The New Years List

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One of the things about running a blog for the better part of a decade is that eventually things become habitual — repeatable — traditional, even. One of my favorites has been the New Years Reflection Post, a collection of retrospective questions on the past year meant to ‘milestone’ the passage of time. There is nothing particularly interesting or special about the list I use other than the fact that I’ve now used it repeatedly. Actually, in 2008 as I was prepping for the annual post I Googled looking for some new questions and was surprised to see this very post near the top of the list of search hits. I don’t think that makes THIS list definitive, but it’s probably maturing into a fairly respectable example of retrospectives on the past year.

Feel free to copy and share. The questions on this page have been edited enough that I feel fairly certainly that I can release them as public domain. Enjoy.

The So-Called-Rules

2011 12 31 | Saturday | New Years Eve1) Play along if you want. Copy the blanks to your own blog and just fill it in. Leave a comment — if you’d like — on mine to let me know you’ve participated.

2) The list should be posted sometime directly around New Years (late December to early January), I’d like to think either as a close-off the previous year, or a kick-off to the new one. I aim for a New Years Eve target, and as of 2006 as a final post in my December “blog every day month.”

3) Start early to get the best answers. I give myself about a week of reflection, saving it in draft each time before I finish and post it publicly.

4) Each year I set the goal of revising the list, adding at least one new question and making the list at least one question longer each successive year, or changing the wording of questions, and giving me the opportunity to write about something that might not fit in any other place; Eventually I’ll run out of ideas.

The history of these questions? The original list was something I discovered as a list meme on a blog I was reading at the time. It was mostly a bunch of one-word questions and I filled it out for fun. In 2006 I added two of my own questions — but I also removed one. I added another two questions in 2007 when I’d returned to it for a third round of retrospective. Things got serious in later years, me massaging the list generously in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, I redid the list entirely (being in a state of blogging flux) and so after that there was a distinct version two that came out… and with which the plan was — and still is — to go forward with as a base in future years. That said, in 2011 I again seriously revisited the new list and — thinking it disappointingly short for a retrospective of my complicated life — rounded out the shorter version 2.0 by pulling back (in both their original format and in revised versions) a bunch of the original version 1.0 questions. Thus, in 2011, the list is now version 2.1, bigger and beefier than last year. What did I say about this thing changing a lot, huh?

Admittedly, all my questions (both new and edited) have evolved to have more than a bit of a 30-something lean to them: kids, work, philosophy, and all that stuff Change them as you see fit, or to fit your needs. Add your own. Whatever. It is a work in progress and they are meant to be starters for thought out answers — not written in stone.

Links to my Previous Years’ Reflections

Each year my answers get a little more insightful (so I’d like to claim), fleshed out, and reflective. I enjoy it. You can have a look back at my own few short years of history through the links below.

As mentioned above in the rules, I took a bit of a blogging sabbatical from 2010 through mid-2011: as a result — not wanting to break my tradition — I originally published my 2010 list on another blog site, having rewritten the questions to be a bit more focused and introspective. I did eventually migrate that post over here in the spring of 2011, but now there are two versions of the questions (with lots of overlap) the revised version being my go-forward version. Both versions follow:

The Blank List Version 2.6 (as of 2016)

First, who are you leaving behind in 2016? (q.2010)

How did you make money in 2016? How might you briefly describe to others what you do for a living? (q.2010)

What do you wish you’d done more of? Less of? (q.2010)

How would you describe the world from your perspective in terms of: (q.2010)

a) technology?

b) culture?

c) politics?

d) philosophy?

e) prospects?

What three experiences will always remind you of 2016? (q.2010)

1)

2)

3)

Without asking them, what are three words your ________ would use to describe their 2016? (q.2013)

a) spouse

b) kid(s)

c) parent(s)

Without asking them, what are three words you think that your ________ would use to describe you in 2016? (q.2013)

a) spouse

b) kid(s)

c) parent(s)

What are the details (events, memories, etc) surrounding important days in your life in 2016: (q.2011)

a) birthday?

b) anniversary?

c) the holidays?

d) new years?

How would you describe your life from your perspective in terms of: (q.2011)

a) fun?

b) family?

c) friends?

d) food?

e) fitness?

f) finances?

g) fashion?

Compared to this time last year, you are:(q.2008)

a) happier or sadder?

b) thinner or fatter?

c) richer or poorer?

d) focused or distracted?

e) responsible or irresponsible?

