Mindfulness

Year-End Reflections: 6 Questions to Ponder Before the New Year Begins

TIMEDecember 28, 2021

The dawn of a new year beckons us to reflect on our life—how it’s going, what’s great, what could be better, and whether we’re the person we believe we could and should be. The slower pace of life at the end of the year along with the collective momentum of the looming fresh start provides just the right motivation to pause for some self-reflection.

If you’re carving out time to take stock and set a direction for the year ahead, here are some questions you may find helpful to consider.

What Are Your Most Cherished Memories of the Past Year?

Looking back on the year about to conclude, what were the times you most enjoyed, felt most fulfilled, or simply valued the most? If you need some help jogging your memory, open up your photos from the past year and take a walk down memory lane. Chances are some wonderful times, even in a year like the one we’ve just had, will become clear in your mind.

Describe those fond memories in detail in a journal or as a voice recording. What was it about them that made them so special? What are the characteristics of those times that you value so much?

What Do You Wish You’d Have Done More (or Less) of?

Looking back on the year, what gaps do you see in terms of what you would have liked to accomplish? In what ways could you have better spent your time? What habits would you have liked to establish, and what behaviors would you have liked to curtail? Every single person has room for improvement in his or her life, so what are the areas that you could improve?

How Did You Make Yourself Proud This Year?

As you look back upon the past year, what are you most proud of? Perhaps you handled a family emergency with strength and leadership. Perhaps you stuck to a goal you laid out the year before. Perhaps you improved some aspect of your life or someone else’s—even if ever so slightly. Perhaps you got over a hardship, got through a difficult situation, summoned the courage to do something difficult, tried something new, or let go of something that wasn’t serving you well. Recognize the times when you lived up to your own expectations and made yourself proud.

What Does Your Current Daily Routine Look Like?

While the signpost moments of the year offer us insight, so too do the small, daily habits we maintain each day. Indeed it’s these that make up the majority of our lives. So take time to review what your current habits are and what your daily routine and rhythm look and feel like. Honestly assess how your daily routine currently goes so that you can see what’s serving you and what you may want to change.

In Life, What Would You Say Are the Most Important Values to Uphold?

Stepping out of daily minutiae and flying high up into the sky to look upon life from the 30,000-foot view, as they say, is also important. What are the values in life you deem most important? What are the character traits you most desire to live out? What defines goodness for you?

What Are Your Hopes for Next Year?

After a solid review of some important questions, you can now see the things that are going well in your life and those that you may want to improve. Set realistic goals for the daily habits and larger accomplishments you might aim for in the new year. Taking one day at a time and celebrating every ounce of progress along the way will help to ensure that at this time next year, upon reflection, you’ll look back on a year that more closely aligns with your core values and the person you most want to be.

Barbara Danza
Barbara Danza is a mom of two, an MBA, a beach lover, and a kid at heart. Here, diving into the challenges and opportunities of parenting in the modern age. Particularly interested in the many educational options available to families today, the renewed appreciation of simplicity in kids’ lives, the benefits of family travel, and the importance of family life in today’s society.