(7 minute read)
Do you want to make this year more fulfilling and switched on than the last one? Then this article is for you. Running from deadline to deadline often makes us stumble through life by inertia, rather than choice. Here are 23 great questions to help you set yourself up for a more mindful, more conscious and ultimately happier 2023.
You might wonder, why are great questions so powerful? A ‘great’ question causes us to direct our attention and energy into the upper frontal cortex of the brain and out of the middle (mammalian – emotional) brain, or lower (reptilian – survival) brain. A good question causes you to activate the most powerful and creative genius part of your brain.
2022 was simply put, tragic. With the world emerging from the pandemic and war raging in several countries around the globe, the year brought extreme situations to deal with to many of us. Even if you have not been directly impacted, the last three years will likely have turned your world upside down in some way. Over a decade of coaching people from all walks of life has taught me that sometimes the best way forward is not finding the right answer – but asking a great question. Here are 23 questions to ponder that will help you prepare for a fabulous 2023:
1. What did you dedicate most time to in 2022?
We live in a performance centered society, where over 31% of US adults will likely experience some form of anxiety disorder over the course of their lives. 1 It is easy to succumb to the desire to do it all. Yet what you spend most time on might not be what brings you closer to your dreams. Have you been wanting to deeper your relationship to your kids? Or get into a new career? Do an X-ray of your 2022 calendar. You will be surprised.
2. Who are the last three people you met that really changed your world
We all remember them. Mentors, inspirers, personal heroes. Sometimes they are people we know and love – and sometimes random strangers. Locate them and spend more time with them. They will influence where you are headed.
3. Whose life did you have the most impact on last year?
You might think you are insignificant, but you are not. I guarantee that there is someone out there whose life took a massive positive turn thanks to knowing you. Pat yourself on the shoulder. Your being there for the people around you matters… maybe more than you even realize.
4. What role did you spend most time playing out last year?
We all fill different roles in life and according to Gundl Kutschera, the Founder of the Kutschera Institute both our relationships and overall wellbeing improve substantially by playing out consciously our different roles2. How much time did you spend taking the lead vs. receiving? How much, letting yourself play? Tweaking the balance can take you places you have not even dreamt of.
5. Who have been your biggest fans?
Support – or the lack of it – from those closest to us can make or break our dreams. Who cheers you the most? Who takes the wind from your sails? You will want to be mindful of who you spend more time with.
6. What have you been most proud of in the past 12 months?
You know that feeling of being on top of the world? What from the past 12 months made you most proud? And more importantly, have you taken the time to celebrate it?
7. Who from your top 10 list did you spend the least amount of time with last year?
We all have organic influencers in our lives. Being around them can make you feel nurtured, safe or inspired. Who from your top 10 list have you not seen enough of in 2022?
8. What was the most exciting activity you did in 2022?
That one thing that makes your heart race and your juices flow? Where you come out feeling fully, unapologetically alive? Yup! It is great for creativity, for connecting back into the flow 3. How much of it did you do– and are you ready for more?
9. What are three new things you tried this past year?
Trying something new can feel uncomfortable, yet the benefits are real. Reducing anxiety over the unknown and getting to know yourself better are just two of the perks. As with many skills, practice makes the master.
10. What books did you read last year?
Tell me what you read and I tell you who you will be five years from now. A 2022 Gallup study found that Americans are reading 20% less books than in 2016 4. Could it be a competitive advantage if you read more in general, or more books that inspire or even just relax you?
11. How much did you give to charity in 2022?
It’s the right thing to do. It was a hard year. For many, disproportionally so. Giving will not just make you feel good about yourself, but also help make a better world to live in. And it can be as small as a karma coffee paid forward at your local coffee shop.
12. What did you spend most of your money on in 2022?
You would be surprised where your money goes. Most people will not consciously monitor their spending until their cards get maxed out. There is a host of really good applications out there to help track spending. Making mindful decisions might just pay for your next vacation!
13. If you were to win a trip to any part of the world, where would you want to travel in 2023?
It is all about dreaming. Greg S. Raid said “A dream written down with a date becomes a GOAL. A goal broken down into steps becomes a PLAN. A plan, backed by ACTION makes your dreams come true.” 5 Can you see yourself at your next destination?
14. What single improvement to your home would make a world of difference
Your home is your sanctuary and treating it that way can significantly add to both wellbeing and the quality of your rest. Sometimes even a small improvement can make a world of difference. What could you change today?
15. If you could kick just one habit in 2023 what would it be?
Is this just another way of asking for your New Year’s resolutions? Nope. I am not calling you out on your resolutions, but rather inviting you to bring attention to how you could reimagine yourself. Would a more punctual, or more active version of you potentially make more of life?
16. What do you want to put most money towards in the new year?
Question no. 12 was likely a slap in the face. If you could reimagine your budget, what would be your number one priority? You just started a brand-new year. This is your chance.
17. If you just knew you were sure to succeed what would you try out this year?
Most of my clients have a wealth of hidden resources they are simply not aware of. These can make you go above and beyond what you believe is even possible. To unlock them takes believing in yourself. What would you try if you knew you cannot fail?
18. Who do you want to spend most time with in the new year?
Time is so precious. You never know how long you will live. What we do know is that time spent already never comes back. Who are your top priorities for 2023?
19. What single thing can you change today to live a healthier life in 2023?
No resolutions, no gym memberships. What can you do today, from home or at work that will make a difference? Sometimes the smallest habit changes bring about the greatest overall transformation. The 1000-mile journey starts with that one small step. What is it for you, today?
20. Who is the one professional whose help and advice could make the most difference in the new year?
If you made it through 2022 sane and safe you already are near superhero status. You do not have to know it all or be able to deal with any challenge life throws your way. Presidents have their advisors. Major league players have their coaches. Who could make the biggest difference in your evolution in the next 12 months?
21. How will you celebrate your wins?
And the award goes to… you. Stop for a moment. You have done so very much this past year. Hold space for recognizing yourself. It is essential to your mental wellbeing and also to be able to evolve from here based on your growth and inspiration. Stop chasing yourself. Take a deep breath. You deserve to live this moment fully and unapologetically.
22. What do you want to hold space for in 2023?
This is my favorite. Notice, I am not asking what you want to achieve. In my experience, performance – both physical and mental-emotional – is highest when you are in the flow, effortlessly gliding from one achievement to the next. For that to happen you must be willing to let go of the outcome and allow the journey to transform you. Holding space for your dreams and goals will help create a nourishing, positive environment that fosters creativity. Let the magic unfold. It is already within you.
23. And last and most important: what do you want your legacy to be in the new year?
Your legacy is the imprint you leave in the hearts of those who cross paths with you. It is not a book you wrote. You do not need to win an award. It is certainly not any physical possession you can acquire. Whether you are aware of it or not, you already are creating a legacy with your everyday choices and interactions with others. It is not a question of ‘if’ – but a question of ‘how.’ How do you want to be remembered in 2023?
These questions might not be completely new to you. Yet, I guarantee that they will make you reflect and see things in a new light. Most of the time, a slight change in how we see things is all it takes to change the course of our actions. And that in turn is the key to changing our reality. You already carry within everything you need for an amazing 2023. Take a moment to contemplate your answers. Maybe even write them down. And refer back to them as often as you like throughout the coming 12 months. It will help you go places. I promise.