Two Motivating Questions I Ask Myself Every Morning

by John Soares on April 24, 2014

Asking and answering morning questions will make you a happier and more productive person.

Courtesy of Micky

Asking yourself good motivating questions and then answering them can boost your productivity and increase your happiness according to studies conducted by psychologists in recent years.

That’s why I always ask and answer…

My Two Morning Motivating Questions

I got the idea for asking morning questions from an audio tape I checked out of the library back when I lived on Kaua’i in the late 1990s. (Author lost to the mists of time.)

I answer them as I’m taking the first sips of my morning coffee, often while I’m outside looking at the stars or the sunrise, and it only takes a minute or two to do. The answers really motivate me in all areas of my life and they help me focus on what I really need to do that day.

Here they are:

1. “What is Good About My Life?”

This question helps me focus on why Iā€™m glad to be alive and it puts me in a good frame of mind.

Another version of this question I frequently use: “What am I grateful for?”

2. “What Are the Most Important Things I Need to Do Today?”

This question helps me focus on my main priorities for the day. My improved mental state from answering the first question motivates me to get going on what I really need to do.

Important Points about Motivating Morning Questions

I ask “What is good about my life?” first because it improves my mood. Then, when I ask myself “What are the most important things I need to do today?” I’m in a better frame of mind to both determine what needs to be done and to actually get those things done.

Your Take

Do you ask yourself motivating questions? What are they? When do you ask them? How do they help you? Share with us!

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cathy Miller April 24, 2014 at 6:54 AM

What a lovely way to start the morning, John. Hawaii has that effect, doesn’t it? :-)

I ask the 2nd question but I really like prefacing it with your 1st. We’ve discussed before that one motivational question I ask (in defusing negativity) is Is this worth the energy? I need to add the positive. Thanks for sharing, John.
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2 John Soares April 24, 2014 at 7:27 AM

Hawai’i was great for me in many ways Cathy. I think about it almost every day.

“Is this worth the energy” is a great question to ask, especially when making decisions.
John Soares recently posted…How I Chose My Freelance Writing Niches


3 KeriLynn Engel April 24, 2014 at 7:08 AM

Perfect, I love this! I’ve been asking the second question, but not the first. The first makes all the difference. I might just post this on my wall over my desk! :)

I find it also helps to remind myself, when thinking of what needs to be done, to be goal-oriented and not task-oriented. I think about how things that “need” to be done fit with my overall goals, and sometimes I realize they don’t actually need to be done, or aren’t as important as I thought.
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4 John Soares April 24, 2014 at 7:30 AM

Kerilynn, I find the first question really puts me in a good frame of mind and gets me motivated to act on the answers to the second question.

I also like your focus on goal orientation rather than task orientation. I sometimes find myself about to do something that isn’t really important, but is easy.
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5 Lori Ferguson April 24, 2014 at 7:38 AM

These are wonderful questions, John. Like others, I frequently sail right past the first question and land squarely on the second. But I so agree with your assertion that the first question sets the tone for the day. Definitely going to loop this into my routine–thanks! :-)


6 John Soares April 24, 2014 at 7:48 AM

I’m really glad it helped Lori!
John Soares recently posted…How to Align Your Writing Income with Your Career Goals


7 Stephanie Hoffman April 24, 2014 at 8:25 AM

Wonderful questions, John :)

I do something similar, though I ask my two questions before I go to sleep. The first one is, “Did I love well?” and the other is, “Did I live fully?” Most of the time the answers are “yes” and “yes.” When I get a “no” or two, then I ask myself, “what can I do more of tomorrow?”


8 John Soares April 24, 2014 at 8:32 AM

Excellent questions Stephanie! Maybe I’ll eventually do a post about nighttime questions and I’ll include those (crediting you, of course).
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9 Anne Wayman April 24, 2014 at 11:13 AM

perfect… starting with gratitude always works.
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10 John Soares April 24, 2014 at 12:52 PM

I agree Anne!
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11 Laura Spencer April 24, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Great inspirational post John,

Like some of your other readers, I especially like the first question. Without that question, we can get hung up in your number two question.

I’ve heard that thankful people are happier people, and I believe that it’s true. But you can’t be thankful unless you know what you have to be thankful for.


12 John Soares April 24, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Laura, psychologists are finding correlations between gratitude and happiness, and also better health.
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13 Kaloyan Banev April 24, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Same question for everybody? I believe that everybody should find own motivational questions, as every personality is very complex.


14 John Soares April 24, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Agreed. Everyone should use the questions that work best for them.

Which questions work well for you?
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15 Peter D. Mallett April 25, 2014 at 7:20 AM

Hi John, thank for this short, but important post. It is particularly important for me to focus on these things right now. I’ve had a recent hard situation in my life, and I’ve just switched over to a self-hosted site. I think I might need a tear-off notepad with those questions at the top.
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16 John Soares April 25, 2014 at 7:27 AM

Peter, these two questions have helped me on even the darkest days of my life. I hope you get to brighter days soon.
John Soares recently posted…How I Chose My Freelance Writing Niches


17 Brad Bernard May 5, 2014 at 9:21 PM

Yes, totally makes sense to adjust the focus on what’s most important. If I jump right into small tasks, my time will be consumed with elaborate nothingness all day. Thanks for sharing.
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18 Elizabeth Manneh July 11, 2015 at 7:34 AM

Thanks so much for this John. I find mornings really difficult and it’s often hard for me to get going if I don’t have a pressing deadline. I often end the day thinking I could have achieved more. I think it’s great to remember to be grateful first too. I will definitely be adopting this strategy. Thanks for the tip!


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