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5 Steps to Success: A Proven Process for Achieving Your Goals

A person at the top of their game

I recently had someone ask me the question, “HOW DO I BECOME SUCCESSFUL AT LIFE?”

While most people would respond to this question by saying that success is individual, it’s subjective, and no one can tell you how to achieve success… I respectfully disagree.

Becoming successful in life is actually pretty simple and as I always say, “success leaves clues”.

I’ve helped thousands of men overcome their biggest obstacles and live the lives that they want (everyone from accountants to bankers to high school dropouts to professional athletes) and while the details of the journey to success may vary, the core principles will always be the same.

Here they are:

Step #1: Gain Massive Clarity on Your True Desires and Clearly Define Success for Yourself

The first and most important step on your journey to success is simple.

Define what success means to you and what specific outcomes you would like to achieve in order to feel successful.

This step SHOULD NOT be taken lightly, and you won’t finish it over the course of an afternoon, day, week, or even a month.

If you are serious about building an amazing life, then you must think deeply about what success really means to you.

Ask yourself what you want and why.

Here’s an exercise that I’ve used in my own life to gain clarity on what I want over the past few years.

The 30 x 3 Exercise:

Write down 30 things that you want to Have (beach house, Ferrari, etc.), 30 things you want to Do (skydive, travel, etc.), and 30 things you want to be (world-class artist, black belt, etc). Next, you are going to go through the list and pick the top 3 in each category.

Now, you are going to complete something called the 7 levels of why.

The 7 Levels of Why:

For this exercise, you will take the 9 items that you previously wrote out and you will ask yourself “Why do I want to be, have, or do this?” for example if you wrote, “Own a 7-figure company” your level 1 “why” might be… “ I want to have more financial freedom and feel like I’m adding value to the marketplace

Great. There you go…….now, let’s get deeper.

Why do you want more financial freedom and to add more value to the marketplace?

You’d likely respond with “I want more financial freedom so that I no longer have to stress about my bills, can take care of my parent, and give my children the lives they deserve, etc”

Great! Now let’s get even deeper

Why do you want to take care of your parents and give your children the lives that they deserve?

“Because my parents didn’t have much growing up, I know what it’s like to be poor and I want to make sure that nobody I love ever has to experience that feeling again”

And you keep going until you have asked the question “Why” 7 times.

If you do this right, this exercise will change your life.

The Magic Wand Exercise:

Finally, you are going to ask yourself a simple question. “If I could wave a magic wand that made time and money completely irrelevant, what would I do with my life after I went on all of the vacations, enjoyed all of the creature comforts, and gave to the people I love?”

The answer to this question might change your whole future.

Step #2: Redefine Success Based on Values, Actions, and Habits… Not Outcomes

The second step on your path to success is to redefine success to be process and value-focused… Not outcome-focused.

Here’s what I mean.

If you decide that “Success” for you means being self-employed, no debt, with a great body, and a loving spouse… That’s awesome.

But it will also take you a long time to achieve that goal, so what are you supposed to do? Feel like a complete and total failure until you reach your goals?

Of course not! And even once you reach your current definition of success, you will likely have a new definition that you are pursuing.

Therefore, I recommend an exercise called “Success Now”.

Here’s what you are going to do.

When you look at your big future vision, all of your crazy goals, and deepest desires that constitute your definition of “Success” I want you to ask yourself… Who do I need to be and what values/habits must I uphold in order to achieve success?

Taking our example from the last point, if your definition of success was the 7-figure business, spouse, house on the beach, and great body, you need:

  • Discipline
  • Regular exercise
  • A healthy diet
  • A daily list of “To Do’s” that is accomplished in your business
  • Compassion
  • Date nights
  • And thousands of other small tasks and mindsets

So, what you are going to do is make a list of your top 10 “Success Based Values” and your top 10 “Success Based Habits”.

Then, you are going to type/write out the following statement for each.

