What is a goal?

We explain what a goal is, its main characteristics and the types that exist. In addition, its difference with an objective and several examples.

  1. What is a goal?

A goal or end is the expected or imagined result of a system, an action or a trajectory , that is, what we hope to obtain or achieve through a specific procedure. The organizations , individuals, groups, all goals and procedures are drawn to tornarlas reality.

The word goal comes from Latin, and designated a series of conical objects that were placed at the ends of the Roman circus racetrack, marking the beginning and end of the trajectory.

From there it was taken as a metaphor for the purpose, the objective, and therefore also the usefulness of a given process. It should not be confused, however, with the prefix meta-, coming instead of Greek, and which means “beyond.”

There are many ways of conceiving the goals, and in Western culture individual fulfillment, happiness , and the fulfillment of the goals we have set are closely related.

The setting of goals is called planning, and its compliance, efficiency or effectiveness. This in corporate or organizational language.

  1. Characteristics of a goal

The goals must be able to be met within a certain time frame.

The goals must have the following characteristics:

  • It must be attainable . An unreal or unattainable goal ceases to be, and becomes a dream, a fantasy or an imagination.
  • It must be observable . The goals must be part of a current system, that is, they must be able to be measured against an initial point of the subject. Otherwise you could not know when it is completed.
  • It must happen in a finite time . The goals must be able to be met within a certain time frame, they cannot be eternal.
  1. Goal types

There are different types of goals, taking into account the time that will be required:

  • In the short term . Those that require a short period of time to complete. Days, weeks or months, for example.
  • In the medium term . Those that require a sustained effort over time to be fulfilled. Months or years, for example.
  • Long term . Those that need a large period of time to materialize. Years or decades, for example.

And, on the other hand, attending to its final mission, they can be:

  • Domain . Those whose task is to accumulate knowledge or skills, which represent a greater scope or power for those who fulfill them.
  • Performance . Those that are fulfilled by demonstrating the capabilities to others or standing out within a given population .
  • Avoidance . Those that are fulfilled when a procedure or risk is avoided, an action is quickly fulfilled or completely avoided.
  1. Difference between goal and objective

Although they are often used as synonyms, a goal and an objective are not exactly the same . This difference lies in the measurable, concrete, specific nature of the objectives, in contrast to the broader and more general vision of the goal.

The objectives could be considered as steps that are taken to reach the goal , as if it were to reach the top of a ladder and these climb each of the steps of the same.

  1. Goal Examples

Learning to play a musical instrument can be a short-term goal.

The goals can be extremely diverse, since they depend on the aspirations of each person or organization that sets them, for example:

  • Lose weight . For many people, achieving a more balanced weight is a personal goal, whose fulfillment involves another set of objectives and small steps.
  • Learning a language . Fluently speaking a foreign language is a goal that requires continued and sustained effort to be fulfilled.
  • Learn to play a  musical instrument . Whatever it is, and in whatever way, this goal will require effort and professional assistance, which can be objectives to be considered in the short term.
  • Improve the family relationship . This could well be a short-term goal for professionals who are too devoted to their careers who sacrifice their families for it .
  • Reach the position of manager . In a company or company the managerial position is coveted by many, but not all of them fulfill the necessary steps to stand out in their work and get hold of it.
  • Write a novel . Another perfect example of a goal that is achievable in principle, but which will demand a series of sustained efforts over time.

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