So we are coming to the end of another year. And a particularly popular exercise that a lot of people do at the end of the year is to look back and reflect on their activities, goals, and achievements to determine if the year has been a successful one.

But this begs the question: How do you measure success? It seems to me that it’s important to have metrics in order to measure success. But these metrics are going to be very different from person-to-person, and from business-to-business.

Is success based on earning a certain amount of money? Maybe. But to me, not if it means working 100 hours a wee k, rarely seeing my friends and family, having no time for exercise, and never taking a vacation. I value financial wellness, but not at the expense of my life. For others, making a lot of money, even at the expense of their personal life, is a very important measurement of success. Only you know where your metrics lie when it comes to money.

Is success based on ticking off a huge to-do list? From a personal productivity standpoint, I’m all for being effective and productive, which often includes ticking items off of your to-do list. But sometimes the better option is culling down the to-do list and only focusing on what’s really important and is a priority. An overflowing to-do list can become a regimented replacement for enjoying the moment in favor of often unimportant activities.

Is success based on receiving external accolades, winning a competition, or getting some other type of attention? Again, it depends how important this is to you and what value it adds to your life or business.

I think success is highly personal and varies widely among people and organizations. What is considered a huge overarching success to one person, can be considered a colossal failure to another. Success is usually made up of activities and goals that lead to achievements that then lead to feelings of accomplishment, value, and self-worth. But for some people it’s not even the achievements that lead to success, but the activity of striving for a goal itself. In other words, it’s not the completion of an activity or goal, but the progress and effort of working towards it. As Greg Anderson so eloquently stated “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity, but doing it.”

success-2015Too often, we are measuring success using the wrong metrics. We need to be crystal clear as to our definition of success in order to know if we are, in fact, successful. To me, success can be defined as taking consistent action towards achieving my goals personally and professionally. I try to reward myself for progress and consistent action, not just results. Sometimes results are delayed, and sometimes for very legitimate reasons. If I only measured success when I actually achieve the results, it would certainly make the journey seem much longer and laborious.

So look back on your year, keeping your definition of success in place, and deciding on the metri cs that you will use to measure it. Make sure that your metrics are not so difficult to achieve that you set yourself up for never feeling like a success. On the other hand, try not to make your metrics so easy that you have nothing to strive for.

I hope you’ll join me in a toast. Here’s to a successful year — no matter what your success metrics are!

About Lisa Montanaro

Lisa Montanaro is a Productivity Consultant, Success Coach, Business Strategist, Speaker and Author who helps people live successful and passionate lives, and enjoy productive and profitable businesses. To receive her free Toolkit, Achieve Powerhouse Success with Purpose, Passion & Productivity, visit Lisa is the author of "The Ultimate Life Organizer: An Interactive Guide to a Simpler, Less Stressful & More Organized Life" published by Peter Pauper Press. Through her work, Lisa helps people deal with the issues that block personal and professional change and growth. To explore how Lisa can help you be purposeful, passionate and productive, contact Lisa at (530) 302-5306 or by e-mail at .

4 Responses to “A Year in Review: How Do You Measure Success?”

  1. Cris

    Excellent.. as expected! One of my favorite posts!

    Yes, ‘Metrics’ matter in life. Life`s all full of success but only few ones`ve seen it through their eyes cause, the rest of ones`re already lost in the joy of faked ‘metrics’. Your insightful post reminds me that… without purpose you can`t achieve what you have to. So, first.. find a purpose of your life and then walk along it.” Something like that!

    Secondly, I adore Greg`s words either. His words`re well fitted with your breathtaking insights. Winning & loosing; dreaming of success & having a piece of success… its not what we should look for. Living & being healthy; learning & breathing… is all what we have to look for. Loved your incense you leave across the corners of your pages!

    Great job, Lisa!

  2. Lisa Montanaro

    Thanks Cris. So happy that you loved this post and it resonated with you so much. And you are so right on… without purpose you can’t achieve what you have to! Such a great point.

    • Cris

      Always a pleasure to read your insightful work written by your beautiful hand, Lisa.

      Well.. I got one question for you. I`ve dealt with many people including my real life friends. Most of `em are seemed a bit insecure `bout their purposes. I`m not sure, what an exact way to shed some light on the purposes` of their lives but yeah… it`s something that`s not easily found cause, To me, the success`s all hidden behind it & can never be breathed in a day. Right? However, In today`s modern world, Non-motivated people`re already trapped around some kinda infatuated metrics & their thoughts`re too sounded like.. fluctuating along the up and down streams of winds, there`s so much rush outside the home… right amid the arena of wide crowd… isn`t it? And, amidst such a crowd, their purpose`s being lost somewhere behind the depth of darkling nights.

      So, the question is, How one can find a purpose of his own life without even getting lost into his own mazes?

      I need to know your opinions on it either & expect to hear from you soon, Lisa!

  3. Lisa Montanaro

    Cris – Thanks for your additional comment, and your question. You ask how people can find their purpose amidst all of the noise of a busy life? It isn’t always easy, that’s for sure! But it is oh so important. So here are a few suggestions:

    – Try to get some quiet. That means stepping out of your everyday life and turning off the technology for a short period of time, and listening to your own voice.
    – Sometimes we ask friends and family for advice, and although they are well meaning, they may not have our best interests in mind. So unless they are your “believing eyes”, refrain from asking too many people for advice and trust your own intuition.
    – Journal about what you think your purpose is.
    – Create a vision board and see what start stop grab your interest.

    Those are just a few suggestions. Hope they help! Happy Purpose Finding. 🙂


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