Ready to Start Accomplishing Your Goals? Try Asking Yourself Some Questions!

Posted on January 19, 2014, under Time Management Skills.

Accomplishing Goals by Asking QuestionsAccomplishing your goals … is it a priority for you in 2014?

For many it’s a challenge that gets more and more complicated as January 1 fades into history and the details of living intrude and add unexpected complexity to our New Year’s Resolution  road-map to success. So, as the year unfolds, how can you keep on track when it comes to accomplishing your goals?

Well, I came upon a very interesting piece on lifehacker this morning titled “Frame Your Goals as Questions to Motivate Accomplishments” that digs down into our self-talk to look at how it can affect the way that we approach our goals. Now, this is something we’ve written about here in the past – self-talk and how it shapes perspective, energy, time choices and, ultimately, our ability to succeed.

But quite honestly, while I use questions extensively in my coaching practice, this article offers a new twist!  I had never specifically considered the power of framing goals as questions.  And I love the idea that asking oneself questions is a way to spark and harness your curiosity and energy … all in the service of accomplishing your goals.

The lifehacker article is based on a more esoteric academic piece titled “Motivating Goal-Directed Behavior Through Introspective Self-Talk: The Role of the Interrogative Form of Simple Future Tense” that was published by the National Institute of Health.  It also cites an article by Warren Berger published in Fast Company titled “Before You Abandon Those Resolutions, Read This.” In fact, this last is actually the most in-depth and accessible of the three pieces.

Accomplishing Your Goals by Enlisting Your Curiosity and Creativity

Here’s how Warren Berger frames the fundamental theory:

Let me suggest an easy experiment–a minor tweak that can be applied to those languishing resolutions. By adding a few words, you can turn a resolution statement or command into a question–resulting in what I hereby dub the “questolution.” Okay, the term is a bit clunky, but the idea is irresistibly simple: a questolution is a resolution worded in the form of a question. And just by putting it in that form, you may be increasing the likelihood you’ll actually do it.

Let’s say your resolution is, I will drink more water this year. As a questolution, that becomes something like, How might I get myself to drink more water this year? Similarly, I will make some new friends becomes How might I make some new friends?

Do you see how that could work for you?

Asking a question aligns you with yourself as a peer or a supportive friend as you undertake the task of accomplishing your goals.

On the other hand, framing your goals as a declaration or a command is likely to elicit reactions like anxiety or rebellion.

So what do you think about trying this for yourself?  Take one of your New Year’s Resolutions and reframe it as a question … and see what emerges.  (Or rather, How might you reframe one of your New Year’s Resolutions to make it a question?)   ;-)

And for additional motivation, here’s an intriguing video about questions:

To your time success …

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There are 7 Responses to “Ready to Start Accomplishing Your Goals? Try Asking Yourself Some Questions!”

#1 Luchie C. - 19 January, 11:30 AM

I can see how this can really work where goals are concerned. Why haven’t I thought to see it this way? :D The video was really fun! That was a very creative way to expose some life truths.

#2 Paula Eder - 19 January, 11:35 AM

Thanks, Luchie! I’m really glad you liked it – and it’s nice to connect two days in a row! ;-)

#3 Nikki - 19 January, 11:36 AM

I like the rework on forming questions. I definitely think this can work for me. From now on, I’m going to try to do this.

#4 Amy - 19 January, 11:58 AM

I always love to read your posts, Paula. You always make me THINK hard about something. And thanks for sharing the LifeHacker website. It looks awesome!

#5 Paula Eder - 19 January, 12:15 PM

Thanks so much, Amy. I feel the same about your blog posts (and congratulations!!). Glad to share lifehacker – it really is a wonderful site! ;-)

#6 Warren Berger - 20 January, 11:52 AM

Love your “How might you reframe one of your New Year’s Resolutions to make it a question?” Resolutions as questions, or Questolutions, actually comes from my site and the subsequent piece I wrote for Fast Company on the idea. As the video shows, questioning is something we all know how to do (kids ask 40,000 questions between ages 2 and 5) but is something we take for granted as we get older. There’s a lot of power in actionable (or what I call “beautiful”) questions. My take is that it’s worth spending the time to get better at questioning because it will serve you well in your career and in life.

#7 Paula Eder - 20 January, 1:43 PM

Thanks for stopping by, Warren, and I am glad you liked the post. I thoroughly enjoyed your exploration of the subject, and love the term ‘beautiful’ questions. I’ve always used questions extensively in my coaching practice, but had not thought of them quite so specifically … as a very creative and productive way to frame goals.

I'd love to hear what you think!

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