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What Does Success Mean to You? (My Take)

How was your summer?  Amazing?  Great? Ehh?  Shitty?  Too fast?  Too hot? 

No matter how it was, the week after Labor day means the start of “getting back to normal,” and of course football season.  This means, it’s the time of year that people either choose to hunker down and recommit to their goals OR they justify gaining a few more pounds from Sunday drinks and crappy foods.

I’m not judging.  You live your best life, however you want to live it. 

But if you are in that first category, there are a few things that are needed to succeed.  You need to work hard and be consistent.  Those are the two ingredients to almost any success.  There are other factors that I was going to discuss, but instead I’m going to talk about what success is.  You may or may not agree with me. 

Some Successes You Might Not Agree With

Being in the fitness industry, success is usually something like an amazing before and after photo  (which is awesome), but I think true success is a bit more nuanced. 

Yes, before and after photos are awesome, but you know what I consider even more fucking awesome…never getting to the “Before” photo.  Just like, you know what I consider even more amazing than recovering from an injury?  Not getting injured in the first place.  

Now if you’re injured or feel like you’re at the “before” photo stage, then absolutely, make a change and kick ass doing it. 

But too often, the changes that aren’t perceptible, are ignored but are just as important, if not more so.  The research is clear on this, so if you want to know the best way to keep the weight off.  Don’t gain it in the first place.   

With that said, you know what else I consider a victory, that most people won’t?  It’s when you haven’t gained or lost any weight in the past 5 years.  

You know why that’s a victory?  Because most people gain an average of 1-3 pounds per year.  That means if you haven’t gained or lost any weight in the past 5 years, you’re easily 5 to 15 pounds lighter than what you would have been.  You are already succeeding, but probably don’t feel that way. 

Know what other victories there are? 


Hitting all your workouts for the week.
Meal Prepping.
Not ordering dessert when you don’t really feel like it.
Cutting down drinking, because you like the way you feel the next day, more than the insecurity that the drink is potentially masking.
Getting more sleep, because it feels damn good.
Losing some weight.
Dropping a pant size.
Gaining muscle, where you wanted to gain muscle.
Being happier with your body.
Making working out a habit and not something you have to constantly think about all the time.
Eating more vegetables.  

There are hundreds of ways to see victories.  Too often though, people are focused on just one thing:  How much a damn scale tells them they weigh. 

What is Success, Part Two?

Thus far, I’ve looked at “success” from a different angle, but what I truly consider success is this:  

That you get to a place, where the things you genuinely enjoy doing, you do, and in doing them, you are healthier and happier with your body. 

To me, that is the goal, every time. 

People love to talk about creating habits (myself included), but this mindset is one where it’s less about creating habits, and instead one where the essence of who you are is aligned with the best or most idealized, or most authentic version of yourself. 

It’s not about drinking or not drinking, but instead is about what you want and why.  Not in some, “I’m being good” or “I was so bad” kind of way, but instead a, “I want to because it adds to my life…” or “I don’t want to, because I don’t find value in it…”

And these aren’t necessarily conscious thoughts, but when I say the essence of who you are, this is what I mean.  You know what you want and why, without being upset that others may want to peer pressure you to have some (insert food, lazy habits, alcohol, etc…)

As Shakespeare wrote much more eloquently:

Be true to who you are. 

And here’s the thing.  YOU get to decide that. 

Sure, your friends, family, country, career, hobbies, and habits all influence how you view yourself, but they are NOT you. 

You are you.  

Too often we pander to expectations of what success is, of what others may expect from us, and in doing so, we internalize those desires from others into expectations that we have from and for ourselves. 

So this autumn, instead of falling prey to those desires from others, I want you to take a step back and find what success is to you. 

How can you, stay true to who you are, what you want, and come from a place of “staying real” while being the person who you like being the most? 

Because only when you can align those two aspects – of staying true to who you are, while taking the actions that lead you to the best and most realized version of yourself, can you truly find long-term success and happiness.