New Year’s Questions not New Year’s Resolutions

New Year's Questions

Many years ago I gave up on the idea of creating New Year’s resolutions. They always seemed so forced and arbitrary. The challenge of coming up with and following through with New Year’s resolutions became even more challenging when we started moving between overseas postings. Even if I knew we weren’t due to move for another year, I never felt confident that things wouldn’t change at the drop of a hat…leaving my resolutions at the bottom of a box on a boat to who-knows-where.

In the end, it just seemed easier to ignore the resolutions tradition all together. I guess I figured that as an expat, I just wasn’t cut out for that sort of pre-planning.

How New Year’s Questions are better than New Year’s Resolutions

However, somewhere along the way I began to think about the idea of New Year’s questions as an alternative to New Year’s resolutions. I started wondering if it didn’t make more sense to check in with how I was feeling about our international life and to ask myself tough questions about how I was choosing to live our life overseas.

What started as a kind of January 1 reflection in my journal became more formalized when I started my coaching practice about 4 years ago. I realized that there was so much to be gained from getting curious about what I had learned in the past year and thinking about how my experiences would influence the year to come.

Now, it’s a tradition I relish. I love sitting down with my journal on December 31, knowing that I’ll do a lot of learning between the first and last word on the page.

So this year, I’d like to share a list of New Year’s questions with you.

Below you will find a list of triangle (expat/world traveler/third culture)-specific questions to help you reflect on the transition from one year to the next. The questions are designed to get you thinking and feeling. And, if you’re a resolution-maker, they may even help guide you in creating (and ultimately keeping) your New Year’s resolutions, via these New Year’s questions.

I encourage you to take time to answer the New Year’s questions in a comfortable, uninterrupted space. Honor yourself by diving deep into the reflections that these questions inspire. Set a meeting with yourself where you can focus, without distraction, on what you find here.

And most of all – have a Happy New Year Triangles!

Fifteen New Year’s Questions for a Life Around the World

  1. What kind of person do I want to be in the world? In what three ways did I live true to that in 2017? What are three ways I’d like to do that in the upcoming year?
  2. How did I honor the best of my own culture in the last year?
  3. What cultural traits of the place I live now (or places I’ve lived before) am I embodying? How are those traits serving me well?
  4. In what ways did I positively represent the globally mobile community in 2017? How will I contribute to positive understanding of international living in 2018?
  5. What global relationships did I nurture most in the last year? Which relationships did I move on from? In the upcoming year, what relationships across the world would I most like to tend to?
  6. What were the losses I faced in the last year? How have I worked through those losses? In what ways do I still have work to do?
  7. What were my greatest joys in the last year? With whom did I share them?
  8. In what ways could I connect better to the community in which I’m currently living? In what areas may I need to pull back?
  9. What people in my life supported me in the last year no matter where I was? How can I return that support in the upcoming year?
  10. What unexpected roadblocks did I encounter in 2017 as a result of living a globally mobile lifestyle? In what ways was I able to overcome those challenges?
  11. In what place or moment did I feel the most at home this year? What were the traits of that place, event or situation that fostered that sense of home?
  12. What potential challenges might I face in 2018 that are related to my international lifestyle? What support systems can I put in place in advance to ensure that I am as prepared as possible?
  13. Is living an international lifestyle still working for me? If yes, in what ways? If no, in what ways is it no longer serving me? Or for those that have repatriated: Am I feeling secure with the repatriation process? If yes, in what ways can I see that security in my actions and behaviors? If not, where do I see challenges and where might I need to get support or make changes?
  14. In 2018, what new skills will I need to learn? What strategies will help me in learning those new skills?
  15. If my life in 2017 were a novel, what two themes would have been most present? What 5 adjectives would I use to describe myself if I were the main character in this imaginary book?

Are there any questions you’d like to ask yourself that aren’t included here? Do these questions inspire other ones? Be flexible, kind to yourself and open – you’ll never know what new insights will come. We will be discussing these questions in the private community over the coming weeks and months. Please do leave a comment here or inside the community and join the conversation!

Author: Jodi Harris

Originally from Austin, Texas, Jodi has lived in Spain, Northern Ireland, the Dominican Republic, Madagascar and Japan (her current home). She is raising three TCKs in loving, if not occasionally chaotic partnership with her husband, a US Diplomat. She is a trained clinical social worker, teacher, life coach, writer, T1D mom and the owner of World Tree Coaching – Life Coaching for Expats. She specializes in reminding expats how capable and amazing they really are and supports people in finding a sense of home no matter where they go.

Comments 7

  1. OMG. Thank you for this. Just what I needed. Absolutely brilliant. I married my expat life on New Year’s Eve 14 years ago. There were literal fireworks and a castle involved. We are currently debating how we will spend this anniversary…now as a family. It is always a time of reflection, but even more so for me now that it is also the anniversary of crossing cultures, oceans, and countries. Thank you for these perfect questions, Jodi.

    1. Post

      Thank you for reading Carolyn! I’m glad you enjoyed it. This is a time of extra special reflection for me as well. Until I met my husband in 1998, I thought that living a globally mobile life meant I’d have to do it on my own. When we discovered that we both loved to travel and hoped to live overseas, we knew we had found something special. This December marks our 18th wedding anniversary (and last month we even went back for the first time to visit the small Japanese town we were living in when we got married). Life goes around and around! Happy New Year!

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