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If you know anything about me or how I work with clients, I place great importance on questions. Questions I ask of them, as well as those I want them to ask themselves. They are the start of just about any process to improve a situation, and are the start of any serious pursuit of personal development.

So, here we are looking at the final month of 2019, and of course, I’m going to challenge you to ask yourself some tough questions. They require thought, humility and honesty if the answers you come up with are to be helpful. They may uncover continuing obstacles you can’t seem to overcome, while also highlighting strengths in areas you should be proud of and use to your full advantage as you enter 2020.

Before I present the list, first try to schedule time to review them and answer them. It may take you more than one session, and that’s OK. It’s better to take time with the tougher questions, take a walk and let your mind wrestle with them a little, than to go at this with the intent to finish as quickly as possible. This is your life, your future, we’re talking about, after all.

Bring a notebook…not just to write down your answers, but also to jot down initial thoughts or reactions to them. Are some questions more challenging than others? Do some actually scare you to answer them? Maybe you want to write down why your reaction is negative or positive.

Remember, this isn’t supposed to be easy, and there are no right or wrong answers. You aren’t graded, but it’s likely to lead you to a clearer picture of yourself. Perhaps you want to share your thoughts with someone, see what their answer would be (because our own perception of ourselves is not often how others see us).

I ask questions at the end of every chapter of “Are You For Real?!” for the same reason, and some of them are listed, with others added from psychologists. I’d love to hear from you about the questions that had you the most stumped — it’s OK to simply not have an answer, too. Let me know what questions you may have come up with on your own, too.

So, here goes…

• How did you grow? Did anything get in the way of your growth?

• What did you procrastinate on that you wished you had taken more time on?

• What blocked some of your goals? How could you have played a part to eliminate it?

• What have you been the most grateful for?

• What big goal did you have for 2019, and how did you change things to achieve it?

• Where do you still feel you lack confidence?

• What were you most successful in and how do you think you were successful?

• What habits did you develop that either helped or hindered your success?

• Was there something you found you were good at that you didn’t know or claim before now?

• What do you dare to dream of doing? What do you long to experience or create?

• What have you said “No” to? Why?

As you contemplate, you might find yourself placing some things in a category of 2019 or what’s past, and others as future-focused. Similar to cleaning out your house of stuff, creating a trash, give away and keep pile of your answers might help you organize your thoughts better. Some things might be very personal, and therefore difficult to share with someone else, but I want to stress the importance of finding someone to bounce these answers off of. The more objective that person can be, the better. Remember you’re after honesty, not a pat on the back (or heaven forbid, judgment) necessarily. The process may even feel like you’ve had a weight lifted. Two heads are better than one, after all.

You have a month before the new year begins…invest the time to invest in YOU, and I promise 2020 will be an amazing year.