Sister Carol F. McConkie offered a beautiful and thought provoking definition of holiness and how we can strive for it in our lives:
I see the beauty of holiness in sisters whose hearts are centered on all that is good, who want to become more like the Savior. They offer their whole soul, heart, might, mind, and strength to the Lord in the way that they live every day. Holiness is in the striving and the struggle to keep the commandments and to honor the covenants we have made with God. Holiness is making the choices that will keep the Holy Ghost as our guide. Holiness is setting aside our natural tendencies and becoming “a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord.” “Every moment of [our lives] must be holiness to the Lord.”
Holiness begins with the heart. We must first center our selves on that which is good, pure, and desirable. We need to desire with all our heart to become like our savior. From that desire all else flows. We will keep the commandments and honor our Covenants, with all of our heart, might, mind and strength.
As we do so, we gain the Holy Ghost in greater abundance. And the Holy Ghost purifies us and helps us to put off the natural man. More and more, our thoughts and desires align with God. It is a mutually reinforcing pattern of rightousness that lifts us up.
Of course, the opposite pattern is also possible. As our heart is centered on the world, our behaviors become more worldly. The Holy Ghost cannot be in our lives as fully. We become more course and less refined. We drift away from God.
We need to recognize whether we are on a path towards more or less holiness and make a course correction if needed.