My year in review

Recapping all goals and achievements

I slacked the least in 2017! Go Annie! Go Annie! Go Annie!

I’m quite proud of what I’ve got done because I’ve been a bit of a procrastinator in recent years. Now, the one thing I pride myself for is how extra my work ethic is; I push, and push, and push… to give birth… to a better life ahead.

When I was in elementary school, my friends and I ran cross-country because we thought it’d be a fun, yet competitive, activity. What did we know? We were just kids. Anyway, our first race was (I think) 8 or 10km, and we ran at a steady pace beside each other. We were actually quite far behind. And when I thought about not making it into the finals, I bolted to the front whilst, under my breath, I kept telling myself, “you can do it” repeatedly. Long story short, I made it to the finals.

This is a key moment I think about when I’m having a moment of weakness or feeling like I can’t push on. So, if you ask me, a great year depends on how far you’re willing to push yourself.

Anyway, I digress —onwards and upwards!

The highlights

My friends are all probably tired of hearing me say: “I started from scratch to land the job I currently have”.

And I’ll keep saying it because I can’t just ignore the cold, hard facts. I spent the past 2 years solely focused on the decision to put myself first. And it was the best thing I’ve had ever done. I’m most proud of how I handled things this past year— my commitment to my craft and being a creative.

Next step: get a job in a start-up tech industry as a UI/UX or Product Designer. I want to change the world!

Oh, Nippon (日本)! It was one of my lifelong dreams to go to Japan. I still can’t believe that I actually went; we walked until our feet were blistered and battered. The aching feet were a horrible feeling afterwards but it was so rewarding to experience the cultural differences and history of Japan. I’ll definitely return to Japan because I love the culture, art, and the food.

Some “artsy” pictures from my trip to 日本

This was a nice surprise for my birthday last year. I was in Japan when my friend sent me a message to check my email… and I remember thinking that it was just a dream. At that point, I’d been trying to get invitations by submitting work to other Dribbblers to judge. I’d say I’m a lucky girl who’s eternally grateful AF.

This led to the Daily UI Challenge which I started in August to overcome posting anxiety.

This goal, I’ve been flexing for a little bit *kisses biceps*.

It’s the first challenge I’ve ever done like this, and honestly, I’m addicted. It felt so good to just be honing my craft and contributing to the design community on Dribbble. Though I didn’t get too much traffic, this challenge helped me gain perspective and figure out my process. There was also a lot of fun but sleepless nights.

Looking back, I realized that I never posted anything I didn’t think was perfect. And I think it’s because I overthink things and imaginary situations tend to spiral downwards the more I let it boil. When I was working on this challenge, I thought a lot about imposter syndrome and the phrase “fake it until you make it”. If I hadn’t put myself out there, flaws and all, for everyone to see… I’d gain absolutely nothing.

You can read all about my experience here.

After the Daily UI Challenge, I thought of something that seemed insurmountable: hitting the gym on the regular. I used to work out 6 days a week and spend 1.5–2 hours at the gym, however, after some body image issues… I felt compelled to look “normal” again.

Today, I’m at Day 037 of consistently working out (and not just on the easy stuff, I’ve got calluses for proof). I’m starting to see more results now and I’m really excited to feeling like my formerly-athletic-self. My goal is 100 days but with the way it’s going, it’s my lifestyle choice.

Side note: one other important thing I’ve learned last year is the science behind getting a good night’s sleep. Needless to say, I’ve been trying to up my ZZZ game.

New achievement unlocked! I didn’t think that this would happen out of the blue for me, but Medium’s an amazing platform and so grateful for having connected us. Being apart of the Prototypr’s blog has inspired me to write again. So, you’ll be hearing from me bi-weekly!

My first article was published on Christmas about my experience with the Daily UI Challenge (which, again, you can read here).

I’ve been learning Mandarin, Spanish, Japanese, and I just started Korean. It’s been such a fun journey to discover how different cultures interact with each other — makes me feel closer to them. It also helps me understand how their world works. The main key to learning a new language is to take your time.

My favourite language apps are:

  • Duolingo — which I found more effective for learning Spanish and French.
  • Memrise — it’s a little more repetitive than I’d like but it’s great for Japanese and Korean.
  • Pleco — best Chinese (Cantonese or Mandarin) dictionary app out there.
  • ChineseSkill — a more fun approach to learning Mandarin.

Maybe one day, just maybe, we’ll learn like the Matrix:

On the last day of the year, I got the iPhone X. After being with the 6 Plus for 3 years, this was a major upgrade. I have Live Photos, Animojis, and Face ID — I feel like I’ve been transported to the future. Did I mention how great my photos look? Time to take it to the ‘gram.

Plus, I can test all the updated apps! Yippee ki-yay, motherf*cker.

Going forward

I don’t do resolutions in the new year — never have, never will.

I prefer setting goals whenever you feel like it. It doesn’t take a single day at the beginning of the year to change how you want to live your life. I constantly have to remind myself that I’m the Master Builder and I get to create the lifestyle I want to live in.

I read this article earlier last year that talked about setting negative goals — it’s not what it sounds. The only way negative goals are set is by knowing exactly what you don’t want to do, see, or hear. For example, you never want to be unhealthy; so you eat healthy, exercise, and sleep well. Simple enough, right?

(If I find that article again, I’ll link it here.)

Thanks for reading — I hope the .gifs were entertaining enough to get you through to the end. Also, without realizing, I did this in chronological order lol. If you like what I’m doing, let’s get to know each other! Say hi @AnnieNgu and @anguphoto.

Until next time, doggos!

Eye of a Designer. Writer. Co-founder of Women United Project. Check out my debut co-authored book, #WomenLetsRise