Not Living The Life You Want? 15 Questions To Ask Yourself

02/19/2015 03:08 am ET | Updated Mar 10, 2015
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Have you lost parts of yourself in the rush of the world? Maybe you've let passion and color slip away a tiny piece at a time — so slowly you didn't even notice that it was happening. Your present and future don't have to continue in drab shades of grey.

In his best-selling book, Self Matters: Creating The Life You Want From The Inside Out, Dr. Phil offers tools to help you get back to who you really are and what you really care about. He talks about how to learn to trust yourself, exercising the courage to be your real self, making your life what you want it to be, and claiming the right to live with excitement, passion and confidence.

It's not good to spend all your time reliving the "good ol' days." But there's a lot to learn, if you can let your memories take you back to a truer you. Read each of the phrases below and finish each thought with at least 50 words about yourself. Be specific and concrete. Include time, place, circumstances, who you were with, what was happening, what you were doing, and any other details you can remember. Pay special attention to how you felt.

1. I remember a particular time when I was especially happy, and it was ...
2. Sometimes, I felt really, really excited, but one time that stands out is when ...
3. I remember times when a person said something to me or treated me in such a way that it made a positive difference in my life, and one of those times was when ...
4. A time when I felt really special to someone was when I ...
5. When I was younger, I always wanted to ...
6. What I desire most deeply is to ...
7. If I could be or do anything I wanted to do, I would ...
8. I used to dream about myself as ...
9. If I could learn anything, I would choose to learn ...
10. What interests me most is (name at least five interests) ...
11. When I fantasize about myself, I am ...
12. I wish people would see me as ...
13. Before my life is over I want to ...
14. If I could, I would dedicate my life to ...
15. My secret desire always has been to ...

This is a warm-up exercise to help you discover that you have a lot more choices in your life than you can even imagine. There is an authentic self inside you. The authentic you may be buried under a pile of other people's expectation, but that core self exists and is accessible to you if you're willing to do the work to reconnect to your strengths and values in a meaningful way. You have a unique set of gifts, skills, abilities, interests, talents, insights, and wisdom. They came to you free of charge — a gift of your creation — and when they are allowed free expression, they give you your happiest, most satisfying, and rewarding moments in life.

Modified excerpt from The Self Matters Companion: Helping You Create Your Life From The Inside Out by Phillip C. McGraw, PhD, Free Press.

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