Show Notes

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This is an encore presentation of one of my favorite episodes. Enjoy!

This episode is a live recording of my chat with Sara Kuljis about some of our favorite year-end reflection activities. Joining Sara and me for this episode is Kate Rader, one of the participants from our Raise Thriving Kids Workshop. Kate is a stay-at-home mom to 3 adventure-seeking and fun-loving kiddos, Lauren and Caroline, identical twins who are 13 and Jack, age 10, wife to her college sweetheart Jeff and curious lover of books, podcasts, and conversations about intentional parenting and living.

Kate Rader and family

Here’s what Kate had to say about our workshop:

“It was just so wonderful to be in a room with people who care enough to be intentional about the choices they’re making for their families and what they want for their families because it’s a work in progress–and we’re all working together.”

Big Ideas

In addition to parenting books, podcasts, and coaching, workshops are a great resource for parents. Just as most people need continual training and education in their careers, parents can also take the time to learn and connect with others in order to feel invigorated. It is helpful to share what is working and to discuss best practices for strengthening family bonds. We talk a lot about the importance of self-care and modeling a balanced life for our kids.


Today we discuss the ideas I shared in my recent post, 5 Simple Year-End Reflections:

Create a Reverse Bucket List.

Look back over your life and make a list of the cool things you’ve already done.

100 Family Memories

Brainstorm and make a list of what happened in your family this year.

Pick a Quote of the Year

Find a quote that resonates with you, or something motivational, looking back or looking ahead, a quote you want to live by.

Select One Word that you want to guide you in the new year

Be authentic and make it a word that is uniquely yours.

Remember your Favorite Books or resources from the past year

Take time to let the new things that you have learned (in books, podcasts, workshops) to percolate and apply the concepts or practices to your life.

Pick one or two of these ideas that resonate with you. You can do an activity on your own or engage the whole family. Make the delivery of the idea fun and light. Allow people to be silly. Getting the family together over the holidays, expressing gratitude, and setting intentions together are my favorite ways to bring in the new year.


Sara: “Sometimes parenting intentionally feels counter-cultural. When we’re swimming upstream, to have fishies to swim with is so confidence building. It’s reassuring, it’s empowering. I’ve loved all the parents we have gotten to work with through this project because it has fueled me.”

Kate: “The regular accountability is equally as important to me as the one-day workshop. Whether it’s via podcasts, recorded conversations, or live conversations, getting together at Starbucks, or whatever it might be, that’s really beneficial in maintaining the kind of wonderful feelings that we got coming out of the workshop.”

Kate: “If we’re going to develop a true family culture, we need to be intentional about spending time together as a family. And that time is harder and harder to come by.”

Kate: “Just being together, away, experiencing some new adventures has been a neat way for us to firm up our family culture and values and make memories together. That’s been a key take away for me.”

Kate: “It’s not about those grand gestures. It’s about the thoughtful, meaningful moments where people take the time to appreciate their relationships.”

Audrey: “Even if you’re not a person who gives affirmations, I really don’t think there’s a person in this world who wouldn’t mind getting a nice note saying something that someone likes about them.”

Audrey: “Sometimes parents start thinking that their relationship with their child is supposed to be like a normal, reciprocal relationship. Expecting that you pour into this child and they’re going to pour back to you, is not how parenting works. However, I’m seeing that once they’re adults you may get more of the reciprocity than when they were kids. I get very filled up now by my adult children when they give me affirmations or send me a nice message–it’s really great.”

Audrey: “You keep encouraging, even if you don’t think it means something because I think it really is landing somewhere.”

Audrey: “Another activity could be taking a year’s worth of fun texts, cards, and nice messages and putting them somewhere like in a scrapbook just as a great boost.”

Sara: “I love the idea of sitting down with the whole family and saying, ‘let’s look way back’ because there is a chance that something that I didn’t consider very bucket-y might have been really significant to my kids. I think it will remind us that it has been a rich life of experiences.”

Audrey: “I would challenge you to focus on yourself for your own reverse bucket list. Sometimes it’s good to just think about for your own self-awareness and self-worth and knowing that you’re enough just the way you are. I would suggest that the bucket list idea is more of a personal thing because it is recognizing the goals you’ve already achieved and the cool things that you’ve done, whereas the 100 Family Memories would be the things you’re grateful for.”

Audrey: “The goal is to try to remember (as many as) 100 things so you get down to some of the minutiae and those are some of the funny, random, individual things that happened. It’s been a really fun practice.”

Kate: “I think when you allow each family member to share their treasured memories from the year, it gives us insight into their personalities and their level of value and priorities, as well.”

Audrey: “I like spending time at the end of the year, really thinking through what my one word is, thinking about what was good this year and what is it that I want to take into the new year and feel more of, or do more of–I love the process.”

Audrey: “Determine the kind of person you want to be in the next year. Identify the characteristics of that best self. When you’re being your best self, what does that look like? It has guided me a lot because once I pick a word, I then seek out resources and ideas to help me live that word better.”

Kate: “It’s a neat way to put the focus on how you’re going to spend your time, your energy, your reading, and research–all that good stuff. When it is meaningful, it really does carry you through the year and it gives purpose to how you’re spending your time.”

Audrey: “It really hit me that my best contribution to my family, to the world, comes when I focus and take the time to do some research, reading, writing, thoughtful time, which is not a normal part of life anymore. You have to actually build in focus.”

Audrey: “There are so many new ideas and things you can do, but to really move the needle, all you need to do is just one. I am challenging myself this year to slow down on the consumption of new information and instead get out the books I’ve read, look at my highlights and just recap.”

Related Posts & Podcasts

5 Simple Year-End Reflection Activities

Learning to Enjoy the Little Things

100 Family Memories


My One Word for 2019: Focus

15 Books for a Happier, More Purposeful Life

Stop & Celebrate

Ep. 68 12 Parenting Tips for Happier, More Connected Families

Ep. 105 Live Above the Noise with Rob Reiher


Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist

How to Raise An Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp

Finding Fred Podcast