Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Goals and Objectives

objectives-bookGoals vs Objectives

When you have something you want to accomplish, it is important to set both goals and objectives. Once you learn the difference between goals and objectives, you will realize that how important it is that you have both of them. Goals without objectives can never be accomplished while objectives without goals will never get you to where you want to be. The two concepts are separate but related and will help you to be who you want to be.

Definition of Goals and Objectives
Goals ‘“ are long-term aims that you want to accomplish.
Objectives ‘“ are concrete attainments that can be achieved by following a certain number of steps.
Goals and objectives are often used interchangeably, but the main difference comes in their level of concreteness. Objectives are very concrete, whereas goals are less structured.

Remembering the Differences between Goals and Objectives
When you are giving a presentation to a potential or current employer, knowing the difference between goals and objectives can be crucial to the acceptance of your proposal. Here is an easy way to remember how they differ:
Goals ‘“ has the word ‘go’ in it. Your goals should go forward in a specific direction. However, goals are more about everything you accomplish on your journey, rather than getting to that distant point. Goals will often go into undiscovered territory and you therefore can’t even know where the end will be.

Objectives ‘“ has the word ‘object’ in it. Objects are concrete. They are something that you can hold in your hand. Because of this, your objectives can be clearly outlined with timelines, budgets, and personnel needs. Every area of each objective should be firm.

Measuring Goals and Objectives
Goals ‘“ unfortunately, there is no set way in which to measure the accomplishment of your goals. You may feel that you are closer, but since goals are de facto nebulous, you can never say for sure that you have definitively achieved them.

Objectives ‘“ can be measured. Simply phrase your objective in the form of a question. For example, ‘I want to accomplish x in y amount of time’ becomes ‘Did I accomplish x in y amount of time?’ This can easily be answered in a yes or no form.

Examples of Goals and Objectives
Goals ‘“ I want to be a better ball player. I want to learn more about Chinese history. I want to maximize my professional performance.
Objectives ‘“ I want to memorize the periodic table before my next quiz. I want to increase my sales by 10% this month. I want learn to play ‘Freebird’ on the guitar.

1. Goals and objectives are both tools for accomplishing what you want to achieve.
2. Goals are long term and objectives are usually accomplished in the short or medium term.
3. Goals are nebulous and you can’t definitively say you have accomplished one whereas the success of an objective can easily be measured.
4. Goals are hard to quantify or put in a timeline, but objectives should be given a timeline to be more effective.

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  1. This site helped me alot.Special thanks to site.

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  3. Thanks alot for the valuable info. Provided. I was really confused myself about those words.

    • Thanks for the clarification now I know Goal is a general aim while objective is a targeted part of the general aim within a time frame

      • The two terms are practically interchangeable. (“Target” is slightly different, but with overlap.) But certainly having “a hierarchy of goals” is possible, and one’s explanation can benefit from using different words.
        Establish for yourself which word you want to mean “smaller goal” and which you want to mean “larger goal”, or go with whatever those around you are using, just keeping in mind that some folks will use the words differently from you.
        For those who play any sport, “goal” is likely to feel more like something you can achieve several times a day, whereas “an objective” takes somewhat more work: you play all those games because your (team’s) “objective”, or larger goal, or “target”, or “desired result” is to win the championship. “Life goals” or “life objectives”? Maybe just a matter of taste in word choice.

  4. Thank-you this article has been very, very helpful. One of the best easy to read articles on the differences between goals & objectives.

  5. This article just solve a problem betweem me and myself..thanks

  6. hi every one, i am very glad to see ths web site, it is helping me alot and clearing my concept on things which i believing were same. long live for the honour of this site and God bless u.

  7. Thank you very much for the insight, I have been confused.

  8. Objectives can be thought in terms of S.M.A.R.T.

    S: Specific
    M: Measurable
    A: Achievable (in finite steps)
    R: Reasonable
    T: Timed

  9. Great ..Thanks for valuable information.but please I need some help to understand and clarity i,e.Objectives is the road map to achieve Goal.so it should be very specific as mentioned in your write -up, so is objectives and KRA is same ? then please brief it that ,how you decribe Goal ,Objectives ,KRA ,KPI

    • Goal is the ultimate result you want to achieve
      Objectives are the means to achieving your goal, they are the targets you must hit to get to the goal.

      KRA stands for “key result area”, which means, when an objective is assigned to you, you must fufill this KRA in order to obtain your objective.
      KPI stands for “key performance indicator” which are very important peices of information that need to be observed on a regular basis in order to know “where you’re at” and information to help you successfully fufill your KRA and obtain your objectives.

      Once your all your objectives are successfully attained, you will acomplish your goal.

  10. Rather surprisingly (for this site) this is a very good explanation of the difference between goals and objectives. It could do with some more elaboration though, in my opinion.

  11. Goal and objective are one in the same. Take the definitions from webster:
    Goal – 2: the end toward which effort is directed: aim; synonym is objective
    Objective – 2a : something toward which effort is directed : an aim, goal, or end of action

    Goals can be measurable once you reach the end. For example, I want to retire at 65 with $1MM in the bank. That is a goal, and it is measurable; however, I won’t know if I’ve obtain that goal until I reach 65.

