Each day presents an opportunity to evolve further into the best you. This process of personal growth and development involves self-reflection, focus and self-care every day.
In this blog, I uncover six deep questions to ask yourself every day to guide you on your journey towards living your best life.
Unknowingly in reactive mode
I was in my early 40s when I realized I wasn’t truly living. I felt like I was on a treadmill to nowhere. Each day, I shuffled myself through a foggy haze of mundane routines, reacting to whatever was thrown my way.
Pushing snooze every morning put me perpetually behind in my day from the start. Rather than wake up easily and see the day before me, my mornings were a frantic rush to get the kids up and out the door for school before I had to jump into work feeling like I was already behind.
I spent my days operating in reactive mode. I was quick to send an email, quick to use the bathroom and quick to eat meals. Without much thought, I jumped from one thing to the next according to the time on the clock. By the end of the day I was exhausted and could barely remember what I ate for breakfast. The morning might as well have been last year.
Seeing mindfulness in action
Then, one day I was at a department lunch. I was seated next to Andy, our CMO, my boss’ boss’ boss to be exact. Observing him was enlightening. While the rest of us scarfed down our lunches barely recognizing what we were eating, Andy ate deliberately, appreciating his meal as if it were his last.
Andy savored every bite, mindfully chewing at least eleven times on each side of his mouth. Between bites, he gently placed his fork and knife down in order to give his full attention as he engaged in thoughtful conversation with every person at the table.
I closely watched his every move as he smiled, leaned in and asked questions, genuinely interested and fully invested. Not once did he look at his watch.
Taking notes on living in the moment
Sitting at that table over lunch, I decided to begin living in the moment like Andy. His gratitude and interest in life were contagious. He opened my mind to see every day as an opportunity to hit the reset button on life.
Each morning is a new chance to give living in the moment another go while working towards your goals. Life is too short as it is and before you know it, it will pass you by. Why not take a look around to appreciate and enjoy the ride?
Seems simple right? It is! But, it isn’t. Changing habits can take time, even when it’s something you really want to do. I was so used to going through the motions from one thing to the next, I realized I may need to remind myself to stop and appreciate what life has to offer. That’s when I decided to do some soul searching, and came up with a few mindful questions to ask myself each day.
Mindful questions to ask yourself each day
# 6 What’s the one thing I must accomplish?
Feeling unaccomplished can cause stress, frustration, and an overall humdrum feeling for life. It can leave one feeling like a hamster spinning on the wheel, but getting nowhere. Having too many goals or things on your books to achieve in one day is a recipe for exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy.
That used to be me. I’d run through my day trying to accomplish an unrealistic agenda. At the end of it, I was met head-on with frustration, feeling drained and deflated.
There had to be a better way. I needed to get organized and set myself up for success, stat.
Enter my daily planner. She is my right-hand lady, keeping me on track to accomplish my daily priorities, tasks and schedules.
Every morning, I review the plan I’ve laid out for that day. I highlight the task that must be completed that day and aim to tackle that first. Accomplishing the most crucial task of my day early on makes me feel successful and ready to take on the rest of my list. Nothing looks as daunting after that, and everything else tends to fall into place. I’m not saying it’s a cakewalk because I hit my fair share of snags, but success breeds success. Feeling accomplished early in the day motivates me to continue the trend.
#5 How will I further my knowledge?
A big key to really living life is to never stop learning. No matter how old you are, there is always something more to know. Reading a book, watching a documentary or video, listening to a podcast or talking with someone to learn more about a topic is essential to gaining wisdom. Even if you only have 10 minutes a day, the benefits are undeniable.
These days there are so many available tools for learning. Find one or two or however many you have time for, and learn something new.
Whatever your niche or curiosity, you can find a source for information.
#4 How will I care for my body?
Your body is like a machine. Without proper maintenance, it will degrade and possibly leave you stranded. Two sayings come to mind. If you don’t use it, you lose it. And, if you don’t have your health, you have nothing. Daily care is key. I am not an athlete, nor am I a health nut, but I try to do something each day to honor my temple. Every little bit helps.
