8 Questions You Should Reflect On Before 2017 Arrives

There’s always pressure to make some changes at the beginning of a new year. It's the whole reason New Year's resolutions became a thing: For decades, we've all been told we need to somehow improve and be better. This just isn't true, though: the only resolution you should be firmly making for yourself is remembering that you are already a beautiful you, and any changes you want to make for yourself in your life are just that: Changes. I think going through these questions to help you reflect on 2016 will show you how true that statement really is.

Now, in no way is this a takedown piece for goals. Everyone should make goals if they want to, and feel comfortable doing so. Personally, I try to set small goals for my personal life as well as my professional life. However, setting future goals for myself always comes hand-in-hand with a time of reflection, giving myself the space to look at what I’ve accomplished in the previous year. I look at the ways I felt proud of my work, my relationships, and my passions.

So, before begin to choose which goals you want for the new year, I think it would be really beneficial to start off with a reflection. Even if you haven’t taken notice to it yet, I am so sure there are countless ways that you have accomplished great things in 2016.

So pull out a journal, light a candle, or even grab a friend to reflect with – because you deserve to truly see the wonderful person you are and the incredible things you have done in 2016.

If You Could Choose Any Word To Depict Your 2016 As A Whole, What Would You Choose — And Why?

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This seems simple, but it’s actually a rather difficult task when you think about it. There are probably so many emotions that could depict your 2016, so choosing one word probably seems impossible. However, I find that choosing one word can help you to think of the single-most important lesson that you can take away from the year.

What Was Something You Did In 2016 That Made You Feel Good About Yourself?

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Don’t let yourself feel crappy while setting goals — it’s just not worth it. Think about your year, the times you felt most joyful, and the things that you couldn’t help feeling proud over. Pat yourself on the back. See what you have accomplished without the demanding list of goals you set.

In What Ways Did You Pursue Your Passion In 2016? Were There Obstacles Holding You Back?

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I firmly believe that everyone is meant to something... and I think that something all boils down what you are passionate about. People are inclined to do what they love to do, even if they don’t realize it. So what exactly is your passion, and did you take time to pursue it in 2016?

In case you’re in a position where you didn’t pursue your passion, I think it would be extremely helpful to think of the obstacles that stood in your way. I find for most people these obstacles sound a lot like, "well that’s just a waste of time," or "people will make fun of me for liking this," or even "there's no point if I can't make any money doing this." This isn’t a way to make yourself feel bad for not pursuing your passions — this is a way to break yourself out of your mold and give yourself the freedom to pursue what you want to.

Did You Pick Up Any Hobbies That You Want To Continue In 2017?

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I’m not ashamed to admit that I got way into knitting this year. In the past, I’ve made a scarf here or there as a stress reliever, but I recently picked up more tools to learn how to make hats and other things. Is there a small hobby that you dove into this year and want to continue? How about a hidden talent you discovered? Even if it feels small, I’m sure you participate in this hobby because it makes you joyful, so take time to dive into that and figure out how far you want to take it.

Who Is Someone That Influenced You In 2016?

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Try to stay away from the people “you wish you could be,” and instead, think of the people that really influenced you in 2016. Maybe someone in your field has the same passions as you, or holds the same values.

Did You Travel Anywhere In 2016? How Did That Experience Impact You?

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Whether you traveled for a vacation, work, or just to see family over the holidays, it’s good to think back to those relaxing (or maybe not-so-relaxing) moments during the trip. Why was that time away necessary? What did you learn from that time away? How did you feel walking away from it? If you plan to travel in 2017, what is something you would like to do differently?

What Is Something You Accomplished In 2016 That Wasn't A Set Goal?

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I know it’s hard to reach goals during the year, but I think it’s even harder for people to realize what they actually did accomplish. Was there anything in your personal or professional life in 2016 that you are particularly proud of? Maybe you finally committed yourself to a relationship, stood up to someone that bullied you, or even got a small promotion at work. Whatever it may be, I’m sure there is one thing in your year that you feel proud of. Take time to let that soak in, and feel good about it!

What Would You Like To Be True About Yourself In 2017?

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I’m not asking you to set a resolution — instead, I’m asking you to think of what you would like to be true about yourself in the following year. For example, if you’re an honest person, keep being honest. If you’re an activist, keep fighting for what is right. If you’re a writer, keep taking time to spin words. Sometimes, a little mantra as simple as this will help to keep you focused on what you want to accomplish in the months to come.

Want to have an awesome 2017? Then check out the "You IRL" stream in the Bustle App for tips on how to have the most empowering year yet.