I feel successful anytime that I move towards discipline. I move towards discipline anytime that I wake up by 6 a.m., train my body for at least 20 minutes, and read a nonfiction book for half an hour. (This statement is different for everyone)

You are basically breaking your goal down into its smallest possible pieces and then giving yourself permission to feel successful anytime that you take action on one of those small pieces.

I know this might seem a little weird or counterintuitive, but I promise you that there is nothing worse than stopping yourself from feeling success and happiness because you haven’t reached a certain milestone in your life.

Step #3: Determine and Clearly Write out the Logistical Requirements of Success (the Who, What, When, and Where)

Now that you have clarity on where you want to go, and you have given yourself permission to feel successful now (with clearly defined parameters) it’s time to figure out the “How” of your success.

This is possibly the simplest step but it’s also the most fluid.

Until you are actually in the trenches pursuing your goal you won’t really know what you need logistically to achieve success, but you can get a head start by asking the following questions…

  • Who do I need to help me achieve success? (Mentors, spouses, business partners, family members etc.)
  • What do I need to do in order to move towards my definition of success? What do I need to learn in order to shorten my learning curve?
  • When do I need to make big moves towards success? (Is there a time of year, a certain trend in the marketplace etc.)
  • Where do I need to be in order to capitalize on opportunities and accelerate my journey (E.g. If you want to become a real estate mogul, living in rural Missouri in a city with fewer than 10,000 people isn’t an ideal location for pursuing your definition of success)

Step #4: Commit to Laying at Least 5 Bricks A Day

Once you know what you want, why you want it, how to get it, and how to enjoy the journey… It’s time to get started.

And to get started, I recommend a very simple framework called “The Bricklayer”.  The concept is simple.

If you want to build a castle, you can’t do it all at once, you must do it one brick at a time (even if you have people helping you).  Your life is the same way.

If you want to be and feel truly successful, then you must get there brick by brick, action by action, and day by day.

To help simplify the process, you are going to commit to laying 3–5 bricks a day in your health and fitness, social life, career, and personal growth.

YOU define what these bricks are.

Step #5: Ruthlessly Track Your Results and Tweak Your Approach

The final step to success is to ruthlessly track your results and modify your approach.

An uber successful client of mine always said, “What gets measured gets managed.” If you aren’t measuring the output and results in your life, then you cannot effectively manage it.

If you want to be successful, you must create a list of Key Performance Indicators or KPIs that you will track daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly.


While the final destination of “Success” is different for everyone, the approach, the how of success will not vary from person to person.

If you follow the simple framework that I have outlined above, you will be able to drastically improve the results that you generate in your life and business, and you will be able to do it faster than you thought possible.

Whether you want to become a millionaire real estate investor, a world-class bodybuilder, or a modern-day monk, it doesn’t matter. The process is the same even if the results are different.

So, I challenge you to apply this framework in your new endeavor. Create your own definition of success and then get after it.

You won’t believe where the road will take you and as with all the work we do together, I am here to guide you and support you through this entire process.

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Picture of Dr. Sydney Ceruto

Dr. Sydney Ceruto

A Pioneer in Neuroscience-Based Coaching

As the founder of MindLAB Neuroscience, Dr. Sydney Ceruto has been a leading force in integrating neuroscience into coaching and counseling for over two decades. With three master's degrees in psychology and two PhDs in behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, she is widely considered a top expert in her field.

Harnessing the power of neuroscience-based coaching, Dr. Ceruto's innovative approach focuses on neuroscience, neuroplasticity, and neural pathway rewiring to foster lasting positive change in mental health.

Dr. Ceruto holds esteemed memberships in the Forbes Executive Council, Positive Performance Alliance, Wharton Executive Education Program, the International Society of Female Professionals, and executive writing positions for Alternatives Watch, Brainz Magazine, and TED: Ideas Worth Spreading.

Dr. Ceruto's accomplishments include:

  • The 2022 CREA Award.
  • A lead research position at NYU Steinhardt.
  • Volunteer work with Covenant House and the National Alliance for Mental Health (NAMI).

Her science-backed method of Neural Rewiring has successfully guided thousands of clients toward happier, more productive, and more resilient lives.