Whether you're looking to start a new business, travel the world or planning to head down the path to achieve another important goal, there are a few things you're going to need to put into place before you take that first step (and none of them will yield results until you get your mind right). You're going to need to get clear, cover that thin skin and be ready to face some serious obstacles. All things you can do if you want it badly enough. If you're looking to change your behavior, it's time to stop making excuses and get out of your own way. Here are eight ways to do it.

Be unapologetically ambitious

In spite of what you may have been told (especially, if you're a woman) ambitious is not a bad word. Ambition demands a certain level of confidence, passion, dedication and willpower. This will inspire some and intimidate (and even infuriate) others. Guess what? That's not your problem, so stop offering verbal and nonverbal apologies for wanting more or working harder (and longer hours) than anyone else to get it.

Get informed and then listen to your gut

I am not denying that we all have an inner compass, but to assume the first thing we feel is an undeniable message from an infallible inner guide would be a mistake. Feelings can be notoriously misleading. Think about it: If intuition is clouded by fear, and/or ignorance, it will do nothing for you. Instead of making impulsive decisions based on a misinterpretation of anxiety (or some kind of projection), write down what you feel is the right thing and ask yourself why you feel that way. Get facts to support both sides of an argument and then allow your gut to have veto power.

Be ready to make tough decisions.

While it's true that there are people who find comfort in doing the same thing 200,000 times in their lifetime, most goal-getter's find that kind of groundhog day existence terrifying. You likely want to move on, move up, build, create, explore and experience new things. Achieving this requires that you learn to prioritize and get comfortable making the best possible decisions for your life and business, regardless of how tough they may be. Perhaps you'll have to fire a family member, let go of a friendship or forgo the dream vacation this year. Whatever it is, it won't be easy and that usually means you're on the right track.

Commit to laser focus

It's common sense that having an understanding of who you are, what you want and where you are going is an imperative first step. The second is becoming so focused on it that it serves as both a light and earplugs as you move through the darkness and loud noise that you'll inevitably face as you work towards your ultimate goals. There will be distractions, promises of instant gratification, well-meaning loved ones who really want you to do (fill in request here) when you really need to work. There's no honor in destroying your relationships or burning yourself out, but if you want something, you need to set aside the right amount of time to work on it. You also need to have the willpower to turn away from activities, habits and people who pull you away from it (no matter how much you don't want to).

Don't make a bad day a bad attitude

Life is a series of experiences and your attitude determines how many will be great, good and terrible. Successful people get down and they have difficult times just like everyone else, but they don't allow hard moments to influence their life mantras. These are not the people who will lament that they "can't trust anyone" after one or two people deceive them nor will they allow a bad date to prove they will be "alone forever". This doesn't mean they are walking around with a delusional smile, they just work to keep things in perspective.

Say what you mean

Clear communication is one of the most valuable tools we have and committing to it will change every aspect of our lives and business. Think about how much time and how many personal and professional relationships would be saved if people just thoughtfully expressed what they really thought, felt and needed. Having to play with a verbal Rubik's Cube to decipher a message that can be sent through a sentence is boring, frustrating and often destructive waste of time.

Don't allow small thinkers to pollute your vision

Remember what I said about using laser focus to get through the noise? Small thinkers make the loudest noise, especially when faced with big ideas.These are the men and women who will share stories of their great uncle's best friend's niece who tried what you want to try and failed.They will smack you with a back-handed compliment that usually includes words like "brave" and "interesting". The key is to not engage them. You don't have to be rude, but you also do not need to defend your dreams. My tactic is to smile and think of the "wha wha" chat in Charlie Brown. Works every time.

Be willing to walk away

This is one of the hardest things for humans because we love certainty, even when the only thing it's attached to is misery. Think about it: how many times have you watched someone stay in a terrible relationship because of the time they had already invested or return to a dead-end job simply because they "hoped" they would get a raise? It gets even harder to walk when we really want what is front of us even though we know it goes against our long term goals. Committing to our value system and making decisions that support the life we know we want to live is the only way to actually have a chance at living it.

Published on: May 24, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.