End Of Year Self-Reflection Questions
Updated: Dec 31, 2021
As the year is drawing to a close, it’s important to do a personal review of the last 12 months. Taking stock of your internal and external accomplishments is one of the most important parts of growth and self-improvement. This gives our souls an understanding, context and appreciation of what another year on the planet has brought us.
By celebrating our wins, acknowledging the challenges and summarizing our learnings, it supports us in transitioning smoothly to the new year with more openness, curiosity and powerful intention setting. It also reinforces your confidence to handle future obstacles and challenges, and sets you up for more success, joy and happiness in the new year.
Start with a general review of the year and make bullet points of particular highlights from each month or quarter.
This is helpful because often it’s hard to remember the details of life a few weeks ago, let alone 12 months back. This review will serve as the foundational reference for the rest of this self-reflection process. I recommend two different ways of doing this.
The first includes going back to your calendar and noticing the significant events (or not so significant events) from each month. The second includes thinking about the following categories of your life and writing about the highlights, positives and challenges in each – work/career, health, family and friends, travel, finances, personal growth and spirituality.
With this foundational review complete, we now can begin the reflection process. I recommend you take some quiet time on your own to contemplate and reflect on these questions, answering them on paper or in a journal.
It can be powerful to mark this experience with a bit of a ritual by perhaps lighting a candle before you begin or saying a prayer and setting an intention for the experience to be positive and insightful.
Be aware that these questions are somewhat similar and are asking some of the same things, just in different ways. Exploring the answers to each often leads to excavating new, different, and unique understandings.
1. What do you want to acknowledge yourself for in 2021? Keep in mind large and
small victories, as well as internal and external growth, transformation and
2. In considering the challenges you faced this year, what were some of the
unexpected gifts and learnings that came from them?
3. What are some key learnings or lessons you’re taking away with you from this
4. What are your proudest moments from the past 12 months? Remember these
might be internal, such as an ah-hah moment, a new idea, perspective, etc.
5. In looking back over the last year, what are you most grateful for?
You can also include a gratitude list for each of the categories from the general
review listed above - work/career, health, family and friends, travel, finances,
personal growth and spirituality.
Take It Easy
A word of caution… It’s important for this to be an uplifting experience. Make sure you don’t use it to beat up on yourself or notice ALL the places you’ve failed or could have done better.
A healthy evaluation of where we can improve or how we might have done something differently is effective in supporting us with new solutions and approaches for next time. That is just as important as celebrating the great things you did through the year while also noticing the positive responses or actions you took during a challenge, even if it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to in the big picture.
Let It Sit
After you’ve answered these questions, take some time to sit with what you wrote, reflect on where you’ve arrived and really soak up the experience, especially all that you’re acknowledging yourself for.
This is also a great time to fill yourself with gratitude for living another year, for the gifts in your life and for your own unique way of living and approaching life.
It’s easy to forget what we’ve done, how far we’ve come and how we’ve grown over 12 months, which is why going through this self-reflection process is so important. When I take my clients through this, they often report feeling empowered and inspired from the experience.
Setting Intentions For The New Year
Take these positive feelings and then use them to create powerful intentions for the new year. You can get as detailed with your new year's intentions as you’d like and for some, focusing on just a few things is enough.
For more detailed intentions start with each of the categories we’ve been looking at and identify a few goals you’d like to set for each - work/career, health, family and friends, travel, finances, personal growth and spirituality.
Also, it’s important to include intentions for internal growth like having kinder self-talk or a more positive outlook, as well as external growth like setting intentions for your health, career, etc.
Pump ‘Em up
Write your intentions in the present tense, as if what you desire is happening NOW, as opposed to what you want or hope to happen. By writing about them this way, the mind sees it as already happening and is more likely to find ways to make these desires a reality.
Additionally, make sure the language you use is all positive. If you’re clear about what you don’t want ie: I don’t want to smoke any more, shift the language to describe what you would be doing if you weren’t smoking, so you keep everything in the positive.
Example: “I am breathing easily and deeply with freedom” as opposed to “I’ve stopped smoking”.
The brain is so literal that when you see or read the word "smoking", it reinforces the meaning and the act, so it's important to stay away from the words we don't want.
After writing out your intentions, re-read them and add in any descriptive, powerful language to make it the most visceral experience you can have each time you review them. When we are in the feeling state of that of which we desire (by reading the intention) we are more likely to align with what we really want and to co-create it with spirit through inspired action.
Encouragement For The Road Ahead
Make sure to revisit your intentions each day, reading them mindfully, feeling what it would be like if you had what you’ve written about. One powerful way to also do this is to re-write them daily.
Research has shown that when we write down our goals and intentions just ONE time, they are 50% more likely to come true. Can you imagine the power you’ll have in bringing your intentions to fruition by writing them down and reviewing them daily?
This will inspire you to take small action steps each week that will bring you closer to receiving your intention. For more on the process of writing a vision (intentions), check out my blog post here.
Wishing you joy, growth, learning and expansion on your journey in the new year! I hope these questions and the intention setting tools are supportive, empowering and inspirational.