By: David Othus


Too often we find ourselves in the trap of setting ourselves up for failure. We want something or kind of want something but are either unclear in what we want or unclear in how to get what we want. The following steps will help guide you towards achieving what it is you want.


If you believe in yourself enough and know what you want, you’re going to make it happen.

~ Mariah Carey

Know what you want. While this sounds kind of obvious, I have found that most people don’t have a clear idea of what it is they want. Often all they have is a clear idea of what they don’t want and only a fuzzy idea of what it is they do want. Having a clear idea of what you do want is very powerful, even if you don’t have a clue on how to achieve it.

If you are like most people and don’t know what it is you really want then use what you don’t want to figure out what it is you really do want.

Don’t tie the “How to get it” to the “What you want”. The how piece gets worked out later.

If you are trying to find a life companion, don’t tie a “Who it is” to the “What you want”. Rather make a list of attributes that are important for your life companion to have, or even better, simply leave the “What you want” as simply “finding your soul mate or twin soul” and let the rest fall into place.

I know many people who simply say, they want to win the lottery. I am guessing you know people like this as well. But really what these want is to have a lot of money. There are lots of ways to get a lot of money, and winning the lottery is only one of them. Rather than tie yourself down to only one or even a few options, just put down what you want and take care of the “How to get it” piece later.


He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.

~Friedrich Nietzsche

Know why you want it. Knowing why you want something is just as important, if not more important than knowing what you want. For instance, if you say you want a lot of money to have an easier lifestyle, then maybe what you want is not really having a lot of money. Really what you want is to have an easier lifestyle.

If we look at the lives of people who have won the lottery, they very often end up having much worse / less happy lives after they win the big one than before. They are constantly inundated by people asking for money, relatives they never knew they had who are always in need. Often they will quit their jobs and go on giant spending sprees only to end up deeper in debt than they ever imagined with no job to help get them out. If they let the “Why they want it” guide the “What they want”, they would have taken a different path and found what it really is that makes them happy.

I am not saying that winning the lottery always gives people miserable lives, and there are many happy lottery winners out there. But statistically speaking, the unhappy lottery winners outnumber the happy ones by a fairly large percentage.

It is far more important to know what you really want and what will make you really happy than it is to put some kind of constraints up about what you want and how you will get it. Figuring out how to get what you want should only come after research.


The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.

~ Lee Iacocca

Write down your goal and why it is important to you. Often we have moments of clarity that can impact our lives for a long time, but if we don’t write those ideas down, we lose focus and start to wonder. After you clarify your goal and why it is important to you write it down. In fact, don’t just write it down anywhere, write it down everywhere so that you can always and easily find it and see it. Having this reminder tells your subconscious mind what you should be focusing on and helps you to achieve it!


You will be a failure, until you impress the subconscious with the conviction you are a success. This is done by making an affirmation which ‘clicks.’

~ Florence Scovel Shinn

Have conviction that you can achieve what you want and be successful. What you believe determines how you act and what you do. What you do and the way in which you do it determines what it is that you will achieve. If you have absolute conviction that you will achieve something, then you will find the right way for you to achieve it. Sometimes achieving your goal will take time while other times this can be nearly instantaneous. Either way, you need to have the right attitude and be convicted that you will be successful so that your body language radiates success and your subconscious mind is looking for the shortcuts and opportunities that will help you become successful. These things combines will help to draw in the people, resources and opportunities that you need to become successful in any endeavor you are presented with.


Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.

~ Zora Neale Hurston

Research how to achieve what you want and create an actionable plan. Now that you know what you want and why, you should start researching all the various ways to achieve what it is you desire. There are lots of books, videos, blogs on nearly every subject you can imagine. The internet is always a great place to start, but don’t limit yourself to the internet. Depending on your goal, the library, experts and even friends and family can help point you in the right direction.   Look for people who have achieved the goals you are looking to achieve. These are the experts. Often people will lead you down a train of others till you are lead to the right person to tell you what you need to do to be successful. For any goal you can imagine, there is someone who has done it and can help you achieve it. Look for experts to give expert advice.

During your research, start putting together an action plan. Often times you can actually start implementing your plan before it is actually complete. Keep in mind, you will constantly be updating your plan as you gain additional information, though you must stick to the overall framework of your plan.

A caution about friends and family. You want to stay clear of anyone who is negative about your goals. You want direction and solutions, not negative thoughts and words than can undermine your confidence and conviction for achieving your goals!


We shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us.

~ Marshall McLuhan

Get the resources you really need. When I was in college, I took a class in mathematics that required that I purchase an expensive scientific calculator. Without this device, I would fail and the time and money for the class would be wasted. I was also not particularly good at advanced mathematics, but needed to take the class to complete my degree, so I signed up for tutoring to get the help I needed. After college, I have often found that things are similar. I often need instruction, coaching, training, or a particular device in order to be successful.

When we look at some companies see can see what happens when they don’t get the resources they really need; they have some project that they need to work on for a customer and then they do it on the cheap. As a result, the customer gets poor quality and the company gets another headache. With proper planning and getting what they needed to start with, the customer would be happy and the company would not have the headache.

