14 Questions to Ask Yourself Every Day to Keep Your Life On Track
Life can be hectic.
Most of us have our hands full just trying to keep it all together. We do what we have to just to get by, from day to day. We seldom stop to ask ourselves, “Why am I here? Where am I headed? What’s it all about?”
But it’s exactly this kind of inquiry we must do – and do often – if we want to live a life of purpose. It’s all too easy to fall into a comfortable routine, and just go through the motions, while days turn into weeks, turn into months…
And before you know it, years of your life have passed you by.
Don’t let that happen to you. Get clear about your passion, your dream, your vision. Set specific, achievable, step-by-step goals. Most importantly, take time every day to stop and reflect on your life, your progress, and the things most important to you.
I’ve come up with this list of 14 powerful questions to ask yourself every day, to help you keep your vision in focus and keep your life on track.
Set Your Intentions In The Morning
Mornings are perhaps the most important part of each day. It sets the tone for everything that follows. Ever notice how when you oversleep, and have to rush around like crazy, you end feeling stressed and frazzled the rest of the day? Some people do that every day!
Don’t be that person. It’s essential to start the day of right. Make time to meditate, clear your head. Think about your life, get clear about what you want, what’s most important – what you need to do to take care of business.
1. Who Are The Most Important People In My Life?
Life isn’t just about you – your career and your personal goals. Real happiness is found in relationship, in deep, heartfelt connection to each other. This is question #1 because your loved ones are more important than your job, more important than money, more important than anything.
So keep the first things first. Take time every day to remember those closest to you, and how much they mean to you. Make sure you tell them, and – even more importantly – show them how you feel.
2. What Would I Do If Money Didn’t Matter?
This question can really help you hone in on your passion, your purpose, your joie de vivre. What would you do today if you didn’t have to worry about paying your bills? What would you do with the rest of your life?
Whatever the answer, that’s what you should be doing anyway. That’s your calling. It’s why you’re here. You can make it your livelihood, and you won’t really be satisfied until you do.
3. What Steps Can I Take Today?
It’s wonderful to have a dream, to have a vision, to have long term goals. But a dream is just a dream until you make it real. It doesn’t mean a thing unless you act on it today.
So get real, get practical. What small steps can you take today? Write it down. Make a to-do list, an action plan. If you don’t know what to do, or where to begin – find out. It can be as simple going to the library and checking out a book, or doing some research online. But do something, at least one small thing, every day.
Keep that dream alive.
4. How Do I Want to Show Up?
Sometimes what you do isn’t as important as how you do it. It’s great to have a plan, an agenda for the day. But now it’s time to ask yourself, “How do I want to show up? Calm, confident, caring, assertive, charming, kind, inspiring?”
This question can apply to any situation. You probably embody different qualities at work than you do at home. But ask yourself, “How do I want to meet the world today?” Get clear about that. Feel it. Own it. Be it.
Check In Throughout the Day
We humans are creatures of habit.
We have our daily routines, things we do so often we can do it in our sleep – and we do. We go through most of the day on autopilot, and we are asleep, in a way.
Our minds wander, we get lost in thought, and we barely pay attention to what’s right in front of us. We forget all about our big plans, all those good intentions that we set this morning, and we just drift through the day in a semi-conscious state. No change, no growth – just same old, same old.
These questions are designed to wake us up, and bring us back to the present moment; where life happens, where choice happens, where change and growth and joy happen.
5. Where Is My Attention Right Now?
This is one to ask yourself over and over, as often as possible. In fact, it can be helpful to set an alarm to go off at random moments, or use an app like this one. Whenever that bell rings, it’s your signal to stop and ask, “Where is my attention? Am I here, now, in the moment? Or am I daydreaming?”
The more you catch your mind wandering off, the more you will realize just how often it does – and how little time you actually spend being present here and now, enjoying life.
6. What Am I Holding Back?
Is there something that you want to say – to your partner, your parents, your boss or coworker – but you just haven’t been able to bring yourself to say it?
Is there something you’ve been longing to do, but you never get around to it? It doesn’t have to be anything grand. Maybe there’s a cute barista that you’ve been wanting to ask out. Or a quaint little shop you drive by every day, and wonder what’s inside…
7. What Am I Afraid Of?
Whenever you find yourself holding back, the obvious follow up is, “What’s stopping me? What am I afraid of?”
