8 questions you must ask at the end of each year

It’s that time of year where I can’t help but start looking forward to the next calendar year. So many hopes and dreams, and a chance to begin anew. A time to reignite my passion and recalibrate my direction. And where do I always start? By looking backwards.

Of all the self-growth practices, perhaps none is more vital than taking the best lessons from the past and using them to design your future.

So as we come of the end of yet another year, here are eight simple yet extremely powerful questions to ensure you capture the most empowering learning from the past year and use those insights and discoveries to propel you into an even more rewarding 2011.

But first, a word of caution and suggestion:  the answers to these questions can be life changing and should not be taken lightly. These questions should not be casually scanned over, with passive thoughts and weak conclusions. These questions are meant to be actively explored, investigated and participated in.  That said, let’s go for it!

Think back to this time last year. Where were you? Who were you spending time with? What were the stresses and joys in your life? What was the theme and major events of your winter, spring, summer and autumn? Where were you hoping you’d be today? Spend 5-10 minutes reminding yourself of what you experienced, created and contributed in 2010.

Take out your notepad or journal and write your answers to the questions below in some detail. Got your pen in hand? Great, here we go…

1. What did you love about your 2010? What were the special moments? What were your most significant achievements? What did you do that you didn’t think you could?

2. How does that make you feel on reflection? Happy? Proud? What are the emotions you remember from those moments? What do you feel as you relive those experiences?

3. What would you like to duplicate in 2011? Which activities, adventures, projects or events would you like to repeat? What would you like to create or share even more of? Where, or with whom, do you want to ensure you spend your time?

4. What did you hate about your 2010? What were you disappointed in? What were your biggest challenges? Where did you struggle the most or under-achieve versus your expectations?

5. What do you not want to happen again in 2011? Put emphasis and focus on things that you can control or can influence instead of unnecessarily worrying about things beyond your power.

6. What did you learn by going through these experiences? Despite the challenges or painful times, what did you learn, how were these experiences incredibly valuable or how did they positively serve you?

7. What decisions did you make in 2010 that were empowering for you? What were some of the most important decisions of the year for you?

8. With that insight, what decisions will you make in 2011 as a result, to make it an extra rewarding and fulfilling year? Building off your insights from the previous questions, what will you continue to do, where do you need to get extra help, what will you stop doing?

If you haven’t written your answers down yet, I really encourage you to do so this week. Set aside 30 minutes to really immerse yourself in this experience. You might just uncover the key to making 2011 an amazing year.

What special lessons are you going to take into 2011? Please leave a comment below, we’d love to hear what you learned from these questions.