Success to me — you can define it however you like — is simply having peace of mind.

Peace of mind that I am consistently moving forward in improvement. Peace of mind knowing that I choose how I spend my life. Peace of mind knowing that I have stability and seek significance in everything I do.

Your life’s success is greatly enhanced when you clearly define what it is that you want, create a plan to achieve it and work toward that goal each day. The ability to do this begins with accepting personal responsibility for the outcomes in your life. You are where you are because of a series of small choices and actions. You can get to where you want to be through a new series of small choices and actions. No longer can you play the victim. You must take control of your life — it is 100 percent your responsibility.

I believe that we are here on this earth to become the best possible version of ourselves. This means that we must learn new things in order to achieve greater results. Many times this means getting outside of our comfort zones and into a place of fear. You are smarter and stronger than you think you are, and you have more potential than you can possibly imagine. In order to gain the skills needed to achieve, you need to tackle the fear that is keeping you in that place you are in.

Following these guidelines of setting and achieving what is important to you, your priorities, will assist you in your journey.

“Begin with the end in mind.” — Stephen Covey

This simple thought is the starting point of any effective plan. You must define where you are going in order to define the path to get there. You don’t set out on a road trip without knowing a destination; don’t risk your life in the same way.

1. Clearly define what you what in all important areas of your life — in your lifetime.

Don’t put limits on what you define as your outcome; write down the first thoughts that come to mind.

Areas of consideration:

• Wealth – How much wealth have you accumulated in your lifetime?

• Family – What does your relationship with your family look like?

• Health – How healthy are you? What does this health provide for you?

• Career – What have you accomplished in your professional lifetime?

If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority. Narrow your focus down to the three most important areas to focus on and state these priorities in as specific terms as possible.

2. Create your “set” of KPIs (key performance indicators).

What are those few activities that you must do in order to achieve the clearly defined outcomes you are after in the longer term? Each outcome you are after should have a set of KPIs that you can measure along your journey. Think about those actions that will have the greatest impact on the outcome and place a date on each one of them.

Who? What? When? The “who” is you!

• Wealth – How much do you need to save by when?

• Family – What specific activities must you perform by when?

• Health – What type of exercise or nutrition plan should you be starting and by when?

• Career – Should you be looking for another position or doing something to advance yourself in the one you have? And — you guessed it — by when?

3. Every day write down and take one small action toward your outcome.

By rewriting your clearly defined outcome each day, along with taking one small action (I don’t really care how small it is; you can even sit and think about the outcome for two minutes if you like, but don’t do that every day), you will begin to program your brain to actively seek circumstances to help you succeed. Do this every day for 30 days and see how much progress you make.

The strongest of warriors are patience and time. Use these elements to create your own definition of success.

This story was originally published in The Tennessean.