Difference Between Goal and Objective

Main Difference – Goal vs Objective

Although words like goal, aim, objective, intent and purpose are often used interchangeably in general contexts, these words have specific meanings in technical and academic fields. In this article, we are going to explore the meaning and usage of the terms Goal and Objective and the key differences between goal and objective. Goal and objective refer to outcomes of a project or research. However, the main difference between goal and objective is that the term goal refers to the broad purpose or the desired result of an endeavor whereas objectives are the specific tasks that help you to reach the final goal. Let’s look at both these concepts with more details and examples.Difference Between Goal and Objective - infographic

What is a Goal

A goal describes what you want to achieve. In other words, they are the desired outcome or the final result of an endeavor. Goals are broad since they reflect the general intention. Let’s look at some simple examples:


I will have my own website by the end of this year.

Our brand will be among the top five brands in the cosmetics market within the next five years.

I will get the highest marks for math.

I will retire by the age of 50.

All above goals tell you what people want to achieve, but they don’t reveal how that outcome will be achieved. They simply mention the desired outcome. Thus, goals are broader than objectives.  Most of these goals also take a long time to achieve. When compared to objectives, goals are long term outcomes.

Main Difference - Goal vs Objective

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the General Assembly and promoted by the UN

What is an Objective

Objectives are specific and concrete plans. Goals can be broken down into several objectives. They define how the goal is going to be achieved. Objectives can also be described as a series of steps or tasks that need to be completed in order to achieve the final goal.  Let’s take the first goal mentioned above (to set up your own website) and see how it can be broken down into several steps.


Learn how to set up a website.

Select a suitable website building platform and buy.

Choose a domain name and register it.

In this way, you can break down your goal into several objectives. You can also note that the above objectives are very specific and measurable. They also do not take a long period of time, unlike goals. When a goal is turned into a series of objectives, a task becomes more realistic and attainable. Even if the final goal seems too hard to achieve, focusing on each objective may help you to reach that final destination.

When you break down a project into objectives, you should always make sure that your objectives are SMART. (Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic and Timed)

Difference Between Goal and Objective

Given below is another example of a simple goal and its objective.


  • To lose weight


  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid fruit juice and sugary drinks
  • Drink 8 glasses of water every day.
  • Write down what you eat
  • Maintain a weight chart

Difference Between Goal and Objective


Goals are the final result or outcome of an endeavor.

Objectives are specific results that help to achieve the final goal.


Goals define what you want to achieve.

Objectives defined how you are going to achieve the goal.


Goals are broader than objectives.

Objectives are more specific.


Goals may not be measurable.

Objectives are measurable.

Time Period

Goals have a longer time-frame.

Objectives have a shorter time-frame.

Image Courtesy:

“Chart of UN Sustainable Development Goals” By United Nations – (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia 

“SMART objectives” (Public Domain) via Pixbay

About the Author: Hasa

Hasanthi is a seasoned content writer and editor with over 8 years of experience. Armed with a BA degree in English and a knack for digital marketing, she explores her passions for literature, history, culture, and food through her engaging and informative writing.