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Questions to Ask Yourself as You Start the New Year

The Doe Team

by The Doe Team

| January 18, 2022

Your new year reflection can be the difference between another year of broken resolutions or a year of incredible growth.

Before setting New Year’s resolutions you might struggle to keep, learn why self-reflection is the precursor to successful resolutions and adapt new tips for diving into self-reflection by asking some of the most fundamental questions about yourself, your relationships and the world.

Setting New Year’s resolutions isn’t a trend of the 21st century. Defining goals for the new year dates back over 200 years, according to Merriam-Webster, and has seemed to keep that momentum without missing a beat.

When you think back to your first memories of setting New Year’s resolutions, it was likely early in life. Your friends, family and influencers on social media encourage each other to create new habits and make big changes on January 1st. But every year, it seems most people relearn just how hard it can be to make these changes stick.

One of the reasons it’s so difficult to do this is because making changes to your life without the necessary internal work beforehand can set you up for failure.

This year can be different. Making positive, achievable changes to your life begins with self-reflection.

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Why Self-Reflection Is Important

With over 50,000 thoughts a day, your brain is capable of fantastic things.

However, researchers have found that over half of those thoughts are negative, making it difficult to establish lasting, positive changes, like all of those awesome New Year’s resolutions you’re getting ready to set.

Self-reflection is the direct line to self-awareness and a powerful way to unravel the mess of negative thinking, giving you the ability to approach challenges with a more solid state of mind. Self-reflection… 

  • Helps make you a better communicator (check out this blog to see how it affects communication and civil discourse).
  • Affects relationships with others.
  • Allows for personal growth (emotional, mental and spiritual).
  • Changes how you approach different situations. 
  • Strengthens your mind and mental agility.
  • Lends perspective to your achievements, encouraging self-confidence.
  • Enables you to see how you’ve grown and where you can continue to grow.

Self-reflection works from the inside out, starting with your thoughts.

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Tips and Tactics for Self-Reflection

You have practiced self-reflection for the majority of your life—you just didn’t know it. Recent studies have shown that self-aware children are capable of self-reflection with encouragement and practice. Just like children, adults require practice for intentional self-reflection.

When your life is busy and complicated, sometimes the idea of diving inside of your own mind is the last thing you want to do. Understandable.

Self-reflection doesn’t have to be an extensive process. It’s as simple as beginning with a few minutes to yourself. Here are a few tips to help guide you:

  • Find your headspace. This is the place where you feel most comfortable getting deep into your thoughts—and it’s different for everyone. For some, going on a hike and getting into nature is key. For others, walking along the busy street in their beloved city quiets the mind.
  • Discover your mode. It may take some time and experimentation to find the best way to dive into your mind. Perhaps you can digest reflection internally by simply thinking. Or maybe you need the release of writing down every thought and question. 
  • Ditch the pressure. You are the only person inside of your reflection. You won’t get in trouble for your processing nor will you be judged (more on that below). Self-reflection should become a casual conversation with yourself.
  • Have compassion. Would you help your friends navigate their reflection with the same language and intensity that you might give yourself? Probably not. Most of us are much kinder to others than we are to ourselves. Try reframing the negative thoughts about yourself into compassionate ones.
  • Ask yourself the exigent questions. Sometimes, reflecting is simple, but sometimes, it’s complicated and frustrating. Having a guide of questions that are a go-to can help you stay on track and ask yourself the right questions without becoming overwhelmed. More on this below!

Once you get into the habit of checking in with yourself, you might just find that it’s something you look forward to at the end of a long week, challenging project or frustrating situation.

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Questions for Self-Reflection

As you begin to ask yourself questions to develop your growth, consider asking more “how” and “what” questions to keep yourself from overanalyzing your decisions. While it’s important to know why you’ve said and done certain things, it’s also important to move forward and create a plan for yourself that is built on confidence and actionable steps.

You can start by asking yourself some of the queries below. You’ll notice these questions are organized by different areas of your life. This is to help you stay focused on different aspects rather than overwhelm yourself with your growth as a whole.

  1. The Why
    • Why do you like to set resolutions?
    • What are you hoping to gain by setting your new resolutions?
    • Do you believe in yourself to be successful in these resolutions?
    • Did you succeed or fall short this year in your initial resolutions, and why do you think this was the outcome?
  2. The Self
    • Think back to your most stressful situations. How did you handle them? 
    • What would you do differently after having those experiences?
    • Think back to your most joyful moments. How did that manifest, and what can you do to bring that into your life more consistently?
    • How can you provide more time for yourself for consistent reflection?
  3. Your Relationships
    • What do you wish people understood about you?
    • How have your relationships changed over the last year?
    • What can you do to improve the relationships you value most?
    • How can you set better boundaries with the people around you?
  4. The World
    • How do you feel you contribute to the betterment of the world?
    • What are your values concerning the rest of the world?
    • What can you do in the coming year to pursue your worldly values?
    • How can you find a better balance between yourself, your relationships and the world?

Feel free to use the ones that work and change the ones that don’t. Most importantly, when asking yourself tough questions, let yourself envision the life you hope to live and the person you aim to be. 

Moving Forward

Nelson Mandela famously said, “I never lose. I either win or I learn.” As you conduct your end-of-year reflection, consider seeing your perceived shortcomings as learning moments. By using what you’ve learned about yourself from self-reflection, this can be the year that you achieve your resolutions.

Looking for more articles about how to approach the tough stuff in life? Subscribe to our newsletter to get articles just like this one delivered right to your inbox.

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