Want to Change? Try These Questions

We all ask questions on a daily basis.  Some questions you direct to others and some to yourself.  If you want to get the best answer to your questions, you need to be sure you have asked the right questions. This is especially true when you are thinking about changing something. 

A good question provides the information you need and satisfies three requirements.  Each question:

  1. Must be specific and clear so that an accurate answer is possible.
  2. Needs to be simple or have only one part.  Compound questions are confusing because one part may be true and the other part false.  Usually your intuition will only answer the first part.
  3. Needs to be directly relevant to the issue you want to know about.  When you want to know if ABC Corporation stock is a good investment, instead of asking if ABC Corporation is a good company, ask if it will be a good investment over a given time period.

In her book, Change Your Questions Change Your Life (2004), Marilee Adams, PhD. believes you can change your future by asking the right questions.

As you go through life, you need to choose words that are solution rather than blame or problem focused when asking yourself or others questions. For instance, if you are thinking about changing your career or whether or not to retire, you are thinking about changing something in your life. The change may be health related: do I want to lose weight now or join a fitness program. 

What are you thinking about changing?

The following questions cover different areas of life you might want to change. To practice, try using some of the following questions with yourself to keep you moving forward in an area of your life that is important to you:

  • What do I want?  Creates self-awareness.
  • What can I learn from this?  Creates self-awareness.
  • What am I responsible for?  Creates self-awareness, self-control and confidence.
  • What is the other person thinking, feeling, needing, and wanting?  Creates empathy.
  • What is possible?  Creates motivation.
  • What are my choices?  Creates self-awareness.
  • What is the best thing for me to do now?  Creates self-control.
  • Is this feeling related to the current situation, or is it related to some old situation, person, or feeling?  Creates self-awareness and self-control.
  • What are the consequences?  Creates self-control.
  • What other information do I need?  Creates self-control and motivation.

If you slightly reword some of the above questions, they can be helpful to other people also. 

If change and action are what you are looking for, asking more powerful questions can alter your perception and attitude.  Try this with yourself, and see how it helps you get results.

What do you think?  Comment below.

Until next time,



  1. Maurine says

    Hi Marilee,

    Thanks for your comment. I find your book very helpful personally and for my clients. Look for my email.

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