self-control, and determination.

Strengthen my relationship with my parents + seester, start hanging out with my parents.  Learn to cook like my dad.

Kinda.  Not to the degree that I had envisioned a year ago, but in November I committed myself to a habit of calling them every single day, even though we talk about the same things every time.  Still can’t cook like my dad.

Deepen my relationships with Kat and my friends even if I am not geographically close.

Yep.  Been doing long distance with Kat this entire year and we are stronger than ever.  On average, we saw each other every 2 or 3 weeks.

Live up my experiences in other countries.  Be fully present, energized, inspired.  Tell stories as best as I can, record all my thoughts so that I never forget my experiences.

No, but I stopped traveling shortly after 2012 started.

Learn to leverage others and multiply my effect as a person by trusting and figuring out how to play off of other people’s strengths.  Figure out how to use my zirtual assistant as effectively as possible.

Yes.  I stopped my subscription to Zirtual in September (which was an amazing service, but my life really isn’t complex enough yet to justify the price).  I did hire a freelance assistant for a little bit, who I paid hourly.  That worked out well, but now I don’t have any sort of virtual assistant.  I DID, however, start hiring freelance designers for my Quirky ideas because I decided my focus should be devoted to coming up with ideas and managing projects, not learning CAD tools.

Find the right frame to balance between being confident and humble.  Learn to communicate and express my ideas with conviction so that people understand, and so that I can influence behavior (not to manipulate anyone, but to be able to lead others).

Not exactly, still working on this one.

Keep up the habits I have of reflecting and improving on myself and my life and clarifying my goals + strategies.

Kinda.  I stopped writing in my journal at night for a few months, but have recently resumed after Brytani told me that my habit really inspired her.  I feel like I’ll always be reflecting on a regular basis though.  For a while now, being introspective is one of my forefront qualities in my perception of self.

Keep improving and exploring dance, photography, and guitar.

Not really.  I feel like I got better at photography this year, upgraded to a new camera, some new glass.  But it was nowhere near a focus of this past year.  Definitely did not get better at guitar, and have not been practicing dancing or freestyling.

Learn a lot more about the world through reading and seeing it through my own eyes.

No.  At least not through reading.  I haven’t really verbalized this, but I think my naive initial excitement with books was that by reading about knowledge I would be an expert in that subject.  I have come to realize that while gaining a foundation or cutting edge opinion is important, there really is no substitute for applying ideas and relentless practice.  I have definitely learned a lot about the business/startup/app world by being immersed in it for my 9-to-5, but I think my 2012 vision of learning about the world entailed traveling and experiencing culture, poverty, unfamiliarity, etc.

Finish off the stupid o-chem lab + GE class that I have left.  Not proud to have postponed for so long, but I shouldn’t hide it.

FUCK YEAH.  Proud alumni.  Even though I will likely never use anything I learned in o-chem or the history of China up to 1000 AD in my life, I framed it as training my determination and attitude.  It was not easy to work full-time and be a student at the same time.  I essentially had 12 hour days everyday.  This was also in conjunction with sticking to my habit of working out 3x a week (which I did not break.)

Have a lot of fuckin fun and let go of myself on occasion.

Yep.  Lot’s of good ass times with my friends, my family, and Kat.


All in all, I grew a lot more than I expected, in ways I couldn’t really have imagined.  By far, my biggest area of growth was in the area of willpower – discipline, determination, grit, attitude, etc.  Not to say that I’ve never been a hard worker before this, but this year I/life pushed me pretty hard this year, and I don’t intend to let down soon.  From consecutive sunrise mornings after 16 hour days for projects at work, to committing to progressively more difficult habits from flossing to working out, to helping out with Paws for a Cause and being inspired by how hard Jon + Carolyn worked, to working full-time + finishing a quarter at UCLA, to taking my apartment and car getting broken into in stride, I have a lot to be proud of.

Especially towards the end of the year, I started to viscerally understand that my grand visions and goals need to be met with even more extreme and outrageous determination and action.  Part of that comes from my professional growth as well – I think being a developer and project manager helped me get a real sense of how to execute ideas and how difficult they can be.  However, I certainly never want to get to a point in my life where I forget about a huge goal or scale back because it’s too hard.  I still want to cling to the dreamy, lofty 2010 and 2011 versions of me, but merge that with the grittiness I’ve cultivated this year.


To make a long post even longer, some highlights + memories:

  • Finding out about not traveling anymore, and deciding to work again
  • ACA retreat!
  • Napa v-day trip
  • Drunk laser tagging
  • Memorial Day date with Kat, and setting goals for ourselves
  • ACA’s all cal, battle, banquet, and having the privilege of being there for all of that
  • EDC.. crazy exhausting but crazy fun
  • My first solo business trip and presenting my hard work to Nintendo
  • My first job interview from the other side of the table
  • Our 2 year anniversary
  • Surprising Kat for her bday
  • Las Waygas
  • ACA lship retreat!
  • Big bear for my/Jon’s bday
  • Our company’s retreat and crazy holiday party
  • Finishing my last test ever
  • Celebrating the holidays with my family 🙂
  • Promise rangs

2012 was an amazing ass year, and that list does a poor job of filling in the gaps of all the laughs, memories, and good times and conversations I’ve had.  Utmost love, respect, and gratitude for all of the people in my life that made my year a great one.  Cheers to 2013!


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