Do you desire to be successful in life and make an impact? But also want to live an authentic and joyful life?
Today, you can become successful on your own terms.
In this article, you’ll learn 17 actionable self-improvement tips to succeed without sacrificing your values and goals.
Get ready to embrace your creative and entrepreneurial side – it’s your time to shine and create a more fulfilling and purpose-driven life.
Let’s dive in!
Tip 1: Define your success
What’s your definition of success?
All great – but success is more than financial wealth or status.
Out the door with those simplified one-size-fits-all approaches.
Consider building positive relationships, making meaningful contributions and achieving success without sacrificing joy, for example.
Sure, flashing a private jet makes you look cool on Instagram.
But at what cost?
It’s easy to get lost in the mainstream’s definition of success if you fail to define what success means to you. And chasing it will come at a price tag…
Do you know how many millionaires feel unfulfilled?
Instead, define and be successful on your own terms. That empowers you to prioritize what truly matters to you. And that’s how you create a life worth living.
Here are some actionable ideas:
- Reflect on your values: What’s most important to you in life?
- Visualize being successful: What does your perfect life look like 10 or 20 years from now? Consider all aspects, including career, relationships, health, and personal growth.
- Identify your strengths and passions: What are you good at, and what do you enjoy doing? Your strengths and passions can provide clues about the type of work or lifestyle that would fulfill you.
Keep in mind that your definition of success may evolve. So be flexible and stay open to new experiences and opportunities.
Related: What is success?
Tip 2: Embrace your unique path in life
It’s important to stress that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to being successful in life. And while the number in your bank account correlates to a degree, it’s never the decisive factor.
Instead, embrace your unique path to true success.
Following a path that aligns with your authentic self leads to personal fulfillment in your pursuit of success. And there are countless benefits to this approach…
It’s easy to follow any path when times are good.
But the real endurance test happens when things go south. Think about challenging conditions, experiencing setbacks, and other struggles.
That’s when you need resilience and persistence.
And challenging times are much easier to overcome when you enjoy the journey.
Avoid following the masses if you dislike their path. And if you struggle to get out of bed in the morning, it’s a sign something needs to change.
Forge your own path instead.
Embrace your uniqueness.
For example, Steve Jobs dropped out of college because it lacked a creative outlet.
And while I’m not saying you should drop school, I’m saying that you should discover the path that works for you – not what works for others.
You can be successful on your own terms if you find what matters most to you and align your actions with your values and goals.
The one-size-fits-all approach is long gone.
Tip 3: Commit time and effort
While some Instagram celebrities make overnight success seem real, it doesn’t exist.
So please avoid getting sucked into this illusion.
Instead, a much more effective mindset is that of Malcolm Gladwell. In his book Outliers, he suggests that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to master a skill or become an expert in a field.
It’s hardly strange if that surprises you.
Everyone seems an overnight expert nowadays. Look no further than the gazillion ChatGPt “experts” nowadays.
But guess what?
Those people were experts in crypto a year ago. And they’ll be experts in something else once the AI hype has sailed.
When the tide goes out, only the real experts remain.
They love and thrive at their craft because of their passion. While others chase shiny objects, they focus on mastery. And it’s ultimately them who reap the sweetest fruits.
Once you find something that you love, put your teeth into it.
Mastery is the fastest and most joyful approach to being successful. And here’s a simple two-step approach that works magic:
- Focus on discovery when you struggle to find your craft. Set goals to explore and experiment with different skills, ideas, and interests.
- Focus on mastery once you find what you enjoy. Work hard, stay focused on your craft, and expect it to take at least 10.000 hours to become an overnight success.
Adopting this perspective increases your resilience and patience. Combine that with daily progress, and you’ll become successful.
Tip 4: Focus on progress, not results
Solely focusing on the result often leads to stress and overwhelm, especially when progress is slow or facing setbacks.
Instead, focus on progress.
Do you know the success story of Beeple?
I’ve mentioned it a few times because it’s the absolute pinnacle of achieving success through mastery.
Beeple is a digital artist who started in 2007 with no skills and committed himself to creating one piece of art per day, for 5.000 days. He called this project “Everydays.”
And so he did.
He committed and focused on daily progress. And he posted a new piece daily no matter what – even on his son’s day of birth.
As you might expect, Beeple became exceptional at his craft. Mastery led to collaborations with Apple, Nike, Louis Vuitton, Activision, Riot Games, and more.
Imagine living his life for a second.
