(1) paying attention to preparing the boat.
(2) developing skills for self-reliance afloat.
(3) reading as much as they can about all sorts of subjects relevant to cruising and attending cruising-oriented events to hear presentations from recognized experts.
(4) taking courses in navigation and other nautical subjects.
(5) learning and practicing safety techniques.
(6) having realistic expectations.
(7) looking forward to new experiences and meeting new people.
(8) expressing a positive attitude, enthusiasm AND (last but definitely not least) a sense of humor.
What else can you add to this list?