At the beginning of the year, we had a clean slate. On it we wrote, either figuratively or actually, the things we hoped this year would bring. Throughout the year, it is important that we all reassess whether we are advancing toward our dreams or drifting with the current in a direction we did not plan and did not wish to go. Henry David Thoreau spoke to the importance of direction when he said, “I have learned this—that if one advances in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to lead the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

Without direction, many a person has worked hard but failed to achieve what he or she has set out to do. Setting a goal is not sufficient to achieve it. We must set up checkpoints to see that what we are doing will get us to the goal. For example, if we were to pilot a plane to a distant point, we would plan ahead for the radio checkpoints to verify our position. Every pilot knows that outside influences such as wind can cause the plane to drift. A one-degree error left undetected could cause the plane to miss its destination by hundreds of miles. Mid‑course corrections are not only advisable but imperative for the plane to reach its desired destination. Also, by making corrections in a timely manner, the pilot will bring the plane to its destination in the shortest amount of time, by the most direct route, and with the least expenditure of energy. Maintaining direction in achieving our destination or goals is equally important. We will get there faster, by the most direct route, and we will have to work less to achieve results.

What course corrections do you need to make in order to achieve the goals you have set for this year?  Review your list of priorities and determine what you have achieved and what is left to be done. If you did not write down your goals for the year, it is not too late to do it now.  Behavioral scientists agree that once a goal is written down, it has a much greater chance of being achieved.  Now, go one step further. Write down the ways that you can gauge your progress to the goal. What checkpoints can you use in your specific case to judge your progress?

There will be drift in every journey. We will make wrong turns, go up blind alleys, and occasionally be totally lost. However, it is exactly at these points that the winners will be separated from the losers. The winners will seek information necessary to make course corrections and return to the pursuit of their goal. On the other hand, the losers will continue to drift like a ghost ship on a sea of despair.

You are the captain of your ship of life. How goes your journey?