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Published on June 23, 2020

Why It’s Vital to Understand the Difference Between Goals and Objectives

Why It’s Vital to Understand the Difference Between Goals and Objectives

I’m sure you’ve heard many people talking about goals and objectives as if they’re the same thing. You may even believe this yourself.

However, if you want to unleash your productivity and take your accomplishments to a whole new level, then you’ll need to understand the clear differences between goals and objectives.

When you think of them as one thing, you’ll find yourself struggling to achieve your aims and dreams. But once you understand their differences — and their synergies — you’ll put yourself firmly on the road to success.

Different but Complementary

While apples and blackberries are both part of the fruit family, they are clearly very different fruits. Both fruits on their own taste great. However, if you’ve ever tasted apple and blackberry pie, you’ll know just how delicious they taste together!

This is a simple example of how different things can be combined to make something new — and something better.

If you’re not a foodie, then you might prefer to think about music…

Rarely does a solo voice or instrument sound amazing on its own. It’s when it’s combined with other voices and instruments that the magic really begins. Suddenly, there are harmonies, counterparts, and different textures and dynamics to the sound. Orchestral music is a great example of this, with its multi-layered symphonic sound captivating the minds of listeners.

What Are Objectives?

While I’ll go into this in more detail, the one-sentence answer to this question is:

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Objectives are the small steps that you’ll need to take to reach your goals.

Let me explain.

If you wanted to learn a new language, you wouldn’t expect to go from knowing just a few words to suddenly being fluent. In between these two extremes would be a ton of learning and practice. You’d also have to build your confidence in the new language and have someone to practice your new linguistic skills with.

To give your aspiration the best chance of succeeding, it would be wise to break your learning into bite-sized chunks. In other words, you should have a number of objectives that you can complete on your way to becoming fluent in the new language.

Something along these lines:

Objective #1: Find a language app to help you learn the basics.

Objective #2: Complete the available courses on the app.

Objective #3: Find a native language speaker to help you develop your grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

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Objective #4: Study with them one-to-one until you feel you’ve reached a decent level.

Objective #5: Book a trip to a country that speaks the language you have learned — and then use the trip to test out your skills and to increase your knowledge of the language.

Now, admittedly, this is a very simple list. In reality, you would probably add extra steps (objectives) to make your pathway to fluency as clear and straightforward as possible. But the above list gives you an idea of what objectives are and how to use them to your advantage.

Let’s turn our attention now to goals.

What Are Goals?

Again, let me first give you a one-sentence answer:

Goals are long-term aspirations such as wanting a new house, job, or relationship.

It’s goals that will drive you forward in life[1]. They’ll give you the energy, passion, and enthusiasm to keep going — and to keep succeeding.

People who lack goals lack a reason for living. Because of this, their lives are often stale and unadventurous. They’re also likely to find that staying safe means they start falling behind. After all, if other people are learning new skills and pushing themselves forward, they’ll inevitably get ahead of the aimless.

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American motivational speaker Robert H. Schuller had this to say on the topic:

“Goals are not only absolutely necessary to motivate us. They are essential to really keep us alive.”

Think about that for a moment.

Having clear, written goals will concentrate your energy and give you the drive you need to accomplish them.

Here are a few examples of big goals that can enthuse and propel you into ongoing action:

  • Writing your first book
  • Learning to sail a yacht
  • Traveling the world
  • Buying a holiday home
  • Earning enough money to retire early

If you’re having trouble choosing goals, then I’d highly recommend that you read our article How to Use the Wheel of Life to Live the Life You Want. This article will show you how to pick goals that will balance and enhance your life.

Objectives + Goals = Success

Objectives are your friend. That’s because they’ll help you move steadily along the road that leads to the successful completion of your goals.

Think of it this way:

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A big goal can often be intimidating or even seem way out of reach. However, with the clever use of objectives to break down the big goal into smaller and easily manageable pieces, suddenly the goal can become attainable and realistic.

