Mar 02, 2017 / Life

Three questions that changed the trajectory of my life

Sometimes the most incredible things happen in our lives in the most mundane moments.

I wish I could remember who shared it with me or where I read it. I wish I had a source of wisdom to point others towards for inspiration. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the moment…

I do remember the content of that moment. I remember the challenge was to regularly ask yourself three simple questions.

  1. What’s going well?
  2. What’s not going well?
  3. What do I need to improve?

That’s it! No tricks…no gimmicks. However, the power of these three simple questions has changed the way I think about my life.

When I first started this exercise I was going through a particularly lonely season of life. I had been through a rough breakup and lost the majority of my friend group in the process.

I became a regular at my local Starbucks on Sunday nights to avoid the pre-work-week-anxiety that came at this time each week. I would read or journal and usually I’d write out a few bullet point answers to these three questions and call it my “Reflection Time”

Before long I noticed a pattern. I would write some version of the following every week:

  • I’m not exercising…
  • I’m not eating very healthy…
  • I wish I could sleep better…

This made me realize that left if unchecked, I’ll just continue to desire the same things over and over without making any real progress towards these goals. I’ll stay unhappy with the same things. I’ll always be aimlessly trying to improve and will never make progress.

Later, I discovered how important it is to review my Reflection Time each week. If I have personal accountability when I write down something I’m more likely to take action on this.

Instead of just writing that I’m unhappy with how I’m sleeping for the fourth week in a row, I decided to go to bed at 10:00pm for a week straight. The next week I then reviewed my Reflection Time to see how I did.

Shockingly, I did not cure all my problems and become a super human!

I still wish I ate healthier more often. I still have trouble sleeping at times when I stay up too late and throw off my schedule. I still struggle being motivated to exercise as much as I wish I did.

But what changed for me is the trajectory of my life. Instead of being stuck in these patterns I’m learning how to take action. I’m constantly benchmarking my life to see how I improved and how I regressed.

I’ve tried to adapt a model of continuous improvement of myself. I want to focus on always getting better. I’ve found for myself that if I’m not focusing on getting better then I’m naturally getting worse.

All this to say, I don’t think this is necessarily the best plan for everyone. For instance, my girlfriend’s mind works completely different from mine in this area. I don’t expect that she’ll ever want to embark on this regimen because she’s not wired the same way I am.

I do think that it’s important to find whatever way works for us to pursue growth. We’re never going to achieve perfection or arrive at a destination where we can coast the rest of our lives. It is my personal belief though, that we should all strive to take steps towards bettering ourselves in the areas we desire growth.