Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash

Success means different things to different people.

For many, accumulating wealth or power are definitive signs of success. For you, it may be as simple (or complex) as being happy.

And although an attitude of continuous self-improvement reaps great rewards, it’s beneficial to stop every now and then and appreciate what we’ve already accomplished.

With that in mind, here are seven unexpected signs that you’re more successful than you think:

1. You’ve made tons of progress.

When I was struggling to learn a language, a wise person once told me: “Don’t think about how far you’ve got to go. Look back, and consider how far you’ve already come.”

This principle applies across our lives. Think about the version of yourself from five years ago. What experience have you collected? What lessons have you learned?

The truth: You’ve come a long way.

2. You set your own priorities.

Your business may not be making millions, but you love what you do. Or you’ve learned the invaluable lesson that money can’t buy more time–so you spend as much of that time as you can with family and friends (or doing what’s important to you).

Establishing priorities is half the recipe for success. The other half is sticking to them.

3. You love to learn.

You’re a voracious reader. You love to try new things. You don’t mind making mistakes.

Why? Because every new journey broadens your horizons and helps you to better understand yourself, others, and the world around you. Mistakes aren’t failures–they’re only more opportunities to learn.

4. You use goals as stepping stones.

We tend to measure success with the big things–graduating from school, earning our first promotion…even getting married.

But it’s the small, behind-the-scenes goals that lead to the bigger successes: Every passed test. Every successful work assignment. Getting past that horrid first date.

All great successes begin with smaller ones.

5. You cultivate good habits.

It’s been famously said: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

You know how you get up early every morning? How about that fitness routine you stick to? Or the fact that you work hard to always arrive a little bit early?

Reaching goals requires hard work and perseverance. But regardless of where you’re trying to go, the right habits are helping you get there.

6. You strive to be emotionally intelligent.

None of us can perfectly control our emotions.

But by working to identify your emotions, realizing the major role they play in your life, and using that understanding to inform your decision making, you’re vastly more successful than you would be otherwise.

7. You haven’t given up.

One of the biggest keys to success: persistence.

So many give up right before crossing the finish line, or just before reaching the goal they’ve invested so much time and effort to achieve.

But that’s not you. You’re still here. Day in, day out, moving forward, determined to leave it all on the table.

And that’s what makes you a success.

Enjoy this post? Check out my book, EQ Applied, which uses fascinating research and compelling stories to illustrate what emotional intelligence looks like in everyday life.

A version of this article originally appeared on