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.

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!

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.