Perhaps you have seen this in your life. You find something that you need to be successful but either don’t get it or simply put it off until it is too late and suffer from the consequence. If you need something to succeed, be that a degree, specific training, or a computer system capable of handling the load you are going to place on it, get what you need to succeed. That doesn’t mean go overboard and spend more than what you can afford, but if you really need something, you should find a way to afford it.


Action is the foundational key to all success.

~ Pablo Picasso

Take the appropriate action at the appropriate time. One of the things that gets in the way for many people working on a goal is the step where you take action. It is one thing to plan and research and dream. Taking action is the piece where you take those dreams and turn them into your reality. Sitting on your ass and dreaming and planning won’t get you anything until you start taking the actions necessary to make those dreams come true.

Beyond not taking any action at all, there is another killer, a greater killer that we all know: procrastination. While a few people may try to do things too quickly, most people find themselves in the trap of putting things off, or not acting quick enough and losing out on opportunities. This does not mean that you should always act immediately, but rather that you should determine the proper time to take a given action. Always try to take action when it is appropriate, and don’t hesitate or put things off.


The world is a great mirror. It reflects back to you what you are. If you are loving, if you are friendly, if you are helpful, the world will prove loving and friendly and helpful to you. The world is what you are.

~ Thomas Dreier

Be friendly, uplifting and helpful. Opportunities are made from the people you meet which means that how you interact with people is important. Often I meet people who shoot themselves in the foot by being domineering and critical. It’s so easy to complain about things, any many people spend their lives doing just that. But these people are often a drain on your energy and being around them too long can be taxing. You can’t afford to be one of those people. By finding things to be positive about, finding things to compliment the other person about, finding ways to be helpful, you create a lasting bond where the person thinks of you as a problem solver rather than just another problem. And opportunities are for people who solve problems rather than those who perpetuate them. Be few in your complaints and many in finding solutions and you will have more opportunities than you will know what to do with. You will also have more, good quality friends who are willing to help than you ever realized.


I am a goal setter and I set more goals everyday. I keep lists of goals in my office to stay on track.

~ Kiana Tom

Make a task list of things you need to do to accomplish your plan. As you start researching how to accomplish your goal and creating your action plan, you will come up with a list of tasks that you will need to accomplish to achieve your goal. Write these down along with any notes or specific dates you need to help you accomplish them. I can tell you first hand that there is nothing more frustrating that forgetting some little detail when you need it because it isn’t written down. As you go through this list of tasks, be sure to check them off when they get accomplished.

Be sure to prioritize the items on your task list and list any dependent tasks. Most systems start with the A, B, C method, where A are high priority items, B are medium priority items, and C are low priority items. After that, you arrange these items in their groupings with a number starting with 1 as the highest priority. If you use that system, great, if you have another system, feel free to use it. The important thing is that you have a system you use to prioritize the items in your list.

Be sure to mark down if a task depends on the completion of another task. These tasks should always have a higher priority than the task that depends on them. For example, if one of the items on your task list is to do laundry, but you are out of laundry soap, the task of doing laundry is dependent on the task of buying laundry soap.  So if doing laundry is B5, getting the soap must be


The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.

~Stephen Covey

Make a schedule and keep it. A good schedule is an invaluable tool for building success, while a bad schedule will sabotage your every effort.

A good schedule is a schedule that has you doing what you need to do exactly when you need to do it. This means that you only put things on your schedule that you will do at a specific time on a given day.

If you are not sure if you will actually get to something, don’t put it on your schedule, leave it on your task list. The important thing is that you setup your calendar so that it drives what you do at specific times. When you don’t have anything scheduled on your calendar, go to your task list to pick up items to work on. This gives your calendar more time to work tasks with and greater flexibility for you in doing what needs to get done.


When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.

~ Confucius

Continue to research your goal and update your plan as needed. The world is a constantly changing place and opportunities exist all around us. Because of this we need to be somewhat flexible with our plans and how we implement them. Often there are opportunities that can give us shortcuts towards achieving our goals.

As you start pursuing your goals and striving for success, you need to constantly be mindful of the things that are going on around you, particularly in relation to the goals you are trying to achieve.

Each day you should take time out to continue your research, meditate and think. Be sure to take notes on whatever new ideas and inspirations come to you. Sometimes these will be great ideas and other times they can lead to great ideas with a bit more work.

Look at what is going on in the field you are working to succeed in as well as how your plan is going. Look at what others are doing to succeed and how the field looks and is trending towards the future. Does your plan take you to where you want to be? Do all of the steps in your plan still make sense? Is there something you can do to refine your steps and shorten the period to you achieving your goals? I don’t generally recommend changing an entire plan, but sometimes that is necessary. But occasionally, you will learn some new bit of information that will help you and modify some particular step in your plan or give you greater clarity on how to achieve it.


Persistent people begin their success where others end in failure.

~ Edward Eggleston

Be persistent. The final and probably most important thing that will lead you to success is to be persistent. Persistent desire, persistent research and persistent timely action helps you to achieve your goals with dedication and intelligence. Whatever you do, don’t give up, just refine your process until you are able to overcome the obstacles and achieve the success you want and deserve.