Year-End Reflection and a New Year of Promise

January 6, 2021

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A new year … and a new promise of opportunity for the lives we’ve always wanted. 

I’m all about taking action to strengthen my family tree for the next generation to come. After the year we just had, it’s important to have a year-end reflection on the positive wins. 

Although that may be difficult, the exercise can help you to experience wonderful feelings a lot of us are seeking like … contentment, gratitude and happiness. 

To lead by example, I’ll share my top three positive wins from this year:

  1. No one in my immediate family became infected with COVID-19
  2. We had an incredible family trip to California in February right before the lockdown and school went full virtual
  3. I was able to leave my corporate career and pursue my small business full-time

When I think about 2020 in that context, I get a smile on my face. Now, I’m not suggesting that we don’t learn from and recognize the difficulties from last year, but that can be a slippery slope. 

Since our primitive brains or “lizard brains” are hard-wired for negativity, it’s important for us to recognize that and then fight against it. We can do this through smart habits like:

  • Keeping a gratitude journal
  • Reflecting on the positive wins each evening
  • Expressing gratitude to friends, family and neighbors
  • Giving back with our time, money and resources
  • And instilling these habits in our children the best we can

These are some of the things I’m trying. Am I positive that they will work in combating discontentment and creating happiness? No. 

But I do know that when I don’t do them, I’m not as happy. So I’m going to keep doing them. 

Year-End Reflection with Friends

year-end reflection with friends

In our Thriving Families Community, I asked people to share their wins as well. This way we can combat the lizard brain together and focus on what 2020 gave to us instead of what 2020 took away. 

Here is a bit of what was shared:


  1. Paid off student loans completely (10 years out of school in February)
  2. Our son Joseph was born in May (all healthy).
  3. Sold our first house in 24 hrs in June, purchased new (hopefully forever) home in July


  1. Got promoted at work.
  2. Discovered the FI community (was always into personal finance and following Dave Ramsey for a while but FI taught me to invest more!!)
  3. Moved our retirement from Edward Jones to Vanguard low-cost index funds


  1. Enjoyed the opportunity to slow down outside of work and spend valuable time with family — intentional moments with our kids that are fleeting as they continue to grow and change so quickly!
  2. Moved investments from Raymond James to Vanguard.
  3. Started tracking net worth and operating a zero-based budget allowing us to begin paying down our home mortgage quicker!

These are all such incredible wins – thank you for sharing Tom, Janet and Jalayna!

MKM Challenge

I challenge you to do the same thing today. 

Write down three things that happened to you last year that were positive wins for you and your family. This may be hard especially if you faced a difficult year. 

But this exercise in looking at what went right last year will help you avoid the negative as we head into a new year. 

So do this today. Don’t wait. Don’t overthink it.

Write 3 things down, reflect on them and let that gratitude and contentment wash over you for a minute. 

And step into this year with your head held high and prepare yourself for all the good that is going to come your way. 

The challenge has been laid down my friends … Are you in? What is your year-end reflection? What great things happened to you last year?

Please let me know in the comments below!

Andy Hill

Andy Hill, AFC® is the award-winning family finance coach behind Marriage Kids and Money - a platform dedicated to helping families build wealth and happiness. With millions of podcast downloads and video views, Andy’s message of family financial empowerment has resonated with listeners, readers and viewers across the world. When he's not "talking money", Andy enjoys being a Soccer Dad, singing karaoke with his wife and relaxing on his hammock.


  • 1. I have been working fully remote since the pandemic hit which has not only allowed me to be more productive (no more long commutes to Boston) but more importantly has blessed me more time with what’s truly important – my wife, 3 little girls, and fitness!
    2. Paid off all consumer debts with the exception of our mortgage.
    3. Our Investment portfolio hit over $1million (Our net worth including hard assets such as home approx $1.4M) before I turned 40 (my wife 38).

    • These are incredible things to be grateful for Donnie!

      Thank you for sharing!


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