Ask Difference

Goal vs. Accomplishment — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on May 6, 2024
Goal refers to an objective or target one aims to achieve; accomplishment is the actual achievement or fulfillment of that goal.
Goal vs. Accomplishment — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Goal and Accomplishment


Key Differences

A goal is a specific objective or aim that a person sets to achieve, representing a desired future outcome. Whereas, an accomplishment is the successful completion of that goal, marking the actual realization of the aim.
Goals are often set as part of planning processes, serving as milestones or endpoints in personal or professional growth. On the other hand, accomplishments are reflections on past successes, evidencing the attainment of these milestones.
Goals can be short-term or long-term, varying in scope and complexity depending on personal or organizational aspirations. Whereas accomplishments can vary in significance, each reflecting the scale and impact of the achieved goal.
Setting goals is typically a forward-looking activity, focusing on what one intends to achieve in the future. On the other hand, accomplishments are retrospective, focusing on what has already been achieved.
Goals often require ongoing effort and adaptation to reach, involving planning and sustained effort. Whereas accomplishments are points of reflection that provide motivation and a sense of achievement, often celebrated and recognized by others.

Comparison Chart


An aim or desired result one sets to achieve.
The achievement or completion of a goal.

Temporal Orientation

Future-oriented, focusing on achieving something ahead.
Past-oriented, reflecting on what has been achieved.


Acts as a milestone or target in planning processes.
Serves as evidence of achieving a set milestone.

Impact on Motivation

Provides direction and motivation to reach a desired endpoint.
Boosts confidence and satisfaction from reaching goals.


Often qualitative or quantitative, but not yet achieved.
Measured by the level of success in achieving set goals.

Compare with Definitions


Personal goals focus on self-improvement or personal achievements.
His goal is to learn a new language this year.


Significant accomplishments can alter a person's career path or personal life significantly.
Her accomplishment of publishing a best-selling novel opened many new doors professionally.


A goal is a desired result that an individual or organization envisions, plans, and commits to achieve.
John's goal is to run a marathon by year-end.


Accomplishments are often recognized and celebrated by peers and superiors.
Her accomplishment was recognized with the Employee of the Year award.


Goals can be long-term or short-term, depending on the timeframe and the complexity of the objective.
Her goal of saving money for a new car is a short-term financial target.


An accomplishment is a successful completion or achievement of a goal.
Completing her PhD was a major accomplishment.


Goals often involve setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound criteria (SMART).
Their goal is to increase sales by 15% in the next quarter.


Accomplishments can be personal, like reaching a personal best in sports, or professional, like receiving a promotion.
His latest accomplishment was breaking the company's sales record.


Professional goals are set to achieve career growth and professional milestones.
Her goal is to achieve a senior management position within five years.


The sense of achievement from an accomplishment can lead to increased self-esteem and motivation.
His accomplishment in the art competition boosted his confidence.


A goal is an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envision, plan and commit to achieve. People endeavour to reach goals within a finite time by setting deadlines.


The act of accomplishing or the state of being accomplished; completion
The accomplishment of this task has taken months.


The object toward which an endeavor is directed; an end.


Something carried out or completed successfully; an achievement
She was honored for her many accomplishments as a researcher.


A structure or area into which players endeavor to propel a ball or puck in order to score points.


An acquired skill or refinement
A singer known for his accomplishment in vocal technique.


A play or shot that sends a ball or puck into or through the goal.


The act of accomplishing; completion; fulfilment.
The accomplishment of an enterprise, of a prophecy, etc


The score awarded for such an act.


That which completes, perfects, or equips thoroughly; acquirement; attainment; that which constitutes excellence of mind, or elegance of manners, acquired by education or training.


The finish line of a race.


Something accomplished; an achievement.
Increasing sales by 20% in the last quarter was seen as a major accomplishment for the business.


A noun or noun phrase referring to the place to which something moves.


The lexical aspect (aktionsart) of verbs or predicates that change over time until a natural end point.


See patient.


The act of accomplishing; entire performance; completion; fulfillment; as, the accomplishment of an enterprise, of a prophecy, etc.


A result that one is attempting to achieve.
My lifelong goal is to get into a Hollywood movie.
She failed in her goal to become captain of the team.


That which completes, perfects, or equips thoroughly; acquirement; attainment; that which constitutes excellence of mind, or elegance of manners, acquired by education or training.
Accomplishments have taken virtue's place,And wisdom falls before exterior grace.


(sport) In many sports, an area into which the players attempt to put an object.


The action of accomplishing something


(sport) The act of placing the object into the goal.


An ability that has been acquired by training


A point scored in a game as a result of placing the object into the goal.


A noun or noun phrase that receives the action of a verb. The subject of a passive verb or the direct object of an active verb. Also called a patient, target, or undergoer.


To score a goal.


The mark set to bound a race, and to or around which the constestants run, or from which they start to return to it again; the place at which a race or a journey is to end.
Part curb their fiery steeds, or shun the goalWith rapid wheels.


The final purpose or aim; the end to which a design tends, or which a person aims to reach or attain.
Each individual seeks a several goal.


A base, station, or bound used in various games as the point or object which a team must reach in order to score points; in certain games, the point which the ball or puck must pass in order for points to be scored. In football, it is a line between two posts across which the ball must pass in order to score points; in soccer or ice hockey, it is a net at each end of the soccer field into which the soccer ball or hocjey puck must be propelled; in basketball, it is the basket{7} suspended from the backboard, through which the basketball must pass.


The act or instance of propelling the ball or puck into or through the goal{3}, thus scoring points; as, to score a goal.


The state of affairs that a plan is intended to achieve and that (when achieved) terminates behavior intended to achieve it;
The ends justify the means


A successful attempt at scoring;
The winning goal came with less than a minute left to play


Game equipment consisting of the place toward which players of a game try to advance a ball or puck in order to score points


The place designated as the end (as of a race or journey);
A crowd assembled at the finish
He was nearly exhuasted as their destination came into view

Common Curiosities

What is the difference between a goal and an accomplishment?

A goal is something you aim to achieve, while an accomplishment is the actual achievement of that goal.

Why are accomplishments important?

Accomplishments validate the effort put into achieving goals and boost confidence and motivation.

How do I set a realistic goal?

Set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

Can a goal be an accomplishment?

No, a goal transforms into an accomplishment once it is successfully achieved.

What role do goals play in personal development?

Goals guide personal growth by setting directions and milestones.

Do goals always lead to accomplishments?

Not always; success in achieving goals can depend on various factors including effort, resources, and circumstances.

How can I celebrate an accomplishment?

Celebrate accomplishments through personal rewards, sharing with friends or family, or public acknowledgment.

How can I track my accomplishments effectively?

Keep a record of your goals and update them as you achieve them to track your accomplishments.

What makes an accomplishment significant?

The impact it has on personal or professional growth makes an accomplishment significant.

How often should I review my goals?

Regularly review goals to adapt to changes and maintain focus.

Can accomplishments be shared with others?

Yes, sharing accomplishments can motivate others and help gain recognition.

Is it possible to achieve a goal without setting it first?

While accidental successes can happen, setting a goal typically precedes achieving it.

Can a failure to achieve a goal still lead to personal growth?

Yes, failures can provide valuable lessons and opportunities for growth.

What if I don’t achieve my goal?

Evaluate the reasons, learn from the experience, and set new, more achievable goals.

How does setting goals affect motivation?

Setting goals provides a clear target and can significantly enhance motivation to achieve them.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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