3 Purposeful Questions I Ask Myself Each Night

purposeful questions

I am a big fan of rhythm and routine – a natural part of my ISFJ, Enneagram 1 personality type. Not rigid and inflexible as in past years when I lived like the slave rather than the master of my agenda. But a gentle structure that ebbs and flows as needed and generally helps me live purposefully, clearly aligned to my primary goals and values.

An important part of my daily rhythm is to begin and end my days with simple routines designed to support mind, body and spirit health. Nothing fancy and occasionally I break “the rules.”

In the evenings I dim the lights and make an herbal tea. I check my menu for the following day; simple, real food is important to us and I like looking ahead to ensure I have what I need and note if there is anything to get started for the following day. I do a 45 second plank, turn off my phone, and climb into bed with a book. Easy reading mostly, by the light of my salt lamp, as I want to calm my mind for peaceful rest. But before I actually read, I lay the book on my chest, take a few deep, slow, calming breaths, and ask myself a series of questions to end my day well.

3 Purposeful Questions I Ask Myself Each Night

1. What are 3 things I am grateful for?

I started this life-giving practice in 2011 after reading “One Thousand Gifts”* by Ann Voskamp. Expressing gratitude comes easy to me now, like breathing or laughing with my children. But I have walked through darker seasons where I had to fight for gratitude. I struggled to find hope, reluctant to allow myself to feel joy, afraid of what lay around the next bend in the road. Back then this practice was hard work but part of what sustained me as I slowly healed and found my way back to health.

I want to live eyes and heart wide open to the amazing beauty of each day. To receive each day as gift, not guarantee. If I look for it, I can find gifts even in the midst of pain, or loss, or uncertainty. Don’t misunderstand; I do not welcome pain or loss or uncertainty but now know I have the resilience to walk through the storm and emerge intact.

2. What are 2 things I did well today?

I work with women in class settings and one on one. Many are open and even eager to begin a practice of gratitude,  to begin to notice the small daily gifts that we often take for granted or miss because we are hurting or distracted. But when I ask them to speak words of life over themselves, to notice what they do well, how they shine, we meet resistance. It is so easy to see our struggle or shortcoming but not our beauty or the all the ways we show up and serve and use our strengths on a daily basis. Can you relate?

I only added this question to my evening routine over the past year. And I must admit that my responses require some thought. But as someone who, since childhood, struggled with believing I was enough – so painfully aware of all the ways I never quite measured up, this practice is changing me. Deepening the roots of self awareness and self compassion that permit me to step out in calm confidence.

3. What is 1 thing I would do differently?

Some nights I tell myself that there is not a thing I would do differently given the chance. But more often I can identify something: a word spoken in impatience, too much time on my phone distracted, the way I procrastinated out of fear or forgot to eat because I was busy working. The goal is never to criticize but to notice where I did not live fully aligned to my bigger goals and values.

I choose a growth mindset. I am gentle with myself, compassionate and forgiving as I am with my children or husband. But I am always aware that I get to choose who and how I want to be and that tomorrow is a new gift, a brand new opportunity to become more fully myself.

Though I have never actually timed myself, some days I feel like this practice of asking myself 3 purposeful questions takes me five minutes, other nights twenty. Once in a while I have a desire to rush ahead. But sacrificing a bit of my precious reading time is so worth it because of how calm and clear I feel afterward. At peace. Content in the knowledge that though I did not live out my day perfectly, I did live it well.

Krista xo

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15 comments on “3 Purposeful Questions I Ask Myself Each Night

  1. This is great Krista! I’m trying to create meaningful morning and evening routines as well. As a compulsive sanguine it’s hard for me to slow down and be still, so I’ve been intentionally setting time in the evening and morning to reflect and read. Thanks so much for sharing ❤️

  2. What a lovely practice! I usually do my gratitude practice during my morning journal time but I can see how it would be a lovely way to end the day as well. My nightly ritual is to close my eyes, breathe deeply a few times and repeat my mantra: “Today I chose happiness. Today I chose joy. Today I chose love.” I reverse it in the morning when I wake up before I get out of bed: “Today I choose happiness. Today I choose joy. Today I choose love.” After that, gratitude comes easily. Beautiful post.

  3. Since taking the Revitalization course from Krista, I have been doing this. It helps me relax in the evening, sleep better and wake up feeling grateful. Thanks for the post Krista!

  4. I have so much good in my life that I fear I am not being grateful ENOUGH.

    Do you have any tips for specifically drawing feelings of gratitude out, so that I can KNOW I’m myself that ‘Oh! Now I am feeling gratitude, now I am building momentum of gratitude, and that will bring more good to me, which will give me energy to give to others.’

    I am aware of how nice I have it around me, but I really feel like I don’t activate a specific feeling of gratitude from it.

    Do you know what I mean?

    At the same time it’s like I’m too lazy to write a gratitude journal, because I feel like it’s ‘fake’, I don’t feel any difference when I do it. Sounds strange I know but I’m curious on your opinion on this, and of any others who notice they successfully activate a feeling of gratitude, so they can know they are on the right path.

    Thanks for your article!

    Jørund

    • In “The How of Happiness” the author, Sonja Luybomirsky, discusses some other practices around gratitude (and more) and you may also like to read “How to Live a Good Life” by Jonathan Fields. I think expressing gratitude becomes more natural the more you you practice like any other habit so hopefully you will find a way of practicing it that feels good to you:)

  5. This is a powerful suggestion! I’m not new to the practice of listing things I’m grateful or thankful for; I do that without hesitation every single day. But now, I’m going to add your other suggestions. Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. Hello Krista, thanks for sharing this great night routine with us. I had heard about how you can make a mental list of the things you are grateful for everyday, but I really love the idea of pushing the reflexion further by acknowledging the things we did well. It’s so important to give ourselves that recognition in order to built a stronger feeling of confidence and to stop feeling like we’re “not enough”. I need that badly ;)! I also like how you present the idea of thinking of 1 thing we would do differently, not “to criticize but to notice where I did not live fully aligned to my bigger goals and values”. That will be very helpful!

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