A 2020 year in review 🔍

Sharing 1 (mine) +3 templates to get you started on your reflective journey

Welcome to Mika’s corner of the internet, where I vulnerably share life reflections, lessons building in tech, & new discoveries to compound your life, weekly.

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Annual Reviews and Goal Setting

Since 2016, inspired by @Marianna Ilagan (hey, girl) I’ve made a habit of an end of year reflection & goal setting. I started with a simple template then added improvements & tweaks along the way.

It’s one of my favorite break-time traditions, where I look back at the adventures of the past year and look forward to paint a picture how I want the next year to unravel.

It’s an experiential investment that compounds my life and I recommend it to everyone!

I templatized my frameworks on Notion to easily copy (+ more templates below) Note: These are free templates, just enter “$0” and you’re set.

Get the 2 free templates!

Looking back, here are a couple themes of my 2020:

  1. 🚀 Energy through Creation

  2. 👯 Community as an Anchor

    • Community will always be a constant source of strength and sanity. Despite the pandemic, my communities (@ LinkedIn, from high school & college, new online friends, On Deck, Cognity Labs) kept me sane. In fact, I may have had built ties with my communities because of the pandemic (easier to schedule around differing timezones, etc.)

  3. ❤️ Need for Better Self-Love & Care

    • I partly blame the pandemic for my dropping the ball on important routines & habits. I lost 15+ pounds unhealthily (accidentally skipping meals); I halted my strong momentum on exercise (because of the loss of group workouts); I consumed A LOT of mindless television (really enjoyed it in the moment, want to channel that entertainment energy into reading & learning instead); I went through spirals of self-doubt and lack of self-conviction (curbed through coaching & therapy).

    • In 2021, I want to get back on a healthy track in all ways and take better care of myself. Keep me accountable!

Looking forward, here are a couple philosophies I want to color my 2021:

  1. ☄️ Be fearless - I want to make sure I’m bold & fearless & true to my convictions as I look to make big moves in 2021. There’s still gut-wrenching anxiety with big decisions I’m making, but I want to be fearless despite it.

  2. 🐯 Say yes to adventure - Because of the pandemic, traditional adventure (e.g. travel) was harder to come by. That’s OK. But in 2021, I want to actively find, manufacture and say yes to adventure. An example: for the first few months of 2021, Nick and I are co-living in different cities, inspired by our experience at Maker Manor — Jan: Salt Lake City, Feb: Austin, Mar: maybe Portland, Hawaii, Alaska?! We’re excited.

  3. 😳 Stay focused - I realize how short of an attention span I have; I want to make my days more intentional focus on fewer things better.

  4. 👯 Consistency is key - I’m proud I’ve kept this newsletter send fairly consistent weekly & want to continue this consistency in microhabits (facial routine, waking up, reading at night) so they dovetail into larger endeavors (finances, work projects, startup building). Let’s keep at it!

  5. Think in loops and compounding effects - Finance teaches a lot about life: compounding effects (doing a thing that leads to more doing of a thing) can be applied to your career, product growth, audience building, and more.

Since the questions (save for a few tweaks and improvements) remain the same year over year, I also look back at previous year’s answers. Here are a couple fun questions & trends the past 3 years!

  1. What did I do this year that I have never done before?

    • 2020: Surf, launch a big thing & orchestrating 200+ people, launched on Product Hunt & Kickstarter

    • 2019: Participated in a dance competition, moved in with a significant other, Spartan race!, got mugged :(

    • 2018: Coachella!, auditioned for a salsa team (and failed miserably!), started work at a BIG company #startupgal

  2. Compared to this time last year, am I happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter? Richer or poorer?

    • 2020: sadder, thinner, richer

    • 2019: sadder, fatter, richer

    • 2018: happier, thinner, richer

  3. What title would I give this year?

    • 2020: The Year of the ‘Rona (no explanation needed)

    • 2019: The Stable One - this year was sandwiched between a personally tumultous year (2018) and a year I expected to be equally as tumultous (both because of visa)

    • 2018: The Phoenix Year (c) JR Aldiosa - T’was a shtty year for me. But, at the end, things tied up with a new job, house, relationship, etc. Hence, the phoenix cornily rising from the ashes!

I hope your reflection journey goes well. 🥳⭐ Onwards & upwards to 2021.

Start my reflection journey


👀 Nudges of the week

More annual review templates! Some that i’ve used to tweak and improve my personal templates.

🚀 Projects of the week

My friend Zack and I are working on a project to compile all resources related to the passion economy. I tweeted about it, asking for help for more resources and serendipitously, through the power of #BuildingInPublic, I:

  • was offered a domain name for the project

  • got +20 (& growing) new resources to add to the list!

  • got offers to give feedback and help amplify the project when it launches

We’re aiming to officially launch Jan 9th weekend and can’t wait to share with the world.


One last: A quick welcome!

Hello to new but old subscribers imported from my Mailchimp list. Welcome to my new home in the internet! No shame unsubscribe button if it ever gets too much. 🙃

Happy New Year,
Mika