This time of year is a great time to sit down and reflect on the year gone by and plan for the upcoming year. I've been learning a lot this year about the power of asking positive questions, so I thought I'd share the questions I like to ask myself for contemplation and for creating the future.
First I like to review my year by asking the following questions:
- What worked? What went right this year? Where did I win? What were my successes?
- What did I learn? How did you stretch your limits? What were my inner transformations that led to outer manifestations?
- What new strengths or capabilities emerged for me? How did my strengths evolve? Who was I being?
- Who did I serve? Who was kind to me? Who inspires me?
Note: You can also make this exercise an art project, where you include a collage of photos, actual and symbolic, representing your 2016 journey. Also, feel free to add color, prose, poetry and, even song, to display your discoveries.
After I have reviewed my year, I like to ask questions to help purposefully create the most meaningful future:
- If I look ahead one year from now, what achievements give me the most sense of pride, excitement, joy, and fulfillment?
- What vision causes me to come alive?
- What do I want to celebrate this year?
- What strengths would I like to develop?
- How can I make my weaknesses manageable and what's the least I can do in those areas?
Next I like to list out some yearly goals based on my future vision. Once my goals are set I ask myself these questions:
- Why are these goals important in the first place?
- What is it about these goals that will give me fulfillment?
Note: the answer to these questions may change over the year, so keep asking and if a goal becomes unimportant adjust the goal or scrap it all together.
There is a story about three stone masons. When asked, "Why are you stacking stones?" The first answers, "Because it's my job." The second says, "To build a building." And the third replies, "It's my calling to build a cathedral so people can connect with God." The moral of the story is- It doesn't matter what you do in your compelling future, what matters is how you view what you do. What is your calling?
There is a problem-solving tool called "the 5 Whys." To use this tool, keep asking why until you come to the root cause of the problem. It can also be used to find your calling by examining your goals. Let's say, for example, your goal is to lose 15 pounds.
- You ask, "Why do I want to lose 15 pounds?" --> To be healthy.
- So you ask, "Why do I want to be healthy?" --> To be here to watch my kids grow up.
- Then ask, "Why do you want to see your kids grow up?" --> To see them fulfill their potential.
- "Why do you want to see them fulfill their potential?" --> To know I did a good job as their mom.
- "Why do you want to know you did a good job as their mom?" --> Because that is my calling--> to be a great mom :) Basically, everything I do is to be a great mom to my kids.
Once I have my yearly goals, I will break them down into actions steps by asking one last question:
- What could I do (next month, next week, today, and right NOW) to move me towards my future vision?
The last step is to simply take action. When one step is taken you have to ask again, "Now what might I do to move me towards my future vision?"
I'm grateful for my Spirit Coach, Jenai Lane, and my friend, Jon Berghoff, for teaching me the questions to ask myself. I'm grateful for the introspective nature of this time of year and the short, cold days to cuddle up by the fireplace with my journal. I'm grateful for an epic 2016 and for the memories I've made. And I'm grateful for the fresh start of a new year right around the corner. I'd love to hear what you do to reflect on the year gone by. You can comment below or, better yet, join the conversation in our Facebook Community.