12 Questions You Should Be Asking Yourself

by Stephen Mills on January 17, 2010

Asking yourself the right kinds of questions is a powerful tool to keep you focused on what really matters.  The following are some of the questions I like to ask myself.

  1. Is this a strengthening decision that will create good habits or a weakening decision that will create bad habits?
  2. Will this take me closer to my goals or further away from my goals?
  3. Am I creating long term pain in return for short term gain?
  4. Am I happy and having fun right now?
  5. Am I doing what I want to do or what others (partner, family, friends, society) think I should be doing?
  6. Am I living my values in this moment?
  7. Is this the most important thing I can be doing right now?
  8. Will I care about this issue in 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, 1 year, or in 10 years?
  9. When I’m lying on my deathbed, will I be glad I spent life’s precious minutes doing what I’m doing right now?
  10. What action can I take right now to move forward.
  11. What can I learn from this situation?
  12. How is this affecting the people I care about?

Do you have a question to add to the list?

Leave a comment and join the conversation.


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{ 4 trackbacks }

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Gordie - Lifestyle Design For You January 17, 2010 at 7:15 am

I like to ask myself, “What am I grateful for?” It keeps me on a positive focus.
.-= Gordie – Lifestyle Design For You´s last blog ..Why Haven’t You Achieved Your Biggest Goal Yet? =-.


Stephen Mills January 22, 2010 at 7:41 am

Hello Gordie, that’s a great question. I should have included that one for sure. Thanks.


Zeenat{Positive Provocations} January 17, 2010 at 7:39 am

What an awesome set of questions for self empowerment! I lvoe eacha nd every one of them.
I also like Gordies question….”What am i grateful for?”
My question that i ask myself everyday…”How much have i made a difference in this world?”
Beautiful post 🙂
.-= Zeenat{Positive Provocations}´s last blog ..Do More… =-.


Stephen Mills January 22, 2010 at 7:47 am

Hi Zeenat, thanks so much! That is a great question.


Walter January 17, 2010 at 9:02 am

Most of my life I live unconsciously. I go about each day without even thinking the level of importance of every task that I do. But that was then. Now, I always think of doing what I think is productive and important in my life. Most of the time I always ask myself: What would be your greatest regret if you don’t wake-up tomorrow? This question has always awaken the best in me. 🙂


Stephen Mills January 22, 2010 at 7:48 am

Hi Walter, that’s an interesting approach. We most often regret what we didn’t do and not what we did. I’m afraid I don’t like the answer to that question 🙂


Nea | Self Improvement Saga January 17, 2010 at 9:32 am

Great questions Stephen. My favorite was “#4–Am I happy and having fun right now?”

If I’m doing something out of obligation rather than fun, I zoom in to reassess the situation. Either I need to change the circumstances that our interfering with my joy or change my perspective on it.
.-= Nea | Self Improvement Saga´s last blog ..Peer Pressure and Conformity: Do You Fear Standing Out from the Crowd? =-.


Stephen Mills January 22, 2010 at 7:50 am

Hello Nea, thanks for offering your comments. I think #4 is key and it is one we often forget. I know I do. Remember when you were a kid and that is all you thought about?


Katherine SOLO dot MOM January 17, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Excellent list of questions.

The only thing I can come up with to add… if anything.. is:

When I lay my down to sleep tonight – how will I reflect on this?
.-= Katherine SOLO dot MOM´s last blog ..Helping Haiti… It’s Not About Our Economy =-.


Stephen Mills January 22, 2010 at 7:52 am

Hello Katherine! That is a great question. I often find those end of the day reflections quite good at assessing the value of what I am doing. Thanks for stopping by to participate.


Jacqui January 17, 2010 at 3:25 pm

This list of questions is so spot on that I want to print it off and carry with me all the time.


Stephen Mills January 22, 2010 at 7:53 am

Hiya Jacqui! That’s just about the best compliment you could have given me. Thanks so much.


Robin Easton January 17, 2010 at 5:26 pm

This is really good Stephen. It’s a bit like: we may be asking ourselves questions (maybe — there are many who never ask anything) but even more important is: are we asking ourselves the RIGHT questions. And this is a great list to start with. Such a highly useful tool. Thank you!!. Hugs, Robin 🙂
.-= Robin Easton´s last blog ..All That Will Remain =-.


Stephen Mills January 22, 2010 at 9:23 am

Hi Robin, thanks! To be honest I think many people seldom question what they are doing. They are just doing what is expected or what is habitual.


Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills January 17, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Good list Stephen. Asking such questions is a very healthy habit to get into. If we don’t analyze where we are, how can we navigate toward where we would like to be. Life blows us off course like a boat at sea. So we check our position and adjust accordingly.

One of the questions I like to ask myself is: “Does this belief, perspective, response, etc. really serve me, or is it holding me back in some way. Sometimes the answer helps me realize that I have drifted off course.
.-= Jonathan – Advanced Life Skills´s last blog ..What Does Personal Development Mean to You? =-.


Stephen Mills January 22, 2010 at 9:25 am

Hi Jonathan, that’s a good question. I do believe many if not most people just drift along by habit or culture and don’t really question what they are doing and why. It’s hard and we tend to not like to do what is hard.


Fatibony@Expressivewellness January 17, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Great post. Stephen .. its nice to ask ourselves questions and right ones will obviously help us learn and grow. I sometimes do ask myself..what have I done today? , Have you got the best out of the situation? and many more ..Thanks for sharing 🙂
.-= Fatibony@Expressivewellness´s last blog ..Perseverance is Hard-Tips to develop this virtue =-.


