Monday, June 11, 2007


I've been thinking a lot about success and how we define it. It was reinforced at a Weight Watchers meeting this morning. I lost 1lb, for a total of 11 lbs in 7 weeks, and was disappointed after a week of heavy exercise and strictly following the program.

A lady at the meeting spoke about the fact that she didn't get any support from her husband or other people around her. She'd tried to loose weight so many times, they no longer believed in her - they expected her to fail. I think she's projecting how she actually feels about herself onto other people. She's thinking to herself, "I've tried this so many times and failed, what makes this time any different?"

Of course, ever the opinionated person, I had to chime in and tell her that all those other times she was just learning what didn't work. Since, she'd already eliminated those things that had sabotaged her diet in the past she had a better chance of succeeding this time. The past does not equal the future.

It restarted me thinking about how we evaluate whether we are successful or not. Some people have such a long list of what success is, they set themselves up for failure before they even start. If I have the idea that successful weight loss is losing 3 lbs a week, then anything less than that is a failure.

To translate this to writing, if I think success is completing three books a year, or writing 5 pgs/day then anything less than that is failure. Is it any wonder that we end up feeling badly?

However, if you change your idea of "success" then life gets a whole lot more pleasant and you feel better about yourself. Want to bet that a person who feels better about themselves accomplishes more?

So, what if I define a successful day as one where I don't scar my children emotionally and I'm kind to one person? I could do that. I would feel empowered by my success and would feel energized and positive rather than knocking myself for not losing more weight or writing more pages.

Let's see how it works.


Kelly said...

In my family we have two definitions of failure: (1) giving up; (2) never trying at all. So long as you keep at it, you've defined success.

julia said...

Very wise, Anne. I love your perspective on learning from past attempts. I think one very huge factor for people who give up prematurely is their desire for instant gratification. There's no patience for the learning curve and the aquisition of mastery.

But collecting experience and learning from it is really the only way to do anything.

Christine said...

You're right Ann. I know I'm my hardest critic and push myself more than I should. I really like Kelly's definition of failure. I think I'm going to make that my new motto.

annette said...

Congratulations on losing those pounds! And for figuring out ways to add more positive experiences to your life. LOL It's like that movie, What About Bob? Baby steps, baby steps. :-)

I believe we have the power to make our own success in life, through hard work and determination. And I try to be a glass half full, rather than a glass half empty kind of gal. Life seems so much sweeter if you look at things that way.

Annie Mac said...

Kelly, I like your definition too.

I spoke to that lady in the WW meeting because she was in tears. I felt so sorry that she had to live with someone who made her feel so bad about herself. But, I was tactful enough not to say it LOL

I realized that caring too much about what other people think sabotages our success as well.