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New Year's Reflections and Resolutions: How to End the Year Mindfully (with 100 Discussion Questions)

Year End Review Questions

This year is almost over. Before moving into the new year, it is important to reflect on who you are now and how your experience in the last 365 days has shaped you. This reflection will help you take an emotional, professional, personal, and financial account, step more confidently into the new year, and move forward without as much emotional baggage.

Below are the 100 questions I use each year to reflect on my past year. Grab some hot tea and a journal to write your answers in the form of a short phrase or a few words. If at any time you would like to go into more depth in your answer, feel free to do so. Not only will you gain valuable insights and learn from your experiences, you will also have an opportunity to release any anger, trauma, or sadness that may still need to be addressed.

I have done this exercise for several years now and it is always interesting to read over what I struggled with five years ago, but don't anymore. I also like the idea of leaving these reflections to my children one day, in hopes that will gain support and advice from what I lived through when they reach my current age.

For a holiday party idea you can print out the questions and cut them out. You can then put them into a hat and have each guest pick one out and answer the question.

Top 10 Year End Review Questions

  1. What did you do this year that you have never done before?
  2. What was the smartest decision you made this year?
  3. What one word best sums up and describes your experience last year?
  4. What are you most happy about completing?
  5. What was the biggest risk you took?
  6. What are you most grateful for this past year?
  7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
  8. What do you wish you had done more of?
  9. What do you wish you had done less of?
  10. Knowing what you know now, if you could write a letter to yourself that would travel back in time so that you would receive exactly one year ago, what advice would you give yourself?

10 Year End Review Questions to Ask About Relationships

  1. Who were the three people who had the greatest impact on your life last year?
  2. Did anyone close to you give birth (literally or symbolically)?
  3. Did anyone close to you die (literally or symbolically)?
  4. What important relationship improved the most?
  5. What important relationship suffered the most?
  6. Whose behavior or what event merited celebration?
  7. Whose behavior or what event appalled you?
  8. How did you positively influence a child (or the next generation) this year?
  9. What well-known person, dead or alive, influenced you the most this year?
  10. Who made you laugh the most this year?

10 Year End Review Questions to Ask About Your Health

  1. Did you suffer illness or injury?
  2. What decision did you make to become healthier?
  3. What was your favorite exercise this year?
  4. What was your favorite meal?
  5. What restaurant did you eat at most often?
  6. What medications are you currently taking?
  7. Did you have any surgeries this year?
  8. How did you manage your stress this year?
  9. What was your biggest health achievement this year?
  10. What do you wish you would have done differently in regards to your health this year?

10 Year End Review Questions to Ask about Pop Culture

  1. What were your favorite TV programs?
  2. What were your favorite books?
  3. What was your biggest musical or art discovery?
  4. What was your favorite movie this year?
  5. What song will always remind you of this year?
  6. What musical artist did you listen to the most this year?
  7. Did you attend any concerts, plays, or art events this year?
  8. What did you wear often in your closet?
  9. What was your hair style this year?
  10. Describe your style of this past year in one word?

10 Year End Review to Ask About Your Celebrations

  1. What did you really, really, really get excited about this year?
  2. How old did you turn on your birthday?
  3. How did you celebrate your birthday this year?
  4. Did anyone close to you have an important milestone birthday?
  5. How did you spend the holidays?
  6. What was the most memorable gift you received this year and who was it from?
  7. What was the most memorable gift you gave this year and who was it to?
  8. How will you be spending New Year's?
  9. What vacations did you take or where did you visit last year?
  10. What was the biggest surprise of this year?

10 Year End Review Questions to Ask About Your Finances

  1. What was your biggest financial decision this year?
  2. What was the best thing you bought for yourself this year?
  3. Did you invest your money anywhere?
  4. Where did most your money go?
  5. Did you make any charitable contributions?
  6. How much money is in your bank account?
  7. Are you in debt? How much?
  8. How much a month do you pay in rent or mortgage?
  9. How much does it cost to fill your car with gas?
  10. What was your salary for the year?

10 Year End Review Questions to Ask about School or Work

  1. Where do you currently work or go to school?
  2. What is the title of your position?
  3. What is your typical day?
  4. When did you feel most inspired at work or school?
  5. What is one way you grew academically or professionally this year?
  6. What do you hope those you work with will remember most about you?
  7. What was your greatest challenge/lesson at work or school?
  8. How did you adapt at work or school?
  9. How have you grown as a person because of your work or school experience?
  10. What strengths did you tap into?

10 Year End Review Questions to Ask About Your Spirituality & Existence

  1. Because of this past year, what do you believe is your purpose?
  2. What is one word that describes your relationship with God this year?
  3. Where did you find the most peace and calm this year?
  4. Where did you feel most connected to God this year?
  5. What is one miracle you witnessed this year?
  6. What was the most loving service you performed last year?
  7. What is your biggest piece of unfinished business?
  8. What is the greatest lesson you have learned this year?
  9. What was the best part of this year? What was the lesson learned?
  10. What was the worst part of this year? What was the lesson learned?

10 Year End Review to Ask About Your Time

  1. What date from this year will remain etched upon your memory and why?
  2. What was the single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
  3. What slowed you down this past year?
  4. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
  5. What were you doing on most Saturday mornings this past year?
  6. During this past year, what were you doing at 3pm weekdays?
  7. How did you spend your Sunday evenings this past year?
  8. What person(s) occupied most of your time?
  9. What was your bedtime and wake up time?
  10. If you had more time to invest in this past year, what would you do with it?

