Defining Success as Less

By | March 11, 2022

Back in 2020, I maintained a 100-day workout streak. Each day I would find time to ensure that I don’t break the chain. My fitness improved and I felt great. 

Then life happened, had other responsibilities to take care of and as a result, I took a long break from exercising. Consequently, I put on weight, felt lazy and developed revulsion to the idea of working out. 

I wanted to break out of it but just found it so hard to restart. 

Whenever the thought of working out crossed my mind, the idea of being my old fit self where I could run 5k under 30 min felt too daunting, too overwhelming. And I used to give up. Again and again. 

This used to be a recurring pattern with my other habits like reading and writing too. The longer the break, the harder it became to restart. 

Then something changed: I changed my definition of what a successful day looked like. 

I redefined success as less. 

On days I didn’t feel like running, I defined success as walking for 10 minutes. 

On days I didn’t feel like reading, I defined success as reading 10 pages. 

On days I didn’t feel like writing, I defined success as writing 10 sentences. 

This shift in my thinking toward doing hard things helped me restart. 

The best part was when I walked for that 10 min, read those 10 pages, wrote those 10 sentences, I usually kept going for some more time. Even if I didn’t, I was fine with it. I felt content knowing that the day has been a success. 

I realised why the idea works. 

When you are in a slump, two horrible things happen. One, you don’t do the work you should be doing. And two, you are overcome with guilt that you have wasted yet another day. Guilt turns into self-criticism. Criticism turns into self-pity. Self-pity turns into sadness and then into despondency.  

By defining success as an easily doable task, you make it easy for you to restart. You don’t spend your time finding fault with yourself and wallowing in self-pity, but feel good because you have taken steps towards your goal. That feeling of fulfilment is powerful. It’s the fuel you fill for doing the task the next day.

When you are feeling overwhelmed and find yourself unable to do something you ought to do, define success as less. 

Never forget that achieving big goals begin with small, incremental steps.

60 thoughts on “Defining Success as Less

  1. akhila vollala

    Iam in the same state, this one quenched my thirst… Thank you sir

    1. Sourabh Mandliya

      You’re a LEGEND sir! learnt a lot of things from you.

  2. Anonymous

    Its been long time since you wrote to us, from last few days I kept on checking my mail box to see if you’ve posted something. and trust me I literally needed the exact kind of words you’ve written. Thank you for being there sir. Lots of respect.

  3. Anonymous

    Thank you sir for sharing this
    I am facing the problem of wasting my each day just thinking about board exams and doing nothing
    Thanks again for changing my perspective about success

  4. eishita gupta

    I like your writings and this blog. This post is good reminder of how powerful Atomic Habits are.
    Thank you for these wonderful words.

  5. Vishwajit Rane

    This is damm true….”The best part was when I walked for that 10 min, read those 10 pages, wrote those 10 sentences, I usually kept going for some more time”. When we r overwhelmed, it will act as fuel for next day work. Thanks.

  6. Karunya

    Ur blogs always gives me a kind positive vibes..
    Some lines feels like iam reflecting myself while reading them .
    PPL usually have a habit of postponing thing .we just think it as a normal one. But it’s a big thing where actual problem begins ..
    Ur words are really impressive sir . Always inspiring, mirror reflecting.

  7. Anonymous

    Loved it… exremely well penned thought process..

  8. bestshikshaguide

    Very nice content and blog, I found it very informative and useful, hope to read more nice articles like this one around here,

  9. Sarika kumari

    Thank you sir for share such a wonderful thought which is well planned

  10. meghana

    Sir your beautiful idea (Defining Success as Less) made me to restart my preparation. I know it is not enough to just say thank you for this help. But from my side I want to say a heartfelt thank you. Keep motivating us like this ❤️❤️❤️.

  11. Anonymous

    Try to read James clear’s blog also. Trust me your overall behavior will also definitely change…

  12. Anonymous

    Sir please guide me how to start upsc preparation as I am now @20 age doing a job gds in department of post

  13. Aditi

    Agreed. No matter how good you maintain things for a number of days, there comes a day when every routine gets disrupted and there is absolutely no motivation to start despite the fact that you very enthusiastically did that work just a day before, we need to follow this to restart. Doing a little definitely makes us stay longer, that is tried and tested.

  14. Vipin kumar

    Very sensational and give inputs to life
    Start with a single move and Move on to long Walker and after completion of Walker journey start running become a runner durable practice and mindset will ensure your success it’s totally depends upon durable mind practice thought


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