Self-Reflection Questions to Guide the New Year

Every year, I spend a day on self-reflection (or rather, a few days) before planning for the year ahead. Asking self-reflection questions is an important step because it tells me where I’m at, which ultimately guides where I want to go. When self-reflecting, I use my Unbound Planner to start this practice, but my brainstorming bubbles over to its own thing after only a few minutes.

The main questions I ask myself starts with the word “Why”. Why do I think this goal is important? Why do I place value on this idea? Or why do I feel this way about certain things? And so on. Of course, there are a multitude of questions to ask oneself. But after every answer, I always go back to ‘Why’.

I decided to round up a few self-reflection questions worth pondering over this morning. Even if you’ve already opened your planner and started preparing for the New Year, these are still good to think about. Sometimes, after asking myself these questions, I find that I planned for things that aren’t aligned with my true goals. This is because we may do things because other people expect us to do them or because we think other people would want us to do them. But in reality, we ourselves don’t want to.

A good example of this is last year’s goal of running 6 miles under one hour. I never got around to accomplishing it. I realize that I wanted to do it because it would be ‘an achievement’. But achievements are only important to the people around us. Achievements are status symbols. Achievements do nothing for our well-being, except add a psyche boost when other people recognize them.

I do not actually love running, and when I do go for a run, I like doing it because I am out in nature and nature relaxes me. The parts I like most about running are the wind in my hair, the sun warming my skin, the sound of birds, and the smell of grass; not the time it took for me or the number of miles.

Realizing that my motivation for running was all wrong, I now know that my goal should be changed. Instead of ‘Run 6 miles in under an hour’, my new goal is to ‘Get outdoors more often by running, hiking, or taking a walk a few times a week.’ That goal is more aligned with who I am as a person, which means I am more likely to do it!

2022 could be the year of balance. It could be the year you embrace your genuine self. But it needs to start with understanding who you are. I hope you enjoy going through these questions. I recommend writing down the answers like I did! My newly acquired Surface Pro Pen has been a godsend for brainstorming! I scribble down all my ideas, erase them, cross them out, circle them, etc. I absolutely love the Surface Pen and aim to use it to help me with my goal of going digital and reducing paper clutter. Without further ado, here are the questions!

Self-Reflection Questions To Guide the New Year

  • If someone close to you was to give a speech about you, what would they say? What don’t they say that you wish they would?
  • What are your core values? Do you feel they are well integrated in your daily life? What changes can you make to better build a life around your values?
  • What are you most proud of in the year before? It could be a favorite memory or a big accomplishment.
  • What do you love to do? What brings you peace? Joy? How can you make more time for these things?
  • What drains your energy? What makes you feel anxious or worried? How can you address these things?
  • What are your talents and strengths? How can you share these with others?
  • What do you struggle with? Why?
  • What challenges or distractions hold you back? How can you move past them?
  • What does being successful mean to you?
  • How do you want to grow this year?
  • What motivates you to take action?
  • What are you feeling called toward or inspired by?
  • Name one positive habit you want to establish this year.
  • Name one skill you want to master this year.
  • What is one fear you want to overcome in the new year? Why do you fear this thing?
  • What is one dream you want to act on in the new year? Why do you have this dream?
  • What are your most important relationships? How can you nurture them better?
  • What does your typical week look like? What is your ideal week?
  • How do you experience energy levels during the day? How can you structure your day so that your body best supports you? I suggest reading this blog post from Canyon Coffee.
  • Are there daily routines (morning and evening) that help establish a sense of peace, productivity, and well-being?
  • What are you most grateful for?
  • Name one change you can make that will have the biggest impact?
  • What is one question I want to answer this year?
  • When am I at my best?

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Don’t forget to ask yourself ‘Why’ when answering these self-reflection questions. You may realize something about yourself that you never knew before. These little discoveries can better align your life to your truth. And once you’ve gotten a bit of insight, go ahead and start planning! I made a list of favorite planners in this post here. I hope you have a wonderful year!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

Thoughts on: New Year Resolution, Single Tense.

New Year’s is one of my favorite times of the year. Admittedly, that largely has something to do with the list-making and goal-setting, especially when handwritten frantically in early morning light. Additionally, it also has to do with the exuberant hope that spills from, well, what is now a collection of newsfeeds, but what was then age old friendly conversation. As a person easily inspired by positivity, the general atmosphere is euphoric, at worst. Listing goals and resolutions is what I live for, and it is constantly being done and redone throughout the year, ad nauseum.

Particularly, I reflect on my shortcomings in the past year and try to make a devotion to turn it on its head and make it my strength in the year to come. Quite like that loaded interview question, where they ask you to state your biggest weakness, and you think that the smart response would be a weakness disguised cleverly as a strength. The most lose-lose question in the world. Except there’s no losing in this scenario.

Like any other human being, I had many shortcomings. Luckily (or is it so?), this year, I can easily pinpoint my weakest attribute of 2017 and I will safely say that 2018 would be much improved, if only I lived more forgivingly. Not living so much in absolutes, for the world is not made in that manner. I think the world at large could use a whole lot of forgiveness.

To be happy – The stress and anxiety that so consumes us could be attributed to having too much expectation, too much ambition. If we only loosen the reigns, then we will find the room to breathe.

To be successful – We start the year with a list of resolutions, then give up by the following week on all of our goals. Trying to maintain a strict regimen, we suffocate the positivity that could be discovered in the change, and the motivation is snuffed out. We begin the year already exhausted, disappointed, and hopeless. If we just learn to allow ourselves a slip up, forgive ourselves for our failure, then we can continue on to success, rather than lose all hope.

To be present – By being more forgiving in our game plan, I guarantee that we can enjoy the present moment more thoroughly.

To be kind – Similarly, just as we forgive ourselves, we can be more forgiving of those around us. For who is to say that what’s right for you, is right for anyone else. Who is anyone to have the liberty to categorize others into good and bad? For no human is better than any other human. We are all equal, but different.

To be human – There aren’t many things in this life that are forgiving. Time is not forgiving. Justice is not forgiving. Success is not forgiving. Money is not forgiving. Traditions are not forgiving. Even religions, most times, are not forgiving. We have a choice to be the forgiveness that the world seeks. That we all need.

Starting with me.