The best way to ensure success is to set goals and actively pursue them. Too many people spend the majority of their life existing, rather than moving in a meaningful and purposeful direction. Here are a few tips to tell if you have reasonably ambitious goals, and are directing your own life:

  1. Goals must be broad enough that external help is required to achieve them. One power of religion is that it gives people a broad context for a meaningful life. That context can be used to integrate daily life with a plan that betters all humanity. I won’t go on a diatribe about false religion, suffice it to say that great art refines our understanding of natural law and the human experience.
  2. It’s shortly after the new year, and many people have set goals such as “lose weight,” or even “lose 10 pounds.” Those are tactics not goals. Losing weight needs to be tied to an outcome. Perhaps the real goal is “improve my conditioning so I can ski with my kids.” It’s important to have the “so I can ski with my kids” because achieving goals makes the currently impossible possible. Did I mention that goals should improve the human experience?
  3. Persevere. Life will throw a huge number of challenges. Some will be expected, but many will require putting one foot in front of the other until they pass. Some days getting out of bed is a victory.

Set goals, pursue them actively. As Patton said, “A good plan executed violently today, is better than a perfect plan next week.”