Setting a long-term goal is an easy if vague way to plan your life. You know you want to lose weight or pay off debt. If you really want to reach those goals, though, you need individual steps to get there.
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As CEO of productivity app Handle Kris Gellci explains on Medium, setting a goal is a bit like deciding to climb a mountain. You know you want to get to the top, but that's pretty much all you have. If you want to reach that summit, you need specific steps to get you there. After you've chosen a goal, plan the specific steps you need to take to reach that goal. Once you have your plan, the only goal that matters is the next step:
When you start to work on a task toward your broader goal, focus only on that task. Don't check your email for a minute or check to see if there is anything interesting on the front page of Reddit, these are ways to quickly waste your time and throw you off task. You will get tasks done much quicker and make more progress on your goal if you set a timer to work on a task and avoid any context switching while the timer is running.
Once you get started, it seems a lot easier with a plan. Most of us don't have a hard time setting a goal, because it's easy to imagine what we want in life. Planning, on the other hand, is the hard part. Once you have a plan in place, though, you can break down your goals into tasks that are manageable every day.