The new year is one of my favorite times of the year! I love spending time reflecting about moments I enjoyed, ways that I can improve life, and activities that made me happy.
This is my Year in Review for 2022.
Writing a Year in Review can be better than setting a goal you probably won’t stick to beyond January. It’s because it’s an intentional time you set to reflect about what worked for you in the past year, what didn’t, and set intentions based on that.
I look at my life in different categories (e.g. relationships, fitness, personal development, quality of life) and ask myself questions like:
- What went well?
- What didn’t go well?
- How would I like to improve next year?
Theme for 2022
Every year, I choose a word to define how I want to experience the year. It’s the next theme, the next chapter, and my North Star as I make difficult decisions.
The word I chose for 2022 was “expansion.” In 2021, I co-founded a social media and copywriting agency kapwa studio. I envisioned 2022 as a year where I would push myself to my limits + evolve professionally.
The word that actually guided me in 2022 was connection.
I deepened the connection with my family, started volunteering in the community, and prioritized quality time with others above all else.
After an entire adulthood finding pride in being a workaholic, maybe connection is my expansion.
- Best mate came to visit Hawai’i from Manchester, England. I met my bestie, Steve, during the four years I was living abroad in Asia. He came to visit this year! Since he lives across the globe, our friendship is almost completely virtual and it was nice to spend quality time with him in-person.
- kapwa studio made over twice in revenue compared to its first year, 2021. I co-founded kapwa studio with my business partner, Alexis, in 2021. What started as a project writing someone’s brand story and content pillars has evolved into a social media management studio. It’s easy to compare your business performance to the highlight reels other people post on social media — until you look at your own numbers. It feels good to see this growth and acknowledge the progress we made.
- I made more & paid myself more in 2022! 2021 was a significant year because I decided to change careers. It came with a pay cut as I transitioned my services from web design to writing and social media management. I’m happy to say that not only did I make more in 2022, but I also paid myself more, too! I think as a business owner, it’s easy to bask in top-line growth — and it’s important (to me) to keep track of how much I’m paying myself from that growth, too.
- I trained for & ran the Honolulu Marathon! This is a big accomplishment because we actually spent half a year building up our endurance to run a marathon. My partner, Keola, and I trained for and ran the Honolulu Marathon together. Since this was our first year of co-living and partnership, it was a good way for us to show up for each other and train towards something together. I’m not a natural runner and this commitment was difficult; but I’m very happy that we accomplished this together.
- Bought a Fujifilm Instax camera. This has to be my favorite purchase of 2022. Keola is interested in film photography and I admired how he captured memories with film. So I bought an Instax camera to do a little of the same. I like having it when people visit or when we travel so that everyone can end the trip with a memory of the moments we shared.
In 2021, I started tracking memories and my goal is to track one memory each month. 2022 was the first year I had photos attached to each memory.
At the beginning of each year, I set intentions to guide my goals. I think about how I want to feel so that I can set goals and habits to create that feeling.
Personal Relationships (Friendships, Family, + Partnership)
The intention I set for my relationships was to feel connected, nourished, and generous.
One goal I didn’t make: I wanted to make a close friend in-person—someone who I could have coffee with once every week or couple of weeks. When I think about it, between work, marathon training, and family, I probably didn’t have the capacity to welcome a new in-person friend.
- Built strong foundation with my partner. Keola and I have been close friends for over 11 years, and 2022 was the first full year being together, as partners. In 2022, I think we built a strong foundation where we are learning to lean on each other for support, welcome feedback, and just choose love. Because we have similar priorities, deep down I feel very safe and stable knowing that I have someone to turn to. I’m grateful for this foundation.
- Spent more quality time with family. This is my first full year back in the US after moving abroad to Asia in 2017, so it was also a good year to prioritize spending time with family — both Keola’s and my own. When my dad retired, we helped him move from Colorado to Hawai’i; and because my dad and I now live in the same state, I was able to spend both US holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) with his company.
- Bestie came to visit. My best mate came to visit Hawai’i allllll the way from Manchester, England! The last time we saw each other was probably in Spring 2019 — one year before the pandemic. I feel very grateful that my friend could prioritize travelling here to spend quality time, and that we could see some new places together!
Overall, I prioritized existing relationships and connections in 2022. It resulted in a strong partnership, quality time with loved ones, and feeling connected.
Fitness + Health
I didn’t necessarily write out how I wanted to feel around fitness and health, but I wrote down that I wanted to try something new. I meant a new sport outside of running, but that didn’t happen.
In the middle of the year, my partner and I started training for the Honolulu Marathon. I think that in itself was something new — showing up 3-4x per week to run was difficult, and started to wear on me. It was a huge time commitment and I don’t see how I would have had the energy to fit another sport in there!
- Trained for the Honolulu Marathon! I think training was more significant than finishing. Keola and I learnt what we needed, how to show up for each other, and how to push forward. I’m most proud of following through on this commitment with everything else going on in our lives.
