How To Define What Success Looks Like For You

by MindJournal - 8 mins

How To Define What Success Looks Like For You - MindJournal

Success can be elusive. Our goals from last year may no longer match our aspirations for the future. And that can only be a good thing; the ability to constantly evolve and the desire to strive towards new objectives are successes in themselves.

However, when it comes to defining our goals, it can be easy to get caught up in society's definition of 'success' rather than what truly matters to us. Maybe success is earning £100,000 next year, having your first child, consistently going to the gym for two months, or saving enough money for a vacation. The thing is, no one knows other than you.

“It’s in our nature as human beings to want more,” says HR expert David Rice. “We are forever trying to expand our reach, create more opportunities around us, have more influence and so on. But, if you’re constantly pursuing someone else’s idea of success in life or work, you’re essentially handing control of your happiness and sense of fulfilment to someone else.”

With that in mind, here’s how to understand and define your unique aspirations, ensuring you focus on what genuinely matters to you.

What Do We Mean By 'Success'?

The more you think about success, the harder it becomes to define. Our grandparents might have seen success as getting a steady job and having children. For our parents, it might have been the ability to take the occasional holiday and have enough free time to tend to their garden.

"Success is a personal definition," says mindset coach Moses Nalocca. "The best way to create the best definition of success for you is to make sure it reflects your highest values. Many people will want you to align with what success means for them: money, cars, houses, and marriage. For you, it might be freedom to work where you like or the ability to spend more time with your family."

How Can I Find My Own Definition Of Success?

While social media, family, colleagues and even our favourite TV shows might project a general idea of success, none of this considers that you're a unique person with a whole range of influences and values based on your experiences in life so far. When defining our definition of success, it's absolutely essential that we tap into this.

Lifestyle coach Bayu Prihandito suggests you ask yourself what genuinely resonates with you. "To truly understand your definition of success, it's essential to start this process with self-reflection. Understand what genuinely matters in your life," he says. Ask yourself: What sparks my curiosity and drives me to learn more? What aspects of my work bring me fulfilment? How can I invest in those things to achieve the results I want?

We know we're biased, but we believe journaling can be a powerful tool for self-discovery. By reflecting on your thoughts, feelings, and experiences, you can gain valuable insights into what truly matters to you. Download our first three exercises and give it a go for yourself.

How Can I Follow My Own Definition Of Success?

Making any change takes dedication, but remember: you've got this. To help you stay the course in your new journey to success, our experts share their top tips.

Put Yourself First

"The best way to stick to your definition of success is to stop being a people-pleaser and stop wondering what others will think," says Nalocca. In other words, if other people don't share your goals, that's fine. "It isn't about being selfish; it's about putting yourself first, which is the opposite,".

Focus On Wellbeing

"Set boundaries and prioritise your wellbeing first," says Prihandito. "Defining your own success can be a long journey of understanding who you are away from our societal illusions. Part of this is recognising that it's perfectly okay – even necessary – to redefine success as you grow and evolve."

Stay Motivated

"Once you know how success will make you feel and act, then you have a ready-made motivational fuel reservoir to tap into to sustain you," explains business coach Steve Jefferys. "If you try and achieve someone else's dream – or a dream others suggest you aim for – you're unlikely to have the staying power for it."

Live Mindfully

"The first step is letting go of other people's ideals, learning to be comfortable in your own skin and value your life experience," says Rice. "Once you can do that, it's not about 'sticking to your guns' because you're not doing this in defiance of others; you're doing it in service to yourself. Positivity is far more powerful and long-lasting than negative drivers like defiance, so focus on the good."

Be Empathetic To Yourself And Others

"Use empathy and compassion when setting boundaries," suggests Rice. "Others usually project their idea of success because they care for you and think you can only succeed through their expectations. Kindly accept their advice whilst telling them you want to tread a different path."

Be Flexible

"There will be moments where your passions have to take a back seat as you serve the needs of someone or something else," adds Rice. "You have to accept there will be things that slow or alter your success. That isn't a failure; it's about re-contextualising your idea of success within the framework of your experience – as you have been doing all along."


Embrace the challenge of defining your idea of success, a journey that opens our minds and hearts to any number of new possibilities. Once you know what you want to achieve, approach goals with compassion for yourself and others, be prepared to adjust to circumstances beyond your control and celebrate key steps in your journey.


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