by Petri Maatta

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Dreams vs Goals

It can be difficult to tell the difference between a dreams vs goals.

They both seem like they require similar levels of dedication and commitment.

However, there are some key differences between the two that you should be aware of:

  • Dreams are usually based on what you want
  • Goals are usually based on what is possible
  • Dreams often feel more abstract or vague
  • Goals are typically specific and measurable outcomes that you want to achieve
  • Dreams are usually sparked by a desire or passion
  • Goals typically require some element of planning, such as setting a timeline for achieving them
  • Dreams tend to be long
  • Goals tend to be limited to a specific time frame

Ultimately, the differences between dreams vs goals come down to whether you are focusing on what you want or what is possible.

And while both can be incredibly powerful motivating forces, it’s important to understand which one is right for you at any given time in your life.

What is the definition of goals?

A goal is a specific, achievable objective that you work toward in order to achieve a desired outcome. Goals are typically more concrete and practical than dreams, and often involve things like financial success or professional achievement. To achieve your goals, you must create a plan and take actions toward their realization.

There are many different types of goals, you would have to be very specific about what kind of goal you are setting for yourself.

Some goals could be:

  • Save up X amount of money in order to buy a house or go on a trip.
  • Get a job in X field.
  • Lose X amount of weight.
  • Run a half marathon.

What is the definition of dreams?

Dreams are like goals, in that they involve a desired outcome. However, dreams can be more abstract and less concrete than goals, and often involve things like creativity or exploring new ideas. To achieve your dreams, you may need to come up with creative solutions or make big changes to how you live your life.

There are many different types of dreams, you would have to choose what type of dream resonates with you the most and focus on achieving that goal. Some dreams may be more challenging or less attainable than others, but keeping them in mind can keep you motivated and focused on your long-term goals.

So whether you are dreaming about owning your own business, traveling the world, or becoming an expert at something, you would need to take specific steps to turn that dream into a goal.

First, you need to have a clear and achievable idea of what you want. Once you know what your dream is, you can start to break it down into smaller goals. These goals should be something that you can realistically achieve within a certain timeframe.

We all have dreams

They’re what inspire us to be better people, to work harder, and achieve more.

  • Dreams are the things that we hope for — they motivate us and give us something to look forward to.
  • But while dreams are important, they’re not the same thing as goals.
  • Goal setting is a practical exercise that can help you turn your dreams into reality.

Goals & Dreams Are Based on Your Personal Choice

You may not need to worry about missing a deadline, getting distracted by work or family issues, or having too much on your plate. You want it all to go away and be able to relax without the responsibility of responding immediately.

You may be similarly stunned that you’re not working on your business full-time. And, if you’re anything like me, there isn’t a written strategy to make this dream a reality. Instead, it’s a jumble of informal ideas that don’t have any firm plans behind them.

Sometimes you picture a beach, other times it becomes a mansion in the mountains, and other times… You’re just in your basement with no responsibilities, after all.

People don’t try to realize their dreams because they appear so far out of reach and speculative; some people even refuse to do anything about it. But goals, unlike dreams SMART goals come with detailed strategies to ensure that they are achieved.

Many people mix up dreams and objectives, which leads to little or no progress towards either. However, if you understand the difference between a dream and a goal, you may be able to put the necessary components together to one day achieve your ambition.

It would help if you had dreams and objectives, but you must also recognize the significant distinctions between the two. This post will look at nine key differences between dreams and goals.

The third step of the 10-Step System is to label them as a “goal” (or as a “promise”) and write down how you plan on achieving your income goals.

10 Crucial Differences Between Goals and Dreams

A goal is something that you actively work towards, while a dream is more of an idea or aspiration that may or may not ever come to fruition.

1. Goals Need Action

Your dreams are a picture of what you want your future to look like. They’re broad and general, and they don’t necessitate any action on your part.

On the other side of the coin, your goals are what you work toward to make your aspirations a reality. You can only achieve your objectives if you take action, whereas wishes merely require a picture of anything you desire in the future. To dream, all you have to do is sit down.


  • Dream: One day, I’d like to be incredibly wealthy.
  • Goal: Every pay, I will set aside $100 in a high-yield savings account.

2. Goals Have Deadlines

“T” in the SMART goal format stands for “timely or time-sensitive,” which refers to a deadline in the goal. This component serves as a reminder that you must complete your objective by a certain date.

Dreams, on the other hand, are simply aspirations for the future. It might be a year, five years, or 20 years in the future. And once you’ve made it your reality, it isn’t over—it becomes your new normal. You may never reach all of your ambitions; nevertheless, each pertinent objective that you accomplish moves you closer to realizing them.


  • Dream: I’d like to retire and reside in France on a vineyard with a boat.
  • Goal: At the end of 2022, I will be fluent in Spanish.

3. Goals Have Intentions

You must have an intention to accomplish something when you set a goal. This is where the “A” in SMART goals comes into play, signifying Achievable. You want to make sure that your objectives are realistic since you intend on achieving them. Therefore, you choose achievable targets. I’m not going to attempt a marathon this weekend. Because I’d require considerably more time to prepare for it, it isn’t doable at the moment.