    An objective to reach that goal is to save $x per year earning y% over the next 30 years. This is something that is measurable on a regular basis to ensure that I will in fact achieve my goal or hopefully will learn ways to improve that goal such as retire at 60 with $1.1MM in the bank.

    I want to be a better ball player is a vague statement of desire that has no real meaning. Once you define what you mean by a better ball player, you will find metrics that can be measured.

    I want to learn more about Chinese history isn’t a goal until you put a time frame on it: I want to learn more about Chinese history before I go on my trip next year… This is then measurable as long as you define what it is you want to know by then.

    • The objective in attaining that retirement goal is to live well. Objectives are the reasons goals are set. What is the objective of running down the football field with the football? to score points. What is the goal of running down the field with the football? To get to the goalpost.

  12. This informatio is valuable, precise & concise…Thanks!

  13. great info on goal and objective. Helpful for my year end planning. thanks for sharing

  14. thanks, it is very clear.

  15. This tips has actually help me both in my academic and planning. Thank you all.

  16. Good stuff. I just recently published an article regarding this same exact subject, on my blog. I like your version better though 🙂

  17. I have really learned a lot from the difference between a goal and an objective and now can understand them better even though used interchangeably

  18. Thanks i can now write out my project proposals by setting my goals and objectives.

  19. it is realllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy helpful`thanxs

  20. thanks a lot highly appreciate.


  22. I think a good way of representing it is through a straight line. You have a start and a finish. The finish is the “Goal”, and the milestones across the line are the “Objectives” that would help and assist you in reaching your goal.

    Nicely explained and very beneficial, thank you!

  23. This is educative!

  24. helpful special thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. it is good explanation

  26. Very very helpful and simplistic, just gives me a very clear understanding of these two equally fundamental terms. Thank God for the gift of someone in your calibre to have this on this site. Just gives me a new vibe and direction in the small business I just set up 5 months ago. Thanks, a very valuable site in deed. God less.

  27. this is a very helpful article .thank you very much.

  28. Thank you Manisha for clarification of these two words – goal and onjective. I have a whole new level of appreciation for the destination and the journey. Peace

  29. A million thanks.

  30. This website help us to improve our conversation.

  31. very valuable

  32. This was absolutely informative. Thank you for a clear understanding. I am using this for teachers who work in child care. When doing lesson plans they are getting stuck, so I am giving them Goals and Objectives to concentrate on to plan activities effectively for the children. Thanks again

  33. What a nice explanation! thank you very much.

  34. Thank you very much. Now i appreciate that Goal are a long term vision which can be accomplished by setting short term(steps) that needs to be followed.

  35. thanks a million for these tips, they just helped me solve a puzzle

  36. thanks for all
    I cant fail to thank the admin for this and thanks as well.for the update

    thanks hope to meet your ideas

  37. This is an awesome description. It has helped me know the basic and complex difference about the two interchangeable terms.Thanks a lot.

  38. Thank you soo much for this site.it has given me insight and helped me
    Thank you again

  39. Super duper helpful… You just solved a major block in my strategic planning with this clearly explained difference… May God bless you with more wisdom.

  40. Thanks for the explanation, I’m really helped

  41. I found it help full.

  42. I found it helpfull. THANK YOU.

  43. Excellent explanation. Crisp and clear

  44. Wow,,thank you so much,,,well understood,,God bless

  45. I have clearly understood the difference between the two, goals and objectives. Thank you for writing such nice articles with examples.

  46. Your definition of a goal reminds me of a falling tree in a forest.

  47. Hello,
    Well conceived and written article – especially with regards to “key” words – such as “go” and “object”. Thank you so very much!

  48. It’s all semantics–go to any thesaurus and you’ll find the terms ‘goal’ and ‘objective’ are interchangeable, rendering your explanation to be so much wishful poppycock–much loved poppycock, to be sure, in the marketing world I once inhabited, but nonetheless a meaningless distinction.

    One can have multiple goals on his way to an objective or he can have multiple objectives on his way to a goal. Similarly, one can have partial or preliminary goals on his way to a primary goal. Ditto with objectives.

    Bottom line: Goal and objective mean the same thing. Any attempt to make a distinction is an exercise in semantics and a silly, futile exercise at that.

  49. Great. But that’s ultimately a rather childish explanation.
    The two terms are practically interchangeable. But certainly having “a hierarchy of goals” is possible, and one’s explanation can benefit from using different words.
    Establish for yourself which word you want to mean “smaller goal” and which you want to mean “larger goal”, or go with whatever those around you are using, just keeping in mind that some folks will use the words differently from you.
    For those who play any sport, “goal” is likely to feel more like something you can achieve several times a day, whereas “an objective” takes somewhat more work: you play all those games because your “objective” is to win the championship. “Life goals” or “life objectives”? Maybe just a matter of taste.


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