5 Differences between setting a goal and a vision

27th Aug 2016
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You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step: Martin Luther King Jr.

Most of us, often interchangeably, use the terms ‘vision’ and ‘goals’ to our own liking. Vision is the destination that one visualises and wants to achieve, but the path is unknown. This is where goals come into play. They help you to set the path for the rightful achievement of your vision, acting as milestones.

However, many businesses have goals without a vision which may lead to a counterproductive situation at hand. These are two fundamentally different terms that need equal attention for, without one, the other can’t be achieved. Below listed are a few essential differences that set both vision and goals apart.

Goal - shutterstock

Image : shutterstock

Goals produce results

Goals are the means to an end, that is your vision and the visions are an end in itself. It requires hard work, sweat and commitment, which will take you closer to your vision each time. For example, if your vision is to have your services reach a global platform in the next three years, you need to set goals for yourself at every level and fulfil it successfully before you reach your vision.

Goals are realistic

Similar to dreams, visions will also remain unattainable when they are not coupled with goals. You can have a particular vision for your business that can go on forever until and unless you substantiate it with goals. Here, one may also talk about objectives, which are nothing but smaller stepping stones that help you to conquer your goals. In order to realise your vision, every entrepreneur needs goals and objectives.

Visions are limitless, goals are not

There is practically no end to human imagination. Much like Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech, which was unthinkable at that historical juncture, materialise into reality after a few years, your visions are limitless as well which might materialise with effort. Your visions will stretch as much as your imagination. However, your goals will stretch you. Goals are continuous tests of abilities, skills and perseverance.

Goals require action, visions don’t

It is not possible for any person ‑ be it an entrepreneur or a lay man ‑ to make their vision turn into a reality without having to lift a finger. In clearer terms, one might have the vision of creating a healthy body image in the near future. In order for that to happen, they must set goals of working out and getting into shape or set goals on how he or she can bring about that change internally. Whereas, one can develop a vision even in the comfort of his living room couch!

Goals are short term, visions are not

Goals usually are a cluster of checklist and are relatively short lived, after the successful completion of one, you move to another. Visions are more of a gradual process. It takes a longer time to realise your vision than your goals.

You need to be a goal setter and a visionary to take your business forward in a tough but exciting uphill adventure. After all, if you do not have anything to look forward to, how can you strive for more?

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