Preparing for change can be scary, but when you realize that staying the same is even more terrifying, then it’s time to ask yourself a few thought-provoking questions. Working as a coach for the last 10 years has taught me a lot about human behavior and the unappealing reality is that the more willing you are to get uncomfortable, the greater the chance you have of achieving your goals. Annoying but true.
That willingness to get uncomfortable can actually super-charge your efforts.
No one likes change but it’s the only way to grow
Life is a process of learning, growing, questioning and repeating. If you want to change, you have to grow, and in order to grow, you have to ask questions so you can narrow down possible solutions that can bring you to take action. It’s one big incestual process with one step literally hinging on the other. But it works. I’ve seen it. And the great thing is is that you can repeat the process for each change you want to make.
Asking yourself hard questions can help you determine how ready you are to go after your goals. These are questions I ask my clients when we first start out and if you give them the time they need, and the space to stretch your thinking until your brain hurts, you’ll be well on your way to getting what you want out of life.
Your 7 Power Questions:
1. Who will I have to become in order to make my goal a reality?
This is a loaded question because you know you can’t stay the same, but how do you effectively change?
You have to think: what does that person who has what you want, do differently? Do they get up earlier? Write out their goals and review them daily? Set small tasks to be completed every day? Ask and answer questions like these often? How do they think, and what is their internal conversation?
Dig up some possible answers, or go and directly ask someone who has gone before you and learn from them. The bottom line is you can’t keep doing what you’ve been doing and expect different results. (Take Einstein’s word for it.)
2. What have I done in the past to try and achieve this goal?
Have you had success in the past? If so, how did you make it happen, and more importantly, what derailed that success?
A lot of us tend to try to repeat processes that didn’t serve us in the first place or brought us only momentary success which causes us to put the blame on our lack of willpower when things don’t work out as we had hoped. It may instead be that the process simply didn’t work for you.
Begin to stretch your thinking (again) and try coming up with a new process that’s more in line with who you are and what you can realistically commit to at this point in life. Reflective questions like this can help lead to “a-ha” moments... which are the best moments.
3. What are my five “whys”?
Time to channel your inner over-achiever. Typically we can list off two or three “whys” pretty quickly. For example, I want to lose weight to feel healthier, stronger, and amazing in my little black dress.
Great. Now give me more.
When we press for more, we engage ourselves to dig a little deeper and come into contact with more powerful motivators. Keep asking yourself “why” when you’re stuck and you may come up with answers that surprise you, or you may find your resistance to change is nothing more than a learned behavior that you can alter with a little laser-focus.
4. What will I have to give up in order to make room for my goals?
Sometimes we have to give up an indulgence, or behavior in order to reach our goals. When not having enough time consistently pops up as a reason why you’re not achieving your goals, review how you actually spend your time. This can help you find gaps in your day that could be better spent working on your goals.
You have to consciously understand what you do on a daily basis and find those little pockets of time you can spend being more focused. Paying attention to your excuses can allow you the opportunity to see how often you use them, and if they’re really what’s holding you back, or if it’s something deeper. (Usually, we’ve gotten so used to using them we don’t even realize how invalid they are.)
5. What’s stopping me from taking action?
By answering this question you may discover that what’s stopping you is nothing more than a habitual response.
Try this. Grab a piece of paper and come up with 10 reasons that come to mind that support you not taking action. I say 10 because therein lies the magic that comes with stretching the brain. (Are we noticing a trend?)
It could be that you’re too tired, you’ve tried too many times, you don’t know what to do next, or any litany of reasons (aka excuses).
Then dissect each one by asking “What’s more painful? Taking action or putting it off for another day because of this reason?”
Promising you’ll get to it the next day is not going to get you any closer to your goals. Discover what’s holding you back and lessen its intensity by examining it.
6. What does success look like?
Having a clear picture of what life will look like (go one step further and imagine what it will feel like) when you achieve your goals is a great motivator.
Visualize your success by closing your eyes and seeing who you are three or six months down the road living your best life. Write it out and detail it. This helps to create clarity, which in turn creates laser-focus. And you want that. You want to narrow down the scope and have one thing you’re focusing on. The rest will follow.
7. Will this choice move me forward or keep me stuck?
Skipping a workout, eating fast food, engaging in negative self-talk are all areas where you have a choice and what you decide to do has consequences.
Next time, before you casually brush off doing something that can move you towards success, ask if you’re making the best possible choice in that situation. Sometimes a few minutes spent going over your options will allow you to make better choices. Annoying but true.
Asking Questions Allows You to Discover Solutions
“If you do not know how to ask the right question, you discover nothing.” — W. Edwards Deming
We think we know ourselves better than we actually do, leading us to not being able to get what we want most in life. To create change effectively, you’re going to have to do some digging and asking yourself hard questions is the best way to get the juices flowing, answers popping, and a-ha moments bing-banging.
If you can commit to a monthly practice of reviewing your last 30 days, acknowledging your behaviors, and asking a few tough questions that require you to think, I guarantee your next 30 days will be that much better.
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AM Costanzo is a motivational junkie, loves a-ha moments, and works hard to help women feel strong, powerful, and downright fabulous in body and mind!