Happy New Year’s Eve Eve! Whether you’re headed to a party or headed to the living room with a bowl of popcorn, New Year’s Eve is a great day for reflection. A whole year has passed since the last one. You’re a year older. Are you a year wiser?

Below are 20 questions I use each year as a springboard to reflect on the past 365 days. Use these Reflection Questions however you see fit over the next few days. Feel free to think over these throughout your day. But if you’d like to be a bit more intentional with them, every year I provide a free PDF download over on Simple Mom—head over there to download the document, fresh off the press.

Want to answer these questions solo? Grab a cup of coffee and a pen, and use the space provided on the first three pages of the free download.

Want to chat over the answers with your spouse or with friends? Use the last page of the PDF to cut each question into squares, and then toss them in a hat to draw, one at a time.

In early January, I’ll share another round of questions (and another PDF) on Simple Mom. This time, they’ll be to help plan your goals for 2012. What are your plans? Your hopes? What would you like to happen for you personally, for your children, for your family? I like what Dave Ramsey says—“A goal without a plan is just a dream.”

But for now, use the next 48 hours to reflect on the past 365 days…

20 Questions for a New Year’s Eve Reflection

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?

5. Pick three words to describe 2011.

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2011 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2011 (again, without asking).

8. What were the best books you read this year?

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?

15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?

16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?

19. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2011 for you.

Happy reflecting! And pass over that bowl of popcorn.

  • http://mch-photography.blogspot.com/ MCH

    Download doesn’t seem to work. At least not for me, it just brings me to this post and no PDF…

    • http://simplemom.net Tsh Oxenreider

      Sorry about that – it’s fixed now!

  • http://charinabrooks.wordpress.com Charina @ Pondered Thoughts

    This is wonderful, thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.periwinkleconfessions.blogspot.com Cathy

    Answering it now! My heart is full thinking about the good things and the circumstances God used to show His faithfulness this year! Thank you!

  • http://thepleatedpolkadot.blogspot.com melissa

    great questions for reflection! thanks for sharing. this is going to be a good process for me. i plan to sit down with my very best friend this weekend and talk over some of the questions.

    thanks tsh.

  • http://ajoyrenewed.blogspot.com/ Brittnie (A Joy Renewed)

    Love these questions to reflect on as 2011 come to an end. Thanks for sharing. I will take some time to answer these as will be a great way to praise God for all the ups and downs of this past year, and to praise Him for everything to come in 2012.

  • http://itwasbroughtonbylove.blogspot.com Southern Gal

    I’m going to sit and answer these, then use your new e-book I just purchased to plan out some goals for 2012. Thanks for all the help with simplifying life.

  • http://livingundone.blogspot.com Steph

    I love the idea of intentionally reflecting on the past year before focusing on the next one. Thanks!

  • http://www.simplisticfamily.com The Simplistic Family

    I love these questions! I have a group of my best friends coming over tonight to watch “The Help”. These questions will be part of girl’s night now.

    • http://livingpower.blogspot.com Laurie Wallin

      Great idea to include these in a gathering you’re hosting for New Year’s. I was thinking of having them on the table for our next dinner club that we host this coming month too.

  • http://makingajoyfulhome.blogspot.com Amy

    Great list! I’ll have to think about these more deeply later, but they look like wonderful questions for putting the year in perspective. Happy new year!

  • http://marinaskitchentable.blogspot.com marina Bromley

    I love it when God impresses something on my heart to blog on, and THEN I read a post to comment on that very thing! YAY!!
    I think my biggest challenge – physically, spiritually, emotionally – was the planning, preparing and going on a support trip to North Africa, to minister to the needs of the workers there. At every turn we saw Satan try to discourage us, stop us, keep us from going. ALL. YEAR. LONG. Even while there, a flu bug ravaged through the families that we came to care for, and we quickly learned why God sent 5 women to care for 8 kids, because some of them got really sick and needed to be quarantined. And then some of US got really sick and needed to stay away. Above all, we felt the prayers of people who prayed for us even when we couldn’t send out emails explaining what to pray for, we felt those prayers. They lifted us in prayer when we could only hold on hard and deep to God and pray that someone would be praying for us at the prompting of the Holy Spirit. And they prayed. Hard.
    So thanks for letting me focus on this ONE thing – because I blogged about a bunch of stuff…I can get long winded sometimes…and it’s nice to not have to count my words, or my characters…
    May you see God’s goodness displayed in your life in the New Year!!
    Grace and Peace,

  • http://www.CreeksideMinistries.blogspot.com Linda Stoll

    These are oh-so-good!

