Dream vs. Goal: What’s the Difference?

Dream Vs Goal Whats The Difference

Often, dream and goal are used interchangeably. After all, dreams are something you hope to accomplish one day and so are goals. However, they’re actually different and serve different purposes in your life. It’s not a dream vs goal type of situation. You need both, but it’s important to understand the differences. By tracking both, you’re able to lead a happier, more productive life while achieving what you want.

What Are Dreams?

First, let’s talk about dreams. These aren’t the things you have when you fall asleep. Instead, dreams are what you envision for yourself. If you’re staring out a window, you may dream about what life would be like if you could step right into your perfect career. But that’s all a dream is: a vision of your future.

Dream Vs Goal Whats The Difference Dream

Successful people usually start out with a dream. Typically, this is something you’re passionate about. It makes you feel excited and eager to make it happen. Several popular books have written about the importance of having a vision for your future and living with the hope that it will happen.

In “Making Hope Happen,” Shane J. Lopez references how a vision for the future boosts workplace outcomes by fourteen percent. This means dreams have the power to help you be more productive.

What Are Goals?

Many goals actually start with a dream. However, when it comes to dream vs .goal, a dream is more imagination while goal is more actionable. Yes, you could daydream about a great new career, but that won’t make it real.

Dream Vs Goal Whats The Difference Goal

Instead, the dream sparks the desire to make something real. Next, you have to set actionable goals to make the dream a reality. In the case of a new career, you would set a main goal of having XYZ career. You’d then break down the goal into actionable steps, such as:

  • Research job listings to see what’s required
  • Acquire the required skills in X months or years
  • Research employers
  • Customize your resume
  • Start applying to employers

Each of those is an actionable goal you can work toward. It’s not just a daydream any longer. There is a variety of ways to track your goals – from pencil and paper to advanced apps.

Why Track Both

Since dreams and goals are different but linked, it’s important to track both. Start by listing your dreams. These are your starting points. You can work toward multiple dreams at once or just one at a time.

Dream Vs Goal Whats The Difference Track

It’s a good idea to use a journal to write about your dreams and what you’re doing to help make them a reality. Simple journaling or even a manifestation journal work well for this. The idea is to give you something to look at to see your progress and remind you of your overall dream. Achieving your goals isn’t always easy, so consider your dream journal your inspiration when things aren’t going your way.

Of course, tracking your goals is critical to your success. For instance, simply saying “I’m going to be more productive this week” probably won’t change anything. If your dream is to feel more productive and confident about your job, you’d set a goal to increase productivity and reduce distractions.

Some actionable steps to achieve your goal could include:

  • Track distractions to uncover problem areas
  • Set a schedule (you may test several to find what works best)
  • Turn off notifications during work
  • Adjust priorities to be more effective
  • Find your most productive time of day

For some dreams and goals, the two will be more or less the same. For more complex dreams, it’ll take numerous goals to help you reach your dream step by step.

If all this sounds a little confusing, just remember this:

A dream is the vision of your future.

A goal is the actionable plan you create to achieve your vision.

Becoming More Productive

So how does learning there’s a difference with a dream vs. goal help? Just knowing that you’re working toward your dreams on a daily basis helps make you happier. It’s proven that happiness can make you 12 percent more productive. Of course, additional productivity helps you accomplish more, making you feel even happier.

Dream Vs Goal Whats The Difference Productive

Start tracking those dreams and setting goals you can achieve. The more you achieve, the easier it becomes to stay on track with your future goals.

Crystal Crowder

Crystal's spent over 15 years writing about technology, productivity, and a little of everything else. She's always trying out new ways to beat procrastination and distractions to stay more productive and hopefully work fewer hours.