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Seven Secrets to Success On Your Terms

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It’s a new year, time to focus on your plan for a successful 2017—a time to dream big, set new priorities and go forward with confidence, new ideas and energy. The problem with goal-setting is we lose steam by spring (if not sooner), and our good intentions are replaced by busyness and self-sabotage. For many of us, like Sara Cornell, it’s easier to start the year with no resolutions at all.

What sets successful people apart from those who stall out early in the game is living with a “success mindset.” Here are seven essentials for setting yourself up for victory instead of defeat.

  1. Create your own definition of success. It’s not about money and material things. It’s about self-fulfillment, rich relationships, contentment and our overall happiness. When you reach the end of your days, what will you be most proud of achieving? That’s your definition of success.
  2. Let go of the past. You can’t change it. Don’t allow mistakes and failed relationships to define who you are. Start fresh with a new outlook, knowing we all make mistakes. It’s what we do with them that makes the difference.
  3. Have a future vision not clouded by self-imposed, limiting beliefs. Women are so hard on ourselves! We let fear, perfectionism and procrastination sabotage our dreams. The “what ifs” and “I’m not good enough” hold us back from stepping out in faith to become the amazing women God created us to be. Say “no more!” to self-sabotage, and believe you can do whatever you set your mind on doing.
  4. Choose positivity over negativity. Every day you have choices. You can choose to be angry, depressed and resentful, or you can choose to be hopeful, kind and content. You can choose to worry or to look for joy. You are in control of your mindset, so choose wisely.
  5. Develop an attitude of gratitude. It’s essential to be grateful. Start each morning giving thanks, and look for little blessings throughout the day. Keep a gratitude journal, or write notes for a gratitude jar, and your life will definitely change. Remember to be thankful for you. You are precious, just as you are!
  6. Always be growing. Carol Dweck, professor at Stanford University, who has researched the psychology of success, says “a fixed mindset is when people believe their basic qualities, their intelligence, their talents, their abilities, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount, and that’s that.” But people with a growth mindset, those who are most successful, “believe that even basic talents and abilities can be developed over time through experience, mentorship and so on. And these are the people who go for it…They challenge themselves to grow.”
  7. Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people. If you are constantly in the presence of negative, grumpy people who create drama, you will become just like them. Commit to drawing boundaries in those relationships, opening space for new friendships. When your life is filled with positive, uplifting people who have that growth mindset, you will be inspired and motivated to stretch yourself and reach higher. Find a mentor, join a mastermind group and seek organizations that align with your core values.

What are you striving for this year? May you achieve success on your own terms, letting your heart be your guide.


  • holly boyle January 25, 2017 at 7:28 am

    Excellent reminders for keeping up with my New Year’s Intentions. Weed out negative/toxic thoughts, actions and people. Nurture positive dreams, movements and companions. Have a great day!

    • Susan Tolles January 26, 2017 at 9:10 pm

      Holly, you are so right. The choice is ours…nurture what is good, weed out what brings us down. The old addage “have an attitude of gratitude” is still one of the most valuable principles to live by!

  • Elaine January 25, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    Susan – Great reminders. I especially love #7! It’s a timely reminder with all of the negative posts on Facebook over this election. Facebook used to be my happy place – to see family and friends, especially those out of town that I don’t get to see on a regular basis. I have had to unfollow many people so their posts don’t fill up my feed with toxic drama. I am a positive person and love to surround myself with positive people. Best wishes for a successful 2017!

    • Susan Tolles January 26, 2017 at 9:08 pm

      Elaine, I have “unfollowed” so many people on Facebook over the past few months as well. I am so worn out on the hateful posts. I’d love to have a reset button, and start over with a handful of those positive, uplifting people. Instead, for the most part I have checked out. Wishing you a successful 20017 also, on your terms!

      • 1010ParkPlace February 2, 2017 at 2:58 pm

        I love a positive post with ways we can successfully move forward… even from this political nightmare we’re living through. So timely! Thank you, Susan! xoxox, Brenda

        • Susan Tolles February 4, 2017 at 12:52 am

          Brenda, keeping a positive mindset is the best way to keep moving forward these days! We just have to turn off the noise and rest in God’s sovereign power over all things. Focus on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable,” and we will be okay.

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