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20 questions for a New Year’s Eve reflection

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About Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon 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.

As you start this week—and this year… may you reflect. Post-eggnog, it’s easy to want to speed forward with gusto, packing up the ornaments until next year and juice-cleansing your system from all the holiday indulgence.

But ease your foot onto the brake for the next few days, and gift yourself the space and freedom to reflect on the past twelve months.

I’m all about starting a new year fresh, making a few goals, finding that one special word, and cleaning 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, with us 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 (free printable!)

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.

Download the 20 questions as a free PDF.

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 this 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.

Download the kids’ questions as a free PDF.

Tomorrow, I’ll share another round of annual questions that’ll help you think about 2014. Have any dreams? Hopes? Goals so big they make you laugh?

What would you like to happen for you personally, for your children, for your family? Tomorrow I’ll share some ways you can be intentional, jot down your ideas, and possibly create a plan to kick yourself in the pants.

But for now, happy reflecting! And pass over that bowl of popcorn.

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Comments

  1. Ah, a good reminder. I feel like I slam straight into achieving all my goals rather than stopping to just breathe and reflect.
    Maggie´s latest post: Breaking up with coffee

  2. Great questions! And I love the addition of the kid’s questions. This has been an absolutely packed year of many changes for us so the reminder to stop and reflect is a much needed one.
    Steph´s latest post: Handling Anger Toward Our Kids

  3. Important reminders, Tsh, to stop and reflect instead of barging ahead. I’ve printed these out and will bring them to a kid-friendly New Year’s Eve party. Thank you for putting this together in a beautiful and practical way!
    Amy Suardi´s latest post: Happy Winter and Merry Christmas!

  4. This is a tough list. It means I would actually have to sit down and think. :)

  5. Thanks for these reflection questions, Tsh. I will definitely use both the adult and kid questions (my son is 4.5) over the next couple of days just to give our family a time to talk about the year that is coming to an end. I will try to remember to come back to this conversation to share the results. Happy New Year! Caitlin

  6. Yesterday I printed your 2010 download, but now I printed the kids questions and CAN’T WAIT! for the 2014 hopes and dreams download. Thank you! it has become a great tradition.

  7. As I commented last night, I love your end of year & new year thought prompts! My husband, newly one year old son, and I are completing day 15 of a holiday road trip and we enjoyed going thru these together (though son slept!).

  8. Thank you for these questions! We have done them the past 2 years, and it’s always a positive experience. I think reflecting is important in order to learn and remember.

  9. I was hoping you would put this list up today! My hubby and I now have our date-night dinner conversation plan!
    I’m curious to see how the questions go for the kids… (two boys, ages 4 and 5.5)

  10. Wonderful reminder to reflect before racing into the year ahead. Thank you.
    Katy´s latest post: Movement :: Iron Cove Bay Run

  11. What a great idea! We’ll be skipping the big party hupla tomorrow and spending a quiet evening in……think this is the perfect accompaniment to a fire and hot chocolate.
    Janis@Our ING Life´s latest post: Our ING Life Project

  12. I love these questions. It seems so easy to put the previous year into a good/bad box. This is a great chance to think about it, appreciate it, and think about the coming year, as well.

  13. Thanks so much for the post. It was a great way to think back on the year. I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s as a party day, but I like the idea of using it to plan for a better next year!
    elizaebeth´s latest post: 20 questions for a New Year’s Eve reflection (Thanks Tsh!)

  14. I love your questions, Tsh. The last few Decembers I write up a quick summary of the year: blessings, lessons learned, but I haven’t taken time to do it this year, but this post from yesterday and today’s post are reminding me that January won’t be too late! I plan to use some of your questions over family dinner tonight.

  15. Tsh,
    Thank you for this–I do some reflecting, but this list goes above and beyond. I appreciate it!
    Kirsten´s latest post: 2013 Year In Review Photo Montage Palooza

  16. Thank you so much for posting this list again. I actually was thinking of this and hoping I could find last year’s post because I really enjoy and need this reflection. Thank you for reposting!

  17. Thank you so much for sharing this tradition. I’ve completed your worksheets the past three years and had an epiphany this time! For the last 3 years, the hardest thing I have experienced has also been the thing I was most grateful for. What a lovely reminder of the transformative power of difficult experiences.
    I wrote about it on my blog, if you are curious to read it: http://www.focusandthrive.com/1/post/2014/01/new-years-practice-do-not-open-until-next-year.html

  18. Really useful questions. Thank you.

  19. Hi again,
    So, I’ve asked my son a couple of the questions that you provided and got some really cute and memorable answers. I decided to buy a journal to record his responses each year. Hope I remember to do it each year! Also, I’ve used the questions for adults you provided this year and last and really appreciate how well it gets me to think of “the big picture” and starting DREAMING BIG! Thanks again Tsh!
    Caitlin

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