There is a lot of good advice already here, so I'll try to add without overlap. Looking ahead isn't hard when you understand the concept of forcing moves. Forcing moves are moves that typically check, capture, or promote (or threats to check, capture, or promote). Castle early and often (taken from Peter Kurzdorfer's the Tao of Chess). Develop pieces early and control the center. Typically knights develop before bishops, but not always. Control of the center gives a huge advantage. In open positions, consult the bishops. In closed positions, use the knight. Knights reign in closed positions, especially at the center of the board. If you can get a knight in a hole on the 5th or 6th rank, it's worth at least a rook. Understand initiative--always try to determine who has it, how you can keep it, and how you can get it back when you lose it.