With the back to school rush almost done, many families are getting back into routine, or launching new projects at work.

But for those looking to get organized and set goals, sometimes a bit of help is in order.

That's where Sudbury's Karen Hourtovenko comes in. Hourtovenko is a personal life coach who's in the business of helping others achieve their goals.

And she says the first step in any plan is "know what you want."

"When you [identify] that, you start thinking about the big picture," Hourtovenko told CBC's Up North. "Whether it's to lose weight, to be healthy, or increase income at work."

"If you don't know what you want, you'll just do things without a purpose."

Falling out of routine can make people feel unbalanced

Hourtovenko said she hears a lot of parents anxious for the end of summer, just to enter that routine again.

"Routine. That word come up often. It's not just the student, it's the parents," she said. "When you get out of habit, and you feel out of sorts, people feel like they're missing what they're doing."

She also said maintaining that focus is a primary strategy for her clients. She notices some of her clients with kids or hectic careers sometime let their focus on personal goals slip away.

"Now they have job and a paycheck, but no purpose," she said. "Their focus gets shifted to their kids, their friends, or their boss."

"My philosophy is figure out where you want to go, figure out the strategies of how to get there," she said. "Get rid of the strategies that don't work for us."

"People do things successfully every day, we just focus on what's not working in our lives."

Get rid of the garbage

Hourtovenko said many people choose to focus on their shortcoming, often not believing they're capable of achieving their goals.

"What if I told you people are normal, we just carry some baggage or garbage around that doesn't belong to us, and if we get rid of it we could feel free and live the life we want to live? Accept or get rid of what's not yours to own."

To begin with, though, she says it all comes down to defining what your goal is.

"Sit down and write what you want," she said. "And make the commitment that you have to do the work. What are you prepared to do?"

Listen to the interview with Karen Hourtovenko here