Five Questions To Ask Yourself At The Beginning Of Each Year

At the beginning of each year, I ask myself a few simple questions as an exercise that is absolutely crucial to my growth and success in the new year. Here are five questions you can use to kick off your new year planning.

1. What Was the Biggest Milestone or Accomplishment Last Year?

Identifying the biggest milestone of the year helps us to focus our energy for the next twelve months. Documenting all the ways we trusted God to get us through in certain situations, and watching his hand move in ways we never imagined builds our faith and strength for the year ahead.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)

2. What Challenge Did I Overcome Last Year?

Sometimes looking back on our challenges and struggles can give us a chance to remind ourselves just how strong we really are, how God is always there to strengthen us and guide us. Remembering these things can serve as an encouragement that even when hard times happen in the future (because we know they will), they will not consume us.

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)

3. Who Did I Surround Myself With?

Whether you are 25 or 65, the people you spend your time with have a huge effect on your happiness, your future, and your sanity. If you spent a lot of time with people who were a detriment to your life, your mission and your peace of mind pray about how much of your time and your mental energy you give them in the new year.

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Proverbs 13:20)

4. How Did You Spend Your Time?

To have any growth in life, we have to dedicate time to it. For spiritual growth, we have to dedicate time for worship, prayer and reading the Bible. For physical health, we have to dedicate time to prepare healthy meals and exercise. And for the health of our business and our ministry, we have to devote time and focused attention to it.

Pray and ask for guidance on how to spend your time in the new year.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)

5. What Are My Three Big Goals For This Year?

Sure we can have 20 goals if we wanted to. But I love to simplify and love things in threes. Every week I identify the three most important things that I will work on as my priority. Every morning when I start my workday, I identify three things I need to focus on above all else. Likewise, every year I also like to find three big priorities for my life in that year.

Pray for clarity on what your big goals should be for this new year.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5)

After going through these questions be sure to share what you discovered in the comments below. And don’t forget to share this article on Facebook!

Alli Worthington

Alli Worthington is the author of Breaking Busy: How to find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy, speaker, blogger, and the Executive Director of Propel Women. Alli has helped individuals, small business owners and Fortune 500 companies be more successful. She lives outside Nashville with her husband, Mark, their five sons, rescued dog and cat who moved onto their doorstep. You can connect with Alli at AlliWorthington.com.

Join the discussion

Katie February 1, 2017 at 2:22am

1. What Was the Biggest Milestone or Accomplishment Last Year? Gaining the confidence that I prayed for at the beginning of the year during our fast. Getting my loud voice back, saying no and speaking up for myself. Being my own caretaker and best friend. Asking for help and not being ashamed, encouraging myself and being strong enough in the Lord to cut soul ties that were keeping me small.
2. What Challenge Did I Overcome Last Year? Leaving my boyfriend and a toxic, verbally, emotionally and mentally abusive relationship. Hearing God's voice inside telling me His plans are not for me to live a miserable life and being obedient. Letting go was my biggest challenge and I did it!
3. Who Did I Surround Myself With? I surrounded myself with my boyfriend and his friends and family. Wow, I didn't even think about that until just now. I really focused on him and all of his people. No wonder it was so devastating when I left him. I am focused on the right people now. Yes, terribly lonely and it often feels awful to not "belong" to the "family" of last year. The friends and family who truly love me and have been there for me through it all are back in. The old is gone and the new has come. What a major relief, I never again want to take for granted how much love is in my life. I will make sure they know their worth this year. I will be present.
4. How did I spend my time last year? I went to school and spent every day with my boyfriend. Regretfully, I was not focused on my son but in a way I think it was okay. We are much better now for it. I spent all year trying to be the glue that held together my fragile dreams. When all God wanted was my surrender, my heart. I love Jesus.
5. 3 Goals for this year? Graduation in April, Montana (home) this summer and Graduate School in the fall!

Lashona January 17, 2017 at 12:43am

For this new year I'm definitely making plans to govern my time more wisely and not spend it on idle things that won't bring any growth in my life. I'm committing to more time growing my family in the word and working on the call on my life .

Eleni January 15, 2017 at 7:47am

This year I learned about letting go of perfection and accepting myself as I am. Allowing Gods love to change me. I chose to surround myself with the people who love God and want to learn and grow. My needs are being met in knowing who I am in Christ not in my achievements or performence.
As we look forward to the year ahead:
"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope with-out wavering, for He who promised is faithful."
Hebrews 10:23
Thank you Jesus I love you :)

Jeanray January 15, 2017 at 6:18am

The steps helped me to recall major breakthroughs in 2016. I am excited about what God has already done in my life, and am praying now for clarity for my top three priorities for 2017!! Thank you so much, and blessings to you in abundance!!!

Jennifer January 11, 2017 at 1:52pm

I've learned to trust God when he says "be patient...I've got this. " ve learned the more time I spend listening to
Him by hearing His voice already spoken in The word, the more I've learned .His small still voice spoken to me. I've learned He is so faithful in our prayer from an honest and pure heart. I've concentrated on making friends with women....not a natural thing for me. I've learned sometimes God uses difficult circumstances to move me to where I need to be because I was too comfortable to move on my own and that I have to forgive those God chose to use to make that difficult circumstance happen. I've truly learned, at least for today, to count it all joy because it makes me stronger to walk through it. And I've learned that following Him is truly one step each step He tells you to make. And the only way to be transformed is the renewing of your mind by truly reading His mind already written in scripture.

Olivia January 11, 2017 at 3:01am

This year, I'm focusing on feeling His blessings on things big and small. It's so hard to do in this hustle-centric world! Today, I'm doing that through exploring his purpose of play. Hopefully this year will be full of play, growth, and lessons from God!