Reduce Stress By Learning One Rule: The Difference Between Goals, Projects, and Tasks

Before we move on to the next step in the Git’er Done Series, I would like to explain the key distinctions between Goals, Projects, and Tasks.

A GOAL is a MEGA-PROJECT made up of two or more projects

A Goal, no matter what that goal is, is comprised of many related projects that MUST be completed before the goal can be achieved. Think of a goal as a Textbook.

A PROJECT is a MEGA-TASK made up of two or more tasks.

A Project is one group of related and required tasks bound together by function, clarity, or structure. Think of a Project as a Chapter in a Textbook.


A Task is an indivisible and elemental action that does not require any planning or context. Think of a Task as a Word…in a Chapter…in a Textbook.

Granted, you can complete Tasks (to-dos on a to-do list) without having done any planning or having any context of a bigger picture. However, a Project, and therefore a Goal, cannot be completed until all of the required individual Tasks are discovered through research, knowledge, or guidance and then completed.

This may all seem like an unnecessary splitting of hairs but it is one of the reasons many of us become overwhelmed and/or give up on our goals all together.

Knowing the difference has a profound psychological effect on how we approach our goals and react to setbacks and here’s why: Most think of a Goal as a Task, or ONE thing can be completed if they work hard, smart, or long enough. In fact, a Goal can’t be “done” because it is an outcome, an effect of multiple Projects made up of multiple Tasks. This fundamental misunderstanding leads the most well-intentioned of us to both over-commit and under-prepare.

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