He does what he enjoys doing most, and it pays fortunes. However, you must also realize that he earned 0 dollars at the very beginning.
But that’s not all…
Riding the crypto wave in March 2021, Beeple made history by selling his collection of 5.000 Everyday digital artwork pieces for a whopping $69 million.
Beeple is now one of the most successful and influential digital artists of our time.
He only achieved that breakthrough by following up on his commitment to create one piece daily for 5.000 days. But while he gained fame with that monster sale, it’s just the cherry on top.
After all, he was already successful.
Tip 5: Manage your time and energy
Managing your time and energy has become more critical in this fast-paced and ever-connected world.
And focus is more essential than ever to be successful in life.
While there’s a place for multitasking, staying focused is key. That means staying committed to your craft in the big picture. And when zooming in on daily stuff, it means staying focused on your tasks.
Fortunately, there are some powerful tools:
- Set long-term goals that provide direction in the big picture.
- Set short-term goals to organize and focus your monthly, weekly, and daily time and effort.
- Use calendars to schedule your tasks and create urgency.
- Use to-do lists to keep your mind clear of distractions.
- Use time-tracking methods to increase awareness of how you spend your time. This tip worked like magic for me.
Your energy is just as vital as your time.
For example, I can spend hours writing an article and feel I’ve done a lot. But on another day, I could write that piece within an hour.
In other words, tracking your time alone isn’t enough.
My best tip to manage both?
Track your time and effort in blocks.
For example, I’m writing for a 2-hour block, and my effort is a 9 out of 10 right now. The reason is that I feel rested, and there’s time pressure to ensure I can upload this piece tomorrow.
Monitoring this stuff generates awareness.
And it provides insights that I’ve used to prioritize and schedule my time and spend my energy most wisely.
Although tracking your time and energy feels tedious initially, give it some time. It may just change your life.
Tip 6: Explore your strengths, passions, and interests
Successful people often attribute their success to doing what they love.
But why is pursuing your passions and interests such great advice?
The reason is simple.
You’ll find staying consistent and committed to doing something you enjoy much easier. It empowers you to focus on the process rather than obsess over results.
But there’s more…
Failures will happen, and setbacks will occur. That’s inevitable. And you must persist and overcome these challenges to be successful in life.
But most people give up during difficult times.
Of course, you can stay persistent and succeed without being interested in what you do. It’s just not a great strategy for most people.
The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.
– Steve Jobs
Besides, the internet has provided countless opportunities to monetize your passions, strengths, and interests.
That requires you to experiment and explore your options.
But since you’re reading this article, there’s no doubt that you’ve got an entrepreneurial mindset and spirit. So explore your options, start different side hustles, try stuff out, and learn what works for you.
Related: How to find your passion?
Tip 7: Set goals the right way
Goal-setting is an essential step in achieving success.
However, there’s a big difference between setting goals and setting empowering ones.
Setting goals is what most people do. And the New Year’s resolution statistics tell the story: 64% of people quit their goal within a month.
If you want to become successful in life, you must become part of the minority that understands how to set effective goals.
Here are the key insights:
You already know most of these principles. But there’s a reason why good old fashion goal-setting is still used today: it works.
Related: How to set goals?
Tip 8: Learn from failure
How can you avoid failure?
If you never take action, you’ll never fail. But that’s the only guaranteed way to avoid failure. However, I consider inaction the only true failure in life.
Of course, there are better options for you.
So, while most people avoid failure, you must embrace it. Rather than seeing failure as a setback, consider it a stepping stone to success.
Failure is a learning opportunity.
It’s a valuable experience to develop new skills and strategies.
I have not failed 10,000 times—I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.
– Thomas Edison
But it’s not so much that we fear failure…
In her book Feel Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan explains that the real fear is that you’re unsure how to deal with what comes next.
In my experience, it’s all about the fear of judgment.
Your ego wants to keep you safe and part of a community. And when others judge you, you feel vulnerable and alone.
But here’s the deal:
People cast judgment because keeping others down at your level is easier than stepping outside your comfort zone and taking action. Misery seeks company. And you want to avoid that like the plague.
Don’t let other people’s judgment shape your story.
Instead, embrace failure.
Learn from your mistakes.
Improve upon them.
And try again.
Ignore the naysayers that try to guilt trip you into decisions that aren’t your own. Ultimately, people will remember your success – not failure.
Related: How to overcome fear of the unknown?
