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8 Ways to Be Your Best Self in 2018


8 Ways to Be Your Best Self in 2018

Happy 2018! Here we are again at the beginning of another year. If you’re not the kind of person to make resolutions, maybe this list can change your mind. The start of a new year is a great time to reflect on the previous year - a time to acknowledge your accomplishments and to begin working towards things that you still want to achieve. For me, the new year is a reset, and a time for appreciation and growth.

Below I’ve listed some guidelines on resetting your body and mind for 2018! (One could also argue that these are ranked by importance)

1. Drink Water.

This seems like an easy one, right? But have you ever truly reaped the many benefits that drinking enough water provides? A good friend of mine would tell me that the answer to all of your maladies is water. If you skin looks tired, drink water. If you’re feeling under the weather, drink water. If you feel a headache coming on, drink water. If you’re feeling lackluster, drink water - you get the point. It is recommended to drink half of your bodyweight in ounces of water daily. For example, a 180lb man or woman should drink 90oz water per day. Give it a go for clearer skin and a clearer mind!

2. Get Enough Sleep.

Here’s another favorite for resolution-ers. We often say that, with every new year, we’re going to sleep more and work less. But with another year gone, here it is again, making it to the top of the list. Sleep is just as crucial for peace of mind and productivity as drinking water. Without enough sleep, or without enough quality sleep, we enter the vicious cycle of relying on other substances to keep us awake, disrupting our natural sleep cycles and throwing our hormones out of whack. This creates a crabby, tired monster who never gets anything done. Let’s stray away from that in 2018.

3. Put Away Your Phone.

This one is tough. I get it. Our cellphones are our connection to the outside world, they’re our source of income, and they’re also part of our identities. Take this tip with a grain of salt - the more you’re looking at your phone, the less time you’re a part of the world around you. Start small and keep your phone away during dinner with friends. Focus your year on building solid social connections without the use of electronics - you’ll gain much more than you think.

4. Get Up and Move.

Notice how an exercise-related topic is 4th on the list? That’s because, in order to get the most out of exercise, you have to be hydrated and well rested. Now for this exercise goal, it doesn’t have to be anything crazy - just getting up and moving daily is all I ask of you. If you drink more water, you’ll also need to take more trips to the bathroom, which is more movement (see how i slipped that one in). If your movement is going for a walk at lunch, awesome! If its commiting to 3 days per week of strength training, amazing! Or even if it’s going to zumba with your mom every Saturday morning, even better! I hope to be less hard on myself in 2018 for missing a workout, and so should you!

5. Eat More Veggies and Less Donuts.

Now, here’s the food one. This year, I challenge you to have a more open mind when it comes to what you eat. I know it’s easy to fall into cycles: you eat poorly, then realize you’re eating poorly, so you eat really well for a week, only to have your flow disrupted when your coworker brings donuts into the office and you cave and eat three. Wow, can I relate to that. It’s tough to say no to sweets and treats, I know. But if you really want to eat the donut then eat it. Maybe don’t eat three donuts, and have an extra large serving of veggies during your next meal, but don’t be ashamed or discouraged if your diet hits a road bump.

6. Laugh More.

This one seems silly, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. This is just a friendly reminder to not take yourself too seriously. We’re all professionals here and we’ve worked hard to get to where we are, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t laugh until you cry every once in a while. When was the last time you laughed so hard you couldn’t breathe? If you don’t have an answer to that, it’s been too long.

7. Work Less.

Did you know that work days in Sweden are six hours? Can you imagine? That sounds amazing. They did this in order to allow employees to be more productive during each hour of work, and also to allow them to live fuller lives. Let’s take some advice from across the waters and start working less. If you can answer the question, “Will it make a difference if I do it tomorrow?” with a no, then it can wait until tomorrow. Just think of all of the time you’ll have if you actually stopped working when you left the office.

8. Learn Something New.

Lastly, there is evidence that continuing to learn may help prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. Now if that isn’t enough motivation to learn more about a subject of interest, a new language, or even just read more, I don’t know what is. One of my personal goals for this year is to read one book per month. I used to love reading growing up but I’ve fallen off of the wagon. I want to use this year to learn as much as I can. What do you want to learn more about?

This list is a guideline to help you live a more fulfilling life in 2018. We aren’t getting any younger, so now is the time to stop with the excuses and stay dedicated. Who knows - maybe you’ll develop habits to continue these great behaviors forever, or at least inspire someone around you.

Happy New Year and let’s be our best selves this year!



5 Places to Unpack Your Passion


5 Places to Unpack Your Passion

Last September, I found myself sitting in front of my computer, debating whether or not to sign up for a 3-part course called "Confident Cooking" at Sur La Table. I wanted to sign up, but I knew that I wouldn’t know anyone there and frankly, my cooking skills were severely lacking. In a moment of blind ambition, I pressed purchase.

