Ever wonder what is the difference between a dream and a goal? Most of us have a dream. We all have an ideal lifestyle we wish to live. But not everyone has a goal.
When I was a student at the university, I was told I need to have a dream. I was told I should think about the perfect lifestyle I wish to have. But you know what? None of my dreams come true.
But my dreams did one thing that changed my life – they inspired me to explore, discover, and find out more about what I truly wanted in my life.
Eventually, I found my passion in the personal development niche. As a result, I learned a lot about setting and achieving goals.
And here’s the secret to success I discovered – success does not happen by accidents, but by design.
This means you can materialize any of your dreams, but you must design, plan, and have a structure for action.
And that is what goals are about. Dreams are a good starting point to inspire you in life. But goals are the connecting bridge that brings what is in your mind into reality.
Well, if you’re still unsure what is the differences between a dream and a goal, here are the 5 major distinctions…
1. Dreams are wishes and desires you want in life. Goals are missions and achievable targets you pursue.
As I said, dreams are mere wishes. And we all have dreams in life. We want to have a healthy and fit body. We wish to earn more and travel the world. We want to live happily and enjoy our life.
But goals are different. Goals are like a mission. They are specific and clear, and they have a finish line.
Dreams – I wish I could make more money.
Goals – I’m going to save and invest $300 into blue-chip stocks every month.
Do you see the difference between a goal and a dream?
A goal is clear and specific. It tells you what you need to do to achieve it. But a dream is vague. A dream is a general wish that most people want to achieve in their lives.
2. Dreams are vague wishes without a timeframe. Goals are specific and with a deadline.
One of the biggest characteristics that separate a goal and a dream is that a goal comes with a deadline, while a dream has no timeframe.
Most people daydream and think about what they want in their life most of the time. But after that, they get back to work and continue to do what they do, without making any changes.
And you know why? Because a dream doesn’t come with a deadline.
But when you have a goal, things will be different. Imagine you have a goal to buy a house by the end of the year. There is a timeframe – by the end of the year – and this forces you to think of an action plan.
Besides, having a deadline also puts you into action. So, what should you do if you want to buy a house by the end of the year? You started thinking and planning for the goal.
A deadline creates urgency so that you will look for a way to achieve the goal and act on it.
A dream doesn’t have any time frame, hence, most people don’t act on their dreams because ‘someday’ is not the calendar.
On the contrary, a goal that comes with a deadline will change your approach. Now you have a deadline and a specific result to achieve, it makes you think creatively about the solution. And it also drives you into taking action.
3. Dreams are imaginary, and they are thoughts. Goals come with an actionable plan.
By now you should know that a dream is nothing but a thought. Anyone can daydream about the perfect life they want to have. But a goal is different because it comes with an actionable plan.
And as I said above, success is NOT created by accidents, but by design.
You see, the success you want will not fall from the sky. You will never wake up the next day and discover that you have a million dollars in the bank. You don’t wake up and suddenly find yourself with the perfect body you desire.
The results you want can only be accomplished through proper design and planning. That means a goal needs to have an actionable plan.
This is also one of the main factors most people fail to achieve their goals. They write down their goals (most people don’t), but they lack an actionable plan.
Here’s my favorite quote from Larry Winget you should always remember…
“No one ever wrote down a plan to be fat, broke, stupid, lazy, unhappy, and mediocre. Those are the things that happen to you when you don’t have a plan.”
You need to create an action plan for your goal. If you don’t, you don’t have a goal, but a dream.
4. Dreams are intangible and made up of fantasies. Goals are measurable by performance and with a structure.
That’s right, dreams are made-up fantasies, and they are intangible. But goals are measurable by performance, and with a structure.
You can think about the things you want to have and feel inspired. But at the end of the day, things may remain the same if you don’t act on them.
Goals are different because they are measurable. Meaning, you have to review them consistently. You want to find out where you are now and how far away you are from the results you want.
You have to measure your performance and find out what works, what doesn’t work, and then make improvements to your plan.
I review my goals and plans at least once a week. I have weekly, monthly, and yearly goals to focus on. And from my long-term goals, I break them down into quarterly and even monthly goals.
And then every week, I plan, and I know what I need to do each day so that I can reach my monthly goals.
And this is the power of setting goals. It makes you proactive because it tells you what you need to do through proper planning.
Every week, you have to measure your performance. You need to know if what you do is working and getting you the success you desire. If it is not, you must then change your strategy and do something different.
Can you now tell the difference between a dream and a goal?
5. Dreams are ambiguous and subjective according to your passions. Goals are commitments you made for your future self.
Finally, dreams are ambiguous, and they can change according to your passions. You can dream about driving a Lambo today, and by next month, you can change your dream to driving a Rolls Royce.
However, a goal is different. You don’t simply change a goal just because of your circumstances. You don’t change a goal because of the challenges or hardships you have to go through.
Goals are like lighthouses. They guide you in the darkness and they tell you the direction where you should head to.
In short, your goals are the commitments you made to yourself. And you don’t simply change them just because you don’t feel like you can achieve them.
Think about it, Elon Musk started SpaceX with a goal to make interstellar travel possible. When the first rocket launch failed, did he give up and quit? No, SpaceX continued to refine its strategy and make things work.
That’s because they have a goal, not just a plain dream or wish. They have a mission to accomplish and a commitment to fulfill. And that’s why they don’t quit.
If you want to learn how to set goals and crush them, I suggest you check out Goal Setting Formula. It is a framework I created to help anyone to achieve anything they want in life through the power of goal setting.
After going through this article, you should understand the differences between a goal and a dream.
But does that mean you should have a dream? No, a dream is the beginning. You must turn your dreams into goals if you are committed to achieving them.
Remember, dreams are general wishes most people have. Goals, on the other hand, are concrete, actionable, specific, and come with a plan. Your goals will give you direction and tell you what you need to do. And don’t forget that goals have a deadline too.
So, what should you do now? Simple, turn your dreams into goals. Read this guide here.