Do you use goals and objectives interchangeably? Well, you are not the only one to blame for this, a lot of people are too. Interestingly, the two words mean different things.

Knowing the difference between goals and objectives isn’t that big of a deal. But applying them to your career or business could indeed lead to a paradigm shift.

Read on as we discuss the differences between goals and objectives, and how you can leverage them to be successful.

What are the objectives ?


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Goals are desires that you want to achieve. They make it clear to you where you are headed in your career or business and help you focus on the important things.

You probably have a long list of ambitions that you want to accomplish. Pursuing all these desires at once is not possible. Even if you try, your attention will be all over the place, and you may not be able to do anything meaningful.

Every goal you set for yourself should align with your career or business vision and values. Effective goals are time bound. It can be daily, weekly, quarterly or even annually. After determining the time, you work to achieve it.

What are the objectives ?


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Goals are detailed, measurable steps you must take to achieve a desire. It takes a hands-on approach to make your desires come true. You can change your goals spontaneously, unlike goals.

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A good business goal acts as a road map for any individual or business as it guides them every step of the way. You can tell if you’re on the right track by measuring your actions against your goals. If the two don’t line up, that’s your clue that something is missing.

But if your business goals are helping you achieve the results you want, there is no need to change them. Why change a winning formula?

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Goals and objectives share some similarities: they relate to the fulfillment of desires. The difference lies in their approach. To reach a goal faster, you need the right goals. Suffice it to say that goals are the steps that lead you to your goals.

Let’s break it down further.

1. Chronology

The execution schedule runs differently for goals and objectives. Since the goals are often the big picture, the time frame is longer. It can take months or years.

The goals are not far off most of the time. Thus, they require a shorter time compared to the objectives.

2. Specificities

The steps to reach a business goal are broad. A goal can seem impossible to achieve because it takes a lot of time and effort to start seeing positive signs. It is the opposite with the objectives. They are precise with specific actions to be taken.

Here is a practical example. For a purpose, you can say: “I want to be an expert in commercial sales in my industry.

While for a goal you can say, “I will be attending business sales seminars and networking more often to become a sales service expert by the end of the month.

Did you notice that the goal was more specific than the goal? The goal identified ways to achieve the desired goal of being a sales expert.

3. Size

Many people fail to achieve their goals. And that’s because the goals are great most of the time. The truth is, some goals can be intimidating. Without determination, planning, and focus, you might give up on them.

Goals, on the other hand, are smaller and less intimidating. Since they are in small pieces, they are easier to make.


4. Measurability

Measurement is essential to monitor progress. Measuring goals is more difficult due to its intangible nature. Goals are more achievable, so you can easily measure whether something is happening or not. Interestingly, you can use some goal tracker apps to keep tabs on your progress.

How goals and objectives impact your career


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Climbing the career ladder is no easy feat. It takes a lot of work and planning.

Your current position is proportional to the value you are offering. When your value on the job increases, you have a chance to move up the ranks of your career. Setting and achieving the right goals and objectives can be achieved in the following ways.

1. Better decision making

The choices you make in your career determine how far you go. Being complacent about where you are could keep you in one place for years to come. But when you set goals and objectives for growth, you will be guided in making the right decisions to achieve them.

Your decisions will be based on their ability to enhance your ambition. If that brings you closer to achieving your goal, he gets a yes, and if it doesn’t, he gets a no.

2. Measure your progress

Having established goals and objectives helps you determine if you are progressing in your career. When you take stock of your performance, you will see if it is in line with your goals and objectives.

If you are underperforming, you can always take the necessary steps to do better. Without measurement, you waste time chasing shadows.

3. Establish your priorities

Sometimes you might get caught up in things that are of little or no value to you. But when you have set goals and objectives, your priorities are clear.

You detail things in order of importance. The most important tasks are at the top of your list and take up most of your time, energy, and resources. When you pay enough attention to a topic, it’s only a matter of time before you start to get the results you want.

4. Plan effectively

Knowing what is expected of you and planning for it improves your productivity. Rather than wasting time slowing down or deliberating on the next thing to do, your goals and objectives help you be proactive.

For example, when you write a weekly work plan, you include activities that will help you actualize the goals and objectives that you have set for yourself. There is no room for procrastination.

Take ownership of your goals and objectives

Goals and objectives can sometimes be difficult to resolve. But they’re easier to achieve when you set them for yourself, not someone else.

The excitement you feel when you visualize your desires as your reality is an energy booster. There may be obstacles in the way, but your determination to overcome them is stronger.

Some goals and objectives died on arrival. There are several factors that aren’t achievable, and it’s not just about you. Setting achievable goals and objectives helps you avoid disappointments.


The SMART goal setting method is convenient. It helps you define the essential elements of your goals and objectives early on. If they are out of reach, you can say so early enough to back down or revisit your strategy.


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How to increase your productivity using SMART criteria

If you really want to achieve a goal, set one that’s SMART. This acronym stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

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