End of the Year Reflection Questions 🍾
Spend time reflecting on 2023 before planning 2024
For almost fifteen years now, I’ve posted end-of-the-year reflection questions on New Year’s Eve. I’m changing things up this year, wild woman that I am—I’m posting them now instead of on December 31. Wild!
Why? Mostly because I want to be fully offline during the “un-week,”1 my brain completely shut off from whatever’s going on in the internet-sphere. But I also decided to switch it up this year to give you, dear readers, more time to reflect.
Feel free to save this until New Year’s Eve, if that’s your thing! Absolutely. I hear from a number of you that this has become a fun tradition, and I love that. But if you want a longer on-ramp to reflecting back on the year behind you, well, then—this is for you to start as soon as you want.
Ask these questions out loud with friends and family, spend time in solitude to journal your own thoughts, use the printable version to cut out questions and draw them from a bowl, or employ any other form that strikes your fancy. Answer them over a few days or weeks, or spend the last 24 hours of the year in intense pursuit of your answers. Whatever works for you.
The only “rule”—if you want to call it that—is to spend time reflecting on this past year before moving on to brainstorming for the next year. It’s wise to recognize the rewards and challenges from the previous twelve months before hacking out a plan for the next twelve.
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Heads up: In a few weeks I’ll be releasing a brand-new, updated version of my self-paced audio workshop Create Your Rule of Life, so be on the lookout! It’s a great way to start a new calendar year, so if this idea sounds up your alley, I can’t wait to reveal to you the updates and changes to the newer version. Soon!
New Year’s Eve Questions
What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
What was an unexpected joy this past year?
What was an unexpected obstacle?
Pick three words to describe this past year.
Pick three words your spouse or a close friend would use to describe your year.
Pick three words your spouse or a close friend would use to describe their past year.
What were the best books you read this year?
With whom were your most valuable relationships?
What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
In what way(s) did you grow physically?
In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
What was the best way you used your time this past year?
What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?
Create a phrase or statement that describes this past year for you.
Here are the questions in PDF form so you can log off and do all this analog-style. I’ve also got a kid-friendly list of questions for your whole family, just for fun:
In early January I’ll reveal the new Rule of Life workshop, but in the meantime, here are some reflection questions for the year ahead. I hope they’re useful!
New Year’s Day Reflection Questions
What character traits or virtues would you like to see developed in your life this year?
What accountability might you need to develop your personal growth?
What are some topics or skills you’d like to learn this year?
What books would you like to read this year?
Do you find fulfillment in your vocation? If so, name what you find fulfilling to remind yourself. If not, what might be some ways to find this fulfillment?
What is one way you’d like to maintain or improve your physical health?
Why is this important to you?
What are some tangible, daily choices you could make to improve your health?
Marriage & Family Life
What are some areas where your marriage is strong? What are some areas where you could use more strength in your marriage?
What is your plan for connecting regularly (i.e., date nights)? How will you handle childcare?
Do you have vacation time in mind for this year? What needs to happen to make a vacation a reality?
What are ways you’d like each of your children to grow? Consider the following areas:
How will your children learn this year? What are some resources you’d like to explore to help your children develop intellectually and academically?
What are your children’s strengths? How will you help them develop them?
What are your children’s weaknesses? How will you help them engage with them?
How is your current income? Are you content with this amount?
How is your savings, both short-term (i.e., emergency fund) and long (i.e., investments)? Are you content with this amount?
How much debt do you have? Are there ways you can decrease it this year?
Are you giving regularly? If not, in what way can you give more this year?
What are some of your long-term financial goals?
What is one area where you’d like to strengthen your financial health this year?
Relationships Outside the Family
In what ways would you like to develop your relationships outside your immediate family?
What are some ways you can serve your community?
Who are some specific people in your life who could use some encouragement?
Who are some people in your life that you admire? What are some ways you could positively use their influence in your life?
Are there any damaging relationships in your life? Is there something you could do to make these relationships better?
And here’s a PDF version of the above:
Alrighty, I’ll be back here once more with a final 5 Quick Things and Drink With a Friend episode, but in the meantime—Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
What our household calls the week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, when time has no meaning.