13 Steps To Be Successful in Life: Tips and Advice

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 9 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Success is the accomplishment of certain goals you set in life. Each person has different ideas of what success might look like for them, like getting a certain job, earning a certain amount of money or owning a house. Regardless of the goals, there are some steps you can take to be successful in your life. In this article, we discuss how you can measure success and outline the steps to be successful in life.

13 steps to be successful in life

Here are 13 steps that can help you to be successful in life:

1. Find a passion

To be successful, it is important to define what you want in life. Consider reading books or taking classes about different subjects until you find something that interests you. Finding an area you are passionate about helps you enjoy the steps you take towards achieving your goals. See if there are potential career opportunities in your passion to see if it is something you want to pursue.

2. Show commitment

Commitment means dedicating yourself to becoming successful and working hard in all circumstances. Set both short- and long-term goals and take action every day toward these. Showing commitment can help keep you motivated while achieving these goals, especially as you complete tasks that contribute to your larger goals. These goals might be ambitious, but remember to set a realistic plan and timeline. For example, rather than setting a goal to complete college and start a new career in one year, allow yourself the time to complete your education and search for the right job.

Share your personal commitments and goals with friends or family members. Others can motivate you through difficult times, and other people can make sure you remain accountable for your commitments and actions.

3. Learn from the journey

Rather than focusing strictly on the results of your accomplishments, take notice of the small steps needed to achieve success. If you allow yourself to enjoy small victories along your journey, reaching your goals can feel more achievable, and you are more likely to stay on track. Each step you take can teach you lessons that you can apply to future goals and challenges.

4. Have fun along the way

Be sure to enjoy the steps you take towards achieving your goals. Becoming successful can have some challenges, but having fun while learning new things and meeting new people can motivate you and make the journey enjoyable. Learning what you are capable of can be exciting, so it is important to keep your goals light and fun in order to have an emotionally positive experience.

5. Think positively

It is important to keep a positive mindset and believe that you can achieve your goals. Positive thinking keeps your expectations high and reminds you of what is possible. Challenges may come, but remember that they are temporary and continue to believe you can succeed. If negative thoughts arise, replace them with positive ones. For example, if you think "I will never get this job", consider thinking "The right position is going to come." Give yourself the opportunity and the time to think about your situation, using only positive language to condition more positive thinking.

6. Be honest with yourself

If you find your goal is at a standstill, you might need to be honest with yourself about the reasons. After you have come to an understanding, try to find a solution to push yourself toward success. Challenge yourself to try new strategies. This might mean speaking to a supervisor about a promotion, signing up for a difficult college class that you never considered before or exploring different industries to work. An honest review of your situation and goals allows you to make better decisions about the next steps.

7. Take away distractions

Make a list of things in your life that take up your time or distract you. This could be a phone, a television show or even a person who causes you stress. If you set a certain amount of time each day to work towards your goal, be sure you avoid these common distractions. Eventually, as you continue to practise this dedication, you can improve your focus skills. This helps both on the journey to success and when working in future roles.

8. Depend on yourself

It is important to depend on yourself by focusing on the actions you can take. This can assure you that despite challenges, you have tried your best. There are things out of your control, like the hiring process, but focusing on what you can control can help you continuously complete tasks and learn when you might need help. It is beneficial to rely on others for emotional support, but focusing your accountability on yourself can motivate you as you achieve success.

Related: Self-Management Skills: Definition and Examples

9. Keep planning

Stick to a schedule when working on your goals. Give yourself challenges according to your personal calendar, such as "I will finish a training course by the end of the year" or "I will try three new marketing strategies this quarter." Even if you do not achieve the goal as planned, you still track your progress. Industries, careers and education can change over time, so it is important to keep planning and adjust your goals as needed.

Related: How To Write an Action Plan (With Template and Example)

10. Avoid overworking

It is important to focus on your goal and avoid burnout. Keeping your journey productive yet fun can ensure your motivation without overworking yourself. Your goal should be something that brings you continued joy and challenges rather than a burden. Consider taking breaks or achieving goals that are unrelated to your larger success goals. This can help you return to your task with a new perspective and be motivated to start working again.

11. Create SMART goals

SMART goals are a goal-structuring technique that ensures you have concrete and actionable goals. The acronym means:

  • Specific: Specific goals mean stating exactly what you want to achieve. Rather than simply saying you want to earn a promotion, specify what role you hope to attain.

  • Measurable: Measurable goals have metrics you can use to track your progress. You might state you want to learn three new skills in a specific area and have a manager recognise your improvements.

  • Attainable: Attainable goals are realistic. Rather than a goal of becoming a finance executive while still in school, an attainable goal might be to earn certain marks in your classes.

  • Relevant: Relevant goals are those that are set with a larger goal in mind. For example, you may set a goal to complete a resume-writing class so that you can start a career as a professional resume writer.

  • Time-based: Your goals are most effective if they have realistic timelines. Although schedules can change, having an anticipated completion date can help you stay motivated.

SMART goals help you define clear goals early that you can refer to along your journey. Make a plan to set and review these goals frequently based on your experiences.

Related: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples

12. Start small

Though you set ambitious goals, starting with simple tasks can help you feel productive. Even writing down your goals can be your first accomplishment. Some small tasks you might consider towards building a successful life include:

  • Sending a query email

  • Editing your resume

  • Contacting professionals in your network

  • Reading an article about your goals

Each completed task is already a successful achievement, no matter how small they are.

13. Build good habits

Building good habits can help you achieve goals as well as learn important skills like focus, time management and attention to detail. Consider a morning or nighttime routine where you review your goals, set tasks you want to accomplish, and review your schedule. By doing this, you develop a routine that you can follow for any future goals.

It is also important to prioritise rest and good mental health habits. Meditating for five minutes or exercising first thing in the morning can improve your focus and attitude and help you build your goals.

Related: Time Management Skills: Definition and Examples

How do you measure success?

Depending on the goals you set, success can look different for every person. Here are some ways you might measure success:

  • How happy you feel

  • How much money you earn

  • What career position you have

  • How much influence you have

  • How many people's lives you have influenced

  • Where you live

  • How healthy you are

  • How fulfilling your career is

For each of these, the metrics to define them can vary. It is important to know yourself and what you want rather than defining success by someone else's standards. For example, your idea of success might be a director role for a finance company, while someone else's might be to be an executive in that same industry.

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