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For anyone who’s interested in getting things done, living an energetic life, and achieving their full potential, the idea of goal setting is likely to seem pretty important.

According to many productivity gurus out there, setting clearly defined and measurable goals, with set deadlines, is one of the most important things to do when it comes to making a success of a business, getting in shape, enjoying a more financially secure lifestyle, and all sorts of other things that might be important to you in your life.

At the same time, though, many people find that goal setting often ends up feeling like more of a headache than anything else.

Here are some tips for making goal setting less of a headache.

Instead of setting up elaborate goals and targets, just get a sense of the direction you want to head in

Although it is often recommended to set very elaborate and specific goals and targets, with particular deadlines and criteria, there are a few problems with this approach.

For one thing, there’s a good chance that you will find, along the way, that you misjudged a few important details and that your goal needs to be radically changed along the way. Or, the timeline you set for achieving your goal may not work out and while pursuing it you end up feeling as though you are in a state of failure and “lack” until you hit your target.

Instead of setting up elaborate goals and targets, a better approach to goal setting might be to just get a basic sense of the direction you want to head in, and to then focus more on the process of actually heading in that direction.

For example, instead of setting yourself a goal like “I will weigh x amount by y date,” your goal could be something like “I want to get in shape,” and you can then focus on implementing the habits that will get you there.

In either case, the key to achieving your goals always lies and taking action consistently, rather than just having an idea in your mind.

Rely more on your daily habits and behaviours to move you forward

Goals should ultimately serve as signposts for the direction you want to head in, but if you are fixating on the goal itself, you are likely to just end up stressed and frustrated, more than anything else.

The way you actually move consistently in the direction you want to move in, is by focusing on getting your daily habits and behaviours right. If you use a habit tracker and consistently do the right things on a daily basis, you can make consistent progress without always shifting your attention away from the present moment.

Keep your more specific goals a bit more short-term in scope

Sometimes in life, it is necessary to have more specific goals – but, for the most part, these goals should be the kinds of things that are more short-term in scope.

For example, planning to buy a car from Edmunds within the next 6 months to a year.

Generally speaking, the more long-term you make your specific goals, the more of a headache they’re likely to become.