Self-reflection questions for personal growth
If you do a web search for “How to change my life for the better”, Google will return almost 14 billion results. Yes, I said billion.
There’s no one answer, but it’s obvious that there are many who are unsatisfied with the current condition of their life.
What about you? Do you look around and think my life is exactly how I imagined and there’s nothing I would change about it!
The chances are that you feel your own share of disappointment, discontentment, or unfulfillment. After all, the reason we’re impressed with highly successful people is because that kind of achievement seems so rare.
Most people just never reach their personal growth potential, and end up wishing they’d made different choices.
The good news is that as long as you’re breathing, you still have a chance to change your life. And, choosing to change direction starts by just changing your thoughts.
Use the 5 self development questions listed below to start challenging your thoughts and changing your life for the better. You can incorporate them into your mindset as a daily activity process to make wise decisions and create good daily habits.
Sound simple? It is! But, it’s not *easy*. Especially if you’ve already clocked 3 or 4 decades of limiting beliefs, negative attitudes, and bad habits.
It takes some effort and purpose to untangle the faulty wiring in your brain, but you can start by asking yourself the right questions.
Grab this FREE 12-page How To Create Better Results workbook, and start getting the results you want in your life!
5 self development questions to help you reach your goals
Are you a goal setter who’s not experiencing the progress you desire? If so, then it might be time to start thinking on a deeper level with some self-reflection questions that may provide some helpful answers.
These deep questions to ask yourself can be powerful tools to help you determine corrective action, so you can start achieving better results.
1. Am I getting the results I want in my current life?
This should be an easy one to answer. Just look around.
Are you happy with what you see?
Here are a few questions you could ask yourself:
- Do I have a strong relationship with my spouse and kids?
- Am I healthy and fit?
- Am I satisfied with my professional skills and career growth?
- Have I reached financial freedom?
- Am I excited about my career direction and future?
- Do I have supportive and encouraging friends?
- Am I comfortable with who I am?
Spend a period of time reflecting on each area of your life as you answer this first question.
If there’s something you’re not happy with, think about how you would change it.
Let’s go to the second personal development question …
2. What do I have control over?
You have so much more control over your life than you may realize, and so much less over everything and everyone else than you probably wish.
The important thing is to know the difference.
Once you understand – and accept – that the only aspects of life you can truly control is your own thoughts, feelings and actions, then you can start focusing on what really matters.
Everything else is out of your control, so stop wasting precious time and brain energy trying to force things to go your way. It’ll never work.
So: other people, external circumstances, facts of life and nature – all of these things are neutral.
They don’t control you and you don’t control them. They definitely have an effect on your life, but it’s up to you how to respond to them.
And – bonus tip – your past is also neutral. Think about it. There’s nothing you can do to change it, so let it go.
You are only responsible for you – and you are *completely* responsible for you.
This should be both a relief and a revelation.
3. What action is leading to my results?
Okay, so now you know that circumstances don’t control your actions, feelings, or thoughts. Which means, ultimately, that whatever dissatisfying situation you’re in is a result of your own decisions.
So, think about what behaviors you’re choosing that result in a less than favorable outcome.
Now, keep in mind that this includes both action and inaction.
For example, if your teeth are rotting, it’s probably because you are not taking the action of brushing your teeth. This inaction is leaving you with unhealthy oral hygiene and an ugly smile. A very unfavorable outcome.
On the flip side, if you’re 50 pounds overweight, it’s likely that you’re eating too much. So, this action is creating a result of being heavier than you’re comfortable with. But, if you’re also not exercising then this inaction is also contributing to the result.
Either way …
Your behavior is leading to whatever undesirable outcomes you’re experiencing.
Figure out what those actions are, then move on to personal development question #4.
4. What am I feeling before I take this action?
Okay, so this is where things get a little deep.
With every action (or inaction) you take, there is an associated feeling that is driving that action (or inaction).
For example, if you decide to skip the gym (inaction), it may be because you feel tired or apathetic or lazy or hopeless.
It’s not because you think you have to get dinner on the table before it gets too late. Instead, it’s how you feel about getting dinner on the table before it gets too late. So, maybe you don’t go to the gym because you feel overwhelmed or rushed.
What if your action is spending too much at Target? Ask yourself what feeling is driving you to do this. Your feeling is *not* I feel like I need a new pair of jeans (haha). But it could be that you feel bored, or lonely, or empty, or excited, etc.
It’s important to identify the feelings behind the behavior, especially if it’s creating a result you don’t want.
Take time to really think about what you’re feeling when you take an action that’s not serving you well.
Then, go on to personal development question #5.
5. What thought is driving my feeling?
Your thoughts are where it all begins.
They conjure certain emotions, which then lead to certain behaviors, which ultimately give you certain results.
