Questions for Self-Reflection on the Eve of a New Year
New Year’s Eve celebrations will look a little different this year in the Portland Metro Area. There will not be as many large gatherings or celebrations to attend, whether in Tualatin, Lake Oswego, or Portland. That doesn’t mean that you cannot mark or celebrate the time where you are, however.
If New Year’s Eve marks the end of one year and the hope of a new one, then there are ways to make it a significant time for you. And the suggestion I am going to give you will be beneficial to your mental and emotional wellness, too.
Take some time this New Year’s Eve to intentionally reflect on the past year. You can do this by yourself. You can do it in your marriage or with your partner. You can do this with your kids as a family. Or, if you are a high achiever, you can do all three!
In any case, here are some self-reflection questions to ask this New Year’s Eve:
Self-Reflection Question #1 — What Has Been Hard About This Past Year?:
I know. You’re kinda like “Really, Jason?”
This is probably an easy question for you to answer. Every year brings personal challenges, but this year has been especially difficult.
The thing is, we don’t often reflect on the difficulties that we have faced. We either stew on them, or we avoid thinking about them. Don’t do that.
Instead, reflect on the challenges and how you faced those challenges. How did you feel in the midst of the hard stuff? And how did you get through them?
Self-Reflection Question #2 — What Have You Missed?:
What did you miss this past year? What relationships have you really missed out on? What traditions or trips? Were there any lost activities that you particularly grieved over?
Reflecting on what we missed communicates to us what we really value or care about. And that can lead to greater awareness of where you want to invest more of your time in the future
Self-Reflection Question #3 — What Have You Accomplished?:
Look at what you’ve done! This year has delivered incredible obstacles. Did you have to pivot to a work-from-home lifestyle? Or figure out how to home school your child while doing all the other things in life?
What changes to your lifestyle did this year require of you and how were you able to make happen? Spend time the New Year’s Eve reflecting on how you were able to accomplish significant things.
Self-Reflection Question #4 — Who Have You Helped?:
Many communities have had to pull together this past year. It is likely that you have helped or influenced others for the better. How did your act of helpfulness impact the community? How did it impact you personally?
In what ways have you been a helper this past year? How might you want to continue to demonstrate that level of helpfulness in your community in the new year?
Self-Reflection Question #5 — What Has Been Good About This Past Year?:
This year hasn’t been all bad. For example, I have personally gotten to know the people in my neighborhood better through this experience. It’s something that I may have missed out in a more ordinary year.
Some will have to try hard to find something good that came from this past year. Others won’t have to put much effort into it at all.
In any case, there have been some good that has come from this past year. What have you learned about yourself? What strengths did you uncover about yourself that you did not know were there before? What did you learn about others?
Self-Reflection Question #6 — What Special Memory Are You Taking Away?:
Do you have any memories of laughing over the past year? Or of a good time? Any special memories of communicating really well in your marriage? Or with your kids?
This year hasn’t been all filled with anxiety and or a marriage conflict that requires counseling. Reflect upon some of the things that you have enjoyed over the past year. This will again help you to understand what you value in life.
Self-Reflection Question #7 — What About the Past Year Do You Want to Take Into the Future?:
Now that you’ve reflected on some of the things that have occurred this past year, what are some things that you want to be part of your life moving forward?
Are there experiences you would like to recreate? What has been different about this holiday experience that might have a place in your celebrating next year?
Reflect on the future. What are you looking forward to? What are you excited about? And what changes do you want to make for yourself?
Thinking about what is to come next year can bring hope. That’s powerful. But moving forward without reflecting on what has been can leave a gap in emotional and mental renewal. It does not leave space to learn or grow.
Take advantage of this New Year’s Eve experience. Ask yourself some of these self-reflection questions. Take it a step further and write your reflections down. Then, you’ll have the added benefit of using those reflections as a time capsule for your future self.
Jason Wilkinson is the owner of Wellspace Counseling, a mental health private practice serving Tualatin, Lake Oswego, and Portland Metro Area in Oregon. Jason helps people experiencing anxiety to discover the strength and peace to pursue a life of emotional and mental wellness.