20 Questions That Will Make You a Better Person

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Look at yourself. Deep inside where you cannot hide. That internal part of you where no one else goes and that often you pretend that isn't there.

Excellent students of life take the time to answer good questions.

Sit down with a piece of paper and play twenty questions with yourself.

  1. If everybody where I work was just like me, what would this place be like?
  2. What one thing, if I did it every day, would make the biggest difference in my life?
  3. What is the one thing – that when it happens at work – causes me the most stress every day?
  4. What is the one thing – that when it happens at home – causes me the most stress every day?
  5. If my face froze in my most common expression, what would it be?
  6. If the last conversation I had with my spouse/ child was the only one they remembered – how would they remember me?
  7. If today was videoed for a group of my peers to watch – what would be their criticisms?
  8. If today was videoed for a group of my peers to watch – what would be their accolades?
  9. If someone looked in my checkbook and saw the daily spending habits reflected there – what would they say about my finances? (If nothing is written in there, it says something too.)
  10. What is the one thing I do every day that if I gave it up, my life would be better?
  11. If someone else said to me the worst thing I said to myself today, what would I have done?
  12. If every day was as well planned as today, how would I be living?
  13. If I ate every day like I ate today, what would I look like in a year?
  14. If I became just like the two people I choose to be around the most at work – what would I become?
  15. If I watched as much television as I watched today- everyday – how many hours would I spend a week?
  16. If I had an extra hour a day that I could spend doing anything I wanted – what is the one thing I could do in that hour that would improve my life the most?
  17. If as many people helped me today as I helped others – how much help would I get?
  18. What is the longest period of time today I focused on one task?
  19. What is one simple thing that costs no money that gives me joy?
  20. If today was my last day, would I have done anything differently?

You are the sum total of what you do EVERY day.

You Are What You Do.
You are not only what you eat but what you think and do.

Ninety five per cent of what you accomplish in this life is due to your habits. (Be Excellent in Anything: Four Keys to Transforming The Way We Work and Live  )

Now, that you've written your answers, you've written your own plan for improving your own life.


That is the word. Why do people not fulfill new Year's Resolutions? They don't OWN them.

If someone else has told you something you need to be – that is their goal for you. Be honest inside your heart and gut where no one else can see and work on a habit that makes the most difference to YOU.  This is your life. You get one chance. It is time to move forward. 

Write it Down.

In Brian Tracy‘s book, No Excuses! The Power of Self Discipline he cites a study  done of people who complete their New Year's Resolutions.

Of those who DON'T write down their goal – only 4% complete them. Of those who DO write down their goal 44% of them complete their goals. (That is an 1100% improvement in the likeliness of accomplishing your goal by just WRITING IT DOWN!)

There Can Be Only One.
Select ONE thing. One habit from your list above. Write it down as a goal.

“I will balance my checkbook every morning.”

“I will walk for 30 minutes a day.”
“I will join Weight watchers and count my points.”
“I will cook dinner for my family every night.”
“I will get up early and have my quiet time every morning.”

Take the next 31 days to work on Just that one habit. Not two, not three, ONE. ONE! ONE! Experts in this sort of thing like Leo Babauta in his book the Power of Less shares to pick one habit and work on that one until it is ingrained and then add the next. This works!

Just one thing to improve your life the most. What is it?

It is in your list above.

Put it On your Calendar
Consider doing it first thing in the morning before you leave your house. Set it on your calendar. Set an alarm.

Setting the appointment takes the think-work out of having to figure out every day when you'll do something. And at the end of the day you are tired and low on self control and just won't do it. The appointment with yourself makes it mindless. And that is what habits are, something you do without thinking.


Write it. Own It. Put the appointment on your calendar right now.

Do it!

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Theresa May 6, 2011 - 3:39 pm

Very powerful – thanks for posting.

coolcatteacher May 6, 2011 - 7:06 pm

Thank you.

Vicki Davis
Sent from my iPad

coolcatteacher May 6, 2011 - 7:07 pm

Thank you.

Vicki Davis
Sent from my iPad

Rob Griffith May 6, 2011 - 3:22 pm

Great questions, great advice, great post! Thanks.

Rob Griffith May 6, 2011 - 3:22 pm

Great questions, great advice, great post! Thanks.

Tom Perran May 7, 2011 - 10:28 pm

Thanks, Vicki. This excellent post has been retweeted, facebooked and will be shared with my co-workers. Hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow!

Ashleigh_60 May 8, 2011 - 7:24 pm

That is a very thought provoking post. I’m sure there is a lot to be learned.

coolcatteacher May 9, 2011 - 12:03 am

I had a great day – I did 10 loads of laundry! ;-)

coolcatteacher May 9, 2011 - 12:04 am

Thank you. Good luck on your blogging journey.

Thesis Writing May 9, 2011 - 10:39 am

Excellent advice, Thanks.

Raspal June 4, 2011 - 10:41 pm

Hello Vicki!

Great list of questions to ask ourselves everyday!
I had made a list of questions to ask myself, related to my life’s goal. Would share them sometime later with you and others here.

Not related to this post but I’d like to share two links related to productivity. Each of them has 33 productivity tips. I use them myself by reading one of them a day – have put them on paper. Another thing I’ve done is that I’ve put them in my signatures and  my email client picks one of the tip and whenever I compose or reply an email, it inserts one tip below my signature. Nice thing for others too, isn’t it?

Well, here are the two links to 33 productivity tips each:


Best Regards,

P.S.: By the way, what do you use to get the mouseover effect on the “Home” “About me” tabs at the top of the page? I like that effect.

coolcatteacher June 4, 2011 - 11:20 pm

The mousover is just the template. Thanks for sharing. How do you have your email insert different signatures depending on what you’re doing?

Raspal June 4, 2011 - 11:38 pm

I use “The Bat!” as my email program. It’s got a lot of features and using “cookie” files is one of them. Here’s the explanation for cookie files from ritlabs:

“The Bat also offers an old-time functionality called “cookies”. Not the cookies that are associated with browsers, but sayings and aphorisms that you can append to your messages. Create a cookie file and tell The Bat to append a random cookie to your messages. That’s all you need to do to change your sig line with every message.”

I had read about a firefox script that does the same for gmail, but can’t find the link right now.

Best Regards,

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere