winter sunset

20 questions for a New Year’s Eve reflection

As you end this new year and move on to the next, I hope you take a bit of time to 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.

Join the Conversation
winter walk

A Christmas poem

From all of us to all of you… have a merry Christmas, friends. Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, And wild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men! And thought how, as the day had come, The belfries (read more…)

Join the Conversation
christmas-present

Last-minute gifts (you can still buy online) for Christmas Day

Man oh man, did Christmas sneak up on me this year. I really can’t believe it’s in three days. Mine’s a bit different this year, obviously—gingerbread house making? Going to The Nutcracker? Watching Elf? Not even a little bit. Our gift-giving is crazy simple this year—just a few things that can fit in our backpacks, (read more…)

Join the Conversation
christmas music

Fantastic Christmas music

I grew up around music. It was played throughout the house, I was given a radio for my room at an early age, and I have fond memories of my dad regaling us with childhood stories in the living room while playing his different records. One of my favorite childhood memories involves riding through the (read more…)

Join the Conversation
gift of the magi 02

The Gift of the Magi

Settle in, pour a steaming cup of your favorite drink, and enjoy a bit of Story Time for the holidays as a little treat. You can read this to your kids, if you want, but consider this first a story for yourself. The Gift of the Magi is a short story published in a collection (read more…)

Join the Conversation