This is an interesting post on Willpower and its limits from Johnnie Moore that comments on a report on research from Scientific American: Setting your mind on a goal may be counterproductive. Instead think of the future as an open question.
It has aspects in common with Dave Snowden's thoughts on From communication strategies to emergence and Ellen Langer on Mindful Learning.
This is the kind of research that is so important as it questions ways of thinking and working, so deeply entrenched that we take them for granted. For example, how many self-help books go on and on about the importance of clarifying and focusing on your objectives. Wouldn't it be tragic if this were actually counterproductive?
I am very much in the camp of "figure out broadly where you want to go and the rough direction and start walking today" - you never know you may see things along the way that are far more appealing than your initially desired destination and the walking is part of the living :-) Which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Henry David Thoreau.