As the year closes out and/or we begin prepping for the new year, one of the most powerful things we can do is conduct a personal end-of-year review. This is great prep work for any new year planning you want to do to ring the new year in and figure out how to take over the world. Keep reading for my current end of year reflection questions to help you review your challenges and wins. And be sure to grab your free worksheet too!
Why You Should Conduct a Personal End-of-Year Review
If you want to be your best self, listen up. This is important. After studying personal development for decades, I noticed one thing that kept coming up in books I read and podcasts I listened to. It was something I didn’t do and didn’t think I needed to do – reflection. Reviewing what was.
Over time I realized that I’d been so caught up in the *what’s next* game that I rarely paused to evaluate how things were going. This ranged from not stopping to celebrate my wins to not doing an honest evaluation to see how my goals, work, and efforts HAD actually gone (past tense).
When you’re just pushing ahead and ahead and ahead, you miss out on powerful insights that can help you figure out what went well and didn’t so you can move forward in the most powerful way possible.
So, if you haven’t evaluated last year, last quarter, or last month, it’s never too late to start. These questions are designed for an annual review. But feel free to use, adjust, and tweak them to meet whatever reflection period you prefer. The important thing is to look back before you look forward.
11 End of Year Reflection Questions
Here are my current 11 end-of-year reflection questions. These have a nice mix to help you evaluate both what went well and what areas of improvement may be helpful for you in the year ahead. Be sure to stop and celebrate all your wins. You’re doing great!
You can use these questions at the end of the current year (for ex: the last week of December) or the start of the next (for ex: the first week of January). The point is to review the last year-ish (unless you choose a different period of time to review, of course).
What’s something from this past year that I’m proud of?
Let’s kick things off with a WIN! What’s a standout moment, event, period of time, challenge overcome, etc. for you? Remember, your wins don’t have to be big and flashy. Climbing Everest is super cool. But if you prioritized your health and made space to finally heal from burnout, that’s really wonderful too! It’s your year and your review, so do you.
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”― Oliver Goldsmith
What’s a goal I accomplished this past year?
Do you set a bunch of goals but only accomplish a couple? Or one? It’s all good. This isn’t about being self-critical. Just self aware. Notice what goal you achieved comes to mind first. Why do you think this one stood out from any others?
What’s something I was scared to do but did anyway this past year?
One of the best things you can do to really uplevel is face your fears. Any time I’ve pushed past my fear to do something I really wanted in life, life rewarded me back.
“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”― Elizabeth Gilbert
I love what Elizabeth Gilbert says about fear in her book Big Magic. She talks about how it’s not about NOT having fear. It’s about having it, and choosing what you want anyway. Don’t worry about choosing a HUGE fear that you overcame. It can be small. Or you can observe that you didn’t face your fears, but you still want to in the new year ahead.
What was my greatest challenge this past year, and how did I handle it?
How we handle our challenges is so important. It doesn’t matter that we handled them perfectly. Perfection is not really a thing anyway. It’s okay if you handled your challenge poorly. It’s great if you handled it well. But observing how you handled it can help you draw powerful observations to apply to next year’s planning. If things didn’t go well, what could you do better next time? If they did go well, what can you keep doing?
What did I struggle with this past year?
What you struggled with can identify an area for improvement. Maybe an area you can work on in the year ahead. Or it can be an area you previously identified and successfully worked through over the course of last year. This questions gives you a chance to have an honest look at yourself. Looking at your struggles can be tough, but can help you gain valuable insights and self-awareness.
“Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity.”– Lou Holtz
So often, our struggles are where the magic happens.
What did I handle really well this past year?
Here’s another opportunity to celebrate your wins. What did you crush this past year? This question can help you gain positive self-awareness for what’s going well for you.
What did I do this past year that made me feel successful?
This is good insight to what makes you tick and help you figure out what makes you feel successful. Sometimes we can be successful at work on in life but not feel successful because it’s related to success on someone else’s terms (think your boss’s standards vs yours). This question can help you see what you can focus on in the year ahead that is meaningful to you.
What lessons did I learn this past year?
You may immediately think of a powerful lesson you learned this past year. Or perhaps by going through these other end of year reflection questions, a theme will form in your mind that yields a more specific lesson. Learning as we move through life is one of the best ways to uplevel.
“The only mistake in life is the lesson not learned.”– Albert Einstein
I try to draw lessons from everything I experience – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I can’t remember who said it or exactly how the quote goes, but I once hear something like – we don’t fail, we learn. So whether you lost or won, you won because you either won a lesson or won your win.
What surprised me this past year?
This is a fun question to throw in when you’re doing your end of year reflection questions. Surprises can be interesting things. Maybe someone or something in your life surprised you. Maybe you surprised yourself?
What’s an epiphany you had this past year?
Similar to a lesson but more of a spark genius that hit you like a bolt of lightning. A sudden realization. A different perspective that helped you shift how you view your life or the world around you. What’s a magical epiphany you had that changed the game for you?
What’s my favorite stand out memory / moment from this past year?
On this one, think less. What’s the first thing that comes to mind? If nothing comes to mind, keep digging. You know those moments that are the memories you talk about for years to come? The moments that really made your year and your life special? What happened? Get detailed. Why does it stand out for you?
As I talk about in my Plan Your Next Level Year Workshop, our life is often made from our highlights. What’s one of yours?
Here are a couple bonus end of year reflection questions. These weren’t in my original list, but they popped up in my mind, and I thought you may like them too.
What did you settle for this past year and how did that go?
An interesting epiphany I had years ago is that what we settle for is what we live. By that I mean, it’s often not the big goals that are what truly drive our life. It’s all the things we settle for when we’re going after those other goals. The so-so relationship. The job that pays the bills but you dread going to. The friendships that cause you so much stress. In what ways did you settle this past year and how was it living this way?
What did you NOT settle for this past year and how did that go?
Opposite to the previous question, in what ways did you NOT settle? In what ways did you go after EXACTLY what you truly want in life?
Maybe some things will shift from the first question to the second question for you in the new year?
The Worksheet for My 11 End of Year Reflection Questions
This End of Year Reflection Questions worksheet PLUS a bunch of other dream life resources (from personal development to manifestation to health) are available in my freebie library.
More Personal Development Tips, Posts, and Ideas
Thank you for stopping by and reading my post about End of Year Reflection Questions: Review Your Challenges and Wins. Wishing you your best year yet!