Asking yourself the right questions

September’s Discardia is all about Quality Over Quantity. This year it’s a very short holiday—just two days, due to the new moon following the day after the equinox—so rather than taking on a big project, I recommend using this time to create a list of questions which will inform your decisions between now and the end of the year. Which questions will be most useful to you varies depending on what you want to work on in your life. I’ve listed some of my favorites here and I’d love it if you add others that have been valuable for you in the comments.

  • Is this on my ‘things that make me happy’ list or my ‘things I don’t want in my life’ list?
    I picked this up in 2010 at Maggie Mason and Laura Mayes' SXSW session on building your dream life. It’s helpful with everything from big life choices on down to deciding what should be on the coffee table.
  • Where is my attention? How am I spending my energy?
    This pair of questions is a reality check of your intentions vs. where your time and effort actually goes.
  • When did I last use or enjoy this?
    Find what has become stale and clear it away to make room for better things.
  • What could I take care of now that would reduce my risk of future hassle?
    Whenever you have a pause, this is a great way to give things a little nudge toward better or to identify and eliminate problems for your future self.
  • Which choice would the person I want to be make?
    Appeal to your best self even on small decisions and you will create the future that calls that version of you into being.

Put your questions where you’ll see them often—printed out and pinned over your desk or on the fridge or by the bathroom mirror or on a card in your wallet or all of these. Let them seep into your daily habits and use them to fine-tune your world.