How often do you check in with yourself? How often do you simply sit and self-reflect?
Self-reflection, of course, is the first step to anything. Because it provides a compass. It guides the actions we take.
One of my favorite things to do is to use questions as prompts to self-reflect, because the right question can be so revealing. It can spark an insight we never would’ve observed otherwise. It can tell us what we need, and point us toward our goals and intentions. It can illuminate who we are.
Below, you’ll find 15 questions from the new book Know Yourself: A Book of Questions by Irene Smit and Astrid van der Hulst, founders and creative directors of Flow magazine. Know Yourself includes an illustrated question per page, 165 questions in total. Each one encourages us to self-reflect by being curious, honest, and open.
- When are you at your best?
- What do you think about before you fall asleep?
- What’s your favorite sound?
- How would you fill your days if you could do anything you wanted to?
- What were the three best things that happened today?
- What do you still want to learn?
- What do most people not know about you?
- What would you never do again?
- Are you holding on to something you should have let go of long ago?
- What gives meaning to your life?
- What would you say to your younger self?
- What would you like to ask your future self?
- What would the painting of your life look like?
- What do you like doing most on a rainy afternoon?
- Where do you feel at peace?
Sometimes, we don’t check in with ourselves because we think we don’t have time, or we simply don’t think about it. But even reflecting for five to ten minutes can be powerful and transformative. And it can become a natural part of your routine. Something you just do.
For instance, maybe you sit with a journal as you sip your morning cup of coffee or tea. Maybe you ponder one of the above questions as you brush and floss your teeth. Maybe you check in with yourself while waiting in line at the grocery store (instead of pulling out your phone). Maybe you check in with yourself while taking your daily walk.
Maybe you check in while making dinner or as you’re cleaning up. Maybe you keep a notebook on your nightstand with a few of these questions inside, and respond to one right before calling it a night.
Maybe these 15 questions spark other questions that lead to important insights. Either way, when we give ourselves the time, good things happen. Seeds of ideas and intentions are planted. Nourishing decisions are made.
Sometimes it just takes a few minutes of thoughtful self-reflection to start it all.