The quality of your life will depend upon the quality of the questions you ask yourself.
So over the past few years I’ve curated and collected some the best questions that I ask myself and my clients, to get into a state of reflection, learning and growth.The quality of your life will depend upon the quality of the questions you ask yourself. Click To Tweet
To really get the most out of these questions I recommend that you:
- Give yourself 30-60 minutes of uninterrupted contemplation space.
- Put yourself in nature – a park, by a beach or river, or even in your back yard. Alternatively head to your favourite cafe (one where you’re not going to run into your pals and get distracted).
- Print out these questions (you can download all 15 questions in one PDF at the bottom of this post) or write them down in your journal, and have a pen read to answer them.
- Optional: Do this process with your partner (I did).
This is a powerful process for reviewing the last 12 months, acknowledging how far you’ve come, and then planting the seeds for creating your best year ever.
Let’s get in to the 15 questions for your best year ever, shall we?
(Note: All examples I give below were from my 2016 review when I first posted this)
Short on time and prefer to go through these questions or print them out later? Download the PDF now.
Hindsight (What happened last year?)
1. What were the two or three major themes that kept recurring? These can be single words or phrases. I wrote:
- Discovering what I truly want in life and business (getting my priorities straight)
- Learning to listen and to be present
- Finding my flow
2. What did you accomplish this past year that you are the most proud of? These can be any area of your life – work, business/career, relationships, health, spiritual. I was most proud of:
- Getting engaged and learning more about my partner and myself
3. What disappointments or regrets did you experience this past year? As leaders, changemakers, over-achievers… we naturally have high expectations of ourselves and others. Where did you let yourself down? Where did you let others down? Here are some of mine:
- Not taking my health as serious as I should have
- Not looking out for a mate who has been so amazing to me this past year
4. Which 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with?
5. What was missing from last year as you look back? Again, take a look at each area of your life. Don’t focus on solutions, or judgement. Just write down what comes up for you. Here is my list:
- Time to be alone with myself in nature, no devices.
- Time to really unplug and not think about all the things that usually occupy my mind (work, money, relationship)
- More time to be silly with my partner, friends and family
Insight (Drawing the wisdom out)
6. What are the common traits among those 5 people you mentioned above? What type of people are you most in “flow” around?
7. Out of all the places you went or experienced, where did you feel most creative and productive? Environment dictates performance so it’s important to recognise where you find your flow.
- For me, I am most productive when I work at my favourite coworking space.
8. What do you feel you should have been acknowledged for but weren’t?
9. How am I better, stronger, smarter, wiser than I was this time last year?
- I feel that 2016 has really been about confronting my self-doubt, surrounding myself with supportive people, understanding my strengths and gifts, and re-learning how to treat the people who are important in my life better (myself included).
10. What were the major life-lessons you learned this past year? Make these concise, punchy statements. For example:
- It’s important to spot the alignment (or misalignment) between what you say and what you do. Be genuine.
- Put the person you care about most before everyone else.
- Money follows passion, not the other way around.
- There’s no shortcut to greatness. Do the work.
- Consistency creates success.
Foresight (Planting seeds for next year)
11. Right now looking forward, what would you like your overarching theme to be for 2019? Use 1 or 2 words only i.e. exploration, remembering, commitment. For me it’s:
12. What stands out as a key opportunity for personal growth in 2019?
13.What key skill, personal attribute or quality would you like to sharpen, develop or live more?
14. What is one story you will stop telling yourself in 2019? What new story will you replace this with?
15. What is one goal that excites you the most for 2019?
Want to download a PDF summary of all 15 questions? Just scroll down to the bottom of this page to grab the PDF.
UPDATE 24/12: BONUS QUESTIONS
Danielle LaPorte shared these 5 Q’s for your deeper Year In Review on her blog and I feel they make a powerful addition to the questions above. So if you want to go even deeper in your review, have a go at these too:
What didn’t work?
What did work?
What were the highlights?
And then: What does the new year look like if it’s full of what works?
Bonus Q: What do your highlights say about you?
- Al Jeffery – A Powerful Reflection Ritual for 2015!
- Michael Hyatt – 7 Questions To Ask About Last Year
- Former Google career coach shares a visual trick for figuring out what you want to do with your life
- My 2018 Annual Reflection, Review and 2019 Intention Setting by Chelsea Dinsmore (Live Your Legend)
- Chris Guillebeau’s annual review process and template
Answering the above questions will give you clarity and vision, so it’s worth taking the time to go through this powerful exercise.
Want to have a printable copy of these questions? Download the PDF below.
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