“First tell yourself what kind of person you want to be, then do what you have to do. For in nearly every pursuit we see this to be the case. Those in athletic pursuit first choose the sport they want, and then do that work.” Epictetus, Discourses.
Having a clearly-defined goal is essential. The more vivid to the imagination, the better. Without action, however, the goal remains just that – something in one’s imagination. Being aware of the actions you need to take to keep moving towards achieving the goal comes next. The more you forewarn yourself of the pain and pleasure to be expected along the way, the better prepared you will be to take the right action when required. That leaves but one thing: taking that first step. Purpose, plan, progress.