Happy New Year’s 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?

It’s that time of year again, when I share 20 questions to help you reflect on the past 365 days (or in the case of 2012, 366 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.

On January 1 (tomorrow!), I’ll share another round of questions (and another PDF) on Simple Mom. This time, they’ll be to help plan your goals for 2013. What are your plans? Your hopes? What would you like to happen for you personally, for your children, for your family?

But for now, use the next 48 hours to reflect on the past 365 366 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 2012.

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2012—don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you. (If you’re not married, have fun guessing the answers from other friends and family, or just skip this question.)

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2012—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 2012 for you.

Happy reflecting! And pass over that bowl of popcorn.

By Tsh, Simple Mom


comments (closed):

  1. 1

    thank you tsh. going to use some of those! our family has a tradition of choosing one word that we would like to see more of in our life in the new year rather than resolutions. for example: purpose, friend, or finish. then we each decorate a card and post it somewhere visible for the year. it’s a simple way to be reminded of a quality we want to see more of in ourselves or an action we want to take. it has been a good thing for us. –kris

  2. 2

    I love these questions! {That’s the coach/counselor in me!} Thanks for giving us some good food for thought, for journaling, for deep conversation!

    And for all you ministry leaders, here’s a few more questions to consider, too

    Happy New Year!

  3. 3

    These are great discussion starters for small groups!

  4. 4

    These are great discussions for small groups!

  5. 5

    Good questions; #20 mentions 2011 though

  6. 6
    Beth Williams says:

    1) Even though my job changed dramatically in 2011–God saw fit to give me a huge raise

    2) Work was busy at times and not so busy–the challenge for me was to remain true to God and always do my best even on days when I hated my job.

    3) A nice joy would be that my husband left the hospital and is now working in a doctor’s office/clinic–for the same company.

    4) work and taking care of aging father who had skin cancer, stomach issues, dementia, etc. all at once.

    5) Difficult, family reunited, prayerful
    6) difficult, trying, growing
    7) challenging, trying, joyful
    8) Bible, Grace for the Good Girl
    9) Father, husband
    10) Learning to be a better Christian with quiet time & more intentional prayers
    11) Through much prayer–became a better Christian
    12) Through much prayer–became a better Christian–prayed more
    13) Tried lifting weights & running–ran first 5K in 42 minutes
    14) Learned to love more and not critize so much
    15) Getting the raise, also helping out more in the clinic–cooking for hubby
    16) Doing a job that I don’t like and learning to deal with new boss
    17) Procrastination–not wanting to do something & putting it off
    18) Weight lifting, running, praying, spending time with hubby
    19) To be a better Christian & do everything to the joy of God
    20) It was the best and worst of times!

  7. 7

    Thank you for this!

  8. 8

    I love these! Thank you so much! I will be filling them out today in my journal. Hope you have a great new year!

  9. 9

    i have done your 20 question exercise for 2010, 2011, and a couple days ago i stole away to starbucks to do it for 2012. thank you. it is a great tool to help me reflect, and every year there are many tears shed as i write it all down in my journal. i really enjoy it and am so glad you shared it.

  10. 10

    LOVED this, such a good thing for me to take the time to reflect upon our year. We had SO many changes and one of the most pivitol moments for me happened when we were praying about a MAJOR life change and I read a post here on Incourage about letting go of our fears.
    This is the post … http://www.incourage.me/2012/05/when-fear-is-removed.html that brought about the changes that I needed to trust God more. THANK YOU incourage writers for being Jesus to us and helping us know the Lord more every day!!
    Here is my blog post where I answer your 20 questions:


    Again, thank you for all you do! God Bless you all in 2013!
    Love in Christ, Kathy

  11. 11

    I love this! I’m going to go through these tonight with my husband on our car ride to our evening NYE party!
    Great reflection!

  12. 12

    Thank you, my family and I will definetly be using these to reflect on the past year and set our intentions for the next.

  13. 13

    Took the time to reflect this evening. Thank you so much!!!

  14. 14

    Thank you! I knew I wanted to write something to reflect the past year, but I wasn’t sure what. I’ve fallen away from my blog (which is just personal) due to work (which I love), so it was also nice to take some time to write.
    I also discovered that my word of the year was HOME. Not what I expected, but what a great feeling to end/begin with.

  15. 15

    Thank you for sharing these. I have been using them for the past few years. It’s been so helpful, both to have your encouragement to do this kind of reflection and goal setting at all and then also to have some structure to move forward with it. Thanks!

  16. 16

    Thank you for giving me the inspiration to start blogging again! It’s been quite a dry spell for 2 months with nothing written in 21 days. I sat down and blogged through all of these questions! http://rediscoveringdomesticity.com/2013/01/01/20-questions-for-2012/

  17. 17

    Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been
    blogging for? you make blogging look easy.
    The overall look of your web site is magnificent, as
    well as the content!


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