If you worry that your life lacks purpose, a workable and flexible framework for correcting the problem is to set goals and work towards them. Goals can motivate you to work harder and keep your mind focused. For many – in fact, most – worthy achievements, the road to success starts with setting a goal.

Once you have a goal in mind, the next question is, how will you achieve it? This simple eight-step process is general enough to help you chart a path to virtually any goal.

1) Keep Your Goal In Mind

If you haven’t written your goal down, have you even really set it? Write your goal so that you can look at regularly. This primes your mind for achievement. In phrasing, your goal for this purpose, be as specific as you can in order to maximise the motivational effect.

2) Make Plans

Goals without plans are little more than idle wishes. What steps are you going to take toward your goal? What obstacles need to be overcome? Where do you need help, and what sort of help do you need? Would corporate training help or is it a personal self-belief that needs to be worked on?

3) Accumulate Knowledge and Skills

Many worthy goals involve doing things of which you are not yet capable. Is your progress toward your goal being hampered by a weakness? Remedying these problems and increasing your capabilities can become key parts of your plans.

4) Set Aside Time to Work Toward Your Goal

Time is the most precious resource any of us have. Is your usage of time in line with your priorities? If achieving your goals is truly important, you need to prioritize your time accordingly. You can also apply this perspective to your plans: When your time is limited, which steps toward your goal will be most effective?

5) Seek Out Supportive Peers

Do you know anyone who can provide direct support in your progress toward your goal? On a broader perspective, you need to make sure you get the encouragement and positive support you need. Friends and associates who deliver too much negativity won’t help – and might actually hurt – your progress. You may need to shift your social relationships to ensure you spend time with the right people.

6) Don’t Wait

As already noted, planning is a core step on the road to success. This doesn’t mean that planning makes progress in and of itself! If you’re not ready to take action in pursuit of your goals, what obstacles need to be removed? What steps can you take NOW to move closer to your goals?

7) Maintain a Positive Attitude

Thoughts and beliefs have a tremendous impact on our behaviour and on what we can achieve. Believe you can or believe you can’t; either way, you’re probably right. Examine your beliefs thoroughly and ask yourself if your attitude and self-image are in line with achieving your goals. Is it possible that something you believe about yourself is actually an obstacle? Skills, knowledge, and resources can all be accumulated in preparation for achievement, but the mindset and attitude to put them to work has to come from within.

8) Rise to the Challenge

Feelings of familiarity and ease are what build our comfort zone. The comfort zone, though, is not where we can achieve great things. You much stretch yourself if you intend to grow and learn. You do not need to throw yourself so far into novelty that you panic, but you must accept the discomfort that comes with challenging your capabilities. This is the only way to expand them – and that expansion is absolutely necessary to achieve your goals.

As you strive toward your goals, remember to take care of yourself along the way. Not every race needs to be won immediately. Seek out support whenever you need it.