Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What's YOUR Definition of Success?

I would really like to know: how do YOU define success? And I mean not only health/weight wise, but life wise.

Are you a success when you are happy most of the time? When your bills are all paid and you have enough for retirement? How about if your kids all grow up to be good people, are you a success then? Maybe when you reach your goal weight you will be a success. Or maybe when you marry the right person, or have love in your life, or get that Master's degree you always wanted.

Obviously, success has many facets. You cannot define success as one thing, unless you are only talking about one facet. There's success in relationships, in finances, in educational goals, and more. And even then, time moves on. Things change. A success one minute can be an abysmal failure the next. So what is success?

Let's talk weight and health for a minute here. I used to think when I reached a certain weight, that would make me a success at weight loss. I figured losing over 100 pounds made me a success. Yet people often blog or comment and say that losing weight is NOT the success, but keeping it off is. Okay, I see your point. So now I have kept about 90 pounds of that weight off for over a year so far and counting... in all, I've managed not to regain much of what I lost over a four year span. Is that long enough? What is success?

Is it when I reach a normal BMI?
Is it when my doctor says I am healthy?
Is it when I have no more cravings, ever? Or when I can control them 100% of the time?
Is it when I exercise three hours a week, or get my body fat down to a certain percentage?
Is it when I have kept all the weight off for 5 years? 10 years? To the grave? What fun is success if it is only reached when you die?

I think we have to define success for *ourselves.* It is pretty impossible to define it for someone else. I can't look at your life and say whether or not you are a success, UNLESS you have told me what your goals are and that you have failed or succeeded at reaching them. But it is important to understand what exactly we are working towards. Otherwise, we might be successful and not even realize it.

I am working on my own definition of success. What's yours? When will you BE a success?


Princess Dieter said...

I already am in many ways, which explains why I'm pretty happy and content about it. I've worked on accepting the sag/crinkles/droops a lot, too.

I'll consider myself successful when I can keep to a non-obese weight for 5+ years. That seems to be the length of time that's most indicative of lifelong success (not guarantees, but makes it MORE likely habits are entrenched and the regain won't happen).

I'm pretty darn happy at this weight. I haven't binged in 17 months. I feel pretty normal about food 98% of the time, but I'd love to get to goal and reassess if it's maintainable (since I'm maintaining THIS weight at around 1600 calories, which ain't a whole lot). But if my body wanted to stay right here, I can live with it. Mobility is very good. Flexibility is good. Energy is good.

I'm happy about my journey.

But I still want to work to get to goal , in no big rush, but I want to see how I feel there and if I can hold it with some sustainable caloric level.

Quite bluntly, I'll consider myself a success if I can maintain healthful eating at restrained calories with consistent exercise to maintain muscle and flexibility and stay out of the obesity category for the rest of my life...period. :) Not skinny. Just NOT obese. :D Taht would be victory.

mog said...

I define success as: when you look at your life you are happy with how it has turned out.

By that definition I am a success in most areas of my life (which is why I define it that way!)

I am happy with my work, my home, my finances, my relationships, my hobbies....

Mostly all that is left is my weight, but I am fairly happy with how that is coming along.

Life is good.

Diandra said...

Hmm... paying bills on time and keeping our flat inhabitable makes me successful at life.

But when am I a success? Easy. "Be yourself as hard as you can." That'S tough all on its own. We do not have control over most other circumstances - the people we meet and/or fall in love with, the people our children decide to become (although we should do our best to raise them, of course), many of the things that happen to our body (accidents, illness, age), job situation and stuff. But we are responsible for the way we react, and for our own actions, and for how we live our lives under the circumstances life tosses our way.

It's easy to think we are failures if a relationship fails or if we lose our jobs, or if our kids decide to get in trouble. But since we are not divine...

Marshmallow said...

For me, it's an ability thing. I feel I am successful when I recognise I have the ability to achieve something. When I realised that my weight wasn't holding my ability back, that's when I realised that I was successful in something that meant a lot more to me than a number on a scale.

Anonymous said...

I think being happy, calm and content about where you are now is the best measure of success.

Karen said...

