What Real Success Is – And How to Get It

Success, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Learn how to identify what real success is to you and, perhaps most importantly, how to get it.

Success is an elusive term that can mean almost anything. For me, success might mean making it through the day without a cigarette, but to you it may mean having to go a year or more. So, knowing what true success means to you is first and foremost. Then you have to know how to get it.

Defining Success For Yourself

Smiling mature professional businesswoman in casual

To start, take a goal that you have set for yourself and write it down. I know, you don’t have time for this and just want to read how to get success, but trust me when I say that you’ll get more out of this if you just humor me and commit your goal to paper.

Maybe your goal is to lose weight, get into shape, earn a promotion, or start your own business. It doesn’t matter what area it is in, just put down whatever it is that you want to achieve.

Now you need to determine what it would take for you to consider yourself successful in reaching that goal. This is very important to know because you won’t feel content unless your own specific success criteria are met.

For instance, if your goal is to make more money this year, what amount would you have to make in order to consider yourself successful? One more dollar than you earned last year or forty thousand more dollars? Each one is “more” but only one will make you feel as if you met your goal. Only one will make you feel like a success.

Sometimes defining success is more emotion related than mathematical. For example, maybe you would consider weight loss a success once you feel more self-confident or when you no longer feel the need to compare yourself to others.

These criteria are often harder to define because they aren’t as black and white. However, no one said that figuring out what success means to you is going to be easy so don’t be afraid to come up with your own definition that doesn’t match the norm.

Turning Your Dreams Into Your Reality

Family rock climber against picturesque view of Telendos Island at sunse

Once you have a clearer image of what it is going to take for you to feel and be successful, you have to take action in order to make it happen. In other words, you have to come up with a plan that will almost guarantee that you will reach your goal, bringing you happiness and contentment in return.


One way is to use what is commonly referred to as the SMART goal method. SMART stands for:

  • SSpecific. The more specific your goal is, the greater the likelihood that you will reach it.
  • MMeasurable. You have to set up a system by which you can measure your results so that you know whether or not your plan is working.
  • AAchievable. Setting a goal that is too high will only get you frustrated. You’re better off setting one that you have a chance of meeting, as you can always set a higher goal later.
  • RRealistic. Be 100% realistic about what kind of results you can get and success is in your future. Avoid quick-result schemes as most of them won’t last long term.
  • TTime Sensitive. Make sure you set a deadline for your goal or else you may procrastinate on making changes that will get you where you want to be.

Do these five things and you will be well on your way to reaching your goal, whether it be focused on your career, your relationships, or something that is personal (like losing weight or quitting drinking). However, there are also other things you can do to make the process easier.

For instance, you need to pay attention to how you talk to yourself because you can be your own worst enemy. When you start telling yourself that you will never meet your goal or that you don’t have what it takes, you are setting yourself up for failure. Instead, speak to yourself the same way you would a child and encourage yourself to keep trying. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small and you will keep moving in the right direction.

Also, understand that success is a process. Like anything else that is new to you, you aren’t going to master it overnight. It is going to take practice and repetition for you to make your new thoughts and behaviors something that you are good at and comfortable with, so prepare to have a learning curve until you figure out what works best for you.

Finally, never, ever give up on yourself. If you throw your hands in the air and exclaim that success will never be yours, you will be right. It takes a great deal of hard work and determination to get where you want to be in life and the only way to get there is to stay the course. You have to keep going long after others have given up if you want to experience stellar results.

Success, no matter how you define it, is something that you can achieve if you put your mind to it. You have to want it with every ounce of your being. It has to invade your waking thoughts when you daydream and your nighttime rest when you are dreaming.

Follow these suggestions and real success will be yours. I can see it already. Can you?

About the author

Christina DeBusk

Changing careers mid-life from law enforcement to writing, Christina spends her days helping others enrich their businesses and personal lives one word at a time.

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