Feel happier, redirect your focus, and discover what you need to work on by simply asking yourself these questions.
During our childhood, we used to ask questions all the time. We were curious about our environment, those around us, and ourselves.
For example, we wouldn’t just look at something and ignore it; we would feel the need to discover its purpose, how it worked, and how we could use it. We knew that by asking we could discover wonderful things.
Today I’d like to share 30 powerful questions you should ask yourself often. These will help you achieve your dreams faster, feel more grateful, eliminate stress, and deal with your past in a constructive way.
It’s a good idea to write down your answers as they come up. You can do this in a journal, or diary, or even with a note app. Pen and paper is best, but if you’re on the go, and suddenly come up with a great answer, you can note it down on your smartphone.
At the end of this article you will find a link to download a PDF sheet with all the questions.
1. Questions to achieve your goals and dreams
- What do I want?
- What would improve my life immensely?
- If money wasn’t an issue, what would I do?
- If time wasn’t an issue, what would I do?
- How do I want to live?
- What kind of lifestyle do I want?
- What kind of person do I want to be?
- What did I give up on because of society?
You want to create a life that’s based on your goals, not someone else’s. If you don’t have a vision, you’ll tend to simply adapt to other people’s standards and expectations.
There’s nothing wrong with putting yourself first (even if society tried to convince you it’s selfish). By asking these questions more often — ideally every day — you get clear on what you want, and what’s stopping you from getting it.
Some of the things you want may take months or even years to achieve. But the simple act of focusing, thinking, and planning is the first step toward accomplishing your goals. And it can be done whenever you want.
Everything you have accomplished in your life originated as a thought, so you must create new dreams in your mind before you can experience them in the physical world.
Asking yourself how you can improve your life will be the beginning of a new, exciting journey. Do it!
2. Questions for gratitude
- What am I grateful for?
- What am I grateful for right now?
- What made me really happy recently?
- What do I like about myself?
- What are my greatest skills, strengths, and personality traits?
- How have I been really lucky recently?
- What is absolutely unique about my life?
Practicing gratitude helps you appreciate what you have, so you can feel happier on a daily basis. We are all special, and we all have special things. However if we’re not grateful we won’t be able to experience the joy that comes from having those things.
Someone who has all the time, money, and energy in the world; someone who has been blessed with an extraordinary life, will still feel empty if they don’t appreciate what they have.
The questions provided will help you focus on the great things about you and around you.
During our darkest days, gratitude gives us motivation: we can move forward and stay positive even when everything seems to be falling apart. During the best times of our life, gratitude will help us feel the highest level of joy.
3. Questions to reduce stress and negativity
- What do I need to eliminate in my life right now?
- How can I reduce stress in my life?
- Am I dealing with too many negative people in my life?
- What is one thing about myself that I don’t like?
- Do I need to change it, or get rid of it? How?
- Is there a recurring negative thought, or thought pattern in my life?
- How can I change, or get rid of, this thought pattern?
Stating the obvious, especially when it’s unpleasant, isn’t going to help anyone. Asking questions, on the other hand, inspires you to take action, and gives you a hint on what you are supposed to do.
Let’s say there’s something about yourself that you’d like to change. If you constantly repeat that “you don’t like this”, it only makes you feel worse. But asking questions like “what can I do to change this?”, or “how can I improve it?”, will definitely put you on the right track.
The questions I listed help you become aware of what doesn’t work, but in a constructive way. They help you become aware of your problems and, most importantly, find the best possible solution for them.
Don’t be afraid to brainstorm. Don’t just think of the obvious answers. For example, the first question (what do I need to eliminate in my life right now?) could refer to anything from harmful foods, to time wasters, unnecessary expenses, clutter, unhealthy habits, and so on.
Similarly, the third question may refer to anyone who drains your energy, doesn’t make you feel at ease, or doesn’t support you. This includes meetings, but also phone calls, or text messages. You want to be very selective with whom you spend your time with; in some cases you may actually want to burn bridges.
Ask yourself what needs to be improved in your life, and come up with answers that inspire you.
4. Questions about your past
- What have I learned from the past?
- How have I grown?
- Do I focus on the past too often?
- Do I only focus on negative things from the past?
- Have I been too hard on myself?
- What do I need to forget?
- What do I need to let go of?
- If the past didn’t exist, what would I do? How would I feel?
This last series of questions has three objectives.
First, it helps you understand that every single mistake you’ve made, every misfortune, and, in general, anything you don’t like about your past, has a purpose.
Let’s say that a while ago you’ve done something that currently makes you feel regret, guilt, or embarrassment. If you ask yourself the right questions, you’ll find that either you are being too hard on yourself (and those feelings are unnecessary), or you have learnt a lesson — potentially a life changing one.
We truly change only when we feel very intense emotions. Sometimes these emotions are positive; sometimes they are very negative. In either case, they are necessary. Ask yourself what you have learned from them, and how you have grown.
The second objective is to understand whether you are engaging in too many negative thought patterns when you think about your past. This could be not being able to let go, not being able to move on, or living in the past.
The third purpose is to help you understand that you are not your past.
I know: it’s a famous quote, and it sounds cliched, but it’s powerful. Think about it. It’s true that the past made us grow, and created what we are today. But now you are a different person, with a different life, and different goals.
The truth is, most people would feel liberated if they were able to completely forget their past — even if they are proud of every single thing they have done. So focus on who you are today, or who you will be tomorrow (rather than who you used to be). If you do, you will be open to change, and, in turn, you will create more happiness.
Whenever you find it difficult to focus on the present moment, go back to the very first question that I shared and, with great intensity, ask yourself:
“what do I want?”
Thank you for reading this article! If you want, you can download a list of the 30 questions here: