Let’s be honest here… We’ve all thought at some point in our lives that we just need to have something. We may have thought that once we’ve saved up a certain amount of money, we can start a new business, or that once we have a C-level job title, we will be happy, or that once we lose weight, we can go on a beach vacation.

Whatever the situation, you’ve most likely had a train of thought that followed this formula. But here’s the thing: if you want to be successful at reaching your goals, you can’t continue thinking this way. It’s time to change how you approach these thoughts. Our favorite tool for reframing this mindset is the Be, Do, Have model.

Stephen Covey introduced the world to his Be, Do, Have model in his book The Seven Habits of Effective People in 2004. Not only is this model considered to be the only approach that guarantees success, but more importantly — it’s also sustainable. Once adopted, you’ve set yourself up for long-term success.

So, how do you apply this model? Let’s take a look.


The first thing we’re going to look at is the three different approaches to this mindset and why you should stay away from any approach that does not follow the exact order of Be, Do, Have.

Victim Approach In this first approach, a person believes that they need to have something first, do something next, and then they will be. We often hear them say things like “When I have more time, I’ll go to the gym, and then I will be more fit.” The problem here is they don’t have the first things they need to get started. The victim here is usually waiting for external situations to change in their favor before they can move forward.

Worker ApproachIn this second approach, a person believes that they must do something first, have something next, and then they will finally be something. For example: “If I work harder this month, I will make more commission, and be able to buy a new car … and then I will be happy.” The problem with this approach is that they will most likely forever be stuck between the DO and BE stage, never achieving their final goal. This is similar to what economists call the “Positive Feedback Loop.” This type of person will never stop doing. That’s because the more one works, the more work one creates for themselves. By constantly doing, you may HAVE things — such as a bigger house or a nicer car — but you’ll never escape the DO-HAVE loop. And you might never get to experience the BE you so badly want.

Winner Approach This last approach is the only one that is proven to be successful. It implies that you must be someone first, do things next, and you are almost guaranteed to have what you want. For example, if your goal is to get up earlier and exercise more, tell yourself “I am a morning person. That is who I am.” This is your be. And then you will begin to get up earlier (do) and improve your physical — and mental — health (have).


Now that you know why Be, Do, Have is the winning approach, here’s how you can apply this model to your goals:

  • To determine who you need to be, ask yourself: How do I need to start behaving?

  • To determine what you need to do, ask yourself: Which actions do I need to take to get closer to my goals?

  • Lastly, to determine what you need to have: make your end goal crystal clear.

Usually, by starting with your “be” and “do,” your “have” will take care of itself.


If you find yourself wondering how you can start the Be, Do, Have process, here’s a quote from Marcus Aurelius. In our opinion, it’s the most useful (and best) advice you need to get started:

“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.”

– Marcus Aurelius