10 Fill-in-the-Blank Year End Review Questions

  1. I want a 'do-over' with...
  2. I missed...
  3. I would use a magic wand to change...
  4. I want to repeat...
  5. I was embarrassed by...
  6. I lost....
  7. I gained...
  8. I regret...
  9. I am thankful for...
  10. I felt most alive when...

What do you think?

Carly Sullens 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on February 18, 2015:

popo, thank you.

popo on February 17, 2015:

really useful and good

Rui Carreira from Torres Novas on January 01, 2015:

Just commented to say I really admire you for having a "Hub of the Day"... I wish I had one of those T.T

Nice work!

Christina Lornemark from Sweden on January 01, 2015:

I really like this article and I will start this year by making reflections on the past year. What a fantastic way to move forward and make the progress visual as we live and learn new things and make mistakes. I believe that reflections gives so much more value than resolutions, or, we can at least make better resolutions from our reflections. Thanks for all the thought provoking questions and Congratulations on HOTD!

mySuccess8 on January 01, 2015:

New Year is always a time of reflection, and big promises about the year going forward. You have picked some of the most popular questions to reflect on one’s past one year’s experiences, to enable one to to make more meaningful resolutions for the coming new year, and goals that are more simplified and achievable, fully recognizing our constraints, strengths, and weaknesses. Congrats on Hub of the Day!

RAJESH CHANDRA PANDEY from India on December 31, 2014:

Congrats for finishing the year on a great note, I mean HOTD winning...

The questions compel us to look inside ourselves and perhaps there is no gainsaying that the year end is the best time for self-contemplation. Thanks for such help.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on December 31, 2014:

Congratulations on HOTD!

You've posed some very well-thought-out questions for reflection here; I didn't spend too much time on many of them, however, because our circumstances are such that most of my answers to the 'what did you do/accomplish' type questions were, "nothing, nothing at all; not a damned thing."

I am grateful that my husband is still alive and fighting to stay that way, given his heart condition. I am grateful that we got a mortgage modification a couple of years ago, so we did not lose our home.

As far as your poll goes, I was torn between answering #2 or #5, and finally went with 5.

Resolutions? About 20-odd years ago, I made the only one I've ever kept: not to make any more of the silly things.

Voted up, interesting and useful.

Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on December 31, 2014:

deborahmorrison1, thank you for stopping by and reading. I am glad you liked the reflections on spirituality and existence, relationships and time.

Deborah Morrison from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on December 31, 2014:

Interesting article that provides thought provoking ideas as we are about to enter the New Year 2015. I especially liked the reflections on spirtuality and existence, relationships, and time.

Deborah Demander from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on December 31, 2014:

Thanks for the great article. Those questions were thought provoking and insightful. They caused me to pause and ponder my year. I look forward to moving into the future with confidence and audacity.


Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on December 31, 2014:

What an awesome and timely hub! Great questions to ask at year end and at points throughout the year. Voted up, useful and shared on Twitter and LinkedIn! Congrats on Hub of the Day and Happy New Year!

Michael Higgins from Michigan on December 31, 2014:

Congrats on HOTD! Your hub makes me question my effectiveness. I like that. Great hub. Voted up!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on December 31, 2014:

Congrats on HOTD! Great choice by HP. You certainly put a lot of time and effort into this Hub. I never make resolutions for the coming year; I just try to live a better life, be a better parent, etc.etc. I try not to spend time thinking about the past, and I try to live in the "now".

Voted UP, etc. and shared.

Amelia Griggs from U.S. on December 31, 2014:

Congratulations Carly, for achieving Hub of the Day, on the last day of the year. How cool is that. :-) You have some interesting questions here. I will answer the first one, What did you do this year that you have never done before?...because this year was a year of the start of something big for me. I decided to join a writers group and starting writing short stories. I always loved to write but I guess it was a hidden secret of mine. I won 1st and 2nd prizes for monthly short story contests so that made my year. In 2015, I am ready to combine my freelance eLearning work with more writing projects on the side. To practice writing, I decided to embark on a 30 hubs in 30 days challenge for myself. I have 5 days left (I started on Dec. 5th). Wish me luck...I'm almost at the finish line, then on to more writing projects!

Happy New Year to you. :-)

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on December 31, 2014:

Great questions that I have to address separately for myself. Thank you. Nice post to share.

Alwifitness on December 31, 2014:

One question I ask every day regardless whether it is New Year's or not is " If I die today can I say I am satisfied with the way I've lived?"

peachy from Home Sweet Home on December 31, 2014:

your questions kept me wondering whether i should list out my new year resolution or not

Best of Aying from Philippines on December 31, 2014:

Great! Thanks. Happy New Year and God bless! Voted up as interesting!:-)

MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose from Washington State on December 31, 2014:

What were you doing at 3pm on weekdays is my favorite one. It would be fun to take the time to answer some of them, you sure did come up with a wonderful list of them.

Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on February 06, 2014:

Thanks abundant old soul. I kind of created them over several years. It just kept expanding.

Abundant Old Soul from united states on February 05, 2014:

Great list!

Where did you get all the ideas? I love them

Dianna Mendez on December 22, 2012:

Great list of questions to capture the best of memories and to plan for the new year. Probably a good idea to keep these handy throughout the new year just to keep focused.

sarahshuihan on December 18, 2012:

These are great questions! I think people should think about these questions at any time of the year!

carol stanley from Arizona on December 18, 2012:

Lots of questions here and a reminder that every year brings new stuff in our lives. So we know this life is a short experience so lets enjoy the day.

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