Over the past few years, I’ve found myself increasingly intrigued by the notion of success. What makes one person seemingly more successful than the next? Living in London you see so many people from different walks of life co-existing side by side, that this question seems unavoidable to me!

To try and satisfy my curiosity, I’ve read around the subject, I’ve listened to success gurus and I’ve talked to colleagues and friends to try and get a clearer understanding on this fascinating area. What I have established so far is this – people that have clearly defined written goals, tend to be more successful in their career (and indeed their personal life) than those who never quite manage to tangibly outline their aims and ambitions.

This sounds simple but it’s amazing how many people don’t ever actually do it! Essentially success comes down to writing down your ultimate goals in life, be they career based or personal, then breaking them down into smaller more manageable steps, in order to achieve them. For example, think about this in terms of a shopping trip. I find that my shopping trips tend to be much more successful when I take a shopping list with me. Then when I’m back at home, I feel a sense of accomplishment for having purchased the items I needed/ wanted. Have you ever come back from a shopping trip where you didn’t take a list with you and then wondered what on earth all the random purchases you made are actually for? You probably found yourself being seduced into buying some peculiar sales items that you didn’t really need or want, but that felt like a good idea at the time. Taking a list along helps to focus the mind, reduces distractions and ultimately you are much more likely to end up with what you need/want.

Making successful career (or life) decisions can be very much like a shopping trip – essentially, if you don’t have some written goals, then you will be much more likely to make choices along the way which are seemingly directionless. But, if you write down where it is you would like to be in a year, three or five years’ time, then you stand a much better chance of creating a roadmap of steps to take towards achieving this goal.

Success is something that is categorized differently for everyone and often having a successful career is a key factor in a perceived successful life. However it is that you define a ‘successful career’, you stand a far great chance of achieving it if you pragmatically break down all the tasks and steps involved in getting there. Not only will this strategy help to increase your overall motivation but it will help you to avoid procrastination along the way. By establishing the most important steps required in your career, you can focus in on the key areas which will get you there. This in turn will give you the ability to be able to prioritize these key areas in your working day which will positively impact productivity and reduce procrastination.

All this said – goal setting is not easy! It takes time, thought and research to establish your goals, but you can kick start the process by speaking to those you consider to be successful in their career and by asking for key tips to success. Treat goal setting as an important self-development project by seeking out people who inspire you. Then try and organise informational interviews with them so you can learn from all their highs and lows. You’ll be surprised how willing people are to talk to you about their accomplishments and learnings if you show a genuine interest.

So, if you want to avoid looking back on your career/life and wondering why you ended up with a shed full of sale items, then start setting written goals and see how much you can accomplish!