It’s time for our annual 20 Questions post! We pull it up here on the blog every New Year’s Eve, and I love hearing from you all how you use it. After tweaking and adjusting this list for the past five-ish years, we finally settled on a good master list of solid questions to help you reflect on the past twelve months.
As you end this new year and move on to the next, take a bit of time to review, to contemplate, to meditate. Post-eggnog, it’s easy to want to speed forward with gusto, pack up the ornaments until next year, and juice-cleanse your system from all the holiday indulgence.
But ease your foot onto the brake just for a few days, and gift yourself the space and freedom to reflect on the past year.
I’m all about starting a new year fresh, making a few goals, finding that one special word, or whatever helps you clean out the cobwebs from the corners. But all that stuff is much more meaningful when you look behind you at the bends in your road.
Honor the past year by celebrating your joys, mourning your losses, and shaking your head at the wonder of it all. Isn’t it amazing another year has passed? And so the earth goes round and round, about to orbit once more.
Whether you’re headed to a party or headed to the living room with a bowl of popcorn, New Year’s Eve is a great day for reflection. A whole year has passed since the last one. You’re a year older. Are you a year wiser?
Use these next 48 hours to reflect on the past 365 days.
20 questions for a New Year’s Eve reflection
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 this past year.
6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your year—don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you. (If you’re not married, have fun guessing the answers from other friends and family, or just skip this question.)
7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their year—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 part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
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 biggest thing you learned this past year?
20. Create a phrase or statement that describes this past year for you.
Want to answer these questions solo? Grab a cup of coffee and a pen, and use the space provided on the first three pages of the free download.
Want to chat over the answers with your spouse or with friends? Use the last page of the PDF to cut each question into squares, and then toss them in a hat to draw, one at a time.
And new last year—a set of questions for your kids! Pass it along to them for a personal reflection exercise, or you could cut up the questions, toss them in a jar, and pull them out to answer as a family.
Tomorrow, I’ll share another round of annual questions that’ll help you think about the upcoming year. Have any dreams? Hopes? Goals so big they make you laugh? I hope so.
Also, what would you like to happen for you personally, for your children, for your family? I’m also currently giving away part of my Upstream Field Guide free right now—a simple guide to help you create a Purpose Statement for your family. This has been the key to helping my family narrow down who we are, what we’re about, and what matters most to us. It’s the most helpful tool in our arsenal to help us say no to the good-but-not-best, giving us more time and freedom to say YES to the best.
I’d love for you to have it. Head here to receive the download to help you create your Family Purpose Statement and get next year off to a great start.
For now, happy reﬂecting! And pass over that bowl of popcorn.