expectations are directions, goals are destinations

The Scenario: We all have goals and expectations – but which ones to focus on to get the best results?

GOALS are tangible and concrete desires, easily measurable and benchmarked.

Insight:  GOALS have the benefit of being stable yet pliable enough to adapt to changing circumstances. Their advantage is that even your highest aspirations can be realized through consistently setting & incrementally achieving them. So if you’re building well-crafted plans for achievement, thoughtful GOALS can be excellent guidelines for actualizing your potential.


EXPECTATIONS are generally desires that have no precise shape or boundaries.

Insight:  EXPECTATIONS are useful indicators of desire but very difficult to actually achieve, being neither concrete nor tangible. And a caution: once an emotion-based EXPECTATION is temporarily “satisfied” it can have a tendency to balloon out into even bigger or even more EXPECTATIONS.


The Takeaway: It’s really important to take a good hard look at the things you want of Life and clearly label them as GOALS or EXPECTATIONS. My two cents: The uniquely emotional nature of EXPECTATIONS makes them handy indicators, but GOALS help get you there. So for best results I’d recommend keeping your GOALS in the driver’s seat and your EXPECTATIONS in the passenger’s seat – your aspirations will thank you.


2 comments on “expectations are directions, goals are destinations

Nadia says:

Thank you for making the distinction and in such a clear-cut way. It’s so easy for me, as an artist to make my expectations into goals. It’s a learning process to make the goals the main focus and the expectations secondary.

Paul Joo says:

Glad to be able to help! 🙂

Comments are closed.

Back To Top