Right now, remind yourself of the truth.
Remind yourself that the New Year means nothing if your mind is still boxed up in its comfort zone.
Don’t fool yourself into living the same year 90 times and calling it a life.
And don’t just think outside the box in 2020…
Think like there is no box.
Open your mind!
Start by asking yourself better questions.
Questions that break you away from all the comfortable distractions in your life, so you can refocus your thinking on what matters most…
(And what should everyone be able to say before the end of 2020?)
A Slightly Deeper Dive into Self-Questioning
As I alluded to in the intro, the questions you ask yourself on a regular basis can determine the type of person you become. Self-questioning, when leveraged effectively and consistently, gradually frees your mind to focus on what matters most. This process is something Marc and I have successfully guided hundreds of our coaching clients and course students through over the past decade, to help them cope with the various debilitating sources of stress that were holding them back.
If you’d like to better cope with the stress in your own life in 2020, I’ll give you a few bonus questions to consider. Unlike the questions above, which focus on the big picture of what’s important to you, the following will support you when you’re derailed by the frustrations of life’s smaller everyday encounters. The key to using these questions is embracing the fact that most of the frustrations and stress in your daily life could be avoided if you would simply take the time to ask, “What else could this mean?”
So next time a random life situation starts to get the best of you, pause, take a deep breath, and then ask yourself:
- What’s the story I’m telling myself about this situation?
- Can I be absolutely certain this story is the truth?
- How do I feel and behave when I tell myself this story?
- If I stopped telling myself this story once and for all, what else might I see, feel, or experience?
Give yourself the space to think it through carefully. Mull it over consciously. And see how doing so opens your mind to respond more peacefully and appropriately in the year ahead.
(Note: Self-questioning and other self-coaching practices are also covered in detail in our New York Times bestselling book, Getting Back to Happy: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Reality, and Turn Your Trials into Triumphs.)
Now, it’s your turn…
Above all, what you need to remember is that it’s not the answers you get from others, but the questions you ask yourself that will help you grow stronger.
So I challenge you to re-read and reference all the questions above throughout the year. And keep in mind that they have no right or wrong answers. Because asking the right questions of yourself, regularly, is the answer.
And before you go, please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
We’d love to read your response to question #3 above: What’s the #1 change you need to make in your life in 2020?
Also, we recently released our NEW podcast, THINK BETTER, LIVE BETTER (yes, it shares the title of our annual live event). You can listen to the first 10 episodes on your favorite podcast player right now (M&A on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts).
Finally, our next annual Think Better, Live Better conference is taking place February 8-9, 2020 in San Diego. We just released 5 more discounted early bird tickets that are still available right now (while they last).
My 2020 goal is to find out what is important to me and what I really like to do. I’ve realized that I do many things because society has told me that they are desirable or I should do them because….
Some of the decisions are difficult. I’m self-employed, and there are two businesses that I handle. I like doing one more than the other, but the other is a consistent income source. However, it isn’t growing–and the time I spend on it could be used on the other business I like more. The business I like more isn’t always consistent in income in that it has slow months, though possibly I could change that by diversifying more. However, that requires more time on my part…so I’ve decided to focus on the business I love and stop doing the other. It is a bit scary, but I think it is the right decision.
I also have this crazy dream I’m working towards. I have physical goals this year–get stronger physically, more flexible, work on my balance–because I want to learn how to ice skate. The negative voice in my head thinks I’m a nutcase for wanting to learn how to ice skate in my 40s. I’ve wanted to do it ever since I was a kid, and so I’ve decided I’m going to work towards that. However, I do think I should physically prepare just a bit before I actually take a class. From what I’ve observed, it does take a lot of core strength and some flexibility, and I would rather not get injured if I can help it. I’m hoping I’m not catering to the negativity by saying I should prepare before I do this, but I’ve had too many cases in the past where I jumped into something full of enthusiasm and then abandoned it because I didn’t prepare adequately.
Most indoor ice rinks have a US Figure Skating Basic Skills program for adults and children. Besides doing core work doing some leg work standing and lying down would be most helpful. Enjoy!
Congratulations, Jessica! You should be so proud of yourself for finally doing “you” this year! Way to go!
I don’t see your time of preparation for skating as “catering to the negativity”, just as wisdom. You are still taking steps towards your goal as you are increasing your flexibility, etc. I think that’s amazing! ?
