Build Your Dream Life in 5 Minutes a Day

The single most important question to ask yourself everyday

How should someone go about changing their life?

I often write answers on Quora on topics ranging from self-development to dating advice to health and fitness. The questions vary dramatically, but by answering just a couple questions a day, I constantly improve as a writer and as a thoughtful individual.

These have become an integral part to my day, these question and answer sessions on Quora.

By writing on Quora (and on my travel blog) I have gradually, incrementally improved as a writer. It did not happen overnight, but rather over a period of years.

In these years, I wrote every single day. Even if it was only for 15 minutes. I sat down and wrote.

And when I did not feel like writing? Those were the times that I especially made sure to sit down and write.

Two years of writing online led to me being able to publish my very first book, “Everywhere But Home: Life Overseas as a Travel Blogger” (and it made the Top 20 Travel Writing books on Amazon within 24 hours of publishing).

This milestone would never have happened if I simply let myself skip those days where I did not want to write.

The only way I was able to publish a book was by doing the work over and over and over again, especially on days I did not want to.

There is no overnight success secret or shortcut. Success comes from showing up every single day and doing the work.

The one thing every single person can begin today

Two years ago I wrote down on a piece of paper that my goal was to publish a book before my 24th birthday.

Every single day I would look at this little piece of paper and I would see my goal that I had written down.

One glance was all it took and it provided a daily and reliable reminder for me to put in the work.

This small note I wrote for myself was exactly the boost I would use to do the work on the days that I did not want to.

For you here is what I suggest:

  1. With paper and pencil, write down your top two goals you would like to accomplish within the next three years.
  2. Put this piece of paper somewhere you know you will see it every single day no matter what — on your desk, taped to your laptop screen, above your bed.

Simple enough right?

Then there is the one question that will change everything and make this a powerful exercise.

What am I doing today that will help me get closer to the goals I wrote down on that piece of paper?

This question should provide more than enough motivation, excitement, and gravity to compel you to action every single day.

By asking yourself this question each day, you can begin to automate the very activities it takes to achieve your goal.

For example, I knew that writing everyday would help me eventually publish a book. But after a short while, writing everyday became a habit, ingrained in my routine and expectations for the day. In this sense, I progressed towards publishing a book automatically, simply by doing what I was in the habit of doing.

But this can only happen if you instill the positive habit to begin with.

That’s where this question becomes so vital.

Look at your goals that you’ve written down every single day. Ask yourself the powerful question every single day.

The rest is simple: all that’s left is to take action — every single day.

Phil Rosen is a writer and journalist. If you want to see more of his ideas, check out his travel and lifestyle blog and Instagram.

Written by

Bestselling travel writer. Columnist. Author. USC Annenberg School of Journalism.

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