Defining Success



The clean slate of 2015, a new year filled with fresh opportunities.

All through January, I have been reading loads of articles and blog posts about goal setting and New Year’s resolutions. Read some of them here and here and here.

We have all heard about process goals, the breaking down of a large, seemingly insurmountable task, into smaller, more manageable tasks/goals. As Carrie Barrett in the article on Training Peaks says: “The rungs in the ladder you’ll need to climb in order to reach the big goal”.

Before we even get to the process part, the most important part of this process for me is the first step – Defining Success.

I was watching Silver Linings Playbook on the flight from South Africa, that scene where the 2 main characters (Pat and Tiffany) compete in a dance competition, both being novice dancers. Pat’s superstitious father (played by Robert de Niro) has entered into a parlay with his gambling pal, where 2 things needs to happen for him to win back double the money he lost on the first bet. Firstly the Eagles need to beat the Dallas Cowboys, and then Pat and Tiffany need to score a 5.0 in the dance contest.


The eagles beat the Cowboys, and the pair scores a 5.0, and start celebrating (with the other dancers looking on in bewilderment at their joy in receiving such a low score).

What I love about this part of the movie, is that they are so stoked on their score, and it’s “only” a 5. Look at the other dancers expressions of condolence! They feel sorry for them for only scoring a 5.

10 is a perfect score, if your goal was to win the contest, or dance a perfect routine. Pat and Tiffany’s goal was to score a 5. They (and Pat’s dad’s gambling buddy) had defined what success would be. They achieved a 5 out of 5=100%. Success!

How do you aim for improvement, if you don’t know what it even looks like?

Here’s to a super 2015!

sig angled