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Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” While we’ve all mastered the first part (thanks, mom!), the second part can take a bit of work. Figuring out why you’ve been put on this earth can be a challenge. Are you here for your family? To help others? For a creative pursuit? For a particular job? Just to sit on your porch and drink sweet tea? Stumbling your way towards finding your purpose can take years and then once you do find out why you were born, it can be hard to stay on that path.

An article in Inc. suggests that staying on track to your goals in life is absolutely possible, despite the ups and downs and sideways of everyday existence. The author says it’s like how airlines manage to get flights to the correct destination “despite turbulence and other conditions keeping airplanes off course 90 percent of flight time.”

The author, Benjamin P. Hardy, also lists five small check-ins that you can perform every day to keep you on track and working towards your life’s purpose:

Get Organized

Make sure you are keeping your priorities straight. That includes thinking about how your environment, your finances, your health and wellness, and relationships all impact your ability to achieve your dreams. “Getting organized and conscious of your present circumstances (e.g., your environment, finances, relationships, purpose, and time) puts you in a position to build toward the future you want,” the article says. Make the time to get organized now and stop the behaviors holding you back.

Move Forward Every Day

Prioritize your goals by working towards them a little bit every day. Carve out a few minutes at bedtime, in the bath, sitting in traffic towards your life’s ambition. “If you don't purposefully carve time out every day to progress and improve, then without question, your time will get lost in the vacuum of our increasingly crowded lives,” Hardy writes.

Plan For Your Future, Not Your Past

It’s easy to look back at life with regrets about all the investments you didn’t make or the plans you didn’t achieve. Instead of focusing on the past, though, look towards the future. As the Chinese proverb says, "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." 

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Track Your Efforts

If you want to achieve a goal, it’s important to monitor your progress. As Hardy notes, “Research has repeatedly found that when behavior is tracked and evaluated, it improves drastically.” So start keeping a record of your progress. Get a bullet journal or a note card or just use an app on your phone. However you choose to do it, just be sure to mark down your accomplishments. By the end of the year, you’ll probably be shocked by what you’ve managed to achieve. You may also want to keep track of your failures as proof that you’ve actually tried. It works for Dolly Parton! “I thank God for my failures,” she said. “Maybe not at the time but after some reflection. I never feel like a failure just because something I tried has failed.”

Take Time to Pray or Meditate

 “Your thoughts are incredibly powerful,” notes Hardy. That’s why it’s important to spend time each day thinking about your goals and how they impact the world around you and sending thoughts and prayers to those who may need it.  Just like your parents may have taught you, taking time every day to sit with your thoughts and make your prayers can help you re-focus, re-charge, and put a little good in the world.