Differences between Goal and Objective


What are the differences between goal and objective? Goals and objectives are two terms which are most commonly used in business and organizations. However, people often confuse the two. These terms may sound similar but there is a huge difference between them. Basically, we can say that a goal is an idea and an objective is an action plan. The goal is something that you want to achieve and objective is a milestone on the way towards reaching that goal. Let's jump into details on goals and objectives and discuss their differences.

Definition of Goals

Goals are defined as the purpose that someone plans to achieve in future. For instance, in our childhood, all of us set some goals for our lives. To achieve these goals, we usually put a timeline so that we can reach what we want in a desired time. Goals are set up for the long term.

The term goal can be used in project management for the three most important target values such as time, performance  and resources. Usually, a goal is the answer of what is the main target of the project.

Differences between goal and objective


Definition of Objectives

Objectives are defined as a target which we want to achieve in a limited time. So, objectives are milestones that help us reach our goals. It is a step to reach something particular which are taken by the individual or a company. For instance, trying to have a good score to get admission to a good university is an objective. 

In project management, an objective should meet the decided budget, time and quality restrictions.

It is easy to measure the success of objective. For instance, a company wants to increase their sales by 60% in the upcoming 6 months. The success can be easily measured after 6 months.

Differences between goal and objective

Comparison Chart

Plan:Broad PlanNarrow Plan
Action:General actionSpecific action
Measure:Goals cannot be measured easilyObjectives can be measured easily
Time Frame:Long termShort or medium term
Principle:Based on ideasBased on fact
Example:Increase salesIncrease sales by 60% in the upcoming 6 months

Importance of Goals and Objectives

Setting goals helps define the direction that a business will take. Because of that, goals must be consistent with your business strategies and missions. The language used for defining goals might be more sentimental than the one used in objectives. Goals let business owners consider conceptually.

Importance of Objectives

Companies and organizations use objectives to measure their success and progress towards their goals. Without objectives, it seems that it would be impossible to reach the goals. Objectives should be motivational for business owners and employees. If your objectives are easy to write, that means your business is on the right way to achieve the goals.

Differences between goal and objective

A goal is a long term targetAn objective is a short term achievement
A goal is broad in scopeAn objective is narrow in scope
A goal is generalAn objective is specific
A goal is incorporealAn objective is corporeal
Goals are abstractObjectives are solid and concrete
It is hard to measure goalsObjectives can be measured easily
Goals are huge in sizeObjectives are small in size
Goals are endObjectives are end in themselves
Goals are the resultObjectives are the means to end
Goals start with ideasObjectives start with facts
Example: I want to discover something new in physicsExample: I will complete my degree project within 4 months

Differences between goal and objective

Conclusion of Differences between Goal and Objective

Based on the discussion above we can say that the differences between goal and objective are clear. However, we can also see that objectives and goals are related to each other.

Objectives are the steps you need to take to achieve your goals. For example, you need to get a college degree to become an officer. We can say that objectives are the actionable parts of the goal.