Differences between “goal” and “objective”

The words Goal and Objective are often confused with each other. They both describe things that a person may want to achieve or attain but in relative terms may mean different things. Both are desired outcomes of work done by a person but what sets them apart is the time frame, attributes they’re set for and the effect they inflict.

About goals and objectives

Both the terms imply the target that one’s efforts is desired to accomplish. Goals are generically for an achievement or accomplishment for which certain efforts are put. Objectives are specifically for targets within the general goal. Objectives are time related to achieve a certain task.

A Goal is defined as

1. The purpose toward which an endeavor is directed.

2. The result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end

An Objective is defined as something that one’s efforts or actions are intended to attain or accomplish; purpose; target.

Attributes of goals vs. objectives

Differences in scope of goals vs. objectives

Goals are broader than Objectives in the sense that goals are general intentions and are not specific enough to be measured. Objectives are narrow and are set for certain tasks in particular.

Specificity of goals vs. objectives

Goals are general while Objectives are specific. Goals are just general intentions towards the attainment of something while objective are precise actions for accomplishment of a specific task.

Tangibility of goals vs. objectives

Goals may be intangible while Objectives may be tangible. Goals may be directed at achieving non measurable things while objectives may be targeted at getting measurable things or tasks.

Differences in time frame

Both have a certain time frame. Goals usually have a longer time frame than objectives. Objectives are usually precise targets set for a short term. Goals may be set for a longer term but many objectives may be set within that goal for specific aimed at achieving that goal.

Measuring goals and objectives

Goals cannot be measured in most cases while objectives can be measured.

Example of goals and objectives

“I want to achieve success in the field of genetic research and do what no one has ever done.” This is one’s Gosal. “I want to give you the thesis on genetic research within this month.” This is one’s objective.

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