Everyday life demands a certain level of planning and goal-setting. After all, we need to secure shelter, food, and other necessities; provide for our dependents; and be able to practice generosity.
As Buddhists, however, it is important to make sure that our planning and goal-setting are aligned with the Dharma. This entails that we review our plans in light of the three essential aspects of the Path: avoid harm, do good, and purify the mind.
Thus, we should ask ourselves whether our plans violate or will induce violations of the 5 Precepts against killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct, and intoxication. If such is the case, we must adjust or abandon them.
Next, we should examine whether such plans will allow us to develop the Ten Perfections: generosity, morality, patience, effort, concentration, discernment, aspiration, skillful means, liberating power, and non-dual wisdom.
Finally, we should discern whether our goals and plans foster or impede the cultivation of the Four Immeasurables: love, compassion, rejoicing in the virtue and happiness of others, and equanimity.
After subjecting our goals and plans to these three tests, we can embrace them wholeheartedly, while always remembering that our fundamental goal —the only one that is truly important and necessary— is complete enlightenment.