20 questions for a New Year’s Eve reflection

moon reflection
Photo by Philipp Klinger

A new year is a great time to reset your internal clocks, re-calibrate your settings, and re-chart your course. There’s something encouraging and natural about using a fresh calendar page to make new goals in your life, which is why new year’s resolutions are so popular.

But made in haste, resolutions can be pointless at best, discouraging and depressing at worst. When they’re vague, broad, and unreachable, you’re almost setting yourself up for failure. But when they’re specific, productive, and attainable, resolutions can truly be an ebenezer in your life for some healthy changes.

The next few articles here on Simple Mom have the goal of helping you reflect on this past year, eagerly anticipate the upcoming year, and decide on some reachable goals that will recharge and mature you.

Reflect before you resolve

I’m in favor on new year’s resolutions – but why not also use the turn of the clock to reflect on this past year? Before deciding on how you want 2009 to be different than 08, take a moment with your journal and answer some – or all – of these questions.

These questions can be a catalyst for digging deeper into personal reflection, or they can be icebreakers between you and your spouse for a New Year’s Eve conversation. However you want to use them – use them to your benefit.

At the bottom of this post, I’ve also got a free, downloadable PDF containing all these questions, if you’d rather print a worksheet and keep it in your Home Management Notebook for easy reference.

Reflection Questions for 2008

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?

5. Pick three words to describe 2008.

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2008 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2008 (again, without asking).

8. What were the best books you read this year?

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?

15. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?

16. What was your most challenging area of home management?

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?

19. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2008 for you.

Here are the 2008 Reflection Questions as a free PDF to download and print.

Next up Questions to help you plan your goals for 2009.

What are your plans for New Year’s Eve?

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. Those are some heavy questions for an early morning before leaving for my day job!

    I will say that I accepted a challenge last year from Becky Tirrabassi (http://www.beckytirabassi.com/) to write out my prayers. I’ll spend time tomorrow reviewing that journal and summarizing the results. I know it was an amazing year for us but I have a feeling that quite a few little surprises are hidden in a year’s worth of journaling!

    Mary´s last blog post…Some encouraging thoughts for those getting a later financial start…

  2. This is exactly what I need to do. . . I love resolutions, and I tend to focus so much on the future that I do not reflect on the past. I am discovering that looking back can also point me forward, and I need to evaluate the things you listed here. I am going to make time with my journal today to answer these questions. Thanks!

  3. Great list of reflection questions! I think that the best thing that happened for me this year has been getting pregnant with our second child (due in April!) (although, actually BEING pregnant hasn’t been all that fun). Next year I want to focus on being more creative on my own and with my kids, and working on paying off our house. As for our New Year’s Eve plans, dinner with friends, home in time to put our little one to bed, and movies on the couch for the rest of the year. Sounds perfect!

  4. Wonderful list of questions….I never thought of reflecting back on a year in that manner, but it’s actually quite innovative and effective! Thanks!!

    Sarah H.´s last blog post…New Year’s Resolutions – The Key to Success

  5. Thank you for this post and these great questions. I printed them out to ponder and write down my answers for my Day Journal. Have a wonderful, healthy and blessed New Year.

    BJ´s last blog post…Serving-Word-Filled Wednesday

  6. Love these questions! I’m only making one resolution this year, but I’ll be breaking it down throughout the year to make it manageable and keep me on track. I wrote about it in a guest post today on Mom’s Marbles. It includes a link over to one of my favorite posts of yours, about finding your family’s mission statement.

    Happy New Year!

    Steph @ Problem Solvin Mom´s last blog post…Looking back and looking forward

  7. I so agree that the new year is an opportunity for reflection; otherwise how are we able to know what to focus on for the new year?

    Our plans for NYE are to go to an early party (for the whole family) with several friends, potluck style and then get home in time to put the boys to bed.

    Happy New Year!

    Christi´s last blog post…the new year

  8. fantastic list, Tsh! Thank you so much.

    Megan@SortaCrunchy´s last blog post…Two Thousand Eight

  9. I love these questions! Lets hope my fiance does too.

    Tonight we are celebrating the same way we did last year, which is a night at home with our kids, which we videotape. It should be a nice time. Tomorrow is for reflecting and goal planning!

    Lucie @ Unconventional Origins´s last blog post…Ringing in the New Year Part I: Get Out of Your Box

  10. Great list! It’s good to reflect, then go forward from there – I do this on my birthday every year too…. Thanks!

    BlapherMJ´s last blog post…Wordless Wednesday

  11. Thank you for this. I was planning to spend some time in reflection today and this will be a great guide.

  12. Thank you! I realized so much about myself from these simple questions. The major things from the past year shape my life so much more than a list of resolutions. This blog is the best thing I read everyday–keep up the excellent work into 2009!!

  13. I love this list of questions. I am going to print them out and do a question session with my husband before we leave for our festivities. What a great idea, Tsh. Happy New Year!

    Amy´s last blog post…Going Without Prescription Coverage

  14. Enjoy your holiday! We are taking it easy at home and watching the fireworks folks shoot off over the lake. (hubby’s getting old, lol. he says too many drunks out there)

    Turtle´s last blog post…can you believe a it’s about gone?

  15. I’m glad you all like the questions! Feel free to share your experience with them, whether you answered them alone in your journal, or out loud with your spouse.

  16. I’m glad you used the word “reflections”. That’s more along the lines of what I’m planning for ’09.

    A Happy New Year to you & yours!

  17. I love these questions. So often the days whiz by and I don’t take the time to reflect. Going through these will help me gain some perspective on what I want to see in the new year! Thanks for another helpful post…you really make me think!
    Happy New Year!

  18. I’ve been reflecting on things a bit, myself, Tsh. These are some interesting questions to contemplate too…

    Wishing you & yours a Happy New Years!

    Suzy:)´s last blog post…Reflecting…

  19. Great thought-provokers! I hope this year’s end brings about positive reflection of the past year, and purposeful projection into the new year, Simplemom!

    Julie´s last blog post…Whisper in the Night

  20. You are awesome! I love the questions and I passed them on to everyone on my blog too. Great idea. Have a blessed New Years.

    Keilah´s last blog post…Happy New Year 2009?!?!

  21. The one question which jumped up at me was pick 3 words to describe for 2008.

    This will take some thinking but family definately is the first one to come to mind.

    Happy New Year from down under


    Carole – Rejuvenation Lounge´s last blog post…Essential Yoga Tips To Grab On The Run For The Silly Season:

  22. I have yet to really pen down the resolutions that I have for 2009.
    Thanks for the set of questions they are really useful for me in sorting out my thoughts.

    Dominique´s last blog post…Post 2008 Reflections -(Ryan)

  23. Thanks so much for these questions. I’ve been answering them at intervals yesterday and today, and the process has been really meaningful.

    Alison´s last blog post…New Year, New Goals (A Few Are New, Anyway)

  24. I’m not making resolutions this year. I try to be a good person every day, and be mindful of what’s important in life. I have been joking that I only live in the moment anyway — I can hardly remember what happened yesterday, let alone last year!

    Karen´s last blog post…Caps for Sale

  25. Thank you! I love your questions and have printed them. I intend to use them every year forward!

  26. You are awesome for making this list. I just wanted to interview my girlfriend real quick and your page came up quickly on Google. Hope you have a great year even though these questions are form 08, I hope you had a great 09. Send me some more questions if you have them.


  27. Tsh,
    I am the Activity Director at a retirement center and just found this list as I was searching for New Year’s reflections activities. I’m going to use an adapted version of these questions to lead our residents in some reflecting next month. Thanks so much for posting it!


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