As the year comes to a close, it’s easy to immediately jump to goal-setting for the next year ahead. However, before doing that, it’s helpful to set apart some time to do a year end reflection.
There are several reasons to do a year end reflection. But ultimately, it comes down to seeing how far you’ve come so you can get a better vision for where you’re going. In the end, it leads back around to goal-setting for the new year.
[ Prefer to watch this guide than read? Check out the accompanying video HERE ]
The Purpose of a Year End Reflection
There are a few reasons year end reflections or year end reviews are beneficial. They allow us to:
- assess the areas and levels of our personal growth throughout the year
- see and celebrate the goals we achieved
- contemplate and process life’s big moments and how they affected us
- see where things changed along the way or took an unexpected turn
- posture our hearts with purpose and gratitude for the new year ahead
10 Questions to Ask Yourself as you Reflect on the Past Year
As you prepare to review your year, take a moment to settle in. It’s not something that should be rushed through. The more intentional you are with your reflection, the more focus you will be able to have as you then go to set new goals for the upcoming new year.
To help guide you along the way, we’ve created this free printable reflection worksheet. It comes complete with 10 question prompts, lines for note-taking, and scriptures to study for each question topic.
What are 3 new things I am grateful for this year?
Take a minute to reflect on the blessings in your life this year. There are standard go-to answers for this question, but I challenge you to go deeper. What is something specific you are grateful for this year? How did God provide for you in ways you didn’t expect? Who came into your life and made it better? If you’re having trouble thinking of things to be grateful for, start with the air in your lungs and the fact that you have the ability to read this right now! If you woke up this morning, God has a plan and purpose for you, and that’s worth being grateful for!
What was my favorite part of this year?
Your favorite part of the year may be a single shining moment or a running theme across the year. Either way, when you are reflecting on your favorite part of the year, consider how it has affected you, what good was sparked from it, and what about it made it your favorite. Taking the time to ponder the good moments builds up joy in our hearts and enthusiasm for all that can lie ahead for us.
What goal(s) did I accomplish this year?
At the outset of the year, you likely set some goals for yourself and then continued to make goals for yourself as the year went on. What all were you able to achieve? Whether a big momentous accomplishment or something more ordinary, any goal you achieve is a big win! Take the time to celebrate yourself and congratulate yourself for bringing your goal over the finish line.
What milestone did I hit this year?
Next, take a look a what milestones you hit in your life this year. A milestone can be as simple as a birthday or as big as graduating college or starting a new career. Milestone moments are any moments that we can pinpoint and say, “from that moment forward, things changed.” Milestones are something to be celebrated in our lives. They mark the beginning of a new season with infinite possibilities ahead.
Who did I grow closer to this year?
Take a few minutes to reflect on your relationships. Often, we build relationships slowly over time such that we almost can’t even remember a time when we weren’t close with someone. Consider who it is in your life right now that is walking alongside you, building you up, and helping you grow. Assessing your current relationships allows you to be intentional moving forward about who you spend your time with and what friendships, mentorships, etc. you will choose to invest in.
What did I learn this year?
We all should always aim to continue to learn and grow. Reflect on what you learned specifically this year. Maybe you learned a new skill at your job, got a certification, read an educational book, or engaged in a mentorship with someone. Consider what it is you learned this year as well as how that affected you. Taking a look at what we’ve learned encourages us because it allows us to see how far we’ve come while also encouraging us to continue growing.
What did I learn about myself this year?
Moving beyond simply what we learned, assessing what we learned about ourselves gives us greater insight into who we are. We are all complex and are constantly growing and discovering (or rediscovering) aspects of ourselves. As you reflect on what you learned about yourself, consider the implications of your discovery. How can you use what you learned about yourself to set new goals for yourself or to inform your life decisions? We are all unique and multifaceted. The more we learn about ourselves through the years, the more we will be able to walk in the wholeness of who God created us to be.
RELATED POST: How to Find God’s Purpose for Your Life
How did I take care of myself this year?
Take a few minutes to consider how you were able to care for yourself this year. Whether you worked out, ate healthier, got on a better sleep schedule, saw a counselor, picked up a new hobby, or something else, any step toward taking care of yourself is a good step. Our culture likes to encourage us to always be productive and on the go, and while that has benefits, we must strike a balance or else we will burn ourselves out. Taking care of ourselves gives us the rest, refreshment, and energy to keep after the things we love and to keep chugging forward toward our goals. By reflecting on the ways we took care of ourselves in the past year, we will be able to make decisions for the new year ahead that will keep us (or get us on) a healthy trajectory.
What is something unexpected that happened this year?
We all face moments in every year that don’t go as planned. Things happen that totally change the course of our lives without any warning. And whether these moments are big or small, they are worth reflecting on. We should consider how those moments affected us and may have altered our year or life. Ultimately, what caught us off guard in a moment can turn out to be the biggest set up for some amazing things ahead. As you reflect on those unexpected moments, seek out where God was working. Likewise, look at all that may have come out of those moments that set you up to be where you are now.
How did I grow spiritually this year?
As believers, when we follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, He will constantly be sanctifying us. When we receive Jesus, we are born again, but we all still have areas we need healed or need freedom in, and we all have room to grow in our relationship with God. You may be surprised at what you find when you reflect on your spiritual growth this year, because, oftentimes, God works in us so gently we hardly notice the changes in ourselves. Really take the time to reflect on all the ways God has worked in your heart and life this year. As we are brought to new levels of wholeness in Him, it becomes part of our testimony of His goodness. Reflecting on how far He has brought us in this past year also sets us up to continue strong in spiritual growth in the new year ahead.
As You Reflect
As you reflect on this past year, be kind to yourself. Sometimes things don’t go as we expect them to, but there is still goodness to be found. Have fun seeking out God in the various moments of your year. And use your reflection as a tool to help guide you as you prepare for the new year.
Also, take your time in your reflection. If other questions come up as you work through your year end review, add those in and reflect on them as well. There is no right or wrong way to reflect on the year.
Finally, if you would like a guide to help you through your reflection. Check out our free printable reflection worksheet. You can also watch the video below to help guide you through, as well.