Difference Between Goal and Objective

Goal vs Objective


There is a common perception and belief that goals and objectives are same and that they can be used interchangeably. However, there is a clear difference between goals and objective, which will be clear after reading this article. Knowing the difference between goals and objective is important as both are important to have when one is trying to achieve his goals.

All of us have goals that become the guiding force of our lives as we strive to achieve them through all our means. Very early in our lives we decide what we are going to become in the future, and start working to bring that goal closer. For example, for a cricketer, the ultimate goal may be to represent his country by being a member of the national cricket team. To achieve this goal, the person may have to set realistic targets called objectives that work as milestones in his endeavor to become a member of the national team. In this sense, objectives are sub goals or part goals that are definable and achievable in a short time periods.

A person can have a goal of setting up a website and to make that site very popular. This is a long term goal that looks vague and generalized. However, the same person can set his objectives as having his own blog, using a Facebook page to send traffic to the website, and earning $3000 in 6 month’s time through sales and advertisements. You can see the difference between his goal and part goals that are called objective. While a goal is broad and generalized, objectives are specific descriptions of what is to be achieved. To remember the difference, one can think of objectives as having objective language, where there is a talk of tangible results. On the other hand, goals are always talked about in intangible, vague terms. Thus, objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic and time defined. Goal on the other hand, is not so objective and is talked in general terms. It is talked about in emotional language. A person may have financial independence as his goal, while someone else may have ‘being happy’ as his ultimate goal.

Well, when goals are this vague and subjective, it is prudent to convert them into small objectives that are definable, measurable and achievable. Achieving these objectives tells one that he is on the right track moving forward to achieve his goals in life. So a person starting his business may have his goal as being most successful, he needs to chalk out plan and strategy to achieve this goal and divide this goal into smaller, measurable goals that can be termed as his objectives that he has to achieve in given time periods to be right on track.

In brief:

Difference Between Goal and Objective

• While goals are primary and more important, objectives are sub goals that lead to the ultimate goal.

• Goal is the end or the result of all the hard work, while objectives are means to this end.

• Without objectives, it is impossible to come near your goals.

• You cannot have objectives without setting goals.

• Goals are subjective, vague and cannot be measured, while objectives are specific, objective, achievable, and measurable.