Charulata dreams of owning a big house by the beach someday. Like Charulata, many of us often dream about things we’d like for ourselves.

Now, if Charulata wants her dream to come true, she must have certain goals that support her ambitions. All of our life goals start with dreams. While our dreams may or may not be fulfilled, goals help in pursuing the dreams and putting in effort towards accomplishing them.

The terms dreams and goals are often used interchangeably but there is a significant difference between the two. Read on to see what each term means and the key difference between dream and goal.

  1. Meaning Of Dreams And Goals

  2. Dreams Vs. Goals

  3. Are You A Dreamer Or A Goal-Setter?

Meaning Of Dreams And Goals

Dreams are fun, exciting and endless! They don’t require much effort as you have the freedom to think about as many scenarios as you like. However, they don’t produce any results unless you act upon them. Goals help you envision better and actively work towards turning your dreams into actionable items. Let’s see what dreams and goals entail.


A dream is a series of thoughts, mental images, emotions and desires that your mind creates. It also refers to the imagination, often related to your future. It’s something you hope to achieve or accomplish someday. It’s spontaneous, subjective and non-directed. Nonetheless, it is aspirational and has the power to make you feel happy and hopeful.


A goal is rooted in reality and not just restricted to the imagination. It refers to the things you want to achieve in the short-term or the long-term. Goals are motivating because you pursue an outcome. You have a specific direction to follow and measuring your progress helps you stay on track. However, your goals should be realistic, specific, attainable and measurable—if you plan to pursue them successfully.

Dreams Vs. Goals

Many people confuse dreams and goals and don’t know where to direct their efforts and resources. To pursue your dream, it’s important that you recognize the difference between the two. Here are several factors that highlight the difference between dream and goal.

  1. Goals Require Action

Dreams can be general or abstract—they make up a vision of how you want your life to look. You can passively think about dreams without taking any action.

Goals help you pursue your dreams and turn them into real and tangible outcomes. You can achieve your goals only when you take action and make concerted efforts.

  1. Goals Have Deadlines

More often than not, dreams are hopes for the future. This future can be one year or 30 years down the line . Therefore, your dreams may continue to manifest forever.

Goals are always time-bound and use deadlines and timelines. SMART—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely—goals help you achieve things within a specific time frame. There is greater assurance of gaining outcomes.

  1. Goals Have Results

Dreams are often vague and don’t have a particular direction. They’re subjective and can change from time to time. You chase a feeling more than an achievement; oftentimes, you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Goals produce results. In fact, goals are outcome-oriented as you work towards fulfilling specific objectives. You know that you’ve made progress when you achieve desired outcomes.

  1. Goals Challenge You

They say that there isn’t any limit to imagination. Dreams help you stretch your imagination and have the power to inspire you. However, the lack of focus makes it an endless journey.

Goals have a finish line and a specific direction that guides you and motivates you. As you’re able to track progress, goals challenge you and push you to do better. Goals have the power to change your life.

  1. Goals Cost You

Dreams are just ideas and visions that come and go. Thoughts and imagination cost you nothing. You can dream as much as you want and have as many dreams as you’d like to.

As goals are action-oriented, it requires you to invest your time, effort and other resources. In some cases, they may even cost you money. For example, pursuing a specific academic curriculum.

Are You A Dreamer Or A Goal-Setter?

While dreams and goals may be different from each other, both are interdependent. Dreams need a source to sustain, while dreams spark goals. If you want to drive results in your life and become action-oriented, you need to learn how to be a dreamer as well as a goal-setter.

To make that decision, you need to explore what you really want. Harappa’s Leading Self course will guide you in becoming self-aware and realizing your true potential. You’ll embrace opportunities for growth and learning while overcoming barriers and recognizing areas of self-improvement. It’s time to step outside your comfort zone and to start treating your dreams with the same importance as goals.

Explore topics such as Factors Influencing Self-EsteemWhat is Planning, How to Set SMART Goals, Traits of a Confident Person & The Power of Positive Thinking from Harappa Diaries and achieve success in your personal and professional life.