Defining Success

Around here, we are big on goal-setting. We set long-term and short-term goals, as well as goals in various areas of our life.

We are so adamant about setting goals that I’ll soon be starting a series on goal setting (and achieving!).

But what exactly is the purpose of having goals?

Achieving success, right?


But what is success?


Is it career accomplishments? Optimal health? Financial wealth? Spiritual maturity? Well-rounded parenting? All of the above?

What success means for you may be totally different from what success means for me. And that’s fantastic.

Lately, Dave and I have been frequently discussing our definition of “success”. We are still working on hammering down what success will look like for us, and I want to hear from you.

How do you define success? Do you envision reaching a point where you can proclaim that you are totally successful, or do you find it thrilling to imagine yourself chasing success throughout your entire life? Do you see success encompassing your entire lifestyle, or do you see success as mastering various elements of your life?

Let me know below!

And as we continue to map out what success looks like for us, I will keep you posted, of course 😉


  1. Love this thought, Olivia. And it’s an ongoing conversation around our house as well! I’ve decided more and more that if what I’m doing is bettering and growing me as a person, then I count it as successful – as long as it’s also a positive for those around me (which most often is my family). It was such a pleasure meeting you this weekend!

  2. Here you go again, blogging about just what I need to hear about! Such a mind reader! I’ve been thinking a lot about what success means lately and I’m still far from sure. Looking forward to reading other responses and this series!

  3. Good thoughts! Over the years, I’ve heard the formula that goals must be measurable, with a deadline, in order to be able to define sucess. That’s certainly true in many arenas but I find it too chafing in my personal life. I’m a type-A perfectionist by nature, and I’ve had to learn that the standards I hold myself to are usually unreasonable. It’s easy for me to get wrapped up in “success” and the flip of the coin: FAILURE. I am quick to judge myself as a failure, and I’ve had to let go of goals that exert too much of a pull on me to get back into that mindset.

    We still set goals, many of which are measurable if I stop to think about it: we have an active plan to get out of debt, I’m working on reviving my old piano skills… but I’ve let myself relax with having an end-point. Chris is a big part of that! His personality is much more attuned to enjoying life as it comes. We balance each other well — I’m often driving us forward toward the goals we set together, and he reminds me that it’s okay to take a step off the goal path for a few minutes to smell the roses (or take the vacation, as the case may be).

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