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5 Key Questions For A Purposeful Year

By Elaine Cercado

This article was previously posted by the author in LinkedIn. While it refers to end 2015/beginning 2016, the 5 key questions may very well apply to any day, month, quarter or year.

Here’s a checkpoint just before January 2016 ends: Have you reflected on your 2015 and planned for 2016?

Hopefully, you have done this during the first half of January. Yet so many of us get thrown back immediately into work’s daily grind after the December holidays that we skip this process, and then realize a quarter or half of the year has gone by.

In our small family of 3, we gather together at the start of the year to reflect on the highlights of the past year, share our personal resolutions, and plan for our personal and family priorities for the new year.

It’s an informal gathering so there’s no need for a structured approach or to prepare any PowerPoint. Being the trainer and coach in the family though, I try to apply my discipline and come up with a creative approach and make the documentation, which I post on a central location at home to serve as a constant reminder for us throughout the year.

This year, we decided to go to a Mexican restaurant and do our planning over our favorite food and margarita drinks. We also used sticky papers to answer 5 key questions

  • What made you most happy and proud in 2015?
  • What could you have done differently in 2015?
  • What do you dream / wish to achieve most in 2016?
  • How do you intend / plan to achieve it?
  • What help do you need to achieve it?

My 19-year-old son was a bit skeptical at the start but that vanished as soon as we started giving each other space to reflect and to share. In the end, we were all happy, not just because the Mexican food and drinks were great, but because

  • We learned more about our selves and about each other.
  • The increased self-awareness from our reflections made us appreciate the talents we have, and made us desire for continuous growth and improvement.
  • The awareness about each other’s plans led us to root for each other and to discuss how we can support each other tangibly to achieve our individual and family dreams and wishes.
  • The exercise made us communicate openly with each other and listen more attentively than usual, which made us more affectionate to each other and bonded us even stronger.
  • We were greatly assured that 2016 would be another excellent year!

I believe this exercise could be done not just within the family, but also with our teams in the office, or in community/volunteer groups we belong to.

Without reflecting and planning, 2016 could go fast. And when we feel time starts to run out, we tend to rush decisions and make shortcuts. Being reflective and purposeful is the best way to go. As the Cheshire Cat wisely said to Alice in Wonderland:

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”