Questions that Must Be Answered Before Starting a New Year

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The holiday season is often overwhelmingly about hustle and bustle, parties, too many cookies and presents…lots of presents. Need more meaning from the holidays? Give the gift of peace to yourself so that you might be a better gift to the world going forward. A few life questions to create a spark that will ignite a rebirth in you…

1. Who and how did you best serve this year? How can you be a better servant to the world next year?

The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform to their highest potential. Utilizing your gifts and talents to bring out the gifts and talents of others creates a powerful energy for transforming ourselves, for transforming others and for transforming the world we live in today…and tomorrow.

2. What’s pretend? What’s real? How do you get more real?

“Fake-it till you make-it” can be great, until there’s simply too much fake in your life and not enough authenticity, or your definition of “make-it” does not bring you peace and contentment, or the imbalance robs you of gratitude. Be real with yourself, your life, your stress levels, your strengths, your limitations and nurture your ability to be kinder and more accepting of yourself.

3. What are you most committed to? Do you have any competing commitments? If so, how do you lessen the competition and create more ease?

We’re always committed to something. If it’s not fulfilling our own potential, it’s hiding behind the potential of another or perhaps even staying safe under the veil of mediocrity. We’re either committed to creating and realizing opportunities, or we’re committed to ignoring them or settling for smaller ones. Which commitments do you choose?

4. What drained your energy this year? What refueled it? How can you be “full” more often?

Energy, not time, is the currency of high performers. What action steps will move you in a healthier direction to stop the drain and re-fuel the fire in your belly?

5. Where were you spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally a year ago?

Look back to see how far you’ve come. Assess progress or stagnation, internal development and maturation of your opinions and perspective. Recognize and celebrate the positives. How will you create more of them?

6. Who are you today? (no labels allowed) Is it who you want to be?

Most of us experience the seemingly insignificant wear and tear of life that chips away at who we set out to be. Our optimism shifts to cynicism, our beliefs are eroded by short-falls or failures, we tell our story so many times we’re no longer open to other versions and we wonder how we ended up here. Do you like your evolution? If yes, carry on, if not, how might you step forward as a better version of yourself?

7. What are you chasing? Is it a good race?

Tal Ben-Shahar, author of Happier, defined happiness as the “overall experience of pleasure and purpose with both a present and future benefit” – pleasure being the positive emotions in the here and now, and purpose providing a sense of meaning long term. Not every day needs to be smiles, puppy-dogs and rainbows, but is the chase fun and does what you’re chasing give you meaning?

8. What are you grateful for today that surprises you, because you may not have been grateful for it initially?

Anne Lamott has two main prayers, “Help me, help me, help me” and “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” It’s often hard to say thank you when life unjustly hands you coal instead of the gift you imagined. Which apparent injustices turned out to be blessings in disguise, and how so? Take a moment to pause and just say, out loud, “Thank you,” and be pleasantly surprised when the coal you received becomes the greater gift.


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