    I’ll be adding a link to your post onto PANNING FOR GOLD, some thoughts I posted yesterday. If you can’t get enough of these kind of questions you can find more there …


  • http://carolinebyline.blogspot.com Caroline Starr Rose

    I’ve been looking forward to going over your questions for days now! It’s been a great addition to my end of year journaling. Looking forward to sharing at a party on New Year’s Eve.

    Happy New Year!

  • http://www.gforceacademy.wordpress.com Monica Guerra

    This is just what I was looking for! I am going to share it with my friends and our state homeschool organization, FPEA, Florida Parent Educators Association. Looking forward to the next post in the series. Thanks!
    FPEA Ambassador

  • http://www.intentionallyinspiringmamas.com/p/welcome_31.html Jen

    What a great start to the new year! Living life intentionally is all about introspection. Thank you for these!!
    Mindful Moms Network

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  • http://www.charisscofield.com charis

    i did these questions last year to reflect and found it super productive. i am excited to steal away for a cup of coffee and do it again. thanks tsh!

    my recent post: my top 10 posts of 2011

  • Terri

    This will be a challenge for me, but I am looking forward to it. I’d better make a venti latte!
    Thanks, Tsh

    • http://simplemom.net Tsh Oxenreider

      I do a little at a time. Seems to help my head not explode. :)

    • http://livingpower.blogspot.com Laurie Wallin

      Ha! I totally know what you mean. I’m with Tsh – a few at a time. :) Although the venti latte is always nice too…

  • http://www.ruralmmommasramblings6.blogspot.com Lesley

    I also set goals for the coming year and this will help me with looking back and then your next post will help in looking forward! :o)

  • http://www.ruralmommasramblings6.blogspot.com/ Lesley

    Oops, here is the right link to my blog. The questions are not posted yet, but I didn’t want to leave a non-functioning link.

  • http://www.frugallysustainable.com Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable

    2011 was amazing and I am claiming greatness for 2012! What great reflective thoughts these questions bring! Awesome list Tsh:) Many blessings to you in the coming New Year.

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  • Beth Williams

    Great questions. 2011 started out the same–work ok, etc. My hubby & I flew to Vegas & the Grand Canyon that was fun. After that came a big change at work. I no longer use any skills I was trained to do. So the latter half of the year was kind of a big let down. My attitude got bad.

    I’m working on being more intentional, spiritual & loving as a Christian. Did these questions last year and will do them this year.

    Thanks for inspiring us to become btter people & Christian women.

  • http://www.lifewhatajoy.wordpress.com Susan Werthem

    Great questions…thought provoking, Fits perfectly with my 5 days blog series…I would like to share your link on Sunday, the last day of the journey of Praying God’s Word, seeking His direction for our lives as we approach the new year. Thx
    Blessings, Susan

  • Karen Cadle

    This is great!!! Now myself and three other friends are going to use it when we get together once a month over dinner…good to have meaningful conversation…we will pick one question to share. Excited about this!!! thank you!!!

  • Magda

    I love your ebook “One Bite at a TIme” – its very useful. Happy New Year to you and your family Tsh, I hope you have a calm and relaxed start to 2012!!

  • http://cantelmofamily.blogspot.com Melanie

    This is great! I really need to do this!! Thank you :)

  • http://www.findyourbalancehealth.com Michelle @ Find Your Balance

    I’m actually rather scared to answer these honestly. It’s been a tremendously difficult year. Looking forward to 2012!

