No matter what your goals and ambitions are in life, you alone can define what success means to you. This concept looks different for everyone—some people view success through the lens of career achievement, while others think of personal actualization or social activism. But no matter how you choose to define it, you have the freedom to pursue that version of success on your own terms, no one else’s.
However, if all the tension of this present climate has you feeling unmotivated to take the next steps forward, it might be time to add more fun into your pursuit of success. These simple, enjoyable and actionable tips below can help you do just that. Success is meant to be savored, so take the pressure off and reclaim pleasure in the journey.
Challenge Yourself to Learn a New Skill.
Are you a lifelong learner who consistently searches out new ideas, perspectives, and skills to put in your toolbelt? Curiosity is a significant mile marker on the road to success, so find an outlet to activate the learning center of your brain on a regular basis. Whether you learn how to code a website, knit a scarf, play an instrument, or speak another language, when you tap into a new skill, your horizons of both curiosity and proficiency will expand.
“A common thread I’ve observed in the lives of successful leaders is a hunger to learn. They’re always seeking ways to improve themselves and their performance. They’re open to learning in nontraditional ways that fit with their individual aptitudes and learning styles…Learning equates to behavior in action, practicing what you consume as information [to] transform into behavior,” says executive business coach Sue Hawkes.
Make Time for Self-Care Rituals Each Day.
This fast-paced culture tends to glorify those who work nonstop and rarely unplug to rest and replenish but chasing success at the expense of your own wellness often leads to burnout. If you are stressed or energy depleted, you won’t have the endurance necessary to pursue your ambitions in the long term—over time, you’ll just run out of steam. For this reason, entrepreneur coach and consultant Amy Chen wants to reframe the practice of self-care as an “investment” in both your current well-being and future success.
“You can only give if your own cup is full, so take enough time out…Feeling refreshed allows you to think creatively and make better decisions…You’ll be more available for personal relationships and more effective with clients because you’re present, less frazzled, and can focus on the task at hand,” she explains. This self-care ritual might include a walk in nature, better sleep hygiene, a meditation practice, limited screen time to read or journal, or whatever calms your mind, lifts the burden of stress, and refuels that energy tank.
Refresh and Declutter Your Workspace.
If you work from home, it’s crucial to maintain an organized remote workspace that makes you feel inspired, creative, and able to concentrate without a heap of clutter to distract you. In fact, “a study on the effects of clutter in the home found that individuals who felt overwhelmed by the amount of ‘stuff in their homes were more likely to procrastinate,” reports Libby Sander, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at Bond University.
“You might think you’re not bothered by overstuffed filing cabinets or the stacks of paper on your desk. But scientists at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute…show that our brains like order, and that constant visual reminders of disorganization drain our cognitive resources and reduce our ability to focus. They also found that when participants cleared the clutter from their work environment, they were better able to focus and process information, and their productivity increased,” Sander continues. Therefore, to help boost motivation and productivity—two major predictors of success—refresh your space, so it’s clean and tidy.
Pursue a Side Hustle or Freelance Project.
The traditional view of success in this culture tends to center on the financial gain at all costs. But if you want to change this definition to include other perks such as work-life balance, a freelance side hustle could be just the solution. In a recent survey from Dollarsprout, 41 percent of side hustlers ages 25–34 choose to freelance for flexibility, and 40 percent of side hustlers over age 54 choose to freelance for sheer enjoyment.
Of course, there are clear monetary benefits too, this research points out. 48 percent use their side hustle incomes for extra spending money, 27 percent use it for living expenses, 11 percent use it to pay off debt, and 10 percent use it to save for major purchases. But to maximize your success as a freelancer, choose a side hustle that you’re passionate about and actually want to devote time to. If you’re into crafting, launch an Etsy shop. If you love to write, pitch articles to blogs or websites. If you’re a strong communicator, start a podcast.
Cut Yourself Slack—Don’t Be Too Critical.
Regardless of how ambitious, driven, passionate, and goal-oriented you are, there will be times when you fall short of the benchmarks you want to achieve. But this is an inevitable part of the process, so there’s no shame in faltering. It’s important to show grace when you stumble and learn from the setback, rather than just labeling yourself a failure.
Think of this in terms of a poker game metaphor: “Everyone makes mistakes, folds when they should have pushed all-in, or bets when they should have folded—it’s normal…Nobody can win all the time; it’s the nature of the game. Knowing how to move past the losses, the bad beats, and not being overly critical are essential habits that keep successful players from falling apart at the tables,” the Global Poker Blog points out.
No matter how you define success, there are many practical, actionable, and enjoyable ways to achieve it. With a blend of passion, effort, intentionality, commitment, and perseverance, you can be successful at whatever aspiration your sights are fixed on. Not to mention, you can also have fun in the process which makes all the effort worthwhile.