Fast forward to the first class: I showed up early, put on my name tag and apron, then took a seat waiting to see who I’d be working with for the next 3 weeks as we conquered making chowder, biscuits, risotto, pasta, and more. I ended up getting paired with a newlywed about my age and her mother-in-law. As we talked, I discovered we had a lot in common and that they too weren’t pros in the kitchen - it was quite a relief to learn that we all had this in common.

Image Credit :  Kaboompics

Image Credit : Kaboompics

Over the next couple of hours, I learned how to properly use a Chef’s Knife and worked with my team to prepare a great meal. By the end of the class, we’d made a delicious salad with purple grapes and toasted walnut vinaigrette, buttermilk biscuits with maple butter, and a pot of sweet potato chowder with chicken and corn. The first class was a success: the food was delicious, I didn’t burn any food, and no injuries from the knife work. I left feeling energized, accomplished, and proud of myself for trying something new. I couldn’t wait to tell my roommates about the class and pick a night to cook for them that week. Needless to say, they were impressed by my new skills. Over the next few months I took a few more classes, cooked for more friends and along the way, I discovered a passion for cooking - one I never thought I’d have.

Image Credit : Kaboompics

Image Credit : Kaboompics

How did I end up at a cooking class?

Earlier that September I had been doing quite a bit of soul searching - I was trying to find my happiness. I asked myself a couple of hard questions: aside from continuing education for work, what have I learned for myself lately? When was the last time I tried something new?

During my search, I realized that learning makes me happy.  I missed everything from the challenge of a new activity to conversing with family about these challenges. Most of all though, I missed the fulfillment that conquering these new challenges gave me.  
Three hours into Knitting Boot Camp...

Three hours into Knitting Boot Camp...

Realizing that the only learning I had done in the past few years was centered around work was a motivator to sign myself up for my first cooking class - and I’m extremely happy I made the decision to do so.  Since September, I’ve continued to go to new classes outside of my comfort zone. Last Saturday, I spent my day at Workshop SF learning how to knit! Not my most successful endeavor but it was a fun day meeting new people and trying something I hadn’t done before.


I’m so happy that I made the decision to step out of my comfort zone and try something new, and I would encourage others to do the same.

San Francisco has an abundance of places to take workshops/classes to learn or even just try something new. I invite you to get our of your comfort zone and explore interests that may bring you happiness.

Top 5 Places I Recommend:

Workshop SF: Their motto is “Drink Beer and Make Stuff.” Workshop SF offers a wide variety of classes, ranging from making leather wallets to sewing to brewing your own beer and pretty much everything in between. Check out their website to see everything they’ve got to offer.

Image Credit :  Pixabay

ODC: Located in the Mission, their facility offers traditional dance classes (tap, ballet, jazz) and even goes into an eclectic offering of Salsa, Belly Dancing, Bollywood and admittedly what sounds the most fun to me: “Vogue and Tone.”

Image Credit : Pawel Kadysz

San Francisco Outdoor Adventure Club: Full of multi-sport weekend trips, this is the one if you’re ready to brave a new physical endeavor. Their trips include weekends in Tahoe, rock climbing, and whitewater rafting. If you need a getaway, consider signing up their surfing and beach vacations in Costa Rica.

Image Credit : Dino Reichmuth


Endgames Improv:  Most classes here are about 3 hours long but are fairly small, allowing for a lot of personal interaction. You can hone your skills in character or scene work, sketch writing, or musical improv. While you’re a student there, you also receive free admission to all of their shows.

Image Credit : Markus Spiske

Sur La Table: Classes include basic knife skills all the way through baking macarons and cooking various cuisines (French, Thai, Italian, etc). Classes are offered on weeknights and weekends -  they even have date night options that both friends or couples could attend together.

Image Credit : Tranmautritam


#HowIPerformForLife : Ning


#HowIPerformForLife : Ning

What motivates you? What helps you get up in the morning?

My fiance, Noah, my parents and my dreams in life motivate me and help me to get up every day.

I met Noah six years ago. He really tripped me out the night we met. I thought to myself, "WHO is this guy?" Mainly because he had (has) a spirit that made me feel like anything is possible. I've been so grateful to have him in my life all these years and he's shown me that truly, anything IS possible if you work hard and don't give up. He's a very inspiring person, not just in his accomplishments and charitable work, but also how he is as a human being - in how he treats and takes care of people in life.