I dream of sailing my yacht along the Greek Islands’ crystal seas, but I can tell you right now that I won’t be doing it anytime soon. Example:

  • Dream: I want to quit my job and never go back.
  • Goal: By month’s end, I’ll have applied to three positions that appear to be a better fit for me than my current employment.

4. Goals End with Results

Setting objectives aims to reach a result that makes you better off than before. This relates to the “S” in SMART goals, which stands for Specific. You know you’ve achieved a goal when you receive the particular results you intended from the start, which have enhanced your life somehow.

Dreams, on the other hand, are fuzzy. You may not know precisely what you’re searching for–or what you’re trying to achieve–but rather a sensation than an outcome.


  • Dream: I want to be happy and fulfilled in my life.
  • Goal: Every evening, I’ll write three things in my gratitude journal to keep me aware of all the wonderful things in my life.

5. Goals Cost You Something

Increasing your efforts toward your objectives does not always imply a financial cost (although it might). Still, it can result in other forms of expenditure, such as time, energy, or effort.

Consider some of the things you’ll have to give up if you want to run a marathon. You must give up your warm bed early in the morning, a lot of time and energy to train, and a lot of effort and willpower to persist when tempted to quit.

Dreams, on the other hand, are not. They’re simply concepts and images that may come and go.


  • Dream: I’m interested in running.
  • Goal: Every weekday at 4:30 a.m., I’ll get up to run the distance set out in my training plan.

6. Goals Have Concrete Criteria

Your objectives must be measurable to be deemed SMART. You need standards and criteria to measure your progress, and your objectives are highly structured. You know where you’re at.

On the other hand, because your goals are vague and frequently flexible, you don’t track how far you’ve progressed toward achieving them.


  • Dream: I want to be able to schedule my tasks.
  • Goal: I’ll apply to three specific and chosen Universities by March 30th to acquire the skills necessary to start my own company.

7. Your Dreams Inspire Your Goals

Like many other things, dreams require a source of fuel to survive. This implies that the more effort you put into realizing your ambitions, the more reality you will approach—and the more potential you will be giving them to come true.

Only if you take action (in setting objectives) can your aspirations help you make positive changes in your life.

You will have your ups and downs in life, but you may always continue to pursue your ambitions. You need to modify the things you do depending on your circumstances. During some parts of your life, you will be able to make significant progress with your goals, but during others, you may need to take it easy—it’s all about keeping going.


  • Dream: I’d want to write a book and have it published.
  • Goal: I will produce 500 words every day.

8. Dreams Are Fluid

What were your childhood ambitions? What about when you were a teenager? And now?

Chances are, your goals have evolved, and they will continue to adapt as you acquire more life experiences. However, there isn’t as much wiggle room because your objectives were created with a deadline. The kinds of goals you create may begin to change, but the process of establishing objectives does not allow you to alter them if you wish to succeed.


  • Dream: “I want to be an astronaut.”
  • Goal: By the end of 2023, I will have a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science.

9. Goals Challenge You

Goals are difficult because they need you to take action and work. Because they necessitate effort, your objectives will provide you with obstacles that will help you grow as a person. Setting your goals correctly is challenging enough to keep you from becoming bored, offer the enthusiasm you need to achieve your potential, and keep you interested in the conclusion.

Because your aspirations don’t put the pressure on you that your goals do, they may stretch your imagination, but they won’t challenge you the same way as a goal will.


  • Dream: I’d want to master the art of cooking.
  • Goal: At the end of this month, I will be able to prepare at least one meal correctly well enough to feed my pals.

Final Thoughts on Dreams vs. Goals

Creating the best life for yourself necessitates having aspirations.

Your objectives are simply the actions you must take to realize your desired existence. We look at our aspirations and objectives differently while making plans to achieve them, yet we frequently regard our ideas as out of reach.

You’ll need both of these things in your life; your dreams will help you stay focused while working on your objectives to assist you in making progress.

We think about our dreams, but simply wishing for a utopian vision of life won’t get you any closer to making it come true.

To get there one day, you must first establish objectives that will assist you in making the necessary progress.

The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or lonely, take a minute to reflect on whether you’re working in the right environment for your health and well-being.

Please read our article about how to manifest something into your life. Also, check out the list of things that other people want from life and manifest into their lives, for some inspiration, ideas and motivation.

One goal-setting method gaining popularity is dreamlining, which I’ll describe below.

Check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step approach to help you create successful SMART objectives if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level.


petri maatta, CEO
Petri Maatta

Petri Maatta is a photographer, filmmaker, and webdesigner who has been working for over 20 years in the creative industry. Fascinated by manifesting for business reasons, Petri was determined to find out what it took to create success. He started his career with seven years of business failures before he found success by learning about manifesting from a mentor with a Fortune 500 company. Today Petri shares his knowledge through DreamMaker courses designed to help people change their businesses and lives while living on their terms.

Read more About us or read My Story.


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