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What is one story you’ve been telling yourself that is holding you back in one way or another? Start a new year, a new project, or a new you with these three powerful questions.

The beginning of a new year marks a significant time to invite a fresh outlook on life. As we come to the close of this year, it is helpful to pause for reflection, take stock of the year behind, and look ahead at the year to come. The habit of reflection can build self-awareness and can help to establish new and more meaningful goals for the year to come. Self-awareness is a requirement for any change to be made—once you clearly see a cause and effect of something, you are naturally inspired to act. There is a lot to be learned from our past and though it is tempting to forage ahead and start setting our new goals in place, reflecting is a powerful tool and can also be useful and fun.

Here are three fundamental questions to ask yourself. This exercise is most informative when you are honest and specific about the answers to these questions:

What’s one thing you did that you’re proud of?

Think back throughout your year and maybe even grab your calendar for this one. Look through all the events, dinners, projects, social gatherings, goals achieved, or simply family members taken care of and write down one thing you can really say you are proud of accomplishing. This accomplishment can be big or small—as long as it makes you feel good. An added bonus of thinking about a proud moment from your year is that you will be able to tell your friends and family at those New Year gatherings about this accomplishment. Sharing something that makes you feel good with others will not only inspire you to accomplish more things of similar nature, but it will inspire others to do the same.

What’s one mistake you have made and the lesson you have learned?

As Margaret Wheatley said, “Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” Using our setbacks and mistakes as learning mechanisms is one of the most productive things we can do and even sets us apart as humans. When we learn from what doesn’t work for us, we grow into wiser and healthier versions of ourselves.

What’s one story you are willing to let go of before the New Year?

What is one story you’ve been telling yourself that is holding you back in one way or another? Maybe it’s “I’m not ready to put out my creative work quite yet” or “I’m too old/young for _.” The stories we tell ourselves in our heads are usually wrong and limit our belief in what we can truly accomplish. When we acknowledge these limiting beliefs and let them go, we give ourselves permission to push past the self-created boundaries and grow in new and unexpected ways.

As we step into the final weeks of the year, I encourage you to take the time with these questions. Let your thoughts meander and stay with the questions over the next few weeks.

Shana Tova and wishing everyone a healthy and happy new year!

*Questions adapted from

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