Reflecting on the Past Year: Questions to Ask Yourself

Reflecting on the Past Year

It’s that time again – to start reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the new one.

Reflecting on the Past Year

During the holidays, it’s natural to look back and reflect.

You think about the good times. You think about the bad times. Your successes. Your failures.

When reflecting on your past year, you may do it randomly. You may take only a few minutes. It may just come in sporadic thoughts here and there.

Don’t do that.

Set aside time. Be intentional about it.

When you reflect on the past with purpose, it’s transformational for your future.

[bctt tweet=”When you reflect on the past with purpose, it’s transformational for your future.”]


Why Should I Be Reflecting on the Past Year?

There are a million quotes about how reflecting on your past helps you learn from it and determine your future. They’re cliche, but true.

Yet it’s incredible how few of us do it.

Let me say this – there’s a difference between reminiscing and reflecting.

Most of us reminisce. We simply recall the past and replay it in our minds. Yet it doesn’t change any of our actions for the future.

But when we reflect and do it with intentionality, it we actually evaluate. We figure out what we did right and what we did wrong. Hopefully that influences our future actions – doing more of the right and less of the wrong.

How long should you spend doing this?

Bill Gates takes two one-week retreats every year to think.

Now you may not have that luxury, but it does speak a lot about how important it is.

Take a weekend, or even just a day. Unplug form everything. Go out into nature or a coffee shop. Get alone time, bring a journal, and reflect.


What Questions Should I Ask When Reflecting?

There are a lot of guides that offer a series of questions to go through. I’m not going to do that.

In essence, all reflection boils down to 3 questions.

What went well?  What did you do right? What were your biggest achievements? What were your best qualities? What should be repeated?

What didn’t go well? What did you do wrong? What were your failures? What were your lowest moments?

What should be done differently? What can be improved on? What needs to be added to? What needs to be taken away.

The ability to understand what was good and what was bad, and more importantly understand why, is incredibly powerful for figuring our what to do next? When you can connect the dots of your past, you can plot out the course for your future.

[bctt tweet=”When you can connect the dots of your past, you can plot out the course for your future.”]


What Areas Do I Need to Reflect On?

So what areas of your life should you be reflecting on over the past year? That depends on what you’re involved in, but here are a few ideas.

Reflect on Your Circumstances. What are you grateful for this past year? What can be improved or changed? What do you aspire to?

Reflect on Your Career. Are you satisfied at your job? What direction do you want to advance in?

Reflect on Your Health. Is it where you want to be? What eating or exercise decisions do you need to make?

Reflect on Your Relationships. Who has been a good influence in your life? Who needs to be cut out? Who have you invested in?

Reflect on Your Character. Are you the person you want to be? Are you becoming that person? What do other people think about you?


What Should I Do After Reflection?


The whole purpose of reflection is get an accurate picture of reality and act accordingly.

What are the things that need to change? What do you need to do to change them?

That’s the beauty of the New Year. Though nothing’s really magical or all that different, we attribute significance to it. And we can use that in our favor.

We see the end of one year as a time to reflect and the beginning of a new year as a time to set goals.

But it can be discouraging if we have a history of setting New Year’s goals and not achieving them. A great way to start is to learn how to set the right goals and build momentum off of them.

Read this post next to learn how you can move from reflection into action:

How to Create Momentum in Your Life

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