End of Year Reflection Questions

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A few years ago my friend Ashlee told me about this “end of year” reflection she does with her husband where they reflect on the year and discuss a few key parts from a bird’s eye view.

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I wanted to write another short post today to share what that looks like, and encourage you to do it! And this practice can work if you are single or not.

In the past Justin and I saved this conversation for a trip, but it can be done anywhere that works for you. We aren’t getting away this winter so we’ll plan a date night at home and discuss the topics!

The point, really, is to reflect on the great parts of the year and also any parts that you are hoping to adjust for the next year. You can look at any area that is significant in your life that makes sense for you. So if you don’t have kids, no problem.

If you are doing this with a partner, it’s not only beneficial to reflect and grow but it also provides a specific time where you both know that difficult topics may arise. Instead of randomly dropping a bomb on your significant other of a disappointment you may have, setting aside a specific time to talk helps you both prepare for a healthy discussion.

The main topics Justin and I cover are kids, finances, social life, personal life, marriage, and spiritual life. And generally the same 3 questions are asked for each topic.

  1. What worked this year with ______?
  2. What didn’t work and how can we do it differently next year?
  3. What goals/hopes do you have for the next year in regards to ______?

It’s helpful to cover one topic at a time in order to keep everything clear. If you like to write things down, have a spreadsheet or sheet of paper ready to record the changes you hope to make and perhaps some of the great things from the year. It would be great to have a 6 month check in to see how successful you are with any changes you were hoping to implement. We haven’t done that but I hope to this year.

It seems quite simple, and it truly is, but it’s so hard to cover all of these topics in a really introspective manner on any given week.

If you do this kind of end of year reflection and have any other thought-provoking questions, please share them in the comments below! I’d love to continue to expand the discussion!

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Comments (14)

  1. Megan says
    Posted December 30, 2018

    This is a great idea! Our anniversary is January 9th, we’ll do it then.

  2. Laenne says
    Posted December 30, 2018

    A friend gave us these cards last year and we “played” on New Year’s Day with my parents and aunt. So many great questions and opportunities to think about yourself and about others. It was very fun, and we had a great conversation that gave us insights to ourselves and each other. We will be doing it again this year! You can get them on Amazon as well.
    https://vertellis.com/products/vertellis-holiday-edition

  3. Heather says
    Posted December 30, 2018

    I am excited to do this! We had a lot of changes this year. It’s good to reflect on them and write them down so you can look back years later. For us, to see what God did in our family and marriage. 💗

  4. Stephanie K says
    Posted December 30, 2018

    This is great! I really like the point of setting up a time to talk about it with your sig. other so that they come to the table ready for the discussion. Another exercise I recently learned about is the Eulogy Exercise.
    Sounds kind of morbid, but can be really transformative if you put your whole heart and mind into it!
    The gist of it is: Imagine you are at your own funeral, and someone from your family, your circle of friends friends/community, and your work will be speaking. On 3 sheets of paper, write out what you would like each of them to say about you when you are gone. Then at the end, think about if how you are living aligns with how you want to be remembered, and if not, what can you change to self-correct that. Also called the legacy exercise and it can be really powerful.
    Whatever reflecting you do, happy new year!

    • Michele says
      Posted December 30, 2018

      I LOVE this idea (morbid or not). It kind of puts that concept of “living how you want to be remembered” into a more solidified context.

  5. Posted December 30, 2018

    Ooh, going to share this with my boyfriend right now! Sounds like a great idea! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  6. Posted December 30, 2018

    I love what you and your husband do! My friend Allison Adler saw your Facebook post and wanted to share about a reflection workshop and workbook that helps women reflect at the end of each year! I created a reflection guide and a calendar that helps people reflect on God’s faithfulness and a variety of other things throughout the year as well. The guide helps lead someone through the reflection process and gives women and churches an option to process their year together. Would love for you to check it out and tell me what you think!

  7. Katie says
    Posted December 30, 2018

    Lara Casey and Cultivate What Matters have an inexpensive journal with prompts like these questions exactly! It’s jumps into a little more depth. I’m looking forward to trying it!

  8. Nikki says
    Posted December 30, 2018

    **Ashlee

  9. Rebecca says
    Posted December 30, 2018

    I wholeheartedly believe marriages are best when run similar to a business. My husband and I have formal meetings like this twice a year. Thanks for the extra tips. We may use the prompts for next time.

  10. Annie says
    Posted December 30, 2018

    We totally did this this year bC I remembered your previous posts about it!! Thank you!

    • Rebecca says
      Posted December 30, 2018

      I thought I had read something similar here before and would love to see how Kate has evolved, updated, and honed this wonderful practice over the years. Her relationship with Justin is a total life goal. (I’m too lazy to find the other posts lol.)

  11. Katie says
    Posted December 30, 2018

    My husband and I have been doing this for a few years also. One question we ask each other about our relationship is: “What’s one thing I can work on that will make you feel more loved / supported in this next year?” We are aware of each other’s love languages but the question framed in this way allows us to be upfront about how we feel without it turning into a whinge-fest. We know the question is coming, so we can also prepare for the constructive feedback rather than get defensive.

  12. Beverly Sherman says
    Posted December 30, 2018

    Certainly rating what is important now (1-10)
    How important do you see it being in 2 years, 5 years ?
    What will replace current activities and or practices when you outgrow them?