What's The Difference Between Goals And Objectives? - A LOT!

1. Goals V Objectives

What is the difference between goals and objectives?

Few people can correctly explain the important difference between these two words.

As a result the words are often used interchangeably.

But the difference is actually quite a simple one.

Let's imagine your goal is to set up and own your own website.

Your specific summary of this goal might be:

  • I am running my own website about X.I have 500,000 people coming to my website every month by December 2012.

And let's imagine these are some of your measuresfor this goal:

  • I am using powerful but easy website building software
  • I have my own blog
  • I have a facebook page driving visitors to my site
  • I earn $5000 a month in sales and commissions
  • Etc

You now have defined your goal and your measures. Your goal is robust.

Your next step is to define just how you will achieve your goal. In other words - what your objectives are.

Your objectives, are the sub goals of your goal.

They are the ways you plan to achieve your primary goal.

So if your goal is to build a website these may be the objectives, or sub goals you set yourself:

  • I will Purchase software to build a website
  • I will choose a website name and register it
  • I will learn how to build the website step by step
  • I will set up a facebook page etc.....

Your objectives or sub goals will vary in scale. Some may be relatively complex, others may only require simple one off actions.

Like your primary or main goal, many of your sub goals, your objectives, should now be made into smart goals ie summarized, measured, attainable,relevant and timed.

In other words the smart goal setting technique can and should be used for both your longer term, larger, more complicated goals as well as for your objectives - your shorter term, smaller goals.

Depending on the complexity of your sub-goal you can do this on paper or just in your head.

It is well known that high performers and achievers spend much time thinking and planning their goals. This is true for both their main goals and their sub goals (objectives).

Nowhere is this more true than in the world of business. Employees write their objectives when they know what the larger goals of the business actually are.

So, in a nutshell, the difference between goals and objectives is the same as the difference between goals and sub goals...

2. Overall summary

To summarise, this is the main difference between goals and objectives:--

Goals are:

Primary and important goals
Large in size
The end
The result
The whole
Longer term
Smart or Smartest goals™ thinking always applies

Objectives are:

Medium or small in size
The means to the end
The steps
Part of the whole
Shorter term
Smart or smartest goals™ thinking may apply

Recommended next step?

Step 2 of the Smartest Goals Success Formula™ -ie:

How to set great smart goals!

Return to Goals Mini Course From Difference Between Goals And Objectives

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How High Achievers Set Their Goals

What People Are Saying:-

"I would have told you I had clear goals, but as a result of the tools I saw they were not nearly as tight as they need to be if I want to quickly build my dreams".

E. Alana James

Founder - Doctoral Academy

I would highly recommend this process to think through any task that is important to you but may seem unattainable."

Myriam Cronin
Gateway Incubation Centre
University College Cork

"The discipline of working through the steps and key questions in the Smartest Goals process brings exceptional clarity and focus allowing me to achieve much more in a shorter time than I hertofore thought possible.

I would highly recommend this approach to anyone who wishes to achieve their dreams."

Helen O’Dowd
Virginia Health Foods

"I am delighted with My Smartest Goal!

I was at a bit of a crossroads in my business and I found the entire process most helpful, insightful, and inspirational!"

Fiona Foley- Gaffney

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