I'm successful when I can used my God ( higherpower) given talents for myself and others.

Being obese kept me from using my gifts so I kicked it to the curb.

Being in an unhealthy relationship kept me from my gifts so I ended that and kicked him to the curb.

That's pretty successful in my book.

Anonymous said...

NOW you're asking the right questions!

Maren said...

It's hard to define.. I think success will be when I'm happy with myself. :)

Heidi said...

You're definitely right that success is something personal. I think there's always things to be striving for, and new limits to reach, so I find it hard to define when I'll feel successful.

I guess the most appropriate answer that comes to mind is when I love myself for who I am, and can extend that love to those around me.

Love your blog!

Anonymous said...

I have been successful in many things. (Weight loss, not so much at the moment.)

I can't say,"I am a success," in the way you have presented it here, however. As you said, their are many facets to our lives, and unless you choose to have a life narrowly focused on one facet--like weight loss--there will always be areas of failure or struggle along with areas of success.

I'm thinking that the proclamation that "I am a success" can only come at the end of a life, when one looks back--or others do.

But, since you asked, here is how I think of myself re: success: My sins are forgiven and I can stand before God spotless, because of His grace. I walk humbly and securely in the knowledge that when my life does end, I will be welcomed by God as one of His own.

Success for me will be when I stand before the throne and hear, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

Not trying to be preachy and I apologize for any I may have offended, but you asked and it is the truth that underlies my measure of success.


Janis said...

The only thing I know it's not is "When do I get to stop trying so hard?"

Anonymous said...

I think I defined myself a weight loss success 2 years ago (and still do) because I felt like I learned the key: protein and vegetables. I haven't kept the weight off for psychological reasons, but that's different because I was mentally incapable of caring about my weight. Once the depression lifted, I was able to return to the healthy eating and exercise which is the new baseline. I don't struggle with BED, so that's success in my book.

In terms of life - there's an I'm OK, you're OK version of success. People have different goals and different goals at different times.

Hide those cookies said...

Lyn, I just have to say that I am floored by your success and so happy for you! You look amazing and are a tremendous inspiration!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Lyn--I just discovered your blog! You are awesome! I love your honesty and all the good information you dish out. Your writing is really good, too. I have been on Medifast for 11 weeks and I've lost 17 pounds. I have 46 pounds until I reach my goal.
Anyway, for what it's worth, here is my current favorite Medifast meal: I take 3/4 cup of water, 4 ice cubes, and a packet of the Coffee Soft Serve, and mix it in my Medifast blender. It makes a really, really thick shake.
I'm going to try the pudding, as you've suggested. I've been too afraid to order it up until nows
Anyway, hang in there!

Suzanne said...

To me, success is when you can say you lived today better than yesterday. Or, when you can look at yourself and honestly say you are doing the best with what you have. It's not about what your co-worker or best friend or sister or friend or neighbor does, it's about what you do. Try a little harder to be a little better. And if you fall on your face, pick yourself back up. Doing your best does not mean being perfect. If you are one who binges several times a day, and then the next day you made more effort and binged even one less time, or were able to stop yourself by choice instead of because you were so stuffed you thought you were going to puke, I'd say that's success. I don't think success is ever a destination. It's a one day at a time thing. I got my master's degree a couple of years ago, which I haven't used yet because I'm a stay at home mom. And I felt pretty successful. But if I hadn't learned anything else in the past two years, I would definitely say that I was not keeping up my educational success.

I'm a firm believer in comparing yourself to yourself. Not anybody else.

Anonymous said...

I don't really focus on "success" in terms of my day to day life. I'm not on a "win" trajectory. I focus more on health and overall happiness. Am I loving and loved? Am I helping the world in a meaningful way with good work? Do I view each day as an opportunity? If yes, then I must be on the right track.

In terms of conventional "success", i.e., meeting career and financial goals, then I am highly successful. But really, it's possible to have all of that and still be a miserable human being, so I tend to focus more on the intangibles.

I think it would be helpful for me to set weight loss goals, however. I am happy as long as the scale is going down, but I don't see the harm in making myself more specific health-related goals, like running a 5K or getting a certain amount of sleep. Good idea!!!