We all have dreams of what we want from life, but many of us have a hard time knowing how to achieve those dreams. Just wishing for something will not make it happen.

I've devised a six-step system to help guide my consulting clients in successfully moving from dreams to reality. It's a program anyone can follow and tailor to any goal. Here's the simple but effective system in a nutshell:

1. Set an ambitious goal.

Your goal determines your direction. Identifying a specific goal establishes the foundation of your success. It's an especially important step, because choosing one goal means rejecting other possibilities, so you need to understand your priorities and values from the start. Don't talk yourself out of a goal because it feels unattainable--that's no reason not to go for it. Your job is to find the courage within yourself to follow what you want. Once you start to do what you can to make it happen, the impossible can become possible. Don't limit yourself or your goals; know what you want to achieve and raise the bar high enough to reach it.

2. Make a compelling plan.

For every goal, design a plan that includes what you will do and how you'll do it. This plan serves as the strategy for achieving your goal. Your plan has to be precise, detailed, and process-oriented. Beyond those points, you have plenty of room to customize the plan to meet your own needs and schedule.

3. Do the hard work.

For many of us, this is the hardest part: getting up and starting in. To be effective, you need to work with courage, determination, effort, and discipline. Along the way, you'll have opportunities to confront your own weaknesses. If you try to deny or work around them, you'll find yourself going in circles, so you'll need to find a way to push through. And in the times of struggle, remind yourself why you're doing this in the first place.

4. Deal with ghastly setbacks.

As you move through your plan, it's inevitable that you will encounter problems at some point. How you deal with them will determine your success. Your mission throughout is to make the best possible choices to move toward your goal. When a setback occurs, that often means you need to focus on what's working right before you start fixing what's going wrong. Taking your time and finding the root cause of the problem, instead of just rushing in to fix it, helps keep you from making the same mistake again.

5. Measure your solid progress.

You need clear metrics to make sure you're staying on track with your action plan and meeting all criteria. Developing a process to measure your progress is a critical step, because it gives you the data you need to make adjustments: Are you hitting your targets? Is your execution of the plan staying on point? Are you keeping up with your timeline? Make sure you're measuring your wins and successes, not just your shortcomings.

6. Mind your bad habits.

There are many factors to success, but at the end of the day habits play a huge role. Your habits reflect your choices, your priorities, your decisions--all the things that help determine whether you'll be successful or not. Keep your bad habits at bay, and your good habits and work ethic in fine order, and the odds will stay on your side.

That's it--a simple six-step system to get what you want out of life. With every success, you should review your goals and plan, changing any steps as needed to keep you moving in a positive direction.