What was your biggest achievement of the year? Failure? (q.2010)

Did you travel? Where? (q.2010)

What did you want and get? Not get? (q.2008)

What ___________ will likely remind you of 2016 and why? (q.2011)

a) website –

b) film –

c) song –

d) art –

e) game –

What was the best book or story that you read and what was your greatest literary discovery for 2016? (q.2010)

Describe the best picture you took — or that was taken of you — in 2016 (q.2007)

Thinking twenty-fve years in the past: reminisce. What do you recall or what event stand out most of all from your life and beyond in 1991? (q.2015)

Thinking ten years in the past: reminisce. What do you recall or what event stand out most of all from your life and beyond in 2006? (q.2011)

What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory because they made you…? And why? (q.2013)

a) happy:

b) sad:

c) angry:

d) defeated:

e) victorious:

f) surprised:

What kind of plans or goals have you made for 2016 with regard to ___________? And why? (q.2014)

a) family –

b) body –

c) money –

d) knowledge –

e) self –

f) creativity –

Thinking ten years in the future: prognosticate. What do you think the world will be like in 2026? (q.2011)

Thinking twenty-five years in the future: prognosticate. What do you think the world will be like in 2041? (q.2015)

Explain a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016: (q.2005)

What is one thing you’d like your kid(s) to know about the year 2016? (q.2010)

One quote that sums up your 2016 is: (q.2005)

One word that sums up your theme for 2016 is: (q.2012)


The Blank List Version 1.0 (2009 and prior)

What did you do in 2009 that you\’d never done before?

What did you do in 2009 that you hope you never do again? (Question added for 2008.)

Did you keep your new years\’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Did anyone close to you give birth this year?

Did anyone close to you die this year?

What countries did you visit this year?

What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory because they made you…? And why? (Question edited for 2009.)

a) happy:
b) sad:
c) defeated:
d) victorious:

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

What was your biggest failure of the year?

Did you suffer illness, injury, or other physical setbacks in 2009? (Question edited for 2008.)

How did you make money in 2009? How might you briefly describe to others what you do for a living? (Question added for 2009.)

Where did most of your money go?

What was the best thing you bought?

What was your biggest waste of money in 2009? (Question added for 2008.)

Whose behavior, actions, or achievements merited celebration? (Question edited for 2008.)

Whose behavior or actions made you appalled and depressed? (Question edited for 2008.)

What did you get really excited about?

What is one thing from 2009 that you endured in boredom and impatience?(Question added for 2008.)

What three books/movies/songs/stories/art will always remind you of 2009? (Question added for 2006 and edited for 2008.)

1)
2)
3)

What three websites will always remind you of 2009? (Question added for 2009.)

1)
2)
3)

What was the best book or story that you read and what was your greatest literary discovery for 2009? (Question added for 2006 and edited for 2008.)

What was your favorite television program in 2009?

What was your favorite film in 2009?

Compared to this time last year, you are:

a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?
d) focused or distracted? (Question added for 2008.)
e) responsible or irresponsible? (Question added for 2008.)

What do you wish you\’d done more of?

What do you wish you\’d done less of?

How did you spend the holiday season? (Question edited for 2008.)

How do you plan to (or, how did you) spend New Years Eve and New Years Day? (Question edited for 2008.)

Did you fall in love in 2009?

How would you describe your social life in 2009? (Question added for 2008.)

Who was the best new person you met?

Who were the most important people in your life in 2009? (Question added for 2008.)

Do you hate anyone now that you didn\’t hate this time last year?

What did you want and get? Not get? (Question edited for 2008.)

What was the best thing you gave away in 2009? (Question added for 2008.)

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Did you celebrate the anniversary of anything this year? Describe it and how you celebrated. (Question added for 2009.)

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

Describe the best picture you took — or that was taken of you — in 2009: (Question added for 2007.)

What kept you sane? What drove you nuts? (Question edited for 2008.)

Did you experience the world differently in 2009 than a year or two ago? In what ways? (Question added for 2008.)

Who is one public figure you respected the most in 2009? Disappointed you the most? (Question edited for 2008.)

What political issue stirred you the most?

Who or what did you miss the most in 2009? (Question edited for 2008.)

What are you leaving behind in 2009? (Question added for 2009.)

What three things would make 2010 the best year ever? (Question added for 2008.)

1)
2)
3)

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009: (Question added for 2005.)

What is one thing you’d like your kid(s) to know about the year 2009: (Question added for 2007.)

One quote that sums up your 2009 is:


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