Tip 9: Venture beyond your comfort zone
Stepping outside your comfort zone is intimidating, uncomfortable, and incredibly rewarding.
Most of your growth and success lies there.
Plus, you feel most accomplished when you pursue and persist through fear and come out better, wiser, and stronger on the other side.
Public speaking is a great example.
Most people hate it.
That included me.
I avoided it like the plague.
And when I experienced awkward moments, I used that as an excuse to tell myself, “I told you so, I should’ve avoided it at all costs.”
That attitude kept me stuck for years.
But one decision changed everything.
I decided that living as a coward was no option. That’s when I knew I also had to face my fear if I was serious about becoming successful.
Public speaking still sucked.
But what changed was that even when I fucked up, I still felt somewhat accomplished.
After all, I took action.
And that was priceless.
Every moment in discomfort made me more comfortable with it. And the more I exposed myself to it, the more I began to thrive.
You see, you become better at what you do.
Not what you think, read, or watch about – but what you DO leads to success. And while you already know that, do you ACT on it?
That takes the first step.
And that’s why you must decide to seek discomfort often.
Here are some tips that I used to progress:
- Start small: Try something new that’s only slightly outside your comfort zone. And then slowly increase the challenge over time.
- Break it down: Avoid overwhelm by breaking your challenges up into smaller, more manageable chunks.
- Get support: Get a mentor, coach, or partner to encourage and hold you accountable for staying consistent.
- Focus on the long-term benefits: Remember that the price of long-term success is short-term discomfort. The opposite is true too. Short-term comfort comes at the cost of long-term success.
- Embrace failure: We just covered this point in tip 8.
Remember that developing your confidence by expanding your comfort zone is always uncomfortable. And the only way to become successful is by facing and overcoming your challenges.
But there’s no better feeling in the world.
Related: How to develop your confidence?
Tip 10: Develop a morning routine
Establishing an empowering morning routine is a fantastic way to start your day and set yourself up for success.
Most people already have a routine. It’s just not empowering…
Rushing to work.
Feeling like you’re playing catch up the rest of your day. And when you finally come home from work, you just want to lay down and relax.
What if you start the day with purpose and intention?
For example, every day became successful once I started with an hour of writing in the morning. No one could steal that victory, no matter how terrible the rest of the day was.
Every day, I made progress towards my dreams.
No matter what happened.
Take advantage of the morning when your willpower is at its peak. Use that to build long-term momentum, one small step at a time.
Here are some morning ideas:
- Learn a new skill
- Brush up existing skills
- Work on your side hustle
- Explore a new passion or interest
- Work out
What do you need to stay consistent to succeed in life or at work? Prioritize that activity and get it done in the early hours.
It ensures progress, and it makes you immediately feel more successful.
Related: How to build good habits?
Tip 11: Celebrate small wins
Celebrating your small victories boosts motivation and empowers you to stay on track to achieve your goals.
Yet, we often forget to do so.
What’s the last time you achieved a small win?
And what’s the last time you celebrated one?
Taking the time to acknowledge and celebrate small wins reinforces consistent action and improves self-esteem. Doing this cements the habit of commitment and consistency.
It’s not rocket science.
But you need a system to ensure you do it.
For example, I allow myself to relax in the evening if I complete my daily goals. That’s when I can play video games or watch a documentary.
That works for me.
How do you like to enjoy your time off? Make that your incentive for sticking to your habits or progressing towards your goals.
Tip 12: Be proactive
Being proactive is one of Stephen Covey’s seven principles in his book: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Successful people are proactive.
While that may sound obvious, it’s something we know but rarely do. And this one makes a huge difference.
Start taking the initiative and become known as a go-getter.
Here are some tips:
- Come up with ideas and solutions when problems arise, rather than waiting for others to solve them for you.
- Take the initiative in meetings or projects. Perhaps you can take a leadership role or present your ideas to people.
- Commit yourself to new tasks, projects or challenges, even if you’re still figuring it out.
- Provide more value than you seek in return. In other words, give without expecting anything in return.
When you take the initiative and add more value, you’ll make yourself irreplaceable. It’s powerful stuff. But try it out for yourself rather than taking my word for it.
Become someone who adds value proactively.
Related: How to be proactive?
Tip 13: Maintain an open mind
Successful people are learners.
They rarely need to show or convince other people how smart they are. Instead, they ask questions and seek to learn.
The more you learn, the more you earn.
And everyone has some life experiences or knowledge that you lack. So in that sense, you can learn something from everyone.