This is great news, because you have control of your thoughts! (Remember #2?)
Now, the important thing is to understand exactly what a thought is, and what it is not.
If you could step outside of your body and look at the thoughts in your mind, you would see them as just sentences. We all talk to ourselves, right?
We talk to ourselves through thoughts, which are sentences in our minds.
However, you can distinguish a thought from a circumstance.
A “thought” in this context is a sentence in your mind that is not a fact. You can always tell the difference, because a thought will have added some kind of qualifier to a circumstance.
So, for example, you might see your friend and think she has red shoes on. That would be a fact.
Or, you might instead think she has ugly red shoes on. This is actually a thought, because it’s your *opinion*. Even if 1,000 other people agreed your friend’s shoes were ugly, you could never prove it as a fact.
The difference between the two sentences is one is neutral and one is an opinion.
Nobody can debate the fact that your friend has red shoes on, but her shoes aren’t ugly to you until you have a thought that they’re ugly. You could just as easily have a thought that they’re pretty.
What if your thought is I’m terrible with money. This is not a fact or a circumstance and it’s not neutral. It’s a thought you created in your mind; it’s your opinion.
It’s critical that you identify the specific thought that’s leading to an unwanted result.
Remember – you have control of your thoughts. So, if you want a different result, you can make the choice to change your thoughts.
When thoughts become beliefs
When this loop from thoughts to emotions to actions to results is set on repeat, eventually it will develop into a belief. You’ve told yourself the same thing so many times that your mind starts to accept it as true and you accept it as a belief.
If the belief is creating negative outcomes in your life, it’s probably a limiting belief.
If the belief is creating positive outcomes in your life, you could call it an empowering belief.
Your beliefs are the foundation for the expectations you have in life. They are powerful frameworks that either support or sabotage your dreams and goals.
So, whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re right.
Obviously, you want to develop empowering beliefs in your life, and eliminate any limiting beliefs.
But again, it all begins with your thoughts. Change your thoughts, and you change your beliefs.
How your answers can change your life over time
Most people don’t think about what they’re thinking about. They’re not intentional about supervising their thoughts, and *choosing* what they want to think.
This is why it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing you don’t have control over your feelings.
Such as thinking it’s somebody else’s fault that you got angry and said those harsh words. Or it’s your job that makes you feel stressed out and unappreciated.
Nobody and nothing can *make* you feel anything. It’s the thought you choose that creates the emotions you feel.
Once you accept that you have full control over your thoughts, feelings, and actions, you realize that you ultimately create the results you have in your life.
So, to get different results, you must start thinking more productive thoughts.
Here is an exercise from The Life Coach School you can do to choose a thought that can lead to a more positive result:
1. List each step on a piece of paper.
2. Write down a result you’re currently experiencing that you’d like to change. Be as specific as possible, so *don’t* put down “My life is a mess”. If you feel like your life is a mess, then break that down into smaller pieces. Pick one area, like health or finances, then pick one result to write down.
- I’m in debt.
- I don’t exercise.
- I’m on the wrong career path.
- I’m not losing weight.
- I’m not close to my kids.
- I don’t have a social life.
3. Start working backwards and filling in the other elements. This will probably take some time, and it should. Don’t rush this process, because you want to be as specific and accurate as possible. Here is an example:
4. Choose a better thought. Once you’ve identified the thought that leads to the negative result, you have something to work with. Determine the result you want to experience, and the thought that will support it. You have control of your thoughts, so choose a better thought!
**It’s critical that you pick a thought that you truly believe.
So, I chose the thought above instead of something like I’ll be out of debt soon. I don’t believe I’ll be out of debt soon, so that does me no good.
But, I *have* read many stories about other people who’ve created better spending habits to successfully get out of debt. So, this thought sets me up for a greater chance of success. It’s something I can believe, and it’s a thought that can genuinely create a positive feeling that will lead to a more productive action and favorable result.
Now, I know all of this may sound too simple to actually work. But keep in mind – that’s just a thought you’re having. This exercise can mean anything you want it to mean, based on what you think of it.
But, think about this: what have you got to lose?
You never know until you try. These 5 self development questions could be the answer to finally reaching your goals and creating the dream life you imagine.
Get intentional with these self development questions
Once you start the continual process of being intentional with your thoughts, and stop blaming external circumstances on your results, you’ll realize the power of taking full responsibility for your feelings and actions.
And this is when your life will start to change – for the better!
Even in your spare time you could ponder these self-reflection questions and learn to understand yourself on a deeper level. Make this a daily process over the next couple of weeks, and soon it will be second nature.
Once you make the conscious choice of changing the way you think and feel, you’ll start experiencing amazing results in your life.
Ready to get started? Download this FREE 12-page How To Create Better Results workbook, and learn how to change your thoughts and change your life!
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