Good questions prime your brain to look at the world in a different way. By simply holding a question in your mind and pondering potential answers, you can find unexpected paths to get from where you are now to where you want to be.
This afternoon, I re-discovered a list of questions I put together a few years ago. The intent of the list was to help me figure out what I wanted to improve about my life, both as a person and as a professional. This list helped me figure out who I was and what I wanted during a particularly difficult time in my career, and I sincerely hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me.
Here are 49 questions you can use to improve your results…
Do I use my body optimally?
- What is the quality of my current diet?
- Do I get enough sleep?
- Am I managing my energy well each day?
- How do I manage daily stress?
- Do I have good posture and poise?
- What can I do to improve my ability to observe the world around me?
Do I know what I want?
- What achievements would make me really excited?
- What “states of being" do I want to experience each day?
- Are my priorities and values clearly defined?
- Am I capable of making decisions quickly and confidently?
- Do I consistently focus my attention on what I want vs. what I don’t want?
What am I afraid of?
- Have I created an honest and complete list of the fears I’m holding on to?
- Have I confronted each fear to imagine how I would handle it if it came to pass?
- Am I capable of recognizing and correcting self-limitation?
- Am I appropriately pushing my own limits?
Is my mind clear and focused?
- Do I systematically externalize (write or record) what I think about?
- Am I making it easy to capture my thoughts quickly, as I have them?
- What has my attention right now?
- Am I regularly asking myself appropriate guiding questions?
- Do I spend most of my time focusing on a single task, or constantly flipping between multiple tasks?
- Do I spend enough time actively reflecting on my goals, projects, and progress?
Am I confident, relaxed, and productive?
- Have I found a planning method that works for me?
- Am I “just organized enough"?
- Do I have an up-to-date list of my projects and active tasks?
- Do I review all of my commitments on a regular basis?
- Do I take regular, genuine breaks from my work?
- Am I consciously creating positive habits?
- Am I working to shed non-productive habits?
- Am I comfortable with telling other people “no"?
How do I perform best?
- What do I particularly enjoy?
- What am I particularly good at doing?
- What environment do I find most conducive to doing good work?
- How do I tend to learn most effectively?
- How do I prefer to work with and communicate with others?
- What is currently holding me back?
What do I really need to be happy and fulfilled?
- How am I currently defining “success"?
- Is there another way of defining “success" that I may find more fulfilling?
- How often do I compare myself to my perceptions of other people?
- Am I currently living below my means?
- If I could only own 100 things, what would they be?
- Am I capable of separating necessity and luxury?
- What do I feel grateful for in my life and work?
Pick up a journal, set aside a few hours, and spend time with yourself answering these questions. Make it fun: treat yourself to a nice lunch or dinner at a restaurant you like, and write as you eat. By the time the check arrives, you’ll have more than a few new ideas about how to change your life or business for the better.