In 1971, my parents left the Philippines for the United States. They gave up living in their homeland and everything and everyone they knew to build a new life for our whole family, with a savings of five hundred dollars. In the years that followed, they worked hard to bring the whole family over...both sets of my grandparents, and ten aunts and uncles. I have very fond and clear memories of going to the SF airport a lot, to welcome a new relative who would end up staying with us for a time. I was always excited about it. It became a ritual of sorts. Today, when I'm at family parties, and I see my whole family...grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins, and their kids makes me smile so much, because everyone is doing well. My parents worked so hard and taught me and so much of my family what persistence, hard work and true grit is. To see all of us - a big family flourishing here in the Bay Area - is an inspiration.

I've had a lot of dreams for my life since I was a child. All kinds of dreams that span my career, travel, relationships, personal fulfillment, philanthropic work and possessions. When I was a teenager and in my twenties, those dreams seemed so far out of reach. Today, seeing that my hard work and decision-making helped me attain and accomplish a lot of my dreams, it really proves that dreams come true. It inspires me to continue to work hard and make good decisions to accomplish more of my dreams. I aspire to be the person who never retires and is continually working on being a better person and a value to our community.

When was the last time you were proud of yourself?

In September 2016, I left the company that I loved working for - to go out on my own, as a freelance consultant and artist. In truth, it wasn't just leaving this particular company, but a big step in taking a very different step in the career I'd built over twenty years. It was such a hard and heart-wrenching decision because I loved my previous company, Atlassian - and still do. But my inner voice told me that I had to take the leap - to do things I'd dreamt about since I was five years old. So, I was proud when I resigned and said to myself....this is about me and my other dreams now. So far, I feel like I'm making good progress and am proud to keep pushing myself out of my comfort zones. I've been so touched that so many friends, family members and former co-workers are encouraging. Some folks have gone so far to say that I'm an inspiration to them. That makes me super proud!

Have you had any proud moments here?

I've had many proud moments at P4L.....accomplishing a tough workout, learning new things about wellness and implementing them, pushing to accomplish exercises that Justine or Cheri have me do, giving a talk to the staff about career development and seeing friends enjoy their workouts who I referred to P4L. One of my proudest moments though was when I saw P4L win the first place on Yelp for a personal training gym - because in the first months I could see and feel that P4L was top-notch and amazing - and I wanted other people to know and experience it as well. So that win validated that it truly is a special and wonderful place that others believe in, as well. That was three years ago when I joined the P4L family and I feel even more pride today!


Saying Yes to Your Happiness


Saying Yes to Your Happiness

I can remember last year, rushing to work in Uber while catching up on emails, ordering my dinner from Munchery, and scheduling my laundry pick up with Rinse. San Francisco is full of services designed to make our lives more convenient and believe me, I was taking full advantage of the available options under the guise of saving myself time. The time I was saving quickly got allotted to my career instead of working out, cooking, journaling, getting enough sleep or seeing my friends. I slowly lost sight of putting myself first.

Halfway through this year, I knew I needed to make a change, but I was scared and didn’t know how or where to start. Admittedly, deep down I had always thought that suddenly something would switch in my life where everything would slow down allowing me to take care of myself. The realization hit me that it was me that needed to make it happen- I had to shift my priorities and change my behaviors and it wasn’t going to be easy or happen overnight.

Over the past few months, I’ve been able to implement big changes in my life which have come along with renewed excitement and feeling energized for what I’ve planned to do for myself that day. Especially in SF, we can get caught up in life and lose sight on our own happiness, health and wellness but with the new year approaching it’s time to reflect on this year and decide what you want your life to look like in 2017.

Here’s a road map to help you navigate your journey to saying yes to your happiness.

Getting Started

  • Identify what aspects of your life bring you happiness

  • Identify what aspects of your life bring you the most stress

  • Map out what you want your life to look like in 6 months

  • Decide on what changes you need to make to achieve your 6 month goals

  • Find your cheerleaders

    • hare your journey with your close group of friends. These friends should be there to push you to follow your passions, provide your encouragement on the hard days, but also be ready to give you the hard truth when you need to hear it.


Re-Shaping Your Priorities

  • Set aside time each day for yourself at least 30 mins
    • Unplug from technology and turn off thoughts about work. Don’t compromise this part of your day.
  • Use the time you saved with convenience services on your own self-care
    • Examples: working out, train for an event, meditate or journal
  • Go to events that support your passions and growth
    • Examples:  cooking classes, workshops at General Assembly, join a book club or volunteer
  • Identify obstacles that can hold you back from the habits you’re trying to create and prepare with solutions for those times
    •  For example: meal prepping for the week on Sundays seemed daunting for me to do, but creating a menu of simple recipes for the week was manageable


Books To Read For Inspiration

  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  • Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
  • Year of Yes : How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes




Learn more about Kathleen here