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Goals and Desires

Average: 3.6 (18 votes)

A very wise woman once told me about the difference between desires and goals and I've decided that I'd like to share that information with you. The difference between the two can be difficult to understand sometimes but knowing they exist can help you move towards your dreams in a contented way.

Desires are things that we desperately want in the future. You could desire to have a family, live abroad or, I don't know, own an elephant! Unfortunately, you do not always have the power to achieve these things as there are other people or influences involved. You may desire to own an elephant, but I'm sure there are many laws and people who might get in your way! Desires are achievable but you do not have total power over attaining them.

A goal is something that you alone can accomplish and outside factors will not affect the outcome. You need to ask yourself, 'what can I do to get closer to owning my elephant'? Good question! Perhaps you could start a course in zoology, volunteer at a zoo or travel abroad to see them in their natural habitat! These goals can help you move towards your desires.

So how can goals and desires affect your English learning? Your desire may be to never make any mistakes. Unfortunately, this is very unlikely, even for native speakers. Perhaps a better goal would be to record mistakes and corrections in a notebook. Learning English is a long and difficult process, but by setting goals your desire to become an excellent English speaker can be achieved!

I'm going to set you some homework. Take a piece of A4 paper and fold it in half. On one side write desires and on the other, goals. Then start thinking about what you want most in life and write that on the 'desires' side. Once you have decided on a desire, write some possible goals in the opposite column, goals that can help you get closer to that desire. If you'd like to share any of these with us, we'd love to hear from you.

Lesson by Caroline Devane


wise - (adjective) having the ability to make good decisions because of a deep understanding and experience of life.
contented - (adjective) satisfied and happy.
desperately - (adverb) very much.
achievable - (adjective) describes a task/goal that is possible to achieve (succeed at).
accomplish - (verb) to finish something successfully or to achieve something.
zoology - (noun) the scientific study of animals.

Now decide if the following sentences are true or false:

  • 1. A very wise man told me about goals and desires.

  • 2. There is no difference between goals and desires.

  • 3. You do not always have the choice to achieve your desires.

  • 4. There are ways to get closer to owning an elephant!

  • 5. Never making mistakes in English is almost impossible.

  • 6. I never give my students homework.