It’s that time of year again. You know…when we all wonder at how quickly this year has gone by and start setting goals and creating vision boards for the next.
As a life coach and mindset coach, I definitely believe in setting goals and creating plans to accomplish them, so this time of year is my jam.
But lots of people miss an important step in the goal-setting process: reflecting on where you are right now.
And one of the simplest ways to reflect is by asking yourself (and answering) a series of questions.
So what gives questions their secret sauce? Magic.
LOL…Just kidding. It’s science.
There’s a ton of research out there documenting how our brains respond to questions. It turns out that our brains are basically supercomputers designed to find answers anytime they encounter a question.
That’s why questions are great personal development tools. But not all questions are created equal.Questions are great tools for personal development. But not all questions are created equal. Click To Tweet
Why? Because our supercomputer brains are also wired to be as efficient as possible (read: lazy), so they don’t work hard to find deep answers to simple questions.
The answers we get are only as good as the questions we ask. That’s where powerful questions come into play.
A powerful question will help you focus your attention, unlock your creativity, and ultimately learn new things.
Here are three powerful questions you can use to reflect on the past year, to set yourself up for a better New Year.
Question #1: What happened this year that will matter five years from now?
This is a powerful question because it helps you put things into perspective. While lots of things may have happened in the past year, not everything will have the same impact.
Looking five years into the future is a simple hack to create some emotional distance between you and the current circumstances of your life.
This question can help you get more clarity on what’s urgent versus what’s important, so that you can better figure out where you should be spending your energy going forward.
Question #2: What did I learn about myself this year?
This question is designed to help you focus more on who you are, as opposed to what has happened to you. And the more awareness you have of who you, the more empowered you are to create the results you want in your life.
It’s also phrased neutrally, so that you can call up insights into the positive, negative, and everything in between.
Question #3: Where do I have opportunities to grow?
This question is powerful because it’s focused on possibilities instead of deficiencies, and progress instead of perfection.
Instead of looking backward at the mistakes you’ve made in the past—which is like giving your inner critic a megaphone—you’re telling your brain to focus on the action you can take in the future, which is more like looking at a blank canvas and deciding what to create.
This question can also be a warm-up exercise for setting more concrete goals. Once you identify an area where you can grow, you get to decide whether and how much you want to grow.
Pulling it all together
Now that you’ve got some powerful questions, it’s time to put them to use. There’s no wrong way to approach your year-end reflection, so do whatever feels natural.
These questions make great journal prompts. You can tackle them all in one sitting or answer them one at a time.
If traditional journaling isn’t your thing, you can make a good old fashioned list, instead. Or break out the sticky notes and plaster them over your wall. You could also use index cards. Just write the question on the back, and your answers on the lined side.
Just be sure to give yourself enough time to really sit with these questions so that they can do their magic, and be honest with your answers.
P.S. — Regular exposure to powerful questions is just one benefit of working with a good mindset coach. Book your free discovery call with me today to discuss what else coaching can do for you.