So many people focus on doing stuff that they don’t give themselves the benefit of really experiencing their successes. Our brains need the dopamine hit of feeling successful in order to gird ourselves for taking the next risk.

If you want to increase your odds of succeeding, follow these four steps in this success cycle:

  1. Plan
  2. Act
  3. Celebrate
  4. Evaluate
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Hardly anybody would tell you not to plan, but those of us who love to get stuff done sometimes skip this step. Don’t.

It doesn’t need to be an elaborate multi-phase project plan (unless it’s an elaborate multi-phase project), but do yourself a favor and think things through. Make sure you’re clear on your desired outcomes and what success actually looks like.


To accomplish the thing, you actually need to do the thing! While this tends to be the most obvious piece of the success cycle, some of my clients get a little skittish when it comes time to act. Especially if it involves risk-taking.

If you have a solid plan, move on, and do it.

If you’re struggling with getting started, take a look at why. Do you need a better plan? Do you have a saboteur voice in your head telling you that you have no business taking this on? Tackle whatever is holding you up head on.


Celebration can be one of the hardest things for go-getters to do. But it’s crucial for your brain to make new pathways so it’s easier to experience success in the future.

Think about it. You just did something momentous (or not so momentous, but awesome, nonetheless). You want to experience this again, right? Well, feed your brain a hit of dopamine and give it some positive reinforcement. Celebration is important with creating and reinforcing new habits, too.


We’re almost there – evaluation is the last step in the cycle. Aww, do I have to? In a word, yes!

If you like shortcuts and making things easier on yourself, evaluating what went well (and didn’t) gives you an edge. This doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out process if you’ve got a pretty simple project or a short success cycle, but even 15 minutes of reflection and note writing can save you hours the next time you do it.

(And while you’re at it, be sure you’ve got a trusted source you can go back to and find those notes, like Evernote, OneNote, or a favorite journal.)

Our memories can fade with startling quickness, and it’s easy to forget some of those hard-won lessons. Evaluation can save you from yourself the next go around!

That’s it. When you PACE yourself and Plan, Act, Celebrate, and Evaluate, you’re giving yourself the gift of more – and better – success.

What’s the key to YOUR success? Tell us in the comments below!