7 Powerful Ways to Set Yourself Up for Success

Whatever goals you’re working towards in life, whatever dreams you have, you’ll want to give yourself the best possible chance of success.
You might be trying to lose weight, start your own business, write a book, redecorate the house … these tips apply to almost any sizeable project.

#1: Get Help and Support

Having a bit of help from family, friends or colleagues – or simply some friendly support – can make a world of difference. Sometimes, this means direct assistance: your best friend might come over at the weekend to help you redecorate.

Often, though, the help and support from the people around you comes a little more indirectly. It might be your parents taking care of the kids for a few hours so you can work on your book, or your spouse taking care of the chores while you write your business plan.

#2: Have Money Available

Not all projects need to cost money … but having some spare cash available is still a good idea. If you can save up a small emergency fund, unexpected crises are much less likely to derail all your good plans. And if you find you need to invest in some software for your new business, or your redecorating costs end up higher than expected, you don’t have to worry about spending the money.

If you set aside just $10 each week, you’ll have $520 at the end of the year. It’s not a fortune – but it could easily be enough to make the difference between failure and success.

#3: Take Care of Your Body

Don’t push yourself too hard. In order to be at your best mentally, you need to be in good physical shape too. That means eating healthy foods that give you sustained energy as well as exercising on a regular basis.

It’s often tempting to cut back on sleep when you’re working on a lot of different goals. Try to avoid this: you’ll be putting your health at risk, and you may not really gain any extra productive time – you’ll end up working slowly (or procrastinating more) because you’re tired.

#4: Be Positive

As you’re working towards your goal, you might find yourself thinking things like “I’ll never be thin, so I might as well give up and eat this huge slice of cake” or “I’ll never find a publisher for my book, so what’s the point in writing it?”

Replace these negative voices with more positive messages. You might even want to write down some encouraging thoughts, like “I know I can lose weight successfully. Every pound I lose makes me healthier” or “I really enjoy writing.”


#5: Write Down Your Goals

Whatever you’re planning to do, write it down – ideally, somewhere you’ll see regularly (perhaps on a small card in your wallet, or on your computer’s desktop). It’s easy to let days go by without working on any of your goals … but a written reminder will help keep you on track.

Writing your goals down is also a great way to truly commit to them. It’s easy to keep saying “I want to lose weight” or “I want to write a book” or “I’m going to start my own business someday” – but it’s harder to actually take the first step towards that goal. You may even want to write a deadline alongside your goal to help you stay focused (e.g. “Finish the first draft of my book before my next birthday” or “Lose 20lbs before our summer vacation.”)

#6: Break Big Projects into Little Steps

Your goals are almost certainly too big to tackle in a single day or even a single week: you’re going to be working at them over several months or even years. So that you don’t get stuck or discouraged, break down each goal or project into small steps.

For instance, if your goal is to run your own business full-time, your first step might be to write a business plan. Step two could be setting up a website, and step three might be getting your very first client. You don’t have to get all the way to step twenty – quitting your day job – in one big leap.

#7: Don’t Try to Do Too Much

It’s often tempting to tackle a whole range of great goals at once: losing weight and writing a book and redecorating the house and making time to catch up with old friends … and while you might keep up your enthusiasm and energy for a week or two, you’re quickly going to run yourself into the ground.

Rather than trying to achieve ten goals, only to give up on them all, aim for just one or two big goals at a time. This helps you stay focused and it also gives you sufficient down-time – essential if you’re going to be successful in reaching your goals over the long-term.


Do you have any great success tips to add? Or is there something from this list that you want to try in your own life? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!






Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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