Some days I enjoy a cup of matcha or kombucha. Other days I go for a protein shake or take on a water challenge. Mixing it up keeps it interesting for me and hits different points of satisfaction in my body.
Besides considering what I put into my body, I also take time to eliminate the toxins we all absorb just from living. I have found taking time to detox one day a month extremely beneficial. You may be envisioning starvation mode and misery for days on end, but there are plenty of approachable ways to release the toxins we build up and it all comes down to two things—diet and exercise.
I exercise and get my sweat on by practicing yoga four days a week and either walk or circuit train two days a week. I always feel amazing afterward. I also aim to drink plenty of water to help further flush my system.
Once you find a combination that safely works for you, you’ll be hooked. You’ll feel not only physical results, but mental and emotional clarity as well.
#3 What will I do to relax my mind?
Although it would be amazing to get a 60-minute full body massage each day, it’s not realistic. If I were a millionaire and I could sit back and relax all day, things would be different, but as it stands, time and expense are a factor, so I look for other ways to find my daily relaxation.
I start my day by taking a few minutes each morning to meditate. Then, throughout the day, I take periodic breaks to stop and smell the roses. I go outside, take a few deep breaths and observe my surroundings. Nature can be so relaxing.
In the evening, as part of my bedtime routine, I sometimes light a scented candle, turn on relaxing music and shower with a lavender fragrance soap or scrub. Other nights, I opt for a soothing bubble bath and cover my eyes with a warm compress. Either way, the water helps me let go of any physical, mental or emotional edges from my day that may be hanging on, and helps me find the relaxation needed to ease into a restful sleep.
#2 How will I express gratitude?
I have made finding and expressing gratitude focal points in my life. Everything is just better when I look for things to appreciate and be thankful for. I start off each day by identifying three to five things that I am grateful for, and then I think of ways I can express my gratitude for those things.
Nothing is too big or too small. Sometimes it’s going out of my way to show someone how much they mean to me. Other times my gratitude involves me just being cognizant of smiling and listening more. It all matters and makes a difference.
For more ideas of ways to express your gratitude, read my blog post “9 Ways to Expand the Latitude of Your Gratitude.”
#1 What should I have done differently?
Checking in with yourself throughout each day as a pulse check is essential for personal development and growth. Self-reflection is the precursor to self-improvement.
I take time at the end of each day to ask myself what I could have done differently. If I didn’t accomplish my top priority, I think about why. What got in the way of accomplishing it? How can I plan better? If I didn’t get a chance to calm and relax my mind, I ask myself how I can make time for it tomorrow.
It’s not about placing judgment and getting down on myself about missing my mark. It’s about moving forward, learning from my mistakes and setting myself up for success each and every day so that I can live my best life.
Stopping to smell the roses
As I learned that day by watching Andy, mindfulness is a way of life. Living a mindful life may take a little focus at first, but soon you’ll be like Andy, mindlessly mindful. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll notice everything is a little lighter.
Living a mindful life is something we can all do. The world would be a better place for it. Andy discovered his mindfulness by living abroad. He was inspired by seeing those with little to nothing still appreciating life. But, you don’t have to go anywhere or leave the country to discover ways to smell the roses. You don’t even have to open your eyes in the morning to be present and find gratitude. It’s a state of mind, no specific physical location is needed.
You could be hiding in the bathroom grabbing a quick moment of peace from your kids. You could be waiting in line at the grocery store, or attending a work lunch, like Andy. Or maybe you set aside time to take a walk and be present in the moment. Any time is a good time to be mindful and ask yourself these questions.
Stopping to smell the roses can look different for everyone. For Andy, mindfully eating and communing with others brought him to focus. I found my own path to mindfulness involves taking time for myself, even if for just a moment, to breath and reflect. I hope you will be inspired to find your own path to appreciate the world around you.
I’d love to hear from you. What questions do you ask yourself each day to check-in with yourself?