Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, begins at sundown on September 29.
Those that observe the “day of atonement” will fast for 25 hours, until sundown on September 30 this year.
Reflection is a key theme during the Jewish High Holidays — which take place for 10 days between Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year which began at sunset on September 20, and Yom Kippur.
Whether you’re Jewish or not, reflecting on the past year and looking ahead at the one to come is a valuable exercise — one that’s even easier with an increasingly popular website: 10Q.
Every fall, beginning on Rosh Hashanah, 10Q participants are emailed a question a day for 10 days, and answers are recorded in the site’s “vault.” The following year, your responses are emailed back to you, so you can reflect on how your year played out. Then, the process begins again. Think of it as one of those school assignments where you had to write a letter to your future self, and your teacher mailed it to you a year later.
It’s not too late to participate this year, but you have to finish all 10 questions — and officially submit them to the “10Q vault” — within 72 hours of nightfall on September 30, when Yom Kippur ends this year. At that point, the vault closes, and your answers are stored and saved until next year.
The 10 questions (plus one bonus question) cover a variety of topics. You’ll be asked to describe a significant experience you’ve had in the past year, and if there’s something you wish you had done differently. You’ll also be asked to choose one thing you’d like to achieve by this time next year, and how you’d like to improve your life over the coming months.
The site is simple and easy to use. Questions appear like this:
Your answers can be short or long, and you can skip questions that don’t resonate with you. If you miss a day, you can catch up whenever you have time. Everything you write is private, unless you choose to share it, and subject to the highest industry standard encryption, according to the site.
This year marks my eighth year using 10Q as a tool for self-reflection and goal-tracking. As a financial planner in New York, it’s a habit I’ve seen work with my clients as well. The questions aren’t about money, per se, but if money goals are top of mind, you can include them in your answers. It’s become a tradition I look forward to — a chance to review and reorient my goals, financial or otherwise.
The first year I participated in 10Q, my biggest goal was to become fluent in Spanish. Writing down the goal and setting a time limit helped me decide to move to Colombia four months later, where I spent the first half of 2011 working remotely and learning Spanish with a tutor. The timing wasn’t great, but the timing never is. If I hadn’t pushed myself to achieve the goal then, I’m sure I would regret it today.
Life is busy, and time for introspection isn’t easy to come by. But if you can set aside an hour or so during Yom Kippur or over the weekend, 10Q can help you reflect — and set yourself up for a fulfilling year.