Daily Questions – a template for personal change

One of the key challenges that leaders (or anyone for that matter) face is trying to make new actions or changes to their day-to-day behaviours and practices ‘stick’.  We’ve previously written a blog post about this challenging issue: DiA Discoveries – making those personal changes stick.  Since we wrote that post we’ve come across a fantastic and simple concept that has been popularised in Marshall Goldsmith’s latest book Triggers.  In that book and other blog posts by Marshall he talks about the power of asking yourself a series of active questions each day around the specific behaviours, actions, attitudes or mindset that you are wanting to improve.  It has its basis in taking personal responsibility – if it’s to be it up to me – for the things you would like to be better at.  Most importantly these questions are focussed on your effort (rather than results) with each question commencing with the phrase:

Did I do my best to…

These questions could be anything something work related – to listen more attentively, to find more opportunities to give positive feedback, to empower your staff more.  They could also be something a lot more personal – to exercise more, to drink less, to be more affectionate with your family.  Marshall himself has six core questions that he uses and then adds some additional questions for other matters he is specifically working on – his core questions are:

  1. Did I do my best to be happy?
  2. Did I do my best to find meaning?
  3. Did I do my best to be engaged?
  4. Did I do my best to build positive relationships?
  5. Did I do my best to set clear goals?
  6. Did I do my best to make progress towards my goals?

Once you have identified your own set of things you really want to work on and converted these into a series of Did I do my best to… questions, then the task is to rate yourself each day on a simple 1 – 10 scale.  Over the course of a few weeks you may find yourself giving low ratings for the first few days, but over time as you become more conscious of it (or perhaps more guilty about it) you may start to see a gradual or even sudden upwards shift – you really start to make progress and feel good about it as a new habit is being formed.  Of course, if you just find yourself continuing to rate yourself lowly on some questions, it provides you with some really useful data – you can ask yourself what is going on for you, why is it not shifting, is it really important to me?

This approach to helping you make personal changes is wonderfully simple and potentially very powerful.  We love it so much we’ve put together a template for daily questions that you can populate with your own set of daily questions – please follow this link to download a copy for your personal use.

Want to see other posts related to this topic…


Encouraging positive attitudes in the workplace

6 questions to increase employee engagement

The Wheel of Change to help us become who we want to be