This isn’t meant to be a time to self-criticize, but an opportunity for self-awareness. Seek to identify your fears and hang ups, but don’t beat yourself up over them. Simply become aware of your internal process, especially the fears and doubts that stop from doing what your heart longs to do.
Awareness is the first step to freedom.
8. If Not Now, When?
This question is the final step in disarming the fear trap. Whatever is you’re holding back, ask yourself, “If not now, when?”
This question is deeper than it appears. At first you’ll probably rationalize, and make excuses. “I’m too busy right now. Maybe later, when I have more time.” But you’re always busy. You’ll never have more time. “Later” is an illusion.
The truth is, the opportunities you let pass by today may never come again. So don’t hold anything back. Say what you want to say. Do what you long to do.
If you don’t do it now, odds are you never will.
Reflect & Give Thanks In The Evening
At the end of the day, when our work is done and we’re exhausted, both mentally and physically, many people just want to check out. Just collapse on the sofa and watch TV til they fall asleep.
It’s the American way, right?
But not you. You’ve got dreams and goals; you’re going places. You don’t have time to watch TV. For you, the evening is a time to rest, yes – but not zone out. It’s a time to reflect on the day, on what you’ve learned and accomplished, on what you can do better tomorrow.
It’s a time to release the events of the day, and let go of any stress you might be carrying. It’s a time to give thanks for all that you have, and focus on what you’d like to have more of.
9. What Did I Learn Today?
Never stop learning. Make it a point to expand your knowledge and broaden your horizons in some way every day – whether it’s learning a second language or a new instrument. Read voraciously. Reading is food for the mind. Don’t let a day go by without it.
And pause at the end of the day and look back to appreciate what you’ve learned. You’ll be surprised at how fast and how far you’ve come.
10. What Did I Accomplish Today?
Take out your list from this morning, and see what you can cross off. Did you stick to your plan, and put forth your best effort? Or did you set your list down, and forget all about it?
Notice how it feels, good days versus bad days (you’re gonna have both, we all do).
We often put off what we should do in favor of what we want, feel like doing. But if you reflect on it honestly, you’ll soon realize that doing whatever you feel like leaves you feeling empty and dissatisfied. Whereas doing what you need to do, what you know, deep down, that you should do, gives you a feeling of accomplishment, joy and contentment.
How would you rather feel? I thought so. Me too.
11. Did I Take Time to Relax?
Life is about balance. It can’t be all work and no play. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a to-do list so long you can never get it done. Set reasonable, bite size goals, and leave plenty of time for relaxation and recreation.
Make it a priority, not an option. It’s essential for your health and happiness, so treat it that way. Look back at the end of each day and ask, “Did I relax and enjoy myself? Did I stop and smell the roses?” Hold yourself accountable.
This is your life – enjoy it!
12. What Did I Do For The Ones I Love?
As I said, the most important things in your life aren’t things at all – they’re the people who love and support you. Your relationships are the single greatest source of strength, joy and meaning in your life. Don’t neglect them.
Don’t let a day go by without telling the people you love how you feel about them. Don’t let a day go by without doing something to show them that you care. It’s the little things that we do each day that keeps love alive down through the years.
Ask yourself, “Did I take time today to nourish that love and connection?”
13. What Do I Need To Let Go Of?
Have you ever heard the old saying, “Don’t go to bed angry”? That applies to more than just couples – it applies to any grudge or resentment you might be carrying.
At the end of each day, ask yourself, “What do I need to release?” Look for any stress or tension in your body. Search your memory for situations that left you feeling frustrated. Practice forgiveness, and letting go of that burden of anger. Forgive yourself. Let go of guilt and shame.
This question could also apply to any habits or vices you have that are hurting you or holding you back. Just take a few minutes to review your day, your life in general, and ask, “What isn’t serving me anymore? What do I need to let go of?”
14. What Am I Grateful For?
I think it’s best to end the day on a positive note. After all of the soul-searching questions above, it’s time to shift gears, and look on the bright side.
Ask yourself, “What am I grateful for?”
Before going to bed, take time to give thanks for the roof over your head, the food in your belly, the warmth and safety and comfort in which you live. Give thanks for the people in your life who matter most, for all the opportunities, chance encounters and happy accidents that have got you this far.
Remember that every day, every moment, is a gift to be grateful for.
Try and make the most of it.