“How do you achieve success? Well, for one thing, you don't define it before you achieve it.”

Robert Brault, freelance writer & aphorist


We may have a picture in our mind of what success looks like, but the only true measure of success is how we feel about the outcome. What looks like success from the outside can feel very different on the inside.

It can be tricky to square what we think we should want against what makes us feel like we've succeeded. There is, however, a simple exercise you can do to not only help you define success for yourself, but give yourself inspiration to keep going when pursuing success feels particularly difficult.

Try this: Keep a list of your successes. It can be a file on your computer, a page tacked up on your bulletin board, or a little note on your phone. Start today by thinking about everything you've accomplished that you would categorize as a success.

Don't write down things you think others would view as a success. Only list those things you feel were truly successful.

Keep the list handy. Every time you feel some endeavor has succeeded, add it to the list.

From time to time, you'll want to take out the list and review it. Good times to review it include:

1. When you're unsure which project you'd like to pursue next.
2. When you're receiving a lot of peer pressure or unsolicited advice as to what you should "do next with your life."
3. When you're feeling low and the going gets tough.

It can be useful to examine the list and see which accomplishments you've undertaken in the past have given you a sense of success. It can be surprising what doesn't make the list, too.

Be mindful of how you define success for yourself and you'll be more mindful about how you spend your energy each and every day.