3 Questions to Live Life More Consciously
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Bart Kloosterhuis - 02/07/2019

3 self-reflection questions to help shape your life more consciously

Want to create a life you love? First, you need to ask yourself the right questions. The three questions included in this blog post are a great place to start, but for lasting change, we believe self-reflection must be a life-long habit. That's why we created Vertellis Chapters - a unique mindfulness journal designed to help you create the life YOU want!

Did you know that self-reflection is the #1 “common denominator” among "successful and happy people" (whatever “successful” may mean)?

Self-reflection does not have to be difficult or take a lot of time. I wrote another blog about how I make self-reflection fun, fast, & simple for myself. This time I share three questions that can help you, too!


We can’t ignore it

Researcher Giada Di Stefano and colleagues studied people who spent 15 minutes self-reflecting on a daily basis. A group of participants asked themselves at the end of the day what they had learned that day and wrote down their observations. This group scored 23% better on a final measurement (including work performance) than the control group of employees who had not reflected. [1]

A study in Britain got the same results with commuters. The group of commuters who reflected on what would make their day successful as they went to and from work felt “happier, more productive and less burned-out” than those who didn’t. [2]

Make time for self-reflection

The only challenge is finding a way that encourages you to take that precious moment to self-reflect for ten minutes a day.

Three of the Vertellis co-founders - Lars, Liz, and myself - were looking for a way to create self-reflection moments for ourselves offline. We wanted a physical book that would encourage us to take time to reflect, but we found that the book we wanted didn’t exist! Being the entrepreneurs that we are, this led us to create our own “all-in-one self-reflection book": Vertellis Chapters!

Vertellis Chapters is part notebook, part diary, and part inspirational book. We’ve included space for things we find important, such as:

  • writing notes of gratitude (which increases your sense of happiness!)
  • documenting feedback sessions with yourself (what's going well, what could be better…)
  • reflecting on “prompts” that make you think…these prompts may be inspiring quotes, stories or facts. You might even write your own provocative questions for yourself — this is something Vertellis is particularly known for.

Three Questions for Self-Reflection

The questions that were answered in the studies by Giada Di Stefano: “What did I learn today?” and “What will make my day a success?” can be supplemented with questions from Vertellis Chapters. They will help you shape your life more consciously, stop living in reactive mode, and to take control of your own life! 

# 1 What are you grateful for at the moment?

All too often we dwell on what goes wrong in a day. That’s just negative reflection. Instead, if you answer the question about what you are grateful for, you force yourself to shift focus to positive events. Do this often enough and the synapses (the links between the nerve cells) in your brain will form more positive connections. You become more optimistic and will begin to see more opportunities around you.

# 2 What is going well? What can be done better?

By asking yourself these two open-ended questions, you're training your brain to make continuous improvements. This not only motivates you to always do better, but also helps you reflect on areas you could improve on from a place of non-judgment. "What can be done better?" is not meant to shame or blame or encourage perfectionism. Use these questions to look at your choices and recognizing what YOU have the power to change!

# 3 What are you going to start in the coming period; What will you stop; What will you continue doing?

Verne Harnish (“the Growth Guy” and writer of the Rockefeller Habits) describes the triptych of starting-stopping. What will you start next? What will you stop doing? What has merit so you choose to continue? Asking yourself these questions provides the perfect feedback loop for yourself. Just like “What is going well?” and “What can be done better?”, this starting-stopping set of questions keeps you sharp.

Ask yourself questions 1 and 2 daily; ask yourself question 3 at the end of the week. As you do this, you'll naturally become more aware. You'll gain more control over your life in various areas, from performance at work to being an all-around happier and more productive person. Self-reflection questions are powerful.

Create a self-reflection moment for yourself

A self-reflection moment for yourself is incredibly valuable. It helps you reflect, grow, and shape your life more purposefully and consciously. Choose an area of your life that you want to reflect on, whichever one you want. Writing about it in Vertellis Chapters might be just what you need.

Go for it! 

(And a nice quote to end this article!)

Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself” – William Faulkner.

Want to learn more about Vertellis Chapters? Check it out here!



[1] http://www.hec.edu/Knowledge/News/The-power-of-reflection-at-work-by-Giada-Di-Stefano

[2] http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication%20Files/16-077_0aae29b7-b67e-402a-9bc9-c06dd477e8da.pdf

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