7 Questions to ask yourself as we enter a new year

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So here we are a new year! What will 2014 hold for you? What are you looking forward to or maybe even dreading? What did you learn from this last year?

IMG_0338The start of a new year gives a  natural opportunity to appraise how the last year has gone and make preparations for the months that lie ahead.

Søren Kierkegaard has  a helpful quote that says, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.”

Those who do not learn from the past are invariably doomed to repeat the same mistakes or find themselves getting stuck in their relationships or other areas of their life. It is so easy to reach a lid to your potential. As someone has said, there is a world of difference between 30 years of experience and 1 year of experience repeated 30 times!

So with that in mind how was this last year for you? What are the lessons you learnt that you are going to aim to move forward in 2014?

I am grateful to Michael Hyatt for the following questions to appraise 2013 and look ahead to 2014. I will also share my answers with you to help you think through your thoughts about 2014. I would strongly encourage you to also write down your own answers and not just keep them in your head. As we write, our thoughts begin to disentangle themselves and bring clarity in a way that is otherwise just not possible.
As I share the questions below I have added some of my own reflections to help you think through your own experiences. If you want more clarification from me feel free to ask in the comments section below. My hope for you as I indulge myself in this way publicly is that you will be prompted to have insights that will put you in a stronger positions for whatever this new year has in store for you.

1. If the last year of your life were a movie what genre would it be?
Would it, for example, be an adventure, a comedy of errors, a romance or a suspense mystery?
For me it was more like a slow foreign film where on one level not a lot seemed to be happening, but the apparent smallest things (conversations, apparent chance meetings and silent decisions) ended up having a major impact in one way or another.

2. What were the two or three major themes that kept recurring?
– That it is so important for me to work in key close relationship with others.
– How I need regular rest and to keep my energy levels up to prevent discouragement or negative feelings.
– The power of being clear as to what I do best and find ways to delegate my areas of weakness. Or as a friend recently said, ‘do what you do best, and outsource the rest.’

3. What did you accomplish this year that you are most proud of?
– Getting to keep this blog post going weekly!
– Taking up opportunities to give leadership and personal development training in India and the UK
– Fulfilling a 10 year dream to learn photo reading from the founders in the US.

4. What do you feel you should have been acknowledged for, but weren’t?
– Seeing  a number of relationships transformed for the better.
– Persevering through some complex work related issues.

5. What disappointments and regrets did you experience this last year?
– Starting too many things and not following through as much as I would like.
– Being too busy to connect with my family as much as I would want.

6. What was missing from this last year as you look back?
– A closer involvement with family.
– My need for time alone to write and process away from distraction.

7. What major life lessons did you learn from this last year?
– Don’t take other people’s disinterest or silence personally.
– Aim to go an inch wide and a mile deep in the relationships that matter.
– I can use Paralimnials and Holosync technology to deepen my prayer life. (I do not necessarily endorse all the philosophy behid these resources, but have personally benefitted from them. I am not in any way sponsored by the companies concerned).

Those are some of my reflections on this last year.
For more thoughts and ideas about the new year see: Why I Don’t Believe in New Year Resolutions and 5 Keys to Making New Year Resolutions That Can Actually Succeed Part 1 and Part 2. In terms of what I shared last year I have continued to maintain my daily Bible reading plan, but my weight has stayed at the same level. I suppose I am thankful that it has not actually gone up! I am going to have to more resolutely apply the 5 keys (that are mentioned in those posts) more diligently. I have to confess in the area of weight control I did not do so!

How about you? What questions or issues resonate with you?

It would be great to have your thought and comments as we move forward into a new year.



4 thoughts on “7 Questions to ask yourself as we enter a new year”

  1. Hi Sunil

    I found this blog very helpful in aiding my reflection of the last year. It helped me to gain some perspective on what has been a very tough year. Answering the questions helped me to view the past year in a more positive light and reminded me yet again of how easily I can view things from the half empty position rather than from half full.
    I actually feel very proud of what I have achieved and learnt and have a better understanding of the areas I need to focus on over the coming year.
    I was impressed by your honesty and ability to ‘put yourself out there’ in answering the questions which is also how I have experienced the way you have approached your blog. It is something I would like to learn from you. I think I’ve come to understand through this process that I’m very honest and dedicated to personal growth and development, sharing that development with others is my area of weakness. So as I’m keen to reach out and trust others more I attach my answers in the hope that it will inspire others to do the same.
    Thanks again for your dedication to writing this blog it has helped me and kept me going through some very difficult times.

    1 I would describe the last year as a medical drama film. Last winter was the hardest of my life……a winter of discontent as the neurological condition trigeminal neuralgia that I had suffered with impacted my life more than it had in the previous five. Making decisions based on quality of life dominated the year.
    2. The two themes that kept reoccurring for me were:-
    Grace, My suffering has shown me afresh that I am more than my work and that it doesn’t define who I am.
    The importance of flexibility in embracing change.
    3. The three accomplishments I am most proud of is
    I made the decision and followed through on having major head surgery for my medical condition.
    I adjusted my exercise routine to accommodate my illness and lost 3 stone as a result.
    I cemented self care routines of spiritual reading, meditation and physical exercise as part of my daily schedule.
    4. The thing I should have been acknowledged for but wasn’t, was serving others through doing practical tasks such as emptying the dishwasher with a cheerful heart.
    5. The disappointments and regrets from last year centre on withdrawing from people instead of taking them into my confidence and trust and procrastinating over doing things I needed to do that would support me.
    6. As I look back the thing that was missing over the last year was having a wider support network than my immediate family particularly the lack of trusted work colleagues.
    7. The major life lessons I learnt this year are: The importance of balance…….holding together the tension of the opposites, No man is an island, Life is precious.

    1. Dear Beverly
      Wow! Thank you for such an honest and thoughtful response. You certainly have been through a very difficult year, but it is great to see what you have learnt and how you have developed yourself through these challenges.
      I pray God will continue to support and strengthen you.
      Warm regards

  2. Dear Sunil, Photo reading captured my mind. I went through the introduction of it. I would like to learn more about it. I will be writing down the answers to the questions too. Abuan

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    This information is for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to be personal medical advice. Please ask your physician about any health guidelines seen in this blog, as everyone is different in his or her medical needs.