I’ve just ran across this short article on the Personal MBA blog which summarizes really well how I approach both my professional life and personal life. Project yourself into a situation where you’d do something (useful) and which would bring you excitement. It doesn’t matter how far you are from that situation as long as you understand clearly your goal. Then you can drill down and lay down intermediate stages which will help you reach the ultimate goal. These intermediate levels should really get you closer to where you want to go and have clear objectives themselves. You could make the parallel with Agile software development where you deliver regular pieces of functionality during iteration which bring you closer to your final product. Life and software development have a lot in common !