Fitness is difficult for me. I didn’t grow up around fitness, and it’s easy to compare myself to people who are stronger, faster, younger, older than I am. In those moments, I need to remind myself how incredible it is to show up for myself in my 30s.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I learnt how important fitness it to my physical AND mental health. I know mentally it’s difficult to keep fitness as a habit, and I’m proud that I am making strides in this area of my life each year.
Overall, I made more AND paid myself more in 2022.
kapwa studio — the social media agency I co-founded — turned out to be my primary focus for 2022, and it made over twice the revenue compared to its first year (2021). My business partner and I have ridiculously complimentary brains and skillsets, and we have pushed each other to create a very in-depth, organized system for kapwa studio.
Our work in social media helped our clients find joy in their program again, turned testimonials into engaging shortform video scrips, and create content that can be repurposed in email campaigns, paid media, and on client websites.
One of the biggest challenges at kapwa studio has been growing our client base. We create engaging, informative content, and we’ve mastered the way to distribute that content on social media platforms.
The extra time (from a roomy client roster) has given us the space to improve our sales pipeline and start developing a product we can offer at a lower, more accessible pricepoint to make our knowledge more accessible.
Even with that challenge, we’ve gotten incredible feedback and results.
“Working with kapwa was grounding, inspiring, and clarifying. Krista and Alexis elevated my work, bringing my values and my message to social media in ways that made me feel renewed excitement for my own program!
They work intelligently and intuitively, and their integrity makes them stand out. I’ve worked with other marketing agencies and individuals before, and kapwa is far and away more effective.
kapwa isn’t about short-term hustle: they’re about true presence, genuine connection, and measured results.”
— Sarah Selecky, Sarah Selecky Writing School
“kapwa studio is hands down the best social agency I’ve ever worked with. Krista & Alexis are brand directors who have a genuine passion for building long-lasting relationships and thriving communities on social.
They care for our followers and customers like they are their own. I have complete trust in their ability to discover and continuously improve an organic social strategy that works for our business. We’ve been able to go viral not just once, but multiple times with their efforts, leading to more sales.
Most importantly, we can now call many of our followers our dear friends, and that sense of community is priceless.”
— Joseph J. Lam, Parents Are Human
My favorite part of the job was creating shortform TikTok/Reels content:
- Honouliuli, Hawai’i’s largest and longest-running internment camp during WWII (Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii | 17.1k views & 1.4k likes & 32 comments)
- What is Parents Are Human? (Parents Are Human | 4.3mil views (boosted) & 60.2k likes & 491 comments)
And I’m excited to do more in 2023!
Lastly, I began 2022 with an intention (& yearning) to feel supported. After 4-5 years of being self-employed, I haven’t been able to truly take more than a few days off. I’ve always felt like I should be available by email in case of an emergency.
Now that 2022 is over, I can say I do feel supported! I’m so grateful for my business partner, Alexis. If I’m feeling unwell, there’s no pressure to show up. And, in just a few days, I’ll be taking a proper 10-day holiday in Vietnam.
I feel very proud that I’m working through false senses of urgency around work
The intention I set for my finances was to feel stress-free around money.
In August or September, my spending went up. I was spending more time in the city, which also led to more shopping and more dining out. I started feeling scared about my finances, which is when I started using YNAB + Notion to track my budget and spending. Since then, I’ve learnt a lot about my spending and created a savings plan for all of my goals!
- Doubled my IRA contributions (retirement account). I met my goal of doubling my IRA contributions in 2022! While I haven’t maxed out my IRA contributions yet, my secondary goal is to continue to contribute to my IRA for the 2022 tax year and get as closing to maxing out those contributions as possible.
- Use Notion to organize my spending. Throughout the year, I’ve refined my tracking process by using tools like YNAB and Notion. I like being able to see how much I’ve spent on flights travelling interisland here in Hawai’i, travelling outside of the state, shopping at Costco, or on software.
The primary challenge I had around finances this year has been dealing with the American health system. When I moved back to the US last year, there was a period before the end of the year where I didn’t have American health insurance. Unfortunately, that was also a time that I fell so ill I had to go to the hospital and urgent care uninsured.
Although I tried applying for financial aid to cover the cost of the hospital visit before the deadline, Kuakini Hospital in Honolulu sold my debt to collections and I was not able to qualify for financial aid.
I’m going to be honest and say it’s been super traumatic and stressful dealing with the American health system at this level. When I run into another roadblock, I feel angry and then sad and I’m super frustrated because the way that the American medical system is structured pushes down people who do not have access to health insurance, or other resources like time.
I’m very fortunate that I can afford small payments towards this medical debt, but I’m also very angry that the system is set up this way in the first place.
With that being said, I have created systems so that I feel stress-free around money. The monthly payments I’m making towards the medical debt have been manageable, and I can still contribute towards my retirement.
Overall, I know I have a lot to be grateful for like the stability to afford monthly payments each month.
My intentions for 2023 are something I’ve started, but haven’t finished yet. Give me a little bit of time, and I’ll update this portion.
For now — Happy New Year!