3 Questions to Ask Yourself to Keep Improving

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One way that we can remain competitive and on track is by measuring how far we’ve gone with our goals and aspirations.

Today, I will be writing on questions that you can ask yourself to measure your improvements in all areas of your life.

These three questions that I wanted to write about are what I have used in my career and professional life. I have used them as a consistent review process to check where I was going – where I was heading. I have also used them in my life for a range of reasons.

One of the big things to talk about first is how often you do this review process. Sometimes, people adopt a daily review process. However, it doesn’t have to be daily – you can adopt a monthly review strategy. It all depends on the goals or aspirations that you’ve set out for yourself.

Sometimes, it’s not easy to change somethings within a day. Just recognise that for whatever you’re working on, it would take time if it’s worth it. But if there are somethings that you instantly want to change, this review process can bring about a certain awareness of where you’re at. And ultimately, that is what this whole process does – it gives you an awareness of where you’re currently at, where you want to go, and areas that you feel you can develop much further. It also builds enough motivation for you to do it. Let’s quickly head into the first question.

What am I doing well?

It’s a really simple question. What am I doing well? However, it’s super hard to answer because we get overwhelmed by the number of negativities in our lives. We gravitate towards those negativities so often, and patting ourselves in our backs can be the hardest thing to do.

I encourage you to try and find some things that you’re doing well. And it’s really easy to look at some of the outcomes and results that we’re trying to achieve – whether it be running fast, jumping higher, moving better. We can look at it and feel like we’re not where we want to be. But ultimately, looking back and seeing where you are and whether you’ve made the improvement that you had your sights on, will allow you to self-motivate.

There can be other areas which you can focus on, which are outside of these measurables. They are the more intrinsic values, the internal ways that you go about the things you do. I will tell a story that I was told very often in my professional career – it was that I was so driven. It used to annoy me and piss me off to a point where I was like, “stop telling me I’m driven. I want to be told I’m skilled at this, skilled at that, and that I’m the best at this”.

But then I recognised that being driven was a great value – a great trait to have because I can put that into anything. I may have discovered that this praise that I was getting wasn’t what I wanted at the time. But once I recognised that it was a value, it really did motivate me into everything else that I did.

So, I would look at how enthusiastic, how passionate that I was going into it. Did I feel like I was making a difference? How was I going about how things? Did I come with good energy into the session that I had? Did I commit to the training session that had? Did I commit to being in the room – being present with the people that I was with? And that was something that I would measure myself on – more towards who I was as a person rather than what I was doing.

So, we can very easily focus on the what, but I would also encourage you to focus on who you are. Are you sticking to your values? Are you giving out good energy? Do you think about others? Are you compassionate and empathetic? All of these are things to measure yourself and continuously self-motivated because we then start to paint a picture of who we are as a person. And it encourages us, it motivates us, if we understand that we are making a difference.

If at the end of this you feel like you’re struggling for any information that’s coming in that’s good and positive, ask someone. It’s the simplest thing you can do. Just find someone that you’re close to – it could be a coach, a mentor, friend, or family member. Ask them, what do you think I’m doing that’s well at the moment? What’s inspiring you about me at the moment?

As soon as they tell you – because there would be something, I can promise you – write it down. It could be something to do with your purpose; it could be something to do with values. But ultimately, keep that, write it down, store it in your mind. And that is something that we will be ingrained in your head once you hear it from another person. So, I encourage you to ask someone if you can’t find it yourself.

What I am doing not so well?

The second question is a much easier one to answer because it tends to be the one that’s screaming at us all the time. Here, we can get bombarded with multiple, massive list of things. For this one, I would encourage you to make sure you reduce the list. Pick a couple of things – maybe one, maybe two. Something on that list that you feel are high-priority. Things that are really bugging at you. Things that are really getting in the way of you being where you want to be.

So, once you’ve recognised those one or two things, make it simple. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Pick one, and then you can move on to the third question and the third process. But again, if you feel like you are struggling to figure out what it is that you’re maybe not doing so well or you want someone to affirm what it is that you’re not doing so well. Simply ask. Again, ask someone, where do you think I can improve?

I get really encouraged when I have athletes and kids that I’m coaching, come up to me and ask me, where do you think I can get better? I would also actually go back a step and say if you’re an athlete and you’re struggling, and you go up to your coach and ask, what am I not doing so well? Where can I improve? Ask them as well; what do you want to see me continue doing? What am I doing well? – which is another way of going about that first question. Ultimately, again, if you’re not sure where you need to improve – where you think the most improvement you can make is, ask someone.

Usually, that person outside of yourself will have a better understanding and see it without this emotional judgement. As long as you trust that person, as long as you trust and value their opinion, and you respect their opinion, then you’re going to get a real honest and true answer to that question. So again, just pick one or two of these because you can get overwhelmed with the sheer amount that is there. Once you’ve got that one or two piece of information – that one area that you want to work on, and also combined with the things that you’re going to continue doing well, move on to the third question.

What I am going to do to improve?

This is just pure action – whether it is an action the next day, or over the following weekend. And here, you’re putting in a tangible review, plan and schedule of what you can do. Again, you can do this with someone. You must be keen on creating accountability. Find that person who you can stay accountable to – whether it is your coach, a teammate, or friend. And ultimately, you then have someone who can hold you accountable to this. And if you’re able to continue with that person and they’ve got a similar goal, then you’re both going to be able to motivate each other, and again have that accountability.

So, putting into place a plan, an action, will help create motivation. Knowing you’re waking up the next day, you understand what your purpose is for that day, in order to achieve. I definitely struggle with this one sometimes because I find that I have too many things. So, again going back to just picking one or two things and see if you can just work on that to improve day by day. It might be day one you do this, day two you do that, and then you move on and on and on. Or over the week, you continuously work on something. It might be, over this week, I’m going to try to be more positive in what I do. If I find I’m negative in what I do, I’m going to try and catch myself with this negative self-talk and flip it and create positive self-talk.

So, whatever it is, try and catch yourself when you may be reverting to old habits, old ways, and then shift your mindset. Try and quickly change into this positive frame of mind – this positive movement that you’re trying to make in your life.


Final thoughts

So, those are the three questions. Find the different ways, the different modalities that you could use to implement them into your life. Please give them a go. If you have any questions or if you have any ways in which you’re struggling – whether it’s in your sport or life, then do head over to my website at www.lewishatchett.com. You can also contact me on Instagram. Hopefully, this blog post has given you some clarity in a way in which you can continuously move forward so that you can progress daily, weekly, or yearly.