From the very early beginnings of Lifehack to the present day, I’ve used the power of objectives + goals to help the business become the huge success it is today.

But this formula is not just for business. You can use it to boost ALL areas of your life.

Take your health and fitness, for example. You could set yourself a goal to run a marathon in the next 12 months. With this goal clear in your mind, it would be easy to set relevant objectives to help you achieve it. In this case, they would be things like: learning how to stretch and warm up, building your fitness, and finding a marathon event to join.

A Final Word

I hope this article acts as a “success catalyst” for you.

Once you understand the simple formula — and start implementing it in your life — you’ll quickly see positive and dramatic results. (In fact, you’ll probably look back and wonder why this formula was never taught at your school.)

Of course, success requires time and effort, but by breaking your big goals down into smaller objectives, you’ll make your life both easier and more productive.

More on the Difference Between Goals and Objectives

Featured photo credit: Smart via unsplash.com

Reference

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

How to Change Careers Successfully When It Seems too Late

How to Change Careers Successfully When It Seems too Late

The wake-up call often comes when you least expect it. Maybe you’re enjoying a relaxing get-together with your old college buddies when someone turns to you and says, “Wow, I never thought you’d become an investment banker. I always thought you’d write a novel!” If this leaves you wondering how to change careers, you’re not alone.

Before you know it, you find yourself remembering your old dreams—and comparing them to the career field where you are now. Life rarely goes according to plan. Marriage, kids, and grandkids often come earlier than imagined—or later.

Maybe you pursued one career path because you were considered the breadwinner, but now someone else in the family is the breadwinner. Conversely, maybe you landed a job, thinking you’d stay for six months, and now you’ve been there for sixteen years.

A recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics pointed out that “baby boomers held an average of 12.3 jobs from ages 18 to 52″[1]. For millennials, who are more technologically apt, that number is likely to be much higher.

As this proves, it’s perfectly normal to change careers and begin a job search even when it seems too late! Steering your way through a career change is part calculation, part chance, and part leap-of-faith.

If you feel stuck and are ready for a career change, take these steps to guide you.

Step 1: Be Mentally Prepared

These points can help you master the psychological aspects of a career change at any age.

Now or Never Is a Fallacy

For most professionals, there is no cut-off age for striking out in a new direction. People do it at all stages of their careers.

If you’ve ever dreamed of leaving a large company to start your own business, you are not alone. Similarly, thousands of entrepreneurs and people working for one-man shops decide each year that they’d like to work for larger organizations.

You’ll find hordes of baby boomers looking for a redo alongside mobs of GenXers and Millennials—especially as the boomers now remain in the workforce longer than their predecessors.

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Your Career Is not a Straight Line From A to B

You don’t have to have your career trajectory completely decided from the start. In fact, that’s an unrealistic expectation, no matter how methodical you are.

People change. Industries merge, morph, and in some cases, disappear. Careers rarely follow the straight and narrow.

Many careers can be compared to journeys—there are the adventurous patches, boring patches, downright scary patches, and the hills and valleys, too. The trick is to try to have a little fun while you’re charting out your various careers.

Don’t panic if you find you need to change your career. It may take some work as you sort through job posts, write cover letters, and pursue your dream job, but you’re up for it.

Career Changers Are Among Good Company

Consider these well-known trailblazers whose careers took a radical turn:

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, studied computer science and electrical engineering at Princeton, went on to establish himself as a Wall Street prodigy, then quit to launch Amazon.com.

Sara Blakely, a billionaire businesswoman, was a fax machine salesperson before creating her signature slim wear line, Spanx.

Jonah Peretti, co-founder of the media sites Huffington Post and BuzzFeed, initially taught computer science to middle schoolers.

Be Ready to Take on the Naysayers

Expect plenty of advice—usually of the discouraging kind—from friends and family when they learn that you’re exploring a career change. Those you know best are often the most vocal in trying to thwart your plans.