  • http://some-thingscookin.blogspot.com Kelly

    Thanks for sharing your list and doing the ground work for us! I like things like this, but probably wouldn’t take the time to make my own list. Looking forward to some time to ponder them Sunday.

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  • http://juliesunne.com Julie Sunne

    I’m always looking ahead for ideas on making the next year more Christ-honoring. Perhaps it’s time to look behind first for insight. Thanks for the thoughts to ponder, Tsh! Happy New Year.

  • http://youaremygirls.com Jennifer

    These are so great. I am so excited to share these with my family as we gather for New Year’s tomorrow night. Thank you, Tsh.

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  • http://livingpower.blogspot.com Laurie Wallin

    First thing I thought about how I grew physically was, well, how I GREW physically. And how I’m planning on shrinking a little in that area :). But seriously, I love the ones where we think of what’s been good and tough for our spouses. It reminds us we’re a part of a body, and to see what’s been happening in the wider context around us for the past year. Nice one, Tsh!

  • Pamela Johnson

    I will get back to you. Wonderful questions!

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  • http://www.ineachcircumstance.com Erin

    Great ideas! I love the purpose behind these questions… So good to take the time to intentionally reflect on the past year. I’ve decided to blog thru them. I don’t want to link too much (I’m not Spam), but feel free to check it out! Thanks for the ideas, Tsh!

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  • http://www.thepaperbagprincesses.blogspot.com Christy

    Thanks for this! Excellent questions-I’ve spent time tonight working through them and have also forwarded them to friends!

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  • Phyllis G Williams

    HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and yours and Thanks for sharing. I have just sent it to
    several others. My greatest joy for the year has been the constant quickening of
    the Holy Spirit directing my life and strengthening me in my problems (smile)

  • http://Www.66books.wordpress.com Courtney

    This was a great exercise. Some of my answers surprised me–especially the name of a person whose relationship was most valuable. Certainly helps put things in perspective, and showed where to focus energy in 2012. Happy new year!

  • Anonymous

    I am single, was married 40 years, my husband was ill for one year, God promised him to be healed, and to be patient. But he passed away, I am on my own , very dissapointed and very lonely. Where can I go.

    • Anonymous

      I am so sorry for your loss. We can’t always understand God and what happens, but there is always one place to go, and that is to God. I had a really hard season in my life, too, a lost (very early) pregnancy, health problems, marriage problems, money concerns, it seemed like my career was falling apart, and it hit all at once, and I was so angry with God. Literally to the point that I said “God, if You truly care about me, You need to prove it to me.” I even gave a deadline. He didn’t have to answer me, but He did. Things weren’t all “fixed”, but God gave me what I truly needed to get through.

      God is big enough to handle our anger, our pain, our confusion. Talk to, yell at, cry for God, whatever you need to do, but you are never, ever alone. I will pray for you and I figure others here will as well.


  • http://www.littlewritermomma.com Lisa Littlewood

    working through my goals and resolutions….writing them down…this week! This list will help spark some more thinking.

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  • http://www.sonshinensmiles.com Kristi

    This is great. I will spend some time over the next day or two to think about these. Will make a great blog post! If so, I will most definitely link back to you, thanks! :-) Here’s to 2012!

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  • http://ateupamateur.blogspot.com Amy

    I answered the questions here – great list:


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  • http://www.myheartsdesireblog.com Amanda

    Loved these questions, although they were hard to answer…they were so stretching and GOOD to ponder. Thank you!
    Answered them in two posts…

    Happy New Year!

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  • Merlyn Augustin

    Great question, Will surley sit down with my better half and answer these questions.

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  • http://bhajanradio.com Kamlesh Drolia

    These questions really helps analyzing the past year and are nicely formulated. Sometimes it touches heart. These also helps assessing ones inner-self.
    Though its an year older but still it can be fitted into any year and ask yourself.
    Thanks for this post

  • http://freehindibhajans.com Reshu Bansal

    Nice compilation of self question for any year.

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