77 year-in-review questions to prepare for the new year

77 year in review questions

We’re coming up on a time of year when our attention naturally turns to new beginnings and changes for the better.

By January 31st, you will have invested 365 days of your life into the last year. You can either let that time slide into the past and start focusing on next year, or spend some time squeezing every last drop of value from it.

If you want to get the most out of the last year and gain valuable insights you can carry into your new year’s efforts for positive change, take a step back, look through an objective lens, and ask questions like, “What happened? What didn’t? What worked? What didn’t? What do I want to build on? What do I want to change? ”

Think of the last year as a “life learning lab.” You have done all the experiments. Now it’s time to learn from the results.

To get you started, below you’ll find 77 year-in-review questions coming at it from a wide range of angles. No need to try to dive deep into all of them (unless you’re a chronic over-achiever with no life – in which case, have at it!). Simply scan through and pick the questions that call to you.

You can ask any of these questions with a work focus or from the perspective of your life overall.

Digging deeper

If you want to go even deeper with any particular question, follow your immediate answer with questions to help you dig a layer further down, like, “Why? What was it about that? What contributed to that?” For example, for the question, “What drained me?” You might follow it up with, “Why? What is it about that that depleted my energy?”

The better you understand the specifics, the more useful the insight will be in guiding your future.

77 year-in-review questions

(Over the next couple weeks I will be writing posts taking a deeper look at a few of these questions, and will add links here.)

  1. On a scale of 1 – 10, how energized and alive have I felt?
  2. When have I felt “in the flow?”
  3. Where have I felt mired and stuck?
  4. Did I feel like I was on track?
  5. What would I have preferred to have had more of?
  6. What would I have preferred to have had less of?
  7. What was missing?
  8. What energized me?
  9. What drained me?
  10. How did I succeed?
  11. How did I fail? What can I learn from that?
  12. Where was the abundance in my life (not just financial)?
  13. What sucked? What can I learn from that?
  14. How am I glad I spent my time?
  15. How do I regret having spent my time?
  16. What mattered?
  17. What about how I spent my time this year will matter in ten years?
  18. What did I think was my top priority this year?
  19. What did my actions and choices show was my top priority?
  20. Did my priorities reflect how I want to live my life?
  21. How have I lived in alignment with what’s really important?
  22. How have I lived out of alignment with what’s really important?
  23. If someone I don’t know were to identify what I value purely based on how I spent my time, what would they say I value?
  24. What “empty calorie” activities have consistently taken my time?
  25. Where have I been in a rut?
  26. What am I most proud of?
  27. What do I regret most?
  28. How did I make the world a better place?
  29. Whose life is better because I touched it?
  30. What do I want to consciously bring forward into the new year?
  31. What do I want to consciously let go of?
  32. How did I show up as the person I want to be?
  33. How did I show up as a person I don’t want to be?
  34. What contributed to my success (in my work / in my relationships / in my contribution to the world/etc.)?
  35. What got in the way of my success?
  36. What felt out of balance?
  37. What changes did I make for the better?
  38. What changes did I make for the worse?
  39. What am I grateful for?
  40. Who am I grateful for?
  41. Who helped me? / What support have I gotten?
  42. Who did I help? / What support have I given?
  43. On a scale of 1 – 10, how kind have I been to myself?
  44. How has my self-talk been constructive?
  45. How has my self-talk gotten in my way?
  46. How have I shown myself love?
  47. Where has fear held me back?
  48. What stories have I been telling that have been limiting me?
  49. What have I been holding on to that I need to let go?
  50. What habits limited me?
  51. What habits supported me?
  52. What excuses have I made?
  53. How have I been compromising myself?
  54. What one thing would I change that would make the biggest impact on the quality of my life?
  55. What felt meaningful?
  56. What worries did I experience about things that never actually existed?
  57. What help did I need that I didn’t reach out for?
  58. What risks did I take? How did I step outside my comfort zone?
  59. What risks do I wish I had taken?
  60. What did I try that was new?
  61. How did the year contribute to where you want to be in 20 years?
  62. How did I invest in my future?
  63. How much did I laugh?
  64. What lessons stand out from my experiences this year?
  65. How have I lived from the heart?
  66. When have I felt at peace?
  67. When have I felt tension?
  68. The best thing about this year was ________.
  69. The worst thing about this year was ________.
  70. What advice would I give my last-year self based on what you learned and experienced this year?
  71. What inspired and motivated me?
  72. How did I challenge myself?
  73. Did I need to focus more on my own needs or the needs of others (or was the balance just right)?
  74. How did the people I spent most of my time with contribute to who I want to become and what I want to achieve?
  75. How did the people I spent most of my time with detract from who I want to become and what I want to achieve?
  76. What did I think was important that really wasn’t?
  77. What did I think wasn’t important that really was?

So there you have it. The past year has the potential to have a powerful impact on your future, simply through the insights you have the potential to gain. And the key to reaping those benefits is asking questions.

How do you prepare for the new year? Do you have any questions you regularly ask as you look back on the year that has passed? Do any of these questions strike you as particularly relevant for your life just now? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

Time for a career change? Start with
The Occupational Adventure Guide