Aspirations and goals are not the same – they’re more like two sides of the same coin. They can both help you become a better version of yourself, but not in the same way.
Today we’ll talk about the difference between goals and aspirations and how you can simply set them straight to finally go after the life you’ve always wanted!
What are goals?
Simply said, goals are something you want to achieve over a specific period of time. They represent certain decisions we make, together with the commitments we need to make to accomplish the desired result.
You’ll especially be propelled once you start seeing that setting the goals and sticking to them really helps you maximize the one and only life we have.
What are aspirations?
Having aspirations means you have hopes, dreams, and ambitions to go towards life goals. Your aspirations vary and change in terms of how high they go and what they are about.
Some people prefer to stick to simple aspirations and focus on goals they can achieve relatively easily. Others aim high, for things most people may only dream about.
How do they work together?
An aspiration is definitely more abstract by nature – it’s a desire that’s more subjective and less measurable than goals. Goals are more specific, time-bound, and backed by real actions we need to take to come to that place we want to reach.
We often direct our goals on the short-term or close future. Aspirations, on the other hand, are kind of general and more future-focused. They are your visions; important in their own way, but differently than goals.
Still, you can define the path that will take you there only if you break it down into goals.
Setting the goals helps you quantify the steps you will have to take in order to actualize something bigger—your aspiration.
On the other hand, having a broader vision about who you want to be is a motivation to achieve more goals.
5 Examples by Category
Let’s talk about examples of how you can set goals and aspirations to improve things in your life.
Be strong and consistent!
Aspiration: Become Stronger
Goal(s) that support this: increase pounds you can lift every two months
If you’ve recently started working out, you probably already found out how frustrating it can be at the beginning. Maybe things aren’t going the way you expected, especially if you’re more focused on your flaws, and the progress is way slower than you thought it would be.
It’s easy to lose motivation if you set unrealistic goals.
That means you shouldn’t try to increase the weight you can lift too quickly because you can get hurt, especially if you’re a beginner, and you still can’t distinguish realistic capabilities and desires.
On the other hand, progress is something that keeps us motivated which is why it’s essential to push your limits and track your improvements.
Would you like to play me a song?
Aspiration: Learn to become a good guitar player
Goal(s) that support this: learn 5 new songs in one month
So, you aspire to become better at guitar playing, no matter the current level you’re at. Maybe you’re a beginner who finally wants to learn a few of their favorite songs or an intermediate player who feels kinda “stopped and unmotivated” in their progress.
Either way, the only thing you can do to turn your aspiration into reality is to set measurable goals.
For instance, you can put 5 new songs on the paper and set aside some of your free time to work on them.
Even if you’re a beginner, there are many simple songs you can learn within that period of time. Seeing you really CAN do it will definitely keep you motivated to continue learning and improving your skill.
It’s time to work
Aspiration: Become better at your job
Goal(s) that support this: learn new skills, become an expert at an existing one
Jobs are less and less standstill today, which means they push us to grow and learn new things almost on daily basis.
If you feel like you’ve been stagnant for a while, write down things you can do to change that.
This could be attending new seminars or workshops, learning a new software program, or simply taking an online course related to skills you’re already good at, but want to boost them.
Being in work environments that encourage you to learn all the time can be demanding, but it’s also stimulating because it makes you feel better about yourself.
Aspiration: Be more present at the moment
Goal(s) that support this: write in a diary, meditate, do physical activities
Maybe you’re finally happy with your job as well as other areas in life. But, do you still feel something’s missing?
Maybe you’re not present at the moment. You don’t feel like you can enjoy all the success and things you’ve accomplished in your life.
In this case, you won’t be able to measure your goals in the way you track the number of certificates from courses or pounds you lift in your workout session. Here, it’s all about building permanent habits that will help you appreciate small things as well as value your own life.
Aspiration: Hang out with your friends and family more
Goal(s) that support this: schedule your activities, plan daily/weekend trips
Do you often see that you’re trying to arrange your time with your family and friends, but somehow time just leaks away? Don’t worry, it happens to all of us.
The fast pace of the modern world sometimes makes us feel like we’re in an endless loop of chores, working hours, and daily tasks, together with unfulfilled promises we give to our loved ones.
You may end up feeling guilty because of it, but as long as you’re aware of it, you have the power to change things. Schedule the activities during your spare time; write them down so you can be more aware of the free hours you can actually spend with the people you care about.
Don’t feel guilty you have to write such things down. Pretty soon, when you develop a habit of socializing, you’ll create more space for such things to happen spontaneously.
Some Final Words
What do you dream about? Which things do you want to change in your life and how?
What are your visions, where do you see yourself in a couple of years from now? These are all questions that can help you determine the path you desire to follow.
Still, you don’t want to just endlessly float among your aspirations, without achieving anything. That’s what goals are here for – to help you track, measure, and motivate yourself when you see you’re making a progress.
So, which things do you want to work on in your life?