Where to start finding answers for the new year.

Starting your year by answering the questions in these four simple steps will make a difference as you work to achieve a more-in-control life.

We’re all looking for answers.

Where do the right answers come from? They come from asking the right questions.

This year may have proved there are years that ask questions and years that answer. Most of us are water-logged after enduring a long tsunami of questions and uncertainty—many of which don’t yet have answers.

The rug of normalcy has been pulled out from under us so often that we wonder if we should keep getting up. At this very moment there are thousands of people who are lost and confused because they don’t know the answers to their lives. What should I do? How should I fix this? How should I do that? Why is this happening? Why did that happen?

Who will you be this year?

The short answer: whoever you choose to be. So, choose carefully. Intentionally. Deliberately. Ask yourself the right questions, and you will uncover the right answers.

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey writes, “What matters most gets buried under layers of pressing problems, immediate concerns, and our behaviors. I become reactive.” He goes on to say, “It’s not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts [or helps!] us.”

The secret to finding the right answers and direction in the new year is to turn inward.

Searching outside yourself for answers is usually an avoidance tactic because we don’t want to take responsibility for our lives. We want others to figure things out for us. Be brave and ask yourself: What would be your plan of attack if all you could rely on what your own ideas?

Asking questions of yourself rather than focusing on answers you think exist outside yourself may seem like new ground. But as you turn inward, you’ll find your life has the answers you want. Your personal answers don’t occur someplace other than your life right now.

You’re looking for answers, insight, and wisdom that you already possess. For example, there’s no point asking yourself what your name is, but there is value in asking who you think you are. Some answer may appear quickly—like flicking a light switch, other answers take time, like slowly turning on a dimmer switch.

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It’s a process with four steps: Discover, Plan, Act, Reflect.

A critical link between what you ask and the answers you find is accomplished by conducting a personal summit—a quiet time that you can be alone without distractions. Journal your thoughts and feelings on your path to uncovering your own answers.


  • What do I feel I should learn or change in my life?
  • What skills do I want to gain?
  • What habits do I need to develop or improve?
  • How can I keep the commitments I’ve made?
  • Who can I help?


  • Why is this important to me?
  • How will this help me improve?
  • What actions can I take to do this?
  • Can I break these actions into smaller steps?
  • What plans can I make now to overcome challenges I may face?


  • What has worked? Why?
  • What has not worked? Why not?
  • What else can I try?
  • Where could I get more ideas?
  • Can I break my goal into smaller steps or actions?
  • How can I learn from setbacks?


  • How have I grown?
  • How can I use what I’ve learned to help others?
  • How have my actions helped me improve?
  • How can I continue growing in this area?
Additional resources

How to find your way in the new year.

Free trial: PlanPlus Online Essentials—the ultimate digital planner

New Year’s resolutions—another chance to do it right!

3 small things you can do to win big at resolutions

Weekly planning: the key to gaining staggering long-term results

Are you time-rich or time-poor?

This weekend could be the turning point of your life

Are you planning or procrastinating?