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How to define a goal and an objective

Goals and objectives form the most important part of a project proposal. Therefore, great care must be taken when framing them.

Setting the goal is often the first step towards developing a proposal, as it lays the groundwork for the project. The next step is to define the objectives that will help achieve the goal.

A well-written proposal always has clearly defined goals and SMART objectives to achieve the desired goal. To begin with, let’s understand what an “objective” and a “goal” are, and the difference between them.


Essentially, the two can be described as follows:

A Goal is a broad statement that defines what you want to do in a project.

An Objective is one of a number of detailed steps that describe the ways in which the goal is to be achieved.


Now that the difference between a goal and an objective is clear, let’s look for ways to write objectives and quality goals.

To do this we must be SMART:

Defining a Quality Goal

  1. Although the word “Goal” is a broad statement, it must be concrete and clear.
  2. A goal must be consistent with the mission statement to be achieved.
  3. Use simple language to write a goal. Avoid using complex phrases and technical words.
  4. It is wise to keep only one goal for one purpose.
  5. Defining multiple goals for the same purpose creates confusion.


Defining Objectives

  1. Once you have defined a logical and reasonable goal, you should be able to define three or four objectives that will guide you and help you achieve that particular goal.
  2. Objectives should be able to answer the following questions:
  • Why are you proposing a particular thing?
  • What approach will you adopt to reach the desired goal?
  • When will you conduct the particular project?
  • Where will you implement the project?
  • Who will be the primary stakeholders/beneficiaries or who will be doing a particular thing in a project?


In this way, we can identify the objectives that provide a detailed strategy to achieve the desired impact.

Then, each objective should contribute and supports the achievement of the goal.

Some things to remember when defining objectives are:

  1. Objectives should follow a logical order. This will also help in planning all of the activities to be carried out.
  2. Set objectives with the SMART method.
  3. Use action verbs when writing objectives, such as create, identify, promote, improve, increase, develop, etc.
  4. Keep 3-4 objectives: Most experts recommend keeping three to four objectives in a proposal. Each objective will further have several activities and tasks to be undertaken. Therefore, having too many objectives will complicate project implementation.

Next in the series –  How to manage time to achieve our goals and objectives?


Information sources :


José Curiel José Curiel

ITIL certificate with a long experience in Information Technology.

My expertise areas are:

- Time management and results oriented planning
- IT support HW & SW to help users, including the blind and visually impaired
- IT Project Management
- Infrastructure Management
- Audiovisual and Multimedia Management

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