The end of the year is the perfect time for reflection, a process of inquiry. Asking questions and staying curious about your experience is a powerful path for growth and learning. For this two-part post (Part 2 will appear on Friday, December 22), Coach Liz dug into some of her favorite books of 2023 for inspiration on reflective questions.


What are the biggest things you’ve learned in the past 12 months?
10x Is Easier than 2x by Dan Sullivan with Dr. Benjamin Hardy

Think back to your successes and failures in each major area of your life. What did you learn? Sullivan and Hardy suggest this process helps you to home in on the essentials for success, as well as to build gratitude and confidence.

What went well, and why?
Winning the Mental Game: The Playbook for Building Championship Mindsets by Dr. Amber Selking

Success leaves clues: Unearth those clues by asking why something went well. Reflect on the behaviors, habits, and mindset that may contributed to your successes. Selking describes how this inquiry leads us to develop a deeper understanding of who we really are, plus the ingredients setting us up for success.

Where in your life or work are you currently pursuing comfort, when what’s called for is a little discomfort?
Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman

It’s easy to settle into comfortable patterns of doing what we do well. Burkeman reminds us to let go of the need for comfort, certainty and to instead choose discomfort. What are a few risky, uncomfortable, messy things you can try next year?


Liz continues to train, race, and learn from every experience

What can I learn from this?
Unwinding Anxiety by Judson Brewer

Not everything goes to plan—there are setbacks, failures, detours. Brewer views obstacles as meaningful learning opportunities. Reframing allows you to tap into a growth mindset. Look back on your failures from 2023—what are some positives you can take away?

What would be the best outcome?
Coaching Athletes to Be Their Best: Motivational Interviewing in Sports by Stephen Rollnick, Jonathan Fader, Jeff Breckon, and Theresa B. Moyers

Success is more than win/lose, pass/fail. Really get clear on what your most meaningful and satisfying outcome looks like. Is it a particular feeling when you cross the line? A specific finishing time? Rollnick, et al, describe how this knowledge helps you to set goals that are truly meaningful and motivational to you.

Are there elements of your identity to which you cling too tightly?
Master of Change by Brad Stulberg

Investing time to keep all areas of our identity strong and in harmony as much as possible is key to well being. Stulberg explains how we function better as a cohesive whole rather than putting too much stock into one side of our personality. Are there areas of your identity you may have indulged in too much in the last year? Areas you’ve neglected?

Does the story my mind is telling me help guide me toward becoming the best version of myself?
Work, Parent, Thrive by Yael Schonbrun

Our minds are storytelling machines. Examining the stories we tell ourselves about myriad roles allows us to get underneath what might be holding us back in life. What’s your story? List out a few phrases or themes that pop into your mind during workouts or races. Schonbrun reminds us to choose narratives supporting our well-being and effectiveness. Do your stories need any edits?