Thank you so much for those thoughtful questions. I’m enjoying your emails and posts since last summer and I bought your most recent book as soon as it was released : you actually deserve being the #1 website regarding personnal development in USA. I’m interested in the matter since a long time (over 30 years) and I’ve been reminded of so much thank to you both. Best wishes from France to you and Marc and to all your readers for a constructive 2020.
—Mary a French coach living in France
Riley Chin says
Happy 2020, M&A! The number one change I need to make in 2019 is to stay consistent with my positive daily rituals.
Truly, with every email newsletter and blog post I read of yours I get a bit stronger inside and am able to push myself further forward. I’ve also recently completed your getting back to happiness course, and the positive daily rituals you’ve set me up with have already had a profound impact on my peace of mind and productivity over the past three months. Thank you. 🙂
I really like your first question here. In one sentence: I am the sum of 54 years of life experiences, choices, accomplishments, failures, and work – and I will continue to grow with every new experience, accomplishment, failure and task to come.
Anyway, inspiring post, as always from you two! I learn so much from your write-ups, emails, etc. I also bought your book just before Christmas and love it too. Super actionable! Thanks again for everything you share. Happy 2020! You’re a blessing.
Janet Vessels says
Your articles/posts are always informative and I forward them to my clients often. You are great storytellers and I appreciate your work.
I love these questions – they’re so thought provoking. I definitely have some journaling and reflecting to do.
In 2020 I think I need to be more adventurous. The #1 change I’d like to make is to get out the house more and try new things.
Matt Stiefvater says
The Universe always seems to provide
the information I need at the precise time I need it, and this time it is channeled through your amazing
wisdom, kindness, and not sugar coating personal transformation.
It takes hard work yet the benefits
are so worth it when you can push through the inertia and the momentary
These ” check in” questions are
invaluable in my journey!!
Thank you so much!
Thank you Marc and Angel, you have been such a blessing but right now i am going through a rough heartbreaking patch as a just lost my Sister on the 9th of last month and sincerely i still hurt, please can you be kind enough to write something about grief, i am trying to cope but this is hard!!
Thanks for your inspiration through 2019 and a thought provoking start to 2020 – tough questions for sure. Best wishes to you both. Ann in Ireland
Would you please post these 20 QUESTIONS in a list that I can refer to every day, keep in a journal, write answers to–maybe draft lots of answers to?
Hey M&A…your blog posts are touching and changing lives far and wide. Am from Uganda(A tiny country in East Africa) and you will never hear of such things as life coaches where i come from-no one considers that serious work but you have helped me tremendously. i was out of work for close to a year in 2019 and these posts and emails kept me sane!! Am grateful i managed to get work towards the end of this year and i try to forward your work to as many people as i can. You wouldn’t believe the unemployment rate here which of course can leave one very depressed, but seeing as you helped me through that tough time, i would love nothing more than to share that with friends. Your truly a blessing.
First of all: thanks for this post, just what I needed to start my day and new year with. 2019 has been a struggle for me, and hopefully i can find the strength to do things differently in 2020.
The number 1 change I need to make this year is to stop find distraction in social media, computer games and such and start exploring who I really am and want to be.
MANDLA MKHIZE says
SINCE LAST YEAR IM ENJOYING READING AND ITS HELP ME A LOT
Bonnie Staughton says
My answer to question #3 is that I need to stop taking what people say or do so personally. I really “get hurt” by what some people say and I keep stressing on it after they have certainly forgotten all about it. I guess I’m too sensitive. I need to stop it worrying about it and get happy. Whatever they think of me shouldn’t matter to me. It just shows what kind of people they are. I should forgive them for being so insensitive.
These are all great questions to ask Angel. I think it is a good idea to get out of our comfort zones for personal growth. Being able to tolerate the feeling of uncertainty is paramount to our growth.
What would we do or try if no one judged us? That is a great question. I’ll keep my answer private. 🙂
I just cried my heart out answering these questions the worst was that i couldnt properly answer the question who am i? I know what i do, what my responsibilities are what i like and dont like but who am i? My answer to question 3 this year was easy – stop wanting approval and self worth to be determined or given from others. I feel raw after answering those questions but its something good and scary thankyou for this. Thankyou so much
Olanrewaju SHERIFDEEN from NIGERIA says
My Focus Is To Be Joyful With or Without Anybody. Anger, Hatred, Happiness Are Internal Chemicals That You Can Create From Within.
These are very confronting questions some difficult. I am sure with practise my inner thoughts shall emerge opening up my mind. I look forward to changing my thought pattern although difficult to do. I am always asking ‘who am I’ & forever changing and understanding myself. Difficulty with the ups and downs & trying to find inner strength to get up again.