What went well today?

A few years ago I found myself not only recovering from cancer but also dealing with a whole bunch of other problems that life had decided to bring to me, all at once. My life was miserable. And I decided to begin a new habit.

I set a reminder on my phone, for the end of each day, to ask myself one very simple question:

“What went well today?”

At first my answers might not have impressed to you. They were things like “managed to walk 50 metres” or “saw a beautiful sunset” or “met up with a friend.” But at the time these were big steps forward for me. And reminding myself of them helped me to keep going. Then, as I recovered from the cancer and moved forward with my life, my answers to this question also shifted and grew.

Years later, the reminder is still there on my phone. And I still ask myself this extraordinarily simple question at the end of nearly every day.

With hindsight, doing this brings me three very powerful things:

  1. It reminds me of what is going well in my life, as well as what is going badly. This gives me a more balanced perspective and improves my morale.
  2. It reminds me of what is important to me, which helps me decide where to focus my priorities tomorrow and next week, which means that I create more of the things that matter most to me. And that becomes a virtuous circle, a self-reinforcing loop.
  3. It helps me to problem-solve and find new ways forward because it trains me to see past the ‘problems’, to find serendipity, and to focus more of my energies on what is going well and what could go even better, which strengthens and builds the key attitude of (self-)leadership.

With hindsight it is clear that this simple process has been transformative for me — a major part of my becoming antifragile.

Is your life perfect at the moment? Do you take the time to remember what is going well, as well as what is going badly? Would you like to improve your ability to problem-solve? Would it be useful to get clearer on what matters most to you? Have you set a reminder on your phone, say for 9:30pm each day?


If you want to take this to the next level you might like to ask yourself, “What went well today?”
“What did I learn?” and “What are my priorities for tomorrow?” 


Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

You can sign up to daily posts here.

You can buy the book here and the workbook here.

(And remember: you don’t learn to swim by reading about swimming, you also have to practice.)


Photo By Kevin Gale via StockPholio.net

2 Replies to “What went well today?”

  1. Pingback: Club Leader’s Inspirational Insights – Start a New Habit _ What went well today? | Club Coach Services

  2. Pingback: Club Leader’s Inspirational Insights – Start a New Habit – What went well today? | Club Coach Services

Leave a Reply