Realizing that makes life more fun too.
It increases your genuine interest in people. And guess what? People love talking about themselves, their experiences, and how much they know about the world.
Here are some tips to gain more insights:
- Surrounding yourself with people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives can broaden your understanding of the world.
- Seek people you disagree with and try to understand the mentality that they’re coming from.
- Listen more than you speak, and not only will you learn more, people will value their time around you a lot more too.
Do you want to become successful?
Do the opposite of what most people do by becoming more interested instead of trying to be more interesting.
Tip 14: Cultivate a positive mindset
Two people can experience the same thing in different ways.
For example, one person can feel excited at a concert when everyone sings along. But a person who would love to focus more on the artist’s voice can dislike that.
You likely have a strong feeling towards one of those two too.
And it’s not about right or wrong here.
Instead, it’s about your perception of the experience.
Your perspective makes all the difference.
You’ll experience setbacks and challenging times, especially if you’re ambitious. And maintaining a positive mental attitude during those times is a superpower that helps you to become successful in life.
Tip 15: Seek mentorship and guidance
Mentorship and coaching are powerful ways to gain knowledge and experience in your field rapidly.
They can provide insight, support, accountability, and guidance as you navigate your (career) path and avoid common pitfalls.
I wish I had known this sooner…
Or, well, I did know but didn’t act on it.
And that was a mistake.
For example, I practice calisthenics (a.k.a. bodyweight training or street workout), a mix of traditional fitness and gymnastics.
And I tried to learn everything by myself.
As a result, my progress often stagnated, and I struggled to break through to the next level with pull-ups, handstands, and gaining strength overall.
- I made mistakes I didn’t realize I was making.
- I failed to grasp training principles like progressive overload.
- And I got stuck because I either did too little;
- Or got injured because I did too much.
I experienced a massive shift when I became more serious and bought a couple of training programs.
But personal coaching would be even better – someone who could provide specific tips and corrections based on my specific needs and the mistakes I made.
It would’ve shaved years off my learning curve…
Seeking professional advice is a great idea. Look for people who share your interests and values, and seek opportunities to learn from them.
Be open to feedback and take action on their advice.
Remember that mentorship is a two-way street. So be willing to give back in return, especially when you’re just starting.
Tip 16: Prioritize self-care and work-life balance
Not everyone is Elon Musk…
And though you may try 80-hour workweeks, don’t be surprised when you burn out. It’s just not for everyone.
On the flip side, too many people play video games or watch series all day under the disguise of “work-life balance” and “self-care”.
But in reality, it just covers up procrastination.
I did that too.
I would reward myself around lunchtime with 20 minutes of relaxing time to play a video game. But what often happened was that I kept playing until late afternoon.
It was easy to tell myself that I needed this.
The truth is that I felt awful about it.
What I should’ve done instead is work during the day and THEN reward myself at night. And not earlier.
That works for me.
What about you?
Be honest with yourself:
- Are you working hard but struggling to progress because you should go to bed and have a good night of rest?
- Do you reward yourself with too much leisure time and feel terrible because you know you did too much of it?
- Or are you somewhere in between?
Work-life balance differs for everyone.
Elon Musk works a lot because he thrives on it. And, of course, he will achieve more than those who put in fewer hours. But neither of those things means you should do it too.
Instead, figure out how YOU tick.
And design your life around it to be successful and fulfilled.
Tip 17: Give back to your community
True success is shared success.
Giving back to your community is a meaningful way to contribute. And if you want to be successful in life, the best way is to add an element of contribution to your mission.
What difference do you want to make in the world?
Making a larger impact motivates and rewards more than merely pursuing personal goals. But one doesn’t exclude the other.
Becoming successful, impacting others, and obtaining personal fulfillment mix well together.
Related: How to find your purpose?
The takeaway of this article is that success means something different to everyone. It’s up to you to define what success means. And then pursue that definition to become successful on your own terms.
After all, it’s the process that matters most.
And if you hate your process, will you persist enough to stick with it to achieve the end result? And will that make you feel successful?
Those are good questions to consider.
While we covered 17 ways to stay committed and consistent to become successful, it’s wise to implement one idea first.
Where will you start?
Take some time to identify which tip would benefit you most.
Start there and implement it.
If you struggle to figure out where to start, here are three ideas:
Achieve lasting and meaningful success
On Insideout Mastery, I help you become successful and create a life on your own terms.
And while no template works for everyone, there are many strategies, tools, and hacks that you can explore.
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