Career Managing Self Planning

Daily Questions. Magic.

Written by Allison Wolf

We all have good intentions.

We have positive habits we wish to develop and bad habits we want to drop.

We might want to be better listeners, or better at answering phone messages.  Yet no matter how important our intentions it is so easy to get thrown off course.

I have good news for you.  A simple daily questions practice that will help you with getting better at your follow through.

This practice comes from one of the world’s leading leadership coaches, Marshall Goldsmith. In his latest book, Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts–Becoming the Person You Want to Be, he features this cornerstone habit that he has practiced daily for the last twenty years.

The daily questions are a series of questions that you ask yourself at the end of each day.

“In my coaching practice I have only a handful of magic moves,” offers Goldsmith. The practice of self-questioning “changes everything … It’s objective is to alter our behaviour, not the behaviour of others.” (Triggers, p.101-102.)

The daily questions ask you to reflect on how well you did at giving attention and energy to your most important priorities and commitments that day. The questions are answered on a scale of one to ten.

Goldsmith asks himself these cornerstone questions everyday:

Did I do my best to set clear goals today?

  • Did I do my best to make progress toward my goals today?
  • Did I do my best to find meaning today?
  • Did I do my best to be happy today?
  • Did I do my best to build positive relationships today?
  • Did I do my best to be fully engaged today?

This focus on “did I do my best” is a vital piece of the magic. It asks us to measure our effort today against yesterday’s effort. This ritual of the daily questions is an essential tool for instilling a growth mindset into our day.

I am now introducing daily questions to many of my clients and have them email me their results at the end of each week. My clients select questions reflective of the important commitments and behaviours they wish to focus on.

I also have a series of daily questions I ask myself and write the answers down in my journal each night.

At first I tracked my scores in an excel spreadsheet but I didn’t like turning the computer on at the end of the night. So now I track my results in a journal.

It also helps to have an accountability partner you report to on your results. Goldsmith has had someone call him every night to ask him the questions. I have my clients email me their results weekly to help support them in maintaining the habit.

For me the results of the daily questions are very positive. When I know I’ll be evaluating my goal-setting and progress, I make sure to focus on these. Knowing that I will assess my efforts to be happy triggers me to practice the what went well exercise at the end of the day, one of the best investments in happiness I can make.

What could daily questions help you with?

About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.

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