The Right Questions to Ask with Interrogative Self-Talk


A short while back, John wrote a post on the myth of positive thinking. In it, he explained how common mottos like “your attitude determines your altitude” aren’t really enough if you want to accomplish great things. You need more than that. And that’s why researchers from the University of Illinois and the University of Southern Mississippi came to coin the phrase “interrogative self-talk” as an added measure.

Stating “I can do it” can activate your emotions and get you pumped up, but asking “Can I do it?” will activate your brain and get you into problem-solving mode. Rather than simply assuming that you will definitely accomplish your goal, you start asking yourself questions that actually help you achieve that goal. But what are the questions you should be asking yourself?

Can I do it?

Let’s start at the beginning. You must first determine whether or not your goal is achievable. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily need to temper your ambition. What it means is that you have to look at your goal from an objective point of view. It means you need to look at your current situation and figure out what, if any, changes you need to make so your dream can become a reality.

Why am I doing it?

It’s great to have goals, but these goals need to serve a purpose. Many people work extra hard at their jobs so that they can save for a comfortable retirement. Wouldn’t it be far greater to enjoy the dot com lifestyle all along the way, rather than waiting until you’re old and grey? By asking yourself why you want to do “this,” whatever “this” may be, you start to discover your internal motivations. And these are far more powerful than outside motivators.


How can I do it?

After you’ve figured out whether or not your goal is actually attainable, after you’ve looked within yourself to learn why your goal is important, you must then figure out how you’re going to do it. This is the problem that so many people face. They give themselves goals like making more money or getting in shape, but they never put together a plan for how to achieve their goals. A goal without a plan is just a dream. And dreams are just a figment of your imagination. They’re not real. You need a plan and a strategy.

When and where will I do it?

Some day never comes. If you tell yourself that you’re going to quit your day job and pursue Internet marketing full-time “some day,” you’re probably never going to take the plunge. You need a timeline. Give yourself the ultimatum. There’s nothing more motivating than a looming deadline.

What can I do better?

Don’t be afraid to set big, ambitious goals for yourself. Just break down that big goal into smaller, more manageable objectives that you can achieve along the way. These can be hugely motivating and can make the process far less intimidating. And each time you achieve one of these incremental objectives, look back and assess what you’ve done. See what you’ve done well, but also look at where you could have done better.

Regular affirmative self-talk can get you going, but it’s with interrogative self-talk that you’ll go further. And remember to go beyond the Pareto Principle and give 100% of yourself in everything that you do. Just remember why you’re doing it and how you’re going to get there.

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