Breaking Down the Goals vs. Objectives of Your Life

Breaking Down the Goals vs. Objectives of Your Life

Goals vs objectives

Goals and objectives are often used interchangeably but there is a difference? Read this for the definitions and key aspects that outline everything you need to know about goals vs. objectives.

Greatest visions in the world are useless unless they can be executed effectively.

— Jon Butcher, trainer of Mindvalley’s Lifebook Quest

Most people dream of their ideal life but only a few manage to get there. And to be perfectly honest, excelling in every area of life is not easy. You need vision, decisiveness, and persistence.

Your vision is your goal and the steps to get there are your objectives. That’s the real difference between goals vs objectives.

But do you want to learn to use these tools to your advantage? Here’s how. 

What Is the Difference Between a Goal and an Objective?

Some people use goals and objectives interchangeably. However, they have several fundamental differences:

Goals vs objectives


Your goals are your vision of an accomplishment in life. Objectives, on the other hand, indicate the exact actions needed to reach your vision or goals. This is why you need to outline them separately in your life plan.


Goals have a broader scope than objectives. Objectives are task-oriented – the clear actions you need to take to reach a goal.


Objectives tend to be quite tangible. They are directed towards a specific thing that you have in mind.


Depending on what you want to achieve, goals can be quantifiable, but they tend to be more abstract. Objectives are far more concrete and measurable.

Time frame

In general, goals are things that you want to achieve in the long run. And objectives are short-term targets within a particular goal.

What Is Goal and Objective With Examples?

By now, the difference between a goal and an objective should be clear.

A goal gives shape to your vision and creates a mindset that guides you in a particular direction. As a result, you feel a need to devise a strategy to reach the goal.

Let’s say your goal is to get in shape. In your mind’s eye, you can see your ideal body, but you have no plans on how to get there.

This is where objectives come in. They are step-by-step strategies that lead you toward your goal.

For the above example, your objectives might be to take up a healthy diet, find a good exercise routine, and hit the gym four times a week. Some might even get a physical and consult a doctor. These are all small tasks within a bigger goal.

What Is the Difference Between Goals and Objectives in Strategic Planning?

In strategic planning, your goal is where you want to be. For example, some people make becoming debt-free their final goal.

To strategically plan for that, they create objectives to pay off debts. The first step could be to stop using credit cards. Next, they might create a personal ledger to track their spending and pay off one credit card at a time.

As you can see, each of the objectives is a measurable step toward the ultimate goal. That’s strategic planning in a nutshell.

And remember that the strategy precedes your objectives. So, take time to devise the tactics that will allow you to create a successful strategy.

What comes first, the goal, or the objective?

At the start of your journey towards a better life, goals come first. You set a goal in your mind and work out all the objectives that allow you to reach the goal.

With that in mind, you’d have to tackle your objectives on the way to your goal. Feel free to change and tweak your objectives as you go along – remember that they are not set in stone.

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Written by
Irina Yugay