Regardless of how old you are, where you live, or what your career goals are, everybody's ultimate goal in life is to be happy and successful. Read this article to learn how to achieve success in both your external life (i.e. your circumstances) and internal life (i.e. emotional well being).
Method 1 of 2: Achieve External Success
1Identify your passions. Before you can achieve success, you will have to define what success means to you. While it may take years to realize what you want to do with your life, identifying your passions, interests, and values will help you set goals and give your life a sense of meaning. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do you want your legacy to be?
- How would you like to be remembered by others?
- How do you want to make your community a better place?
- What are your subjects of interest?
2Make a list of your goals, and what you might do to achieve them. Be sure to address both short-term and long-term goals; try to think beyond financial/career goals.
- Consider which subjects you enjoyed studying in school, and why. This can help give you an idea of what you may be best at or more interested in.
3Live purposefully. In order to achieve your dreams and be the person you want to be. You will have to start paying attention to your actions. Ask yourself, is what I'm doing going to lead me to where I want to be in life?
- If you find yourself constantly bored, daydreaming about the future or past or counting down the minutes until the day ends, it is probably because you feel disconnected from what you're doing. Consider changing careers or majors to a field that you care about but remember that it could mean changes you are not thinking of. Does that job pay enough to support yourself? Is it something you might get bored of eventually? Do I really want to commit to that job?
- Cherish your time. Try to spend your free time doing things that you enjoy doing, rather than wasting time. For example, rather than spending your weekends watching television, spend them partaking in your hobbies or spending time with loved ones.
- Remember that the concept of "wasted time" is relative. Not everything you do has to be productive in the conventional sense, but it should be engaging and enjoyable.
4Be educated. Education gives you the knowledge, skills, and credibility to achieve your maximum potential. In terms of financial success, statistics have shown that the more education you have (i.e. the higher degree you achieve), the more money you are likely to make.
- In 2011, the median weekly earnings for high school graduates was $638 while those with bachelor's degrees made $1053. That same year, those with masters or doctoral degrees made $1263 and $1551.
- Not all education has to be formal. Apprenticeships and long-term training programs are also positively correlated with higher incomes.
5Manage your finances. Learning how to manage your money will help ensure your financial stability over time, regardless of your income.
- Keep track of your expenses. Review your bank statements often and notice where you spend your money. If you do your banking online, be sure to keep personal records as well. This will help you prevent over-spending and ensure that your bank statements are correct.
- Understand your income. When calculating your income, be sure to take into account the federal, state, and social security taxes that will be deducted from your gross pay. The resulting number is your net pay, which is what you end up taking home with you.
- Prioritize spending. Your first priority should be spending money on basic necessities like food, shelter, and clothing. Don't spend money on luxuries like expensive clothes, cars, or vacations until you have first satisfied your basic necessities. Be honest with yourself and differentiate between your basic needs and your luxuries.
- Save money. Every month, you should deposit some of your money into a savings account. Consider asking your employer to directly deposit a portion of your income into your savings account.
6Manage your time. Putting off important tasks until the last minute can cause you unnecessary stress, and increases the likelihood of errors. Manage your time so that you have enough time to complete a task effectively.
- Use a paper or electronic planner to help keep you organized throughout the day, week, and month.
- Make a list of all the things you need to do in a given day, and check off each task as you complete it. This will help you stay organized and motivated.
Method 2 of 2: Achieve Internal Success
1Enjoy the present moment. If you are constantly dwelling on the past or daydreaming about the future, you are missing out on the present moment. Remember that the past and the future are simply illusions, and that real life takes place here and now.
- Start paying attention to negative thoughts so that you can learn to silence them and enjoy the present moment. If a negative thought arises in your head, then acknowledge it, label it a negative thought, and then let it fade away.
- Get in the habit of paying attention to the small details around you. Appreciate the feeling of the sun on your skin, the sensation of your feet walking on the ground, or the artwork in the restaurant you are eating in. Noticing things like these will help you silence a rambling mind and appreciate every moment.
2Don't compare your own life to other peoples' lives. Unfortunately, many people measure their own success by comparing it to the success of those around them. If you want to feel accomplished and happy, you will have to stop comparing your life to other peoples' lives.
- Many people have the tendency to compare the low points of their own lives with the high points of other peoples' lives. Remember that no matter how perfect somebody's life may seem, behind closed doors everybody deals with tragedy, insecurity, and other difficulties.
- Rather than comparing yourself with people who are "better off" than you, think about all of the people who are homeless, chronically ill, or living in poverty. This will help you appreciate what you have rather than feeling sorry for yourself.
3Count your blessings. No matter how much you achieve in life, you will always feel unhappy if you constantly focus on what you don't have. Instead, devote time every day to appreciating the things you do have. Think beyond material items; appreciate your loved ones, and remember happy memories.