The Greatest Empowering Questions for A Better Life in the New Year

hourglass-695275_1920As one year comes to an end and another begins we often look back in retrospect as we prepare to look forward to the future.

The radio, social media sites, and television all recap the year that was, giving us the best and worst in whatever category they deem worthy of the list.

When we begin a new year with our ‘resolutions’ they often seem to be centered around that which we don’t have or have not yet accomplished which makes sense, this is a time to look ahead and make plans for a better future.  Too often, however, this causes us to look back at the year before with regret.

As we forge ahead into this new year, let us begin by looking back not with regret, but with appreciation.

Let’s begin by asking some intentional questions of the past year that infuse us with all the positive that happened.

Previous Year Intentional Questions

What was the best part of my year?

(What was the best thing that happened for/to you during the year?  Don’t just focus on the past few months, go through your emails, your Facebook memories, your Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or whatever accounts and see what was happening  all the way back to last January.)
NOTE:  It’s okay if you come up with more than one.

What am I grateful for now, as this year comes to a close?

(Think about all that you HAVE right now, not what you don’t have.  Focus on the people, the triumphs over hurdles, the successes that make up the life you have at the end of this year.  Make the list as long as you can for all the things you could be grateful for.)
NOTE: Read the list out loud to yourself.

Who are all the people in my life at this moment that I care about / love, and who care about/love me?

(This is one of the most powerful questions you can ask at any point in your life.  It is especially powerful to reflect on those who add meaning to your life as you cross into a new year.  Don’t just think about them, write the names down.  Make two lists if you want, one for those you care about and another for those who care about you.)
NOTE: Keep the list(s) somewhere handy so you can reflect on them as you forge ahead in the new year.
Now that we have looked back on the positive of the previous year, let’s look ahead into the next.

Coming Year Intentional Questions

What am I excited about for this coming year?

(When you think of all the possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead, what gets you the most excited.  You don’t have to know HOW or WHEN these things may happen, or even IF they will happen.  Just dream a little and think about what COULD happen and then focus on the one(s) that get your blood pumping and your soul dancing.)
NOTE:  Try to think about possibilities that are short term [first three months] as well as later on in the year.

What ONE goal/dream do I want to focus on first and what is my first step?

(Ah yes, the goals, resolutions, dreams, call them what you will.  No list of questions would be complete without one that focuses on these.  However, for most of us, when we make resolutions, set goals, what have you, we tend to focus on the totality of the goal; ‘I will lose 40 lbs’, ‘I will get a new job’, ‘I resolve to eating healthy and drinking less’.  There’s nothing wrong with being specific about what you want.  The challenge is that for many this becomes too overwhelming to accomplish.  For now, pick ONE goal you want to work on and focus on ONE step, the first (or next) step you need to take.  Make that your focal point to work towards, not the entire goal.)
NOTE:  You can always change, adapt, add, delete resolutions as you go.  Don’t get caught in the all or nothing trap.

What are the positive aspects/things going on in my life RIGHT NOW?

Similar to our being grateful question of last year, this one has to do with focusing on the good, not the bad.  Resolutions, as we pointed out earlier, are usually about lack (things we don’t have).  Let’s make sure we focus on all that we DO have as we begin this new year.  Make a list, a really long list, of all the positive aspects of your life, no matter how large or small, so that you know that your starting point isn’t zero;  when you really think about it, you already have a lot of good in your life to work from.  Now get to work on making it even better.)
NOTE:  You’ve begun every year focusing on the negative aspects or things you lack and how has that worked out for you?  Try focusing on the positive and see what happens instead.

BONUS SECRET:

One more question.  This one focuses around the real secret to living A Better Life.
The secret to a happy successful life is Giving.  I know, it’s not really a secret is it?  You’d be surprised, however, at how many people don’t know it.  So, what is our bonus question?

What drink can you give?

Wait, what?  Yep, you read it correctly.  What drink can you give?  Are you a habitual morning coffee person?  Maybe you’re an after work wine or beer person?  What about a soft drink aficionado?  Whatever your drink of choice is,
ONCE a WEEK – Intentionally give the cost of ONE drink to charity.  It can be the same charity every week or mix it up and give to 52 different charities throughout the year.
Don’t ‘save up’ the drinks thinking you’ll do it at the end of each month, do it EACH WEEK.  Give away (Check, paypal, cash – whatever) each week.  You can pick the day each week but give with intention each and every week)
What if I’m not someone who drinks something every day?  No problem, maybe you like to eat out at lunchtime or every Friday.  Pick something you do on a weekly basis that you pay for and cut a small part of it once a week.  Like to eat out?  Don’t eat dessert one day.  Whatever it is, no matter how small the amount, find something you can cut back on (not cut out) and give that to charity.
FINAL NOTE:  If you don’t have the money to give to charity, give your time, your knowledge, your energy.  Find something you can do for others and do it each week.  You’ll be amazed at how much your life will have changed this time next year when you begin to reflect.