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A Question that Can Change Your Life

When you change your habits, you change your life. But the rest of the world rarely cooperates with your grand plans, as you get bombarded with distractions and interruptions throughout the day. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Change does not happen without accountability. When you know that you have to report your progress on your goals to a specific group of your peers at a specified time EVERY DAY, you become an unstoppable force of nature. Progress is made virtually every day and you eliminate your most harmful habits, i.e., smoking, texting and driving, etc.

The Secret Power of Daily Self-Questioning

You begin by identifying your 3 most harmful habits and 3-5 areas of your life that you want to improve, i.e., diet, exercise, relationship with your son. Write them down right now.

You’re not constructing your list to impress anyone.  It’s your list, your life.  Score your “Did I do my best” questions on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being the best score. Daily questions force you to focus on one day at a time.

It is incredibly difficult for any of us to look in the mirror every day and face the reality that we didn’t even try to do what we claimed was most important in our lives.

Marshall Goldsmith, “Triggers

The Daily Questions reflect our intention to do something and our commitment to doing them.  My first 4 Daily Questions are intended to eliminate my 4 most harmful habits.

Did I do my best to STOP….

#1:    Checking my phone while driving

#2:    Complaining about work in the presence of my family

#3:    Surfing the web in the presence of my family

#4:    Watching TV

The next 4 Daily Questions are intended to improve my marriage, eating and exercise habits and learn through reading.

Did I do my best to….

#5:    Make Lisa’s (my wife) life easier

#6:    Eat a healthy diet

#7:    Exercise today

#8:    Read 10 pages of a book

Did you do your best to make progress toward your goals today?  The act of self-questioning changes everything.  Adding the words, “Did I do my best” address personal responsibility into the Daily Questions.  Focus on effort, rather than results.

Commit to Improve and Notify People of Your Plan

Carry an index card and write down the scores to your Daily Questions at the end of every day. Make a check mark on the index card every time you violate one of your Daily Questions, i.e., complain about work in the presence of the family.

Daily questions press us to articulate what we really want to change in our lives.

Marshall Goldsmith, “Triggers

Better yet, have someone call you at a specified time every day and listen while you answer a specific set of questions that you wrote for yourself.  The nightly responsibility of honestly answering these questions will keep you focused on your goals and “alters your awareness profoundly”.  Marshall Goldsmith, “Triggers”.

Imposing structure on parts of our day is how we seize control of our otherwise unruly environment.

Marshall Goldsmith, “Triggers

Share the scores to your Daily Questions with a peer group who will hold you accountable.  Create a Slack group and post the scores to your Daily Questions at the end of every day.  The key is that the scores are reported—via direct phone contact, email or a voice message—to someone every day. Everyone in the group will see whether progress is being made.

WARNING!  Within two weeks, half of you will stop answering the Daily Questions.

The Ultimate Question

The ultimate question is, “Are you getting better?”  Answering the Daily Questions every day is how you instill discipline and accountability in your life. You may not reach your goals every day, but there’s no excuse for not trying. What have you got to lose?


photo credit: One Way Stock Character Question Mark via photopin (license)

Leave a comment below telling me what surprised, inspired or taught you the most (I personally respond to every comment). And if you disagree with my take on running a personal injury law firm, or have a specific, actionable tip, I’d love to hear from you.