Be prepared to field a flurry of pessimistic conjecture and doomsday scenarios. Know, though, that when your loved ones question your judgment, they’re not necessarily doubting your talent but trying to look out for your wellbeing. Stepping out of your comfort zone will make anyone close to you uncomfortable.

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Keep in mind that pessimists avoid the unknown, while optimists invite new challenges. Above all, believe in yourself and follow your instincts. Don’t let your fear of change paralyze you from seeking out your new career path.

Project an aura of enthusiasm, energy, and passion. You’ll find it’s contagious.

Step 2: Be Proactive

These tips can help you master the practical aspects of changing careers at any age.

Take Baby Steps

Ease into your new direction. Start building the skills you’ll need to make the switch.

Find out what skills you will need, and do whatever it takes to add them to your skills arsenal. Make the time to invest in additional training.

Start by devoting a half-day each week to your new pursuit until you’re ready to confidently make a move.

Clearly define where you want to go and what you’ll need to do to get there. Take an inventory of your strengths. Read trade magazines, and study up on industry trends.

Volunteer

Charitable organizations are often looking for volunteers to help them with their outreach, social media, and engagement. You can show up without the requisite skills and learn as you go in a fun, convivial, low-pressure environment, which will help you expand your experience and skills.

Take Online Courses

Today, LinkedIn and many other providers offer online courses in everything from accounting software to time management to mastering Excel. For extra credit, see if you can find classes that award online badges for completing each course.

Don’t be shy about adding these certificates to your online profile. Keep your profile fresh by adding more and more skills to it.

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Take a Temp Job

Depending on your field, it may be possible to freelance at a company where you learn on the job.

Remember that you can’t just show up at a potential employer’s claiming you have the skills. Taking a temporary job that allows you to polish your skills is proof that you’re serious about your career change.

Network!

Build a family tree of contacts. Explore beyond the main branches of your work acquaintances, industry groups, and social contacts. Join your alumni organization. Tell everyone.

Ask friends and friends-of-friends to meet you for coffee to explain what it is they do and tell you which skills you’ll need to succeed in your chosen field[2].

When you want to learn how to change careers, start by networking!

    If you have friends or associates with ties to the organizations where you want to work, ask your contacts to make an introduction. The majority of today’s jobs are found through one’s own networks. When jobs open up, companies invite informal recommendations from internal and external channels.

    Step 3: Take It Online

    This last step can help you master the online aspects of a career change at any age.

    Develop an Online Presence in the Field of Your Dreams

    Reconfiguring your online presence will be a critical step in your career change. Fine-tune your digital identity to reflect your new direction, tailoring your profile to the role and industry you’re after. Include keywords that are relevant to the industry so that recruiters can find you.

    Craft a clever personal statement that states your interests, your values, and your dreams. Once you’ve zeroed in on your message, also pick and choose which outlets make the most sense for it.

    Will your personal statement resonate on LinkedIn? Or is it highly visual—making it a better fit for Instagram?

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    Polish your sites until they gleam, then get active so others take notice. Add insightful content to your social media pages that goes deeper than the information on your resume, such as commentaries on something taking place in your newly chosen field.

    For more on how to build an online presence, check out this article.

    Final Thoughts

    Americans spend 1,800 hours or more each year working. That’s nearly one-third of your life, and it goes without saying that your job satisfaction and career goals have a great bearing on your life’s happiness barometer.

    Set out to intentionally pursue career satisfaction, looking for opportunities to fine-tune your working life so that you find fulfillment.

    If playing the piano is your personal bliss, could you meld your love of music with your clinical psychology background and find a job using music to promote healing? Perhaps there’s a foundation that would fund you in a multiyear study.

    Or, if you’re a movie buff for whom every encounter has the makings of a screenplay, why not sign up for an evening class and see if your years of writing advertising copy could morph into a career move into the film industry?

    Achieving your career change successfully will occur when you mentally prepare, take a proactive approach, and mine your personal and online networks. The pay-off will be in a life well-lived in a successful career.

    More Tips on How to Change Careers

    Featured photo credit: Jason Strull via unsplash.com

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