7 Important Questions To Ask Yourself Before The Year Ends

By Celestine Chua

December 22, 2010   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

It’s December again and the year is coming to an end! How do you feel? Excited? Eager to see what’s in store for the new year?

For myself personally, I love Decembers because it’s the time when I take a breather, look back and see how the year has been. I just did my year end review yesterday, and I’m extremely excited to get started on year 2011. In this article, I’ll share with you 7 powerful questions to ask yourself as you close off your year. I recommend you to allocate at least 30 minutes with yourself and use that time to earnestly answer these questions. This will be one of the most important exercises you’ve ever done.

Here they are:

    1. On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with 2010?
      This gives you a quick snapshot of how satisfied you are with this year. 10 is the highest, and 0 is the lowest. Interestingly, this number can give you a lot of insights.
  • Why did you score that way?
    For the score you gave yourself in Q1, why did you assign that? I believe it’s more important to understand the underlying drivers of the situation, rather than harp on the assessment itself. For example, if you gave yourself a score of 3/10, why did you give a 3? Is it because you feel that you neglected your relationships and health in pursuit of your work? Is it because you didn’t go all the way in achieving your goals? Write them down. 
  • What are your biggest accomplishments this year?
    Accomplishments here refer to any results you are proud of. It can include business achievements, career, relationships, health & fitness, and more.

For some people this question can be confronting, especially if they have been living on auto-pilot. Yet it’s extremely important because it makes us take a cold, hard look at how we’ve been spending our time. Did we put it to good use? Have we been working on our Quadrant 2 tasks? It helps us sieve out the unimportant and zoom down to what matters.

When I first asked myself this question years ago, I had trouble coming up with meaningful answers. It made me realize that the bulk of my achievements that year were for my employer, whereas I had done nothing for myself. It gave me a wake up call, and from there I became a person on a mission. I became in tune with my personal dreams in life, and I was singly focused on bringing them to life. I knew in my heart of hearts that I want to help others grow and be their best selves, so I worked in that direction. In less than a year I had shed away my previous job and was pursuing my dream. By the next year, I had already turned it into a real, full time career. This year is my 2nd year and it’s my best performing year yet. This happened because this question made me conscious of what I wanted to achieve in my life.

  • What are the biggest lessons you learned this year?
    Out of all the things that happened this year, what are the biggest things you’ve learned?

In life, we have countless experiences, and there are things to be learned in every experience. We can either let these incidences pass us by, or we can stop to understand, internalize them, and draw lessons from these experiences. When we do that, we literally become wiser than we were before. We can then use these important lessons and apply them to new situations we face.

Since 2006, I took to the habit of writing annual reflections. Writing them down helps us to stack our lessons through time, so we can build upon our wisdom, rather than relearn the same things. This way, we can advance our growth much faster.

  • What are your biggest goals that you want to achieve next year?

* “How can you make next year your best year ever?”
* “If it’s now Dec 31 of next year, what do you want to see in your life?” Then, set these as your goals.

What does it take to make you feel a 10/10 satisfaction level at the end of next year? What goals do you want to have achieved? What dreams do you want to see fulfilled? Write these goals down and set them as your key goals for the next year.

  • What new habits do you want to cultivate?
    Successful goal achievement come from having the right habits. What new habits do you want to cultivate? The most popular ones for me every new year include meditating, exercising, waking early, sleeping early, drinking plenty of water a day and more. When you practice positive habits, you naturally become a better person.
  • What are your immediate next steps to achieve them?
    It’s not just about writing, but about doing. Now that you have written your intentions for the new year, what are the immediate next steps you’ve to take to achieve them? What do you have to do to get the ball rolling? Write down specific dates to the actions.

Here’s an important tip – get started right away. Get a head start even and do them before the new year comes! You’ll feel ahead of everyone. I’m now already planning out my February-March plans for my blog and it feels great knowing what’s ahead! Do that for your life and you’ll immediately see the positive difference it brings.

Share Your Reflections!
How are your year end reflections? How do you feel about this year? Why? What have you learned? What are your biggest goals for the next year? Share with everyone here in the comments.

Written on 12/22/2010 by Celestine Chua. Celestine writes at Personal Excellence, where she shares her best advice on how to achieve personal excellence and live your best life. Get her RSS feed directly and add her on Twitter @celestinechua. If you like this article, you will enjoy one of her top articles: 101 Things To Do Before You Die. Photo Credit: boetter
Celestine Chua

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