Stephen Mills January 22, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Hello Fatibony, thanks for commenting here. Those are excellent questions.


ZuzannaM January 17, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Hello Stephen,

Lovely post, it takes the reader into a thinking point.
Analyzing, what else to do to improve self, or things around them-I have been asking some of those questions already. One of them that apply to my situation would be No. 10 on your list. Much enjoyed reading your blog, thank you for sharing.

Best wishes always,
From Zuzanna
.-= ZuzannaM´s last blog ..MY LOVELY FRIEND =-.


Stephen Mills January 22, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Hi Zuzanna. Thanks for your comments. Thoughts without action are dead.


Steven Aitchison January 18, 2010 at 1:22 am

Great set of questions Stephen. Life is determined by the questions we ask ourselves and these questions have the power to change our lives.
.-= Steven Aitchison´s last blog ..52 Personal Development Blogs To Watch in 2010 =-.


Stephen Mills January 22, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Hello Steven, thanks for stopping by. Questions force us to think instead of just habitually repeating the same behavior over and over.


Lana-DreamFollowers Blog January 18, 2010 at 4:26 am

Loved this list of questions, Stephen and I actually ask myself a lot of the questions from this list on a daily basis. Really helps to live a more conscious life. Thank you!
.-= Lana-DreamFollowers Blog´s last blog ..I Don’t Believe In Religion But I Talked To God Today =-.


Stephen Mills January 22, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Hello Lana. It’s great that you ask these questions. Very few people do. Thanks for commenting.


Marj January 19, 2010 at 4:52 am

Hi Stephen,
These questions sound so familiar. My dad had just been given a few months to live. We found out last week. Since then I had been asking myself a lot of questions, very similar to the questions you presented here. Here’s a blog post of mine revealing my feelings and thoughts about the whole thing: http://noboundaries.posterous.com/every-day-is-a-day-closer-to-your-grave
.-= Marj´s last blog ..Every Day Is A Day Closer To Your Grave =-.


Stephen Mills January 22, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Hello, Marj. I’m so sorry to hear about your father. I wish you all the best. I’ll be sure and check out your article. Thank you for stopping by.


Jonny January 20, 2010 at 6:13 am

Some hard hitting questions. I like it.
.-= Jonny´s last blog ..Become An Idea Hitman =-.


Stephen Mills January 22, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Hi Jonny, thanks for your thoughts 🙂


Amit Sodha - The Power Of Choice January 20, 2010 at 9:17 am

My personal favorite on that list is number 4. If it’s not fun or enjoyable, I don’t do it.
.-= Amit Sodha – The Power Of Choice´s last blog ..How To Inspire The World In Under 160 Characters =-.


Stephen Mills January 22, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Hello Amit. What’s the point without fun, right? Thanks for commenting.


Amit Sodha - The Power Of Choice January 26, 2010 at 1:36 pm

I forgot to add my own! 🙂

When something bad happens, i often ask, how does this serve me?

.-= Amit Sodha – The Power Of Choice´s last blog ..Honouring People And Cultures With Language Skills =-.


Steve-Personal Success Factors February 8, 2010 at 8:10 pm

I have a couple of favorites that I have remembered from Tony Robbins’ book, Awaken the Giant Within. What am I grateful for today? What have I learned today? How can I provide more value today? Who do I love? Who loves me?
.-= Steve-Personal Success Factors´s last blog ..Warning: Worrying May Be Good For Your Career! =-.


Mr. Self Development February 16, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Great list of questions, thanks for sharing…!


Lalitha Brahma March 11, 2010 at 11:11 am

Great questions!
Some of the questions I ask are
1. What is one activity I can do today to create abundance in my physical/mental/spiritual/social/financial/family/business/academic wealth?
2. What are the things that I can be grateful for right now?
3. Does it feel right and my head says it is OK?
4. When I feel stuck or procrastinate-I ask-Please reveal the next step that is in the best interest of myself, my family and clients.


Tracy September 23, 2010 at 9:23 am

So glad I found this blog. Great questions to ask to keep you on track to living your best life. I think that once we’ve spent some time asking ourselves these questions daily, then we are ready for the questions:
“How can I serve?, “What can I contribute?” and “What can I give?”



Jia Jun November 10, 2010 at 6:20 am

Great list. I always remind myself to keep doing important things as well. Eventhough sometimes we’ll get distract by many other minor things.
It’s great list to keep us awake and stay focus. 😀


Be Happy March 9, 2011 at 1:16 pm

A great list! I love questions for getting unstuck. #8 can be very powerful 🙂

For a variation of #3 how about “Is there ANY reason to be happy right at this moment?” If the answer is genuinely no… “What can I choose to do that will make me happy?”



Amy Sue March 16, 2012 at 11:49 am

Good stuff! Also, I believe appreciation is key in life, as someone mentioned above, do we should also be asking ourselves what are we grateful that is not going in in our lives. I have been sick w/ a rare condition for 4 years now & I constantly have to remind myself, it could be much worse, I could be paralyzed or blind/deaf or any number of other things I’m so grateful not to have. Helps w/ the whole perspective situation.


gamis syari murah February 28, 2015 at 7:15 pm

a great contemplative
gamis syari murah´s last blog post ..tutorial everyday hijab


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