Always Well Within

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How to Capture Your Most Important 2016 Life Lessons {+ Free Workbook}

Your Personal Year-End Review w/ FREE Workbook

I created the following 18 questions to help you capture your life lessons from 2016 and confidently move into the new year.  This simple practice of year-end reflection and integration is a powerful way to become more aligned with your true self each and every year.

You can use these questions as writing or journaling prompts and dig deeply. Or you can work with them lightly to paint an impressionistic picture of your year.  There isn’t one right way.  One word answers are fine if that’s what suits you, or you can pour your heart out if that will help you make the most of the year.

There’s no need to respond to every question unless you wish to do so. In fact, some of the questions look at similar themes from a slightly different angle.  You can select just the ones that call to you.

These questions will help you spot the sticky parts of your life, but they can also help you highlight the positive.  Resist the temptation to focus solely on the negative or the difficult.  Be sure to balance it with the good bits, and always be kind and gentle with yourself.

When you feel ready, get cozy.  Find a quiet corner or inspiring natural environment and reflect on these questions for awhile.  Download the FREE Your Year In Review 2016 Workbook to record your answers.  Set the  questions aside if you begin to feel tired or like it’s too much.  Let them percolate for awhile.  Then come back to them again when you feel ready to explore more.

Ready to begin?

18 Questions to Help You End the Year Well

End your year well! | Free Workbook

  1. Describe your year in a single word, sentence, or paragraph.  Capture your first impressions.  Then revisit your response at the end of your reflections and see if you’re initial impressions have changed.
  2. Who/what were the significant people, events, and places in your life during the past 12 months?
  3. What were the highlights of your year?  The low points?
  4. What did you feel passionate about this year?
  5. What distracted you this year?
  6. Did you have spiritual aspirations for 2016? If you did, which ones did you accomplish? Which ones are incomplete?
  7. What would you like to forget about this year, if anything?  Do you have any regrets?  Anything you would like to have done differently?
  8. What was the emotional tone of the year?  What were the dominating emotional patterns?  Don’t forget the good ones.
  9. Capture your year as a color, a taste, a feeling, a visual or a smell.
  10. Look through your photos and choose the ones that best represent the year.  Write an evocative headline for each one of your favorites.  Create a photo collage that represents the essence of your year.
  11. Is there anyone to forgive, including yourself?
  12. List your accomplishments for the year.  Be generous with yourself!
  13. What challenged you this year?
  14. List your most important insights about your body, emotions, mind, spirit, work, finances, relationships, and anything else important to you.   If you wrote in a journal, you could go through your entries to help you remember.
  15. Did you choose a single word as your guiding star this year?  If so, how did it go with your word?  Did you remember it?  Did you bring it alive?
  16. Which lessons, insights, perspectives, and new behaviors would you like to carry forward into the new year?
  17. Is there anything you would like to complete before the start of the new year?
  18. Create your own questions about the past year.

Reminder:  Look back at question 1 to see if your initial impressions have changed.  If they have, add any new thoughts to that section.

I made a 20-page workbook for you with these questions and ample space for your responses.  You can download it FREE from the Always Well Within Library.

Download the Your Year In Review 2016 Workbook

I love the process of gathering my insights at the end of the year.  It helps me gain clarity, let go of the past, and get a fresh start for the new year.  I hope you enjoy the process too.

How do you gather your insights at the end of the year?  I would love to hear.

Thank you for being here.  If you enjoyed this article, please share it with others, every share makes a big difference.  Thank you!  May you be well, happy, and safe – always. With love, Sandra


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  1. Thank you for this tool Sandra, going to start on these questions right now 🙂

    My insights for the past year usually are minimized as I focus on goals and dreams for the new year but this year, I’m going to go back and reflect as you’ve suggested because i got a lot done, grown a lot and achieved many personal habits and goals. Something must have worked – now, just to figure out what…:)

    Wishing you a happy December.

    • So nice to see you, Vishnu! I’m happy to hear that you’ve had such a good year. You deserve it! Yes, it’s easy to keep moving forward and forget about the past year. I’m glad you’ll take some time to look back and hope you enjoy using these questions. I’ll be right with you using these questions to review my own year too.

  2. What a great idea, Sandra. This is a helpful exercise to think back to how our year went. I feel it will provide food for thought, time to celebrate what went well, and room to consider how to go forward into 2017. Thank you. I’ll definitely take time to answer the questions.

    • Terrific, Cathy! I’ve had an interesting year so I’m excited about this process too. Last year, my husband and I spent time on the questions separately and then came together to share. That was so nice too.

  3. Love this idea Sandra. It’s all too easy to forget where we started and all too easy to lose sight of how far we’ve come, or where or when we decided to change direction. 🙂

    • So true, Elle! I find by the end of the year I can hardly remember what happened at the beginning much less my accomplishments. This is always a good exercise for me.

  4. This is great! You laid the questions out brilliantly! Thank you 🙂

  5. I love this exercise. What a mindful way to reflect and learn from the last year while looking to move forward into the new year. I will definitely take the time to download the workbook.

    Thank you!

  6. I downloaded the workbook Sandra and its really helping me look back and reassess SO much. Thank you!!
    xoxo, Z~

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