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20 Questions to Help You Reflect the Past Year

20 Questions to Help You Reflect the Past Year
Reflect

Now we are approaching the end of the year, and it’s the perfect time to reflect how we have done in the past year. We can then take some lessons for the new year. One good way to reflect, I believe, is using four facets of prosperity:

  1. Material prosperity
  2. Spiritual prosperity
  3. Physical prosperity
  4. Social prosperity

These four facets give us a complete and balanced view of prosperity. By reflecting on them, you will get a complete view of how your life as a whole progressed in the past year.

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To help you reflect, I’d share some questions you can ask yourself for each facet. By giving honest answers to them, you will be able to see whether or not you have progressed the way you wanted in each facet. For the questions to which your answer is no, you can also ask why to find out the reason behind it. For example, take this question:

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Did you achieve the desired net worth?

If your answer is no, you can then ask:

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Why?

The answer might be because you didn’t save enough, or there were unexpected expenses you weren’t prepared for. You can use such answers to better prepare yourself for the coming year.

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So, here are 20 questions to help you reflect the past year:

1. Material prosperity

  • Did you achieve your desired net worth?
  • Did you achieve your desired income level?
  • Have you built the habit of spending less than you earn?
  • Have you been able to eliminate debt?
  • Have you built the habit of saving?
  • Have your career progressed as you wanted to?
  • Have you reduced your spending on some unnecessary expenses?

2. Spiritual prosperity

  • Have you found your life mission?
  • Did you feel fulfilled?
  • Could you honestly say that you are happy?
  • Have you built the necessary habits for spiritual growth? The habits here depend on your belief. They could be meditating or reading sacred texts, for example.

3. Physical prosperity

  • Have you built the habit of exercising?
  • Have you built the habit of consuming nutritious food?
  • Have you had good rest?
  • Did you feel physically fit in doing your daily work?

4. Social prosperity

  • Has your relationship with your spouse been as good as you wanted to?
  • Has your relationship with your family been as good as you wanted to?
  • Has your relationship with your friends been as good as you wanted to?
  • Did you make a lot of new friends?
  • Did you get to know people from more diverse backgrounds?

While the questions listed here are not comprehensive, at least they can give some ideas about how your progress is. Besides, you will be able to see which facet requires the most attention. Since you should maintain the balance of all facets, the facets you lack most are the ones that you should pay more attention to.

The questions can also help you identify the specific actions you should take for each facet. For example:

  • If your answer to the question Have you built the habit of exercising? is no, then you should focus on building the exercise habit.
  • If your answer to the question Did you get to know people from more diverse backgrounds? is no, then you should focus on knowing people from different worlds.
  • If your answer to the question Have you found your life mission? is no, then you should focus on finding your life mission.

You can then prioritize the actions based on what will make the most impact on your life. All these, I believe, will help you set your goals for the new year. Your objective should be to have good and balanced progress in all four facets.

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Donald Latumahina

Donald Latumahina is the founder of Life Optimizer, a self-improvement blog to help people reach their full potential.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2020

The New Lifehacking #7 – Why You Should Be Open to New Stuff, But Wary About Using It

The New Lifehacking #7 – Why You Should Be Open to New Stuff, But Wary About Using It

This is the seventh and final article describing The New Lifehacking. In this series, I described the need for you, a Lifehacker, to focus on making fundamental changes to your habitual methods, rather than chasing the latest gadget or tip. The best way to accomplish this change is to gain an understanding of your current systematic methods, and to use this knowledge to set new targets.

However, using this approach by itself, as logical as it sounds, could close the door to future improvements.

If you only focus on your own methods and keep your head down, you could miss opportunities to improve. The fact is, inspiration to change often arises from the stories, examples and insights of other people, and in order to keep things fresh, you need to be open to these new, possibly contrarian, concepts.

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How Do You Look for New Ideas and Gadgets?

If you are a new Lifehacker, you search cautiously. There are new books, blog posts, lists and gadgets coming out all the time, and there’s no way to cover every possible improvement–you simply can’t keep up. You can trust, however, that there are others on the Internet who will curate these concepts for you and continuously share them until they start to resonate.

After an idea or shortcut gets mentioned a few times in an intelligent way by people that you respect, it’s probably time to pay attention and add the new resource to a list of items to research. This is one way to crowdsource the job of sifting through new ideas in a way that saves you a lot of time and effort.

How Do You Evaluate New Ideas and Gadgets?

While you need to be open to new suggestions for possible improvement, you need to adopt an entirely different process in order to evaluate them. A healthy dose of skepticism is required if you are to escape the trap of grabbing the latest-greatest-hottest “thingy,” only to see it fail. The fact is, a particular improvement may help one person and at the same time hinder others. You need to look at your current habits and practices, plus your own evaluation and ask yourself if the investment in time, energy and focus is worth the payoff at the end.

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For example, I had to make some cost/benefit decisions when I considered switching over from a Palm T PDA to a Blackberry a few years ago. I tried my best to make the change slowly, aware that some of my habits needed to change in order to accommodate the new device.

Here are a few that I had to alter:

New Habit #1.

Recharging the device became a nightly requirement, versus a bi-weekly option. This meant plugging in the device each night. Therefore, I always needed to be near a charger and a power source.

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New Habit #2.

I switched from carrying around a paper pad to capture new tasks, to typing them into my Blackberry with its small keyboard. This meant I had less to take with me from place to place, but it also meant that ideas took longer to record. Also, when I’m on a call and need to record an appointment or phone number, the process of switching over from one function to another is fraught with danger. I still drop the occasional call.

New Habit #3.

Replacing a feature phone with a smartphone means switching from an inexpensive, robust device to one that’s expensive and more fragile. This requires me to be more careful, learning how to protect against theft, physical and adverse physical elements. I had to learn to treat my phone as if it were a precious device that simply couldn’t be just left anywhere.

New Habit #4.

As a Palm user, I was never tempted to use the device while driving. Today’s smartphone user is afflicted with the temptation to break state laws and commonsense rules of thumb by attempting to multitask in moving vehicles. Fortunately, I never developed this particular habit but that’s only because I try hard to be vigilant against all forms of distractions, especially when I’m driving. It takes mental effort to be that vigilant; it’s an entirely new habit.

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How Do You Implement New Ideas and Gadgets?

Once the decision has been made to adopt a new improvement, it’s important to make the switch consciously, with a high degree of awareness. There are likely to be a few surprises that require extra attention, and some new habits that turn out to be harder to learn than you thought. For example, I had a hard time learning to plug in my smartphone each night.

The point is maintain as many old, productive habits as possible while implementing the handful of new ones that you believe will make a difference. Unfortunately, it’s devilishly easy to make things worse, and even *much* worse. People who jump from one technology to another can attest to this fact–witness those who fail to switch to large screen smartphones that don’t comfortably fit in a holster. The size of the device forces them to abandon a trusted old habit, in search of a new one. Some simply switch back to their old devices because the “improvement” makes things worse for them.

The New Lifehacking is all about executing intelligent, individual change management. This transformation might not happen at a pace that the author of a book or an inventor of a gadget might want, but at the end of the day we, the new lifehackers, answer only to ourselves, deciding whether or not an improvement makes the deep difference that we want.

Featured photo credit: Emily Park via unsplash.com

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