There are plenty of tricks to help you stick to your goals, but what does science got to say about it? Turns out that framing your objectives as self-directed questions can have a positive impact on how likely you are to follow through on them, according to a study conducted by the University of Illinois.
Questions are easier to comprehend than statements, drawing on your natural need to answer them. They are also less intimidating, and easier to share with others. Fast Company, which shared this study, offers insight into how it helps:
A question is a puzzle: once it has been raised, the mind almost can't help trying to solve/answer it. That initial question (How might I drink more water?) is apt to spark all kinds of follow-up questions and speculative ideas: What if I connect drinking water to certain triggers — e.g. taking a swig of water every time I check my email? What if I put a desired amount of water in a bottle each day, and then have to show the empty bottle to my spouse at day's end? And so forth. The various What if and How questions can help you arrive at a concrete plan, as opposed to a vague intention.
So if you are going to use a question to reframe your goals, then try starting them with "How might I", Fast Company advises. That start has been proven to be a favourite phrase of innovators and change-makers.
Motivating Goal-Directed Behaviour Through Introspective Self